I’ve been here in Thailand for about 42 months. As you may know, Asians don’t eat like us in the west. It’s really different and a bit tough getting used to, but once you’re here for a while eating hot spicy pork noodle soup or sliced chicken breast over rice with some ginger/garlic sauce in the morning this will seem like normal operating procedure. At this point to me it even seems natural.
Occasionally though I get these wicked cravings for oats, wheat germ, peanut butter and other protein rich, grainy foods. I guess I’m lacking protein in my diet – or maybe types of amino acids or something because my protein intake is primarily pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Occasionally, say twice a week, I’ll have chicken.
Twice I’ve bought overpriced Mueslix and some Muesli from Switzerland in a western type store, but it’s more expensive than it would be in the USA – and that’s usually a no-brainer. I avoid anything more expensive here than the USA.
I decided yesterday that I was going to create a breakfast I really love and save some cash. I started having this breakfast in Hawaii after a friend from Sweden made us some muesli with fresh fruit for breakfast before we went on a killer mountain bike ride through the mountains. Christian is living the dream doing Hawaii appraisal on Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Kauai! The trail was a walking trail that was even tough to walk on during some points. I fell off my bike 3 times and that was being VERY careful! Roots would stick in my crank, path would drop away down the hill as I rode over it… a series of stones bounced me right off my seat and sideways off my bike.
Anyway, let me get on to talking about the breakfast of champions… Muesli!
My friend whipped us up a batch of muesli with sliced banana, some plain yogurt, and some papaya if I’m remembering correctly. Papaya is everywhere on Oahu and it was either that or mango. No matter – any fruit you like will do. I’ve had it with pineapple, mango, oranges, apples, rambutan, longan, grapes, raisins, and 15 other fruits.
I went to the “Makro” grocery store in Thailand which is their version of “Costco” and I bought 3 things to create my muesli masterpiece, my “Breakfast of Champions!”.
The first was a bag of, guess… MUESLI! It was “Tilo’s” brand muesli from Belgium. Their email is: firstname.lastname@example.org so you can write to see where they distribute this stuff maybe near you. If you’re in Colorado, some parts of California, Maui or Canada I think you should be able to find things like this pretty easily. The date on the bag shows it good for 6 months from the time I bought it. Perhaps it lasts a year or more. That’s plenty long to ship to America from Belgium. I’ll bet someone has it imported. The ingredients on this bag were, in order: Wheat flakes, oat flakes, barley flakes, raisins, hazelnut pieces, sunflower kernels, sesame seeds. In 100g there are 11g of protein, 61g of carbs and 4g of fat. I bought a 1000g bag for 80 baht which is almost $3 USD.
Second item was a box of “Hahne” PREMIUM Muesli from Germany! This one is High quality muesli with 40% dried fruit content. I bought 375g for 90 baht (3 dollars). The ingredients are: Dried fruit (sultanas, banana chips, coconut oil, sugar, honey, flavors), pieces of apricot, plum peaches, appples, dates, figs, pears, strawberry, raspberry, whole wheat flakes, whole oat flakes, cornflakes, whole rye flakes, apricot and maracuja fruit powders. 100g gives 7.8g protein, 63.5g carbs, 5.4g fat.
Adding a certain amount of dried fruit like in this premium muesli is pretty key as you’ll need something to be sparking your saliva glands to keep working so you can easily swallow a bowl of this. Grains are very dry stuff even with cow or soy milk – and this mixture had little sugar. If you add sugar or honey to yours instead of fresh or dried fruits – easier to swallow!
The next item I bought tells something about my American background. Unfortunately Kellogg’s company has had an ongoing advertising blitz since the early 1970’s (or before) in which they crammed into our heads that we need CORN FLAKES to better our odds at longterm survival! Apparently that’s still in my subconscious because when I saw the bag of Hahne cornflakes for 60 baht (2 dollars) I grabbed it without thinking. Damn I hate advertising campaigns. You could probably do without this item but it does add some bulk and is low fat! Ingredients are: corn, sugar, cooking salt, barley malt extract. In 100g protein was 7.3g, carbs 82.4g and fat at 1.2g. Vitamin information not listed. Maybe there isn’t any!
Now, I needed something to wash it down with (mix with it) so I bought 12 boxes of my favorite vegetarian soy milk mixture, Lactasoy, from a smaller grocery. 100 baht for 12 boxes of 300ml capacity. Ingredients: water, soybean, sugar, vegetable fat, vitamins and minerals. It has no cholesterol and one 300ml box of it breaks down as: protein 8g, carbs 23g, and 8g of fat. The vitamin content is pretty impressive… Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin E all at 30% of Thai RDA. Vitamin B1 is at 25%. Vitamin B2, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6 all at 20% Thai RDA. I drink this stuff like water – even mixing it with my instant coffee (at room temperature, if hot – the soy milk clumps up and goes bad.) If you’ve heard bad things about soy milk please don’t write me, I’m happy in my ignorance at the moment and I have a hell of a lot of it to drink. 🙂
Total spent: 330 baht. That’s about $10 USD.
As I mixed them all together and stored it in a 6 liter plastic water container I counted out 42 scoops of muesli cereal. Then I grabbed 2.5 scoops and put it in the bowl for the first taste. So – this mixture will last about 14 days I’m guessing. Sometimes I’ll eat more than I did this morning. For somewhere around 70 cents I can have an amazing breakfast with lots of nutritious grains and probably the whole spectrum of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Just in case I’m missing anything I have a daily multivitamin that covers most things. The pharmacy sells them for 1 baht each (about 3 cents), buy as many as you like.
So – that’s my Breakfast of Champions! Yes, there’s some fat in it – I think you can’t go through life without it – so why try? If you’re exercising daily – at least walking 2 miles you can afford to eat 10-20% fat in your diet. For your health you need to eat 5 or 10%.
As a side benefit to eating all these delicious grains I noticed an immediate stirring in an area below the stomach just 30 minutes after finishing my first bowl. Oh, this truly is – THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS!