Erb Muesli, an exceptionally healthy breakfast, is a stark contrast to Swiss Bircher Muesli. It is vegan and contains more healthy ingredients.
In 1978, I was diagnosed as having a virtually incurable cancer and was given an average statistical life expectancy of only two and a half years.
This diagnosis was made by a prospective cohort study led by professor Karl Lennert, who was working on lymphoma research in Kiel at the time. He sent the results to me personally. Today, this type of cancer is called mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
As a rare B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it was called centrocytic lymphoma at the time and had a poor prognosis. Two separate tissue samples, taken two weeks apart and examined in four institutions, confirmed beyond doubt that I had this disease.
Given the short life expectancy (even with the best treatment), I refused the recommended treatment completely. After I had thoroughly studied the course of the disease and chances for a cure, I decided to take my own path and work to fight the disease. Today, a bone marrow or stem cell transplantation can in rare cases save a person’s life.
I asked myself why lifestyle diseases were occurring more often and earlier in life, especially cancer. The answers to these questions would be too extensive for this article. However, you can find more scientifically based articles on the topic on the diet-health.info website.
Fortunately, I had the type of thrombocytopenia (too few thrombocytes or platelets) that occurs in only one-sixth of patients, which allowed me to monitor the disease by performing a simple blood test. I was diagnosed with stage 3a cancer (cancer staging by Professor G. Martz, University Hospital Zurich).
The main problem was that I liked bread so much. I had to find a good alternative.
I was on a strict 100 % vegan raw food diet for seven years. And for more than half of that time, I lived in Tenerife, where I developed the organic cultivation of bananas and in the 1980s exported these bananas to Germany (via Schwarzbrot, a wholesaler in Hamburg). By June 1979, my platelet count was down to 102'000. After that, it plummeted to 72'000 and then gradually returned to the normal range.
I want to emphasize that I do not recommend what I went through with cancer to anybody!
The internationally acclaimed book The China Study, written by the highly renowned professor T. Colin Campbell (United States), documented a large-scale study and finally provided proof that this way of life effectively protects against diseases. See the book review book here. Even more important is a review of a book written about the dangers of milk and dairy products.
This is not Erb Muesli. It includes cottage cheese and store-bought rolled oats, both of which are poor choices and completely unnecessary.
In contrast, Erb Muesli contains several types of freshly ground seeds.
The fruit juice is freshly squeezed using a citrus fruit juicer, and the pulp is also mixed in.
This way, the carbohydrates enter the bloodstream gradually, and you don’t experience food cravings.
Bircher Muesli is very popular in Europe, but it contains milk as a main ingredient and was therefore out of the question for me.
My first muesli was actually based on about 4 tablespoons (35 g) of grains that were sprouted for only 24 hours, along with some freshly mashed or ground seeds.
I do not use wheat or rye though as they contain too much gluten. However, sproutable grains or seeds are not readily available everywhere and not everyone wants the extra work (using a Biosnacky seed sprouter). If this is the case, use version 2.
Two items are required:
1) A manual or electric citrus juicer. Cut a citrus fruit in half and then rotate it back and forth with a twisting motion. I recommend using an electric citrus juicer, which performs the rotations (left and right) automatically.
Lemon squeezers should never be used since juice that doesn’t contain any pulp causes the fructose to enter the bloodstream too quickly.
2) Grain mill, for example, Dr. Schnitzer’s stone flaker/roller, but here again I would recommend an electric grain mill such as Komo FlocMan.
© CC-by-sa 2.0, Ernst Erb, Bio-Finca SA
Dried bananas can be produced using the solar energy generated by warm water in a second circuit that is controlled by temperature.
In the article First Organic Bananas from Tenerife, the 20 Banana Letters, you can read more about how we established and operated our organic banana production in Tenerife.
With dried fruits, it is very important that they are dried at a constant temperature of a maximum of 107.5°F (42°C).
I actually took samples with me back to Switzerland and ate them 20 years later. If stored properly, dried bananas like these still taste delicious years later.
This was also the case with honey we produced; the water content is very crucial since with too little the honey crystalizes quickly and with too much it begins to ferment.
Translation of text on poster:
Bananas from an organic farm on the Canary Islands
Contents: 2½ cups (200 g) dried bananas. Produced from more than 2 pounds (1 kg) of fresh, ripe bananas.
Production: Bio-Finca – E. Erb – St. Ursula, Tenerife. Import: Schwarzbrot Naturspeisewaren, Hamburg
Note: I had to close down the production, and the company Schwarzbrot in Hamburg no longer exists.
We keep our grain mix in a large jar. Then it is ready to use. The mix usually contains about 50 % of one main grain, usually oats, and then, for example, 10 % each of barley, spelt, sesame seeds, and (important) flaxseed. I usually add some millet, quinoa, and buckwheat.
You can also use barley, spelt, or rye as the main grain, but the oats taste particularly delicious.
