The muesli myth: Scourge of vegetarians everywhere

Even after I knew better, I would periodically drag my husband into the health food store. And whenever my husband would spot a skinny vegetarian hurrying post haste through the store, he would stage-whisper they had much too much muesli for breakfast and were desperate for the bathroom, then raise an eyebrow and giggle most wickedly into my ear.

I am married to an evil, evil man. Accurate, mind you. But evil nonetheless.

The muesli myth
Everyone seems to believe that if they become a vegetarian, they will have to live on muesli. The reality is, you can live your entire life without every saying, let alone eating, the stuff.

But you might want to try it. It's good for you.

So what is muesli?
Muesli is a cereal consisting of everything from wheat flakes and whole oats to nuts and fruits. All those whole grains means it is high in fiber and, as we all know, fiber is God’s little scrub brush.

In other words, just enough and you go with ease. Too much, and desperation sets in and you very well could go scurrying across the health food store, cheeks clenched, legs scissoring wildly, in a desperate search for the nearest bathroom.

Where do you get muesli?
You can make your own with easy-to-find ingredients at your health food store (just hit the bulk bins and fill 'er up). Or you can buy it premade; your health food store should carry a few different brands for you to try.
Food recipe: Muesli
If you decide to make your own, here is a recipe from Martha Stewart Living. You certainly don't need to follow this exactly - I never do - but it is a good starting point from which you can improvise to suit your tastes.

5 cups rolled oats (1 pound)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried apple slices

Heat oven to 375°. Mix oats with cinnamon, spread on a baking sheet, and toast for 15 minutes.

Toast hazelnuts until skins loosen, about 10 minutes. Rub off skins, and chop coarsely. Toast almonds for about 4 minutes.

Combine all ingredients, toss, and store in an airtight jar. It will keep for several weeks.
So what do you do with muesli?
The most common way to enjoy it is as a breakfast cereal, with milk, if you eat dairy. Put less in your bowl than you think - you don’t need much to fill up.

You can also add it to your yogurt, for example, for a little crunch. Or eat it dry as an afternoon pick-me-up. Or you can add it to your muffin or cookie batter.
Two warnings about the evils of muesli and two reassurances
Warning 1: High in nuts means this can be high in calories. Check the label. Eat sparingly.

Warning 2: Heed the previous “Eat Sparingly” or the next time you are rushing through the health food store, desperate for the bathroom, you may just hear my husband, most rudely noting your haste.

Reassurance 1: You never have to eat muesli if you don’t want to. It’s not like we’ll refuse to give you the almost vegetarian badge, or something.

Reassurance 2: If you do over indulge before your trip to the health food store, odds are very good you are in a different city from my husband. So I would not worry about any terribly rude comments. Well, not from him, anyway. I can’t speak to other husbands.