Everybody do diets. Even if it’s only for one day or one meal, we try diets. And all of us know the feeling:
I should eat healthier.
It makes you wonder though, why we keep on eating unhealthy crap even we want to be healthy?
The healthism is more popular than ever. Food has become more and more about nutrition. Even my mother talks about proteins and carbs, instead of talking about meat and bread. But it’s not a new thing, healthism in food culture.
A Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner (1867-1939) was interested about eating yourself healthy. And he had an idea: the more both healthy and ill people would eat raw food the more their state of health would be stabilized.
People started to call him a Rohkostapostel, an apostle of raw food. He wasn’t taken seriously in academic world. But with time, he became popular. He opened a sanatorium, where he people were served vegetarian and uncooked food. It was a hit. Celebrities and wealthy people stayed there, he became a celebrity.
Bircher-Benner’s dietary idea was that raw food contained a high level of energy taken from solar light. This energy was lost by cooking or having been digested by animals. For this ideology, grated apple was perfect. Tasty and healthy. And this is how his name dish was born. In the beginning of every meal, he served an apple dietary dish: A grated apple that was mixed with some oat flakes and sweetened condensed milk (that was very popular in Switzerland at that time).
As the Bircher-Benner’s sanatorium became such a popular place and his health movement was quite a success, this dish Bircher Müsli (Little mush of Bircher) spread around the world. And nowadays you can find so many variations of the dish.
But here is the original recipe. It’s perky and refreshing. Yes, you can taste the solar energy.
1 tbsp rolled oats (soaked 12 hours in 3 tbsp of cold water)
1 large grated apple (with the skin)
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp ground hazelnuts or almonds
Mix in all together and serve. If you have forgotten to but the oats to soak on a night before, in one hour it’ll be just as good.
Recipe and story adapted: The University of Zurich, ZORA (Zurich Open Repository and Archive).