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Saturday, 20 February 2016


By Pete Ryan

Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner was in some ways ahead of his time.  He may not have had reasons that were fully understood, but he was one of the first modern day healers to realise that plant foods had properties that made them especially healthy.  He focussed upon raw plants and helped people regain their health consuming raw fruits and vegetables.  Today he may be best known for popularising muesli that most people have eaten. He was heavily critiqued until around the 1930’s when vitamins in fruits and vegetables were discovered.  In fact in professional nutritional circles it was generally believed that humans could not thrive on a plant-based diet, this took many years to be disproven (this is despite the fact that many within the physical culture movement at that time that did in fact thrive on that very diet). Even today we have a few nutritional 'experts and gurus' that believe that meat is somehow essential, despite that fact that many people survive and thrive without it.  Since the 1930’s many other health factors have been discovered in fruits and vegetables.  The ideas of Dr Bircher have actually been proven to have some merit.  Meat is not necessary for a healthy diet. Some forms of meat have been linked to diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses.  Fruits and vegetables do appear protective of many chronic diseases.  Eating whole plant foods does seem to improve overall health and longevity.
Dr Bircher also believed in physical activity to improve health.  Again, this has been proven today, but at the time physical activity was frowned upon as either unnecessary, or even dangerous.

Start your day with bircher

Bircher is a variation of muesli.  You can add fruit and nuts to an oat base.  The difference is you must soak overnight to get maximum benefit.  These days we know that soaking removes the anti-nutrients.  There are agents within grains and seeds that hold nutrients inert until the seed is ready to grow, wetting the seed causes these binders to breakdown and so maximise nutrient intake.
My morning starts with either a bircher or a chia pudding.  The bircher is:

1/3 a cup of oats
125ml hemp milk
A handful of fresh or frozen fruit
Optional 3-5 teaspoons of plant yoghurt

I mix this up the evening before.  You can mix it in a minute, then pop it in the fridge.  That is it.  An easy, quick start to the day.

My complete breakfast is:

125ml warm water with the juice of half a lemon and 2 tablespoons of unpasteurised, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 litre of herbal tea
1 bowl of bircher or chia pudding
1 protein shake with turmeric, black pepper, kelp, cocoa powder, green powder, ginger and some other bits.

It works for me. I am not saying I will always stick to this version of my breakfast, as times change, so my needs will evolve and I will change my diet to suit those changes, but for now that gives me enough nutrition to get the day started right without overfilling me.

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1 comment:

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