Mountain Climbers’ Chocolate Breakfast Cereal

Ever wonder what