Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Muesli - eating it wrong and minerals

Is it possible to eat Muesli in a wrong way? YES

Before explaining why (see last paragraph) it is worth providing a bit of background.

Above is the ingredients for a supermarket muesli / granola

Most supermarkets do an own brand version and all will contain oats.

Now to get to the point: GRAINS NEED SOAKING

Mineral absorption and grain misuse:

This could turn into a comedy article about 'grain abusers', but there is a serious side it :)

Vegetarians learn through chatting to others, and reading vegetarian eating guides, that not all plant derived food is good for immediate consumption.

Some require careful preparation or SOAKING.

How long should I soak Muesli for before eating?
Choose ten / twenty / thirty minutes depending on your hurry.

Even soaking in milk for ten minutes, will have given the fibre rich grains a chance to start breaking down.

Morning routine for ideal 30 minutes soaking:

  • Up and into kitchen
  • Whilst putting the kettle / toaster on, put your muesli in the bowl and add milk
  • Shower / wash / prepare as usual
  • Eat your Muesli before leaving for the commute.

What happens if I don't soak grains:

Eating unsoaked grains regularly, may have a small effect on your ability to absorb minerals - specifically calcium, copper, iron, and zinc.

Is it better to eat wholegrain or rolled grains?

If you are really worried about phytic acid, or an adverse affect on your mineral consumption, then I would suggest making your own muesli with rolled oats and some wholegrains.

Also try and soak for the full 30 minutes rather than the 'busy person' 10 minutes suggested above.

By using rolled oats but including some additional wholegrains, you are making the breaking down process a bit easier, but still keeping some of the wholegrain goodness.

Scare stories, 'the breakfast industry', and taking things to far:

The breakfast industry - think expensive sugary cereals, will jump on scientific articles that hint at natural products having some adverse effect. Do your own objective reading.

Taking things too far. As with all things in life apply common sense to what you read.

I could soak my Muesli at 5pm the night before, or set up a grain soaking facility in my shed. Neither of these things will I do, as my choice is to make some effort, but weigh up how Muesli can fit sensibly into my lifestyle.

In the true spirit of critical thinking I include a few links to articles by others, who may have different opinions / suggestions, or advocate even more rigor in preparation:

The 'own brand' Muesli (Sainsbury) - additional notes:

That ingredients breakdown at the start of the article is for Sainsbury's own.

Adding together to get the often quoted figure we do 38+37+11 gives the advertising headline "86% wholegrain" for that Sainsbury's muesli.

Where is the missing 8%? So we have 86% + 5% + 1% which gives 92%. I'm guessing that whey makes up a good portion of the missing 8%.

Does seem an oversight to bother mentioning Hazelnuts at 1% but to forget to itemise, some of the larger quantities in the mystery 8%.

Nutritional breakdown:

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