Why freshly rolled? The rolled oats that you purchase at the store have actually been heated and are not raw. They are heated in order to get rid of bacteria and fungi that would otherwise transform the dead grain back into food for plants (mineralization). See further explanations below. Sproutable (live) grains prevent this process of decomposition and, if properly stored, can last for centuries.
Depending on the season, you can add your favorite fruits, such as berries, pineapple, and a few grapes (not too many because of the glucose).
You can add also enhance the muesli by adding spices, but do not use more than one at a time. Instead, use a different spice every day, for example, cinnamon, vanilla, star anise, or freshly grated ginger.
If you are not following a strict raw food diet, you can also add a tablespoon of cranberry or rosehip jam or agave nectar.
This muesli can actually keep you feeling full for the whole day since the nutrients are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream — much unlike unhealthy pasta or white bread. This is because of the large amount of fiber it contains. This reduces or eliminates food cravings.
But if you want to gain weight, you can add chopped dried dates or nuts (botanical nuts) or dried grapes (raisins, sultanas, currants). Almonds are also very healthy (rich in iron), but we usually eat them separately.
We also have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Voilà! I don’t recommend store-bought orange juice as the sugar it contains is no longer enveloped by cells and therefore quickly enters the bloodstream.
We naturally don’t drink coffee or black tea — and don’t smoke either. You feel so good about life and have more energy and “power” (fit not fat) with this diet that you really won’t mind cutting out other more unhealthy foods.
Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick has conducted over 100 studies and concluded that just three to four servings of fruits and vegetables daily lifts a person’s mood more than if there income were doubled. There are major differences between food, health food, and junk food (e.g., fructose syrup).
For the last several decades, we have been calling certain foods such as pasta (including pizza) and bread carbohydrates.
This is counterproductive because people now believe that they should omit anything that contains carbohydrates if they want to lose weight.
But this warning should apply only to products that are high in calories and contain few nutrients (e.g., vitamins) and in which the carbohydrates are “laid bare.” These include, for example, soft drinks and industrially produced fruit juices.
Where do you get the carbohydrates from if you don’t eat pasta or bread?No joke!
Carbohydrates are absolutely essential for your health, but they should be contained in natural cells, that is in fiber.
Carbohydrates are central as physiological energy carriers, but also play an important role in biological signaling and recognition processes. An experienced doctor would caution you about the popular low-carb diets.
Scientific facts remain disputed as the food industry is very interested in selling as many fat-containing products as possible, which usually also contain too much salt, sugar, and fat. They also have the money to fund studies.
See also the movie Forks over Knives by Lee Fulkerson.
Gluten is a problem for some people. The grains usually used in breads, such as wheat (link is slanted toward the industry) and rye, have been bred to contain more gluten so that it is easier to make industrially-produced bread. And people are eating more pasta and bread than ever.
These are two reasons why an increasing number of people are suffering from celiac disease (celiac sprue), gluten sensitivity, asymptomatic celiac disease, and dermatitis herpetiformis. In addition, many people experience “ordinary” allergic reactions.
This is representative of the differing opinions experts have about gluten. But since you only find out too late if gluten is harmful, we have been using only gluten-free grains and pseudograins for some time now to make our Erb Muesli.
Rice, wild rice, and corn don’t work well for this muesli.
The following are suitable grains: millet (sorghum, especially sorghum and sorghum bicolor), and quinoa. These should be sprouted for 24 hours. I like to use tricolor quinoa.
We grind the flaxseed (the absolute richest source of omega-3 fatty acids), sesame seeds, and buckwheat in an electric coffee grinder.
Amaranth (Amaranthus, foxtail amaranth, amaranthus caudatus, and Kiwicha) and teff are very small but valuable. Teff is from Ethiopia and is rich in essential fatty acids. Seeds from white goosefoot (chenopodium album) are also a good option, something you might find out if you spend time in India.
Oats (common oat, Avena sativa) may contain traces of gluten if processed with the same machines that are used for wheat or rye, but this is only a problem for people who suffer from celiac disease. People who have celiac disease should eat GF Oats, which are guaranteed to be gluten-free. However, some people with celiac disease also react to the avenin in oats (oat sensitivity). This is a glutelin like the oryzenin in rice, the zeanin in corn, or the hordenine in barley.
If you don’t feel you get enough variety by using different types of fruit, oats can provide a nice change of pace. See also the section above in this article on spices. Rice, corn, soy, chickpeas, and chestnuts are also naturally gluten-free as are millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and teff.
However, wheat (glutelin), rye, barley, spelt, green spelt, emmer, triticale, Einkorn wheat, and kamut contain gluten.
Oats, as such, are certainly to be recommended.
The following quote is from the German Wikipedia entry on rolled oats (
Rolled oats are a staple food made from oat groats. They contain a high percentage of carbohydrates (about 70%) and protein (about 15%) as well as high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, soluble fiber (about 10 g/100 g), glucans (such as the mucilage lichenin), vitamins B1, B6, and E, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The beta glucan present in oats can lower cholesterol and has positive effects on blood sugar levels.
