An easy healthy toasted muesli recipe with nuts and dried fruit that is gluten-free and vegan, plus a review of the evidence for a2 Milk® versus traditional milk.
After our most recent international trip, we officially made the switch from granola to muesli. The difference between granola and muesli is that muesli is typically uncooked. So basically before I even get started I’m already breaking the rules. That being said, this toasted muesli is basically lightened-up granola. It has way less sweetener than our usual granola recipes and no added fat. It’s also looser than granola, without the clumps and clusters. So even though it’s technically not muesli at all, it’s a definite switch from how we usually make granola AND it tastes amazing. You aren’t sacrificing anything taste-wise by cutting down the fat and sweeteners in granola.
Maybe I should have stuck with skinny low-fat gluten-free vegan granola? I just feel like that would have done such a disservice to how awesome this recipe tastes.
I can’t imagine eating muesli without milk! I’ve had a couple of patients ask me about a2 Milk® recently. Traditional milk has two types of protein in it: A1 and A2. There is evidence that A1 protein breaks down into a specific byproduct that causes many of the symptoms of lactose intolerance, like bloating and gas. a2 Milk® comes from cows that don’t produce the A2 protein.
I thought I would pick some up some a2 Milk® at my local grocery store and try it for myself. I wanted to make sure they weren’t giving up the great taste of milk by making the change. I had a2 Milk® in my cereal and a glass of a2 Milk® on the side, and it tasted exactly like traditional milk. That’s probably because it is milk. It comes from cows and doesn’t go through any fancy chemical processes to change the proteins. It’s just milk. The difference is it’s from cows that are specially selected because they only produce the A2 protein.
Review of the Scientific Evidence for a2 Milk®
Because I’m a pediatrician, and this is something that could help my patients, I wanted to take a look at the scientific data backing up a2 Milk®. There are several studies and scientific papers looking at the effects of A2 protein. I’ll try to summarize what I learned here, in a way that is simple and easy to digest (pun intended!). A Chinese randomized controlled trial looked at both the participant-reported symptoms as well as laboratory markers of intestinal inflammation between people who drank traditional milk with both A1 and A2 ?-casein compared with A2 only ?-casein. Lactose intolerance, in general, is higher in Asian populations, so it makes sense that the study was conducted in China. The study was small, but the randomized, double-blind format of the study is the best design to cut bias and placebo effects on results.
What the study found was participants who consumed A2-only milk had less bloating, flatulence (gas), and borborygmus (an awesome science word for the rumbling and gurgling the intestines make). A2-only milk drinkers also had less stomach and intestinal inflammation on lab tests. When looking at just participants with laboratory-confirmed lactose intolerance (not just symptoms from consuming dairy), these results were still true! If you’re interested, the entire paper is available for free here. It’s important to note that The a2 Milk Company funded this study. It was published in a large, peer-reviewed journal in a way that minimized bias, which makes me feel like the results are valid even with industry support.
Another small trial conducted in Western Australia looked at symptoms of milk intolerance in patients who drank either 3 cups of A1 and A2 ?-casein compared with A2 only ?-casein milk. Halfway through the study, the groups switched and drank the other type of milk. Participants had more symptoms of bloating and abdominal pain, as well as loose stools when drinking A1 milk, even if they didn’t report being milk intolerant at the beginning of the study! Participants also had higher levels of stool inflammation when drinking A1 milk. This study was very small, with only 36 participants. Because of this, the results were not statistically significant, but instead only showed a trend. Two of the study authors receive consulting fees from The a2 Milk Company. You can read the full study here.
Another small study looked at the effect of drinking A2 milk on glutathione levels, which is an antioxidant. It’s thought to be protective against cancer and important for immune function. The study was also a randomized trial and participants drank 2 cups of either conventional milk containing both A1 and A2 types of ?-casein, or milk containing only A2 type ?-casein. Then they switched. This study found that A2 milk protein was associated with higher levels of the (good) antioxidant glutathione. One of the authors receives consulting fees from The a2 Milk Company, but he only contributed to the study design and did not interact with study participants or contribute to the analysis of the results. Read the full article here.
In summary, the scientific trials that have looked at the effects of A2 milk protein show decreased levels of bloating and abdominal pain, as well as decreased laboratory markers of the stomach and intestinal inflammation in people who drink a2 Milk®. The biggest limitation is the small size of the trials, but the results are definitely encouraging. It’s also important to keep in mind that many of the trials have been industry-funded. The fact of the matter is, clinical trials are expensive and research money is difficult to come by. It’s quite common for researchers to partner with a company who is also interested in a particular product, so this definitely doesn’t make me discount their findings.
Want to try it for yourself? a2 Milk® is available in many major grocery stores, including Target, Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Save $1 on a half gallon with this coupon.
Did I overwhelm you with science? For a lighthearted look at a2 Milk®, check out this video:
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Basic Easy Healthy Toasted Muesli RecipePrint
Easy Healthy Toasted Muesli Recipe
An easy healthy toasted muesli recipe with nuts and dried fruit that is gluten-free and vegan, plus a review of the evidence for a2 Milk versus traditional milk.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 23 cups of granola (3/4 cup = 1 serving) 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: American
- 12 cups (42 ounces or one cylindrical container) old fashioned oats
- 3 cups chopped pecans
- 3 cups chopped walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups honey (or maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup chopped dried apricots
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, spices, and salt.
- Spread in a thin layer on several parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Toast at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 14-17 minutes, tossing once.
- Remove from oven, place in a large pot or bowl and stir in dried fruit. Enjoy with A2 Milk.
Museli will keep for several weeks stored in an airtight container.
Disclaimer: I’m a doctor, but I’m not your doctor! This post is my opinion, and should not be taken as medical advice. Make sure you consult your own physician for medical advice. This post is a partnership with the a2 Milk Company(TM). Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more updates and coupons! Thanks for supporting the partners that allow me to keep creating beautiful content. Wondering why I do sponsored posts? Read more here.