Sunday, June 5, 2011

Natural Muesli - Wholegrain using your own ingredients

Just what exactly is in shop Muesli?

Well that depends where you buy, but here is one 'basic' ingredients list:
  • Wholegrain Oat Flakes (50%)
  • Wholegrain Wheat Flakes (40%)
  • Vegetarian Whey Powder (5%)
  • Raisins (3%)
  • Hazelnuts & Nuts (2%)
If you visit a 3 or 4 star hotel, then the Muesli you will be presented with, will be quite different. But just how different?

Whole grains and variety of fruit and nuts - luxury:

Premium oat flakes will be whole and perhaps of a larger size.

Whole hazelnuts or halved hazelnuts rather than a few chips scattered about.

Dried Apricots and fruit which is a bit pricier, rather than the cheapest ingredients often glazed.

Fruit which has not been processed to aid longer storage ( glazing )

Perhaps fresh seeds, rather than seeds toasted / glazed to aid preservation.

Note: I have used the term Muesli here, if you instead use the term Granola then please substitute as you read.

Toasting Seeds - Makes for Tasty Muesli some folks feel:

Dry Toast seeds over a textured heated surface for 2 to 3 minutes.

Toss regularly during toasting and do not blacken the seeds.

Evil head of Dentistry - Toasting and Oil:

Toasting seeds is one thing, toasting flakes another thing entirely.

If I were the [fictional] Evil head of Dentistry, sitting stroking my cat, here is what I would mandate adding to all muesli:
  • Glazed banana chips
  • Toasted oat flakes - toasted in oil
  • Toasted malted wheat flakes
  • Fruit all covered with a glazing agent ( vegetable oil )
  • Good old sugar ;)
Why? Because all of these things will increase the pressure on a weak tooth, and make Muesli into a crunching exercise, rather than a mild grinding exercise.

If you were Kwik Fit and wanted to sell more suspension parts, then one way is to persuade ordinary motorists to 'off-road' once every day.
No different for [fictional] Evil head of Dentistry and your daily morning meal.

Adding sugar to cereal is a great way of removing user choice.
Most folks who are aware of their sweetener intake, would make a conscious choice to sprinkle a little sugar on, or pass - might depend on mood or fancy.

Adding sugar to cereal it could be argued does remove that choice, and any extra sugar in your diet, is good news for the Dentistry business.

Tesco 'Value' Muesli - how tasty, how healthy?

'Value' ranges tend to ignore health as a measure of value and focus almost entirely on cost.

The 'Value' Muesli ingredients list:

Wheat Flakes, Oat Flakes, Barley Flakes, Malted Toasted Wheat Flakes, Raisins (4.5%), Whey Powder, Sugar, Hazelnuts

Malted Toasted Wheat Flakes contain: Wheat Flakes, Barley Malt Extract.
Raisins contain: Flame Raisins, Glazing Agent (Vegetable Oil).

Some notable figures from the Tesco 'Value' Muesli Nutrition sheet:

60% Carbohydrate
15% Fibre
10% Protein
10% Sugars
5%   Fat

How healthy? Well it helps to have something to compare it to - see next section.

Morrison 'Value' Muesli - how tasty, how healthy?

Add you own dry fruit (Apricots / Raisins / whatever)

Add you own seeds or whatever you think makes a great breakfast taste for you.

...and how healthy....

Hints quoted from the Muesli Recipe at (below)
It is best not to have too many nuts and seeds in your muesli mix as they are rich in proteins and oils - the mix can become rather a challenge to the digestive system!
Chop the larger nuts into pieces. Almonds and coconut are best flaked.
Soak Muesli for at least half an hour before you want to eat it.

How about the Morrisons 'Value' and your Government recommended daily amount (GDA)?

How about Morrisons 'Value' versus Tesco 'Value' summary values quotes previously?

Carbohydrates and Fat - the two 'Value' Muesli are comparable.

Slightly more Protein in Morrisons

Bit less Fibre in Morrisons

Can I make my own Muesli for £1 a Kilogram?

£2->£4 per Kilogram is a more realistic figure.

If you happen to live right near a supplier of staple goods, and have no transportation costs to consider, then you might just be able to hit £1 per kilogram.

Supermarkets are really making no money at selling Muesli for £1 per Kilogram.
My feeling is that it is a 'loss leader' intended to tempt you into the supermarket, rather than being a profitable line.

At the top end of the market is £10 per kg "Ultimate" organic muesli

Soak Muesli - Surely you can just eat it right after adding milk?

Soaking Muesli helps break down the phytates in the fibre.

Unsoaked Muesli (phytates intact) might prevent the absorption of Iron and other minerals by your system.

If you don't like the idea of adding milk then waiting 30 minutes, then instead perhaps fortify your Muesli with iron rich additions such as:
  • Chopped Almonds
  • Dates
  • Prunes
  • Pumpkin
  • Raisins
  • Wheat Bran
  • Sesame Seeds
Having a Muesli made of Wholegrain Oats and Wholegrain Wheatflakes is higher in Iron, but higher in Phytates also, so do soak if you can.

Phytates are an anti-nutrient, and by soaking you are helping to stop those compounds from binding to your nutrients, thus allowing your body to gain the nutrients as intended.

Notes and Further Reading:

Most Health Foods stores and Supermarkets offer a 'Luxury' or 'Premium' muesli, and some are very good.

The more pricier offerings, are probably little different to your 3* or 4* hotel variety, once you add some premium fresh / unpreserved fruit, seed, nuts to brighten further :)

Waitrose Muesli takes an interesting approach with main ingredients being Barley Flakes (12%) and Rye Flakes (8%) and Spelt Flakes (8%)
*Buying for a commune or social housing project, you might be able to justify a 25kg pack of Wheatflakes, however a single person might take 20 -> 50 weeks to eat there way through that pack!

Ingredient amounts in cups / mugs - some examples to help with conversion to grams:

Cup of Oats is 70 grams
Mug of Oats is 100 grams 

Cup of Morrisons 'Value' Muesli is 90 grams
Mug of Morrisons 'Value' Muesli is 130 grams

For dry cereals you can approximate using Mug = 1.45 Cups

All figures above are approximate. Use your own cup and scales for exact figures.

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