However, store-bought rolled oats have been processed and treated in many ways, for example, to ensure that they have a longer shelf life. And they are not raw.
After cleaning, the raw grains are first treated with steam for several hours and then dry heat (kiln). This treatment is the reason that rolled oats have their typical nutty flavor. The heat treatment also weakens the activity of certain enzymes (lipases), which would otherwise cause a rancid, bitter taste later during storage. The husks loosen in the course of the drying process and can easily be separated in a drum peeler or centrifugal peeler (formerly between grinding stones). After the husks have been removed, the peeled oat grains are sorted on a paddy table. The husked oat grains then go to a groat cutter, where they are chopped. The rolled oats get their final shape on a flaking machine, where the oat kernels are flattened under extreme pressure between two smooth rollers.
I personally don’t agree with the idea that the nutty flavor develops during the steam and heat treatment process and that it wouldn’t already be present in freshly crushed grains.
The German Wikipedia entry does not explain how the oats are lightly toasted after being flaked, as is described in the English entry on rolled oats: "Rolled oats are traditionally oat groats that have been de-husked, steamed and then rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers before being stabilized by being lightly toasted. ... Rolled oats that are sold as oatmeal usually have had the tough bran removed, but not always. They have often, but not always, been lightly baked, pressure-cooked or ‘processed’ in some fashion."
© CC-by 2.0, Ernst Erb
Left: an electric citrus juicer to make freshly squeezed orange juice in just minutes — the juice contains the pulp.
Right: a Biosnacky, a small tool for sprouting seeds that works especially well with grains. But there are many products and methods for sprouting.
The ingredients for the muesli should only be sprouted for 24 hours. If you forget to start a new batch, 12 hours is long enough for oats.
Emotional pain like I suffered can also make a person susceptible to cancer, but it often manifests only many years later.
I experienced this situation for the second time in 1997; in both cases, the result was cancer.
In 1985, after seven years on a strict vegan raw food diet, I got to know a woman at my farm in Tenerife and wanted to spend my life with her. But she smoked heavily and I told her that living together would therefore be out of the question. She then gave up smoking completely, but wanted to cook for me. I agreed to this compromise. Our two children were born in 1987 and 1988. We wanted to move to Australia, but unfortunately she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990.
When there was evidence of metastases, she only half-heartedly tried to switch over to a raw food diet. We lived in Rigi-Kaltbad (resort in the Swiss Alps) at the time. However, she still wanted her daily cup of coffee, and coffee is a product that typically contains Maillard molecules. See also the Wikipedia entry on advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
AGEs are substances that influence the development or exacerbate many degenerative disorders, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, chronic renal insufficiency, and Alzheimer’s disease.
These harmful compounds can affect almost every type of cell and molecule in the body, and it is believed that they are a factor in aging and in a number of age-related chronic diseases.
Smokers are especially affected by this and roasted products such as coffee are full of them, as are fried and baked products.
In 1997, Margot fell in love with her coffee partner and left us. However, she soon found out that her partner was living with another woman and when given the choice, he chose to end the relationship with Margot. Shortly thereafter, the cancer spread quickly, and Margot died in our home in 1999. Organization Exit (Swiss association that assists people who have terminal illnesses) provided us with assistance during this time.
At that time, Kathrin (my current wife) and I had established a blended family (stepfamily). Her children had also lost their father.
© CC-by-sa 2.0, Ernst Erb
Kathrin and I in 2000. This photo was enlarged from a photo that was too small (blown up from 282 to 933 pixels).
The time that we lived together as a blended family was difficult as our children were traumatized.
This sad experience affected me to such an extent emotionally that I developed problems with my prostate. On November 23, 2000, I had a PSA (prostate specific antigen) of 18.4 and free PSA of 0.79, in other words a free to total PSA ratio of 0.04! After it was established that bacteria were not the cause, the urologist recommended that I have my entire prostate removed (prostatectomy). A later examination showed that I also had bladder cancer (urothelial papilloma).
I am no longer as strict as I was during this time that I feared death, and we therefore now occasionally have some cooked food when we eat out. As far as the course of this illness is concerned, you could really say “It’s a miracle,” but I would not recommend the path I took to anyone!
© CC-by-sa 2.0, Ernst Erb
Our typical lunch is a vegetable salad — but we make sure to vary the ingredients and flavors.
The salad shown contains avocado, leek, fennel, chicory, yellow bell pepper, some raisins, and apple cider vinegar.
I wanted to share my story with you to show how emotional pain and suffering can also lead to serious diseases. I have tried to make the best of it, and in 1999 I started a website for radio collectors. The portal is now the world’s largest and most used of its kind and shows more than 250'000 different radio models.
At the end of 2013, I started work on this website (diet-health.info); my aim is to provide people with scientifically-based information about a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to do this as a way of showing my appreciation that I have been able to go in a positive direction despite the fact that I was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease in 1978 and also have had a number of other problems in my life.