Bircher Muesli- a good way to start the day
Bircher Muesli wasn’t originally for breakfast. The Swiss physician, Dr. Max Bircher-Benner, invented a recipe as a healthy meal starter in 1900. He saw many of his patients suffering from diseases that he felt could be avoided if people ate a better diet. He liked the idea of uncooked grains, more fruit, some nuts and a little dairy. The muesli was actually supposed to be eaten in small portions before each meal, thus leaving less room in the stomach for meat, bread, processed foods and other less nutritious items. His original recipe included sweetened condensed milk and no fruit juice, probably due to the grocery provisions available at the time. Nowadays, the processed version is marketed as a ready-mixed slurry for breakfast combined with sweetened yoghurt. It’s served in German and Swiss hospitals as a breakfast option and it ticks most of the boxes for a healthy diet to enrich and encourage your internal bacteria. The “gut biome” does a lot of the digestion work for you and is now thought to influence mood, mental wellbeing, inflammation including allergic reactions and a whole host of factors that can make you feel good or bad. Encouraging the little blighters to do their work well seems to me a good idea.
Life’s too short for a complicated breakfast, except maybe on Sundays. For the weekday morning, the most one seems capable of is scooping something onto a plate and spooning it down in a rush. Bircher Muesli is a perfect solution; you can make up a big bowl of it on Sunday evening and leave it in the fridge to be scooped out, mixed with yoghurt and whatever fruit you have on hand, and you have the healthiest breakfast imaginable on your plate in under 2 minutes. More than that, each batch is different, so you’ve always got a nice surprise for your tastebuds on a Monday morning, a good way to start the week. The bowl lasts a week in the fridge, as the acid in the apple juice preserves the ingredients. (the grated apple goes a bit brown by the last day but that's no matter)
I stick to the rule of two in my Bircher Muesli, for simplicity’s sake. Two fresh fruits, two dried fruits, two sorts of seeds, two types of nut; that’s enough. You can swop around the brazil nuts and hazelnuts one week for almonds and walnuts the next, and you can use different seeds as you prefer. Do try to get live yoghurt (or make it…), to further encourage that healthy productive gut.
If you can get organic oats, and even nicer, organic muesli base, so much the better. I am very lucky to have my friend Mussarrat at Artisan Nutrition just round the corner where I can buy small quantities of fresh organic grains, nuts and fruit, weighed out into my own containers, so I don’t have to store too many little packets of half consumed things, and can change around the ingredients as I like. But you can buy packets of different nuts, seeds, dried fruits etc and keep them in a large Tupperware container, ready for use.
Here’s the one I made last week and is in the picture, with some fruit from my allotment, but as said, please alter the nuts, seeds and fruits to your taste and what you can buy.
Makes about 5 servings – one for each weekday morning Timings: 20 minutes on Day 0, then 2 minutes each day after
For the morning: 100ml live plain yoghurt, a handful of blueberries, or a small banana, or a small mango, whatever you have around. At some times of the year you might have several types of berry around and in the spring you might be restricted to bananas – so be it.
Put the grain flakes, dried fruit and seeds into a small bowl. Chop the nuts up quite finely, to taste, add to the bowl. Cut up the apple, discard the core and grate it, including the skin. Add to the bowl along with the apple juice.
Stir, cover, and leave overnight in the fridge.
To eat, spoon about 2 tablespoons out into a small bowl, add about the same amount of live plain yoghurt, one small portion of another fresh fruit, mix and eat.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.