Saturday, June 26, 2010

Breakfast Breakthrough - Struggle No More!

We all know 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day'. And its true, study after study about health, productivity, energy etc show that we really must eat a wholesome breakfast. I generally recommend clients try to get a whole grain based breakfast in, but this can take time to prepare, and be less appetizing as the weather warms up, and hot cereal is less appealing.

Enter muesli!

Dr. Bircher-Benner was born in Aarau, Switzerland, in 1867, and studied medicine in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. He is considered one of the earliest and most influential proponents of natural healing through eating habits. As a young physician in Zurich, Switzerland, he came in contact with newly-emerging theories about natural medicine, including the effects of diet on health, and he began to develop his own ideas about a diet based on whole, raw foods.

As an avid mountain climber, he was also impressed by the simple and healthy lifestyle of the shepherds he encountered in the Swiss Alps. On one of his hikes, he and his wife were served muesli. This was his first experience with the dish, and it inspired him to create his own version for the patients in his private clinic.

Dr. Bircher-Benner revolutionized nutrition in northern Europe in the early 20th century by advocating a diet based less on meat and more on fruits, vegetables and grains. He theorized that because plants contain more of the sun's energy, they must be more nutritious than meat. He also believed that people should consume as much uncooked food as possible since cooking destroys some of food's nutrients.

As an advocate of healing via nutrition, Bircher-Benner offered what was then considered a radical diet to the patients in his sanatorium, consisting of at least 50 percent raw fruits, vegetables and nuts.
His muesli cereal was an integral part of this approach to healing. Patients also performed daily exercise, worked in the garden, and were required to be in bed by 9:00 PM. He placed great value on a life lived in close harmony with nature.

So here we have Bircher-Benner Muesli, what I consider to be the perfect, practical breakfast!The best part about this is you make enough for a couple of days in a tupperware one evening, and in the morning you just grab it out of the fridge and go. This is perfect 'eat at your desk with soaking wet hair, and act like you didn't get out of bed 15 minutes ago' kind of food...if that is your reality!

There are lots of Bircher-Benner Muesli recipes out there, and feel free to play with it, but here is one I like. This makes 2 servings.


1 mug full of rolled oats (you can try this with other grains as well!)
1/2 mug full of unsweetened apple juice (can be replaced with water)
1 mug full of organic PLAIN yogurt
10-20 raisins or other dried fruit of choice
2tsps cinnamon
1/2 apple sliced into very small pieces (put this in the tupperware the morning you plan on eating)

1) Mix all ingredients in a tupperware, stir well.
2) Put the lid on and let sit overnight in fridge.
3) Take the lid off, add any fruit you like, and some slivered almonds and viola! The oats should have soaked up the liquid and yogurt into a mushy, but tasty breakfast delight!


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