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The Ancestor Of Modern Breakfast

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The Ancestor Of Modern Breakfast

What do you normally eat at breakfast? Toast, fruit, yogurt and nuts. Usually the type of food varies from country to country. But there some similarities. For instance, wheat products such as bread, raw fruits and milk or milk products. These contain a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and water.

Where did this combination come from? It all started during the early 1900s by Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss physician and nutritionist, who reasoned that improved diet could help in curing tuberculosis. He used a combination of raw foods. A diet of raw foods, known as raw foodism or raw veganism, started in the 1800s the supporters of which believe has more benefits than cooked food such as weight loss.

Maximilian was studying medicine at the University of Zurich, where he decided to experiment on himself after falling ill with jaundice. He made porridge like concoction consisting of raw apples, nuts and oats mixed with water, lemon juice and condensed milk. He named this concoction Bircher muesli.

The original recipe consisted of:

– Two or three small apples or one large apple, whole.

– One tablespoon of nuts, either walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.

– One tablespoon rolled oats, previously soaked in three tablespoons of water for twelve hours.

– Lemon juice from half a lemon.

– One table spoon of either cream and honey or condensed milk.

The reason why raw foods were used was because they contain essential nutrients which can be destroyed by cooking. However, this does not condemn cooking food. Cooking can increase other nutrients, destroy harmful compounds and kill bacteria.

This diet became successful, making Switzerland the pioneer of modern breakfast. On that note, Maximilian opened Lebendige Kraft, a health sanatorium at the foothills of Zürichberg, the city’s east-facing mountain. The sanatorium was located near the Zurich’s five-star hotel Dolder Grand Hotel. The combination of the fresh mountain air and Bircher muesli, attracted people from far and wide.

It is preferable to serve this before any other dish. Nowadays, various toppings especially fruits such as raspberries and coconut are added to give a fruity flavour and more nutrients. It is so simple that anyone can easily make this meal and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, thanks to a Swiss doctor.


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Garima is from India and lives in Nigeria. She studied Biomedical Science from London and has been teaching science. She loves crocheting, cooking and teaching.

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