Daily Muesli for Health: Oats, Barley and Rye
Updated: Apr 29
Some people laugh at our daily breakfast moo’sli (yes, that’s a cow joke, moo): oats (rolled oats, not more processed 'quick oats') barley, maybe some rolled rye, oat bran, a large pinch of spices and dried berries. We mix it ourselves at home from easy to find store bought ingredients, organic if possible. Our moo’sli powers: our health, our exercise and even our poop!
Our bowl of homemade muesli can provide 50% of daily fibre requirement, even before we include any fruit. According to SingHealth “An average Singaporean consumes 13 grams of dietary fibre per day. The recommended amount is 30 grams per day.” The US fares slightly ‘better’ at 15g per day and the UK averages at 18.5g. Our typical bowl provides 15g fibre from 8 tablespoons of whole grains and 1tbsp of bran. We use a heaped Ikea tablespoon to measure. Then add a couple of small pieces of fruit, say, an apple and a banana and this breakfast provides almost 20g of fibre. The addition of fibrous oat bran might be too much for beginners so feel free to leave this out if you are new to muesli.
What is the #1 killer of men and #2 of women in SG? Colon cancer – linked to a lack of fibre in the diet. We really need to get more fibre into the diet, feed our healthy microbiome and poop better. Why? Fibre alone helps to prevent diabetes, heart disease, the risk of cancer and weight gain. The microbiome depends on fibre as its fuel. The short chain fatty acids and other metabolites that they produce helps everything from our gut lining to brain health to our immune systems. Eating a healthy, plant based and fibre rich breakfast also crowds out other less healthy items that many are already be overconsuming.
Our single bowl is packed with complex (low glycaemic) carbs that provide slow-release energy over the course of several hours. Almost 25g of plant-based protein with plenty of micronutrients / minerals. There is no cholesterol or saturated fat, in fact, the fibre helps to lower cholesterol levels. This dish can be the foundation of a heart healthy, weight loss diet.
A large pinch of ground spices powers our daily antioxidant needs – fighting inflammation and cancer, supporting post exercise recovery. We like to use Ceylon Cinnamon, maybe a little Pumpkin Spice. Mixed berries (dried goji, blueberries and raisins) for added antioxidant power and some sweetness. Raisins are cheap and sweet, a cost-effective option if goji and blueberries are expensive to get. We also add a couple of pieces of fresh fruit to lighten it up.
Are there any potential issues with this breakfast bowl?
Food Intolerances. Oats do not have gluten although sometimes the processing machinery may be used for other grains and therefore contaminate the oats. Just check the label on the packet. Some people may have intolerances to certain grains such as the barley or, say, rye grains if we mix them in for variety. If this is the case, just leave them out.
Poop. Yes, eating more fibre will make you poop more. It’s not a problem, it’s healthy! When increasing fibre intake don’t go from zero to hero in one day otherwise gas and, if you are not well hydrated, blockages may become an issue. Increase your fibre intake over a couple of weeks, this allows the beneficial gut bacteria in your gut to multiply and be able to get their job done (gas free) when you step up the fibre intake.
Exercise. We wouldn’t eat a fibre rich meal within a few hours before a workout or run as it needs time to digest.
It took me a long make muesli a regular part of my life, I simply didn’t add enough sweetness to it when I started. The addition of mixed fruit and berries turned it from plain grains to an enjoyable daily breakfast. Understanding the health benefits was invaluable, especially the vital role that fibre plays in diet. Now I eat it every day.
If you are just starting try 4 tablespoons of muesli and work your way up to six, or more. You don't have to add oat bran unless you want the extra nutrition.
Says The Whole Health Practice's Felicia “Sometimes we enjoy our muesli later in the day, it doesn’t have to be for breakfast only. This is also a simple dish to take to the office, the dry grains just need hot water poured over them and be left to ‘cook’ for half an hour.”
Felicia and Alastair
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