Dr Bircher

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier. Welcome to Tamara Hoerner who is now Following.

The 1800s saw many changes in the world and the way people viewed commonly-held beliefs. There were revivals in religion, leading to the start of many new sects. There were new discoveries in medicine regarding germ theory and vaccines. And there were new ways of eating. On one hand, processed foods were developed, while on the other hand, people flocked to sanatoriums and health spas to change their diets. One such spa was the Vital Force Sanitarium, run by Maximilian Oscar Bircher. [The name acquired a hyphen when he married Elizabeth Benner.] Bircher was a trained medical doctor who became increasingly interested in nutrition as a tool for making people well. A bout of jaundice convinced him that eating raw apples promoted health. From there, he developed the idea that fruits, nuts, and vegetables derived and stored significant ‘vital force’ from the sun — a force that was weakened when foods were cooked. Bircher gave up meat, claiming that, being dead, it introduced decay into the body. Bircher’s sanitarium was wildly successful. Patients were evaluated by the staff, then followed an individualized program of diet [raw food at every meal, preceded by a mixture of soaked oats and grated apples invented by his sisters]; exercise [working in the spa’s vegetable gardens]; hydrotherapy [cold baths and showers]; and brisk walks in the sunshine. The spartan routine of early-to-bed-early-to-rise, the rigor of the therapies, and the absence of alcohol, coffee, sweets, and processed food lead Thomas Mann to call it a ‘health jail.’ But it proved the theory that the harder people have to work to achieve a goal, the more they embrace it. Medical professionals scoffed at Bircher’s views of nutrition, but his idea that it was healthy to eat lots of fruits and vegetables was verified in the 1930s with the discovery of the importance of vitamins and minerals. The spa outlived Bircher’s death in 1939, but closed decades later. Today in Braunwald, one finds the Centre for Scientific Natural Medicine where ‘the tonic and balancing result of the water, the sun, the light, cold and warmth, as well as physical exercise, revive therapeutic properties in the patient; they help sustain the enlivening effect of the diet.’ They purport to treat an array of illnesses but I don’t know if they serve muesli.

For breakfast, Dr Bircher’s famous muesli, of course. Although Bircher called it d’Spys, people began to call it ‘muesli’ meaning ‘little mush’. Sounds better in German. For dinner, a meal heavy on the vegetables. Dr Bircher would have preferred that the vegetables would be raw, but a light steaming won’t hurt.

re Muesli: the following recipe is almost identical to Bircher’s own — I reduced the apple amount and added the blueberries. Modern-day muesli was first packaged in the 1950s. Today it is conceived as a mixture of overnight-oats, honey, lots of seeds, yoghurt, dried fruit, and nuts, packing tons of sugar and fat and calories. Dr Bircher would not approve.

Muesli: 211 calories 7.4 g fat 5.5 g fiber 7.5 g protein 33.5 g carbs 117.6 mg Calcium  PB GF – if oats are truly GF  This is a smaller, leaner portion of the original recipe of the Bircher-Benner muesli. It is truly a delicious and satisfying way to start the day.

1 serving
2 Tbsp rolled oats
4 Tbsp whole milk
In a cereal bowl, mix oats and milk, cover, and refrigerate overnight to soften the oats.
5 oz apple, with skin on
2 tsp lemon juice
Grate apple, mix with lemon juice. HINT: do this the night before. Next, morning, add to the oat mixture, stir to combine.
5 raw hazelnuts, or almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp blueberries
Sprinkle with nuts and berries, and serve.
Herbal tea, no sweetener, no milk Serve with herbal tea of your choice.

Antipasto with Tuna: 282 calories 10.6 g fat 9 g fiber 20 g protein 24 g carbs 250 mg Calcium  PB GF  This one is a keeper: simple, off the shelf, pretty on the plate, good to eat. The photo shows enough for 2 people. Invite a guest who is Fasting, too.

2 oz roasted red pepper, without oil [roast your own, slice and freeze them] 2 oz mozzerella, cut into ‘sticks’ 3 oz tuna, packed in water, drained and broken into large chunks 5 oz tomato slices 3 oz whole green beans, steamed, 1½ oz marinated mushrooms 1/3 c. garbanzo beans, drained if canned 4 black olives, pitted and sliced 3 slices pepperoni, chopped 1 tsp flavored oil flavoured salt chopped fresh herbs

Prepare the ingredients and keep separate. On a platter, arrange the ingredients in rows as shown in the photo. Suit your own artistic nature as to what goes where. Be liberal with the fresh herbs.

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