Maybe it's a bowl of fruit or a bagel and cream cheese in the morning. Are you one of the ones who starts your day with a cup of coffee on the way out to work?
Or power down a donut or grab a banana and then run out the door?
It is painful for me to admit that I woke up to that grinding of the coffee beans each morning before I went out the door at 5:30 to head for the office.
Don't get me wrong! I love a great cup of coffee as much as every coffee lover out there. I must admit that my energy was high only to drop like a ton-o-bricks by mid morning. Sometimes I would skip breakfast entirely and just make it to lunch just be ravenous. And I don't want to put any coffee houses under by saying no to coffee. When you make a few changes to your early AM routine like eating breakfast you begin to literally break-the-fast. You have slept all night, hopefully on an empty stomach and wake up to a comfortable level of hunger. This is what it ought to be.
I sit in a comfortable 50-something age bracket with a bit of weight gain, body changes and wondering how my next chapter of life will be. They say it all goes down hill after 40. I just won't subscribe to that either. I have created this Ode to Breakfast series for those of us who are on the go every morning just to either sit in traffic or join the daily grind...so to speak.
Since I have been attending my nutrition school at IIN I have learned how to eat, breathe, exercise, meditate, handle my stress and relationships, evaluate my career and happiness, but I think as much as anything, I have learned how to start my morning with breakfast once again.
My energy level and mental focus is at its peak each morning. I have laid off the bagels, donuts, pop tarts & muffins that others bring to the office and I don't even want or crave them anymore. With a little forethought and planning I can start my day the way any champion would start their day.
I can give you all kinds of reasons for eating breakfast and quote lots of studies and documents that support why eating breakfast is the way to go, but there is enough of that in the blogosphere. In this series I will share some easy breakfasts for the weekday mornings that will start your day in the best way you can imagine. Open your mind to some of these possibilities and then expand on them with your own likes. Try them once, twice and maybe even three times. Then if you like them adjust the recipes to your own preferences. Most of all, see how you feel after you eat this way for a few days. Your body knows what it needs: trust me. It will tell you in the form of cravings what it is not getting but it may be YOU who interprets that sugar craving as a need for a candy bar or salty cravings for a bag of chips.
I choose to celebrate muesli. Back in my Pan Am layover days my favorite layover would be in Zurich, Switzerland where we stayed on the outskirts of town at the Atlantis Sheraton Hotel(now a hostel, I think). This hotel was located at the bottom of the Swiss hillside right next to a small village with pasture land all around. I could open my hotel window to let the crisp cold air into my room after my all night flight and then get my jammies on and fall into the most comfortable of beds and under the lightest down comforter with my window still open. I would fall asleep to the rural sound of cowbells outside of my window.
Our crew pickup was always the next morning. The crews would have time to go into the restaurant and enjoy the breakfast buffet. The large bowl of muesli on the long buffet table was my favorite pick of either the hot or cold selections.
The history of the original Bircher-Benner muesli comes from Switzerland ironically enough. Physician Dr. Maximillian Bircher-Benner ran a sanatorium in Zurich, Switzerland in the 19th and 20th centuries (He lived between 1867 - 1939). He is considered by some to be a pioneer in nutritional research. He used food to heal his patients citing that by eating a diet leaning heavily towards fruits, vegetables and nuts one could be healed of many ailments. His original muesli recipe can be found here. He believed that if one led a simple life like the shepards in the fields with a simple diet of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, exercise like walking and garden work, then an early meal and early bedtime, one could live in harmony with nature. What a simple and obvious way to live! His teachings are so far from what we experience today, don't you think?! Oh, to live a much simpler life and be healthier for it.
Muesli is a cold cereal made from rolled oats, nuts, dried fruits, yogurt, honey and fresh fruits.
Makes enough dry mix for 18 servings
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (may use slivered almonds, chopped hazelnuts, walnuts, or pistachios)
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup currants (or raisins)
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 TB flax seeds
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Put in an airtight container. Keeps for about 2 months unrefrigerated.
[There are many variations on this dry mix. This is my own using what I have in the pantry or freezer. Go for about a 3 to 1 ratio of oats to nuts/dried fruits.]
The night before:
1/4 cup of the dry mix, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup (or preferred sweetner like stevia), and a small apple grated, skin and all, even seeds. Mix all together and put in the refrigerator overnight. I have made this in the morning before I go to work and it is ready in about an hour. [Note on the apple: You can use a Granny Smith or other tart apple for a more pronounced apple taste.]
Eat this cereal cold.
You may even add other berries. _____________________________________________________________________
I ran this recipe through Nutrition facts (nutritionfacts.com) and it showed the caloric content for 1 serving (using whole milk yogurt, honey and a small apple & 1/4 dry mix) to be 338 calories. You can reduce this number by choosing nonfat yogurt or a non-dairy choice such as unsweetened coconut, rice, hemp, soy or almond milks). I do not get too hung up on the calories of a food as long as the quality & diversity of what I eat is from whole foods and not processed ingredients.
This is meant to be more of a fruit cereal as opposed to a grin cereal. The whole shredded apple gives plenty of fiber and moisture to the cereal. The whole milk (I use raw mild from the farm) gives a creamy texture and is very smooth to taste. I also use raw, unfiltered honey as my sweetner. You could also substitute stevia. Give this a try as written, then adjust it to your own tastes.
Muesli is best described as tasting like a cool, refreshing, slightly nutty (nuts), chewy (dried fruits), creamy (yogurt), and fruity (apple) cereal. It is comfort in the morning. Full of energy, muesli is a great way to start your day. Make it the night before and take it to work. It will steady your blood sugar and energy level in the AM and get you all the way to lunch without the need for a mid-morning snack.
Why not join me for breakfast sometime?
Keep it simple.