I often get asked what I eat for breakfast. This is one of my common choices.Muesli is so tasty and full of nutrition it keeps me feeling full for a long time. With the availability of fresh fruit I tend to top my muesli with whatever fruit is in season along with a little almond milk. At the end of the recipe I’ve listed several variations to change up the flavors in every bowl, the possibilities are seemingly endless!
If you want to prevent heart disease or diabetes, eating muesli made with rolled oats is the way to go. Oatmeal contains a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan which has proven to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. Studies show that consuming 3 grams of soluble oat fiber daily typically lowers total cholesterol in persons with high cholesterol by up to 23%. This is significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol, if it is high, translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. Some time ago I lowered my own cholesterol levels by 13% just by eating rolled oats daily for a year. Along with soluble fiber, antioxidant compounds unique to oats help prevent free radicals from doing their damage that leads to cardiovascular disease. Much research has been done which indicates rolled oats significantly enhance immune system response to bacterial infection, help stabilize blood sugar, help decrease the symptoms of asthma, are associated with DNA repair which reduces the risk for cancer especially breast and colon cancer. Consuming rolled oats and all whole grains has been linked to protection against hardening of the arteries, stroke, insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity and premature death. And keep in mind that oats are a good source of protein with a cup providing 21% of the daily value. They also provide an array of minerals including calcium, iron, zinc and especially manganese. Manganese helps ensure healthy bones, assists in metabolic processes, proper function of the thyroid, alleviates PMS syndrome and mood swings, prevent headaches, alleviate depression and irritability and is very important for normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Much has been said lately about the health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa. While dark chocolate might be healthy, whole cacao beans and nibs are best. Many of the health benefits are lost when raw cacao is made into cocoa and chocolate, even dark chocolate. Raw cacao has more antioxidants than any other food tested to date, but these benefits can be lost when processed. Cacao nibs provide protection from environmental toxins of all kinds while promoting a positive mood and feelings of calmness and well-being. Raw cacao powder and nibs will stimulate the secretion of endorphins which act as anti-depressants and increase a sensation similar to a runner’s high. Cacao nibs also help build strong nails and hair, promote beautiful skin, detoxify the liver and support healthy pancreas functioning among many other benefits. Although muesli can be made without the cacao nibs, leaving them out also leaves out their incredible health benefits.
Starting the day with a bowl of muesli not only boosts energy levels but also goes to work for one’s overall health benefit. When eaten with fresh fruit there is a synergistic effect creating a team of nutrients from all the ingredients to ward off possible diseases and fight weaknesses.
9 cups old-fashioned, regular rolled oats (or mixed rolled grain)
1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut (or coconut chips or slices)
1 ½ cups chopped dates (or raisins)
1 ½ cups other dried fruit such as cherries, blueberries, apricots etc…
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup cacao nibs*
½ cups ground flaxseed
Mix all ingredients together. Transfer to a large airtight container. To serve, pour a little muesli into a cereal bowl and add almond milk or other non-dairy milk, stir.
*For variations add any fresh fruit such as raspberries (shown), other berries or bananas as desired. Try adding ground spices to the muesli just before serving such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, allspice or ginger, or add a tiny bit of vanilla extract or other flavorings, or a bit of raw cacao powder for an increased chocolate taste tossing with the dry muesli just before adding the non-dairy milk. When making the muesli, swap the almonds in the recipe for other nuts such as pecans, pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts etc.. or use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or unhulled sesame seeds. Swap the ground flaxseed for chia seeds, which do not need to be ground to get the nutritional benefits from them. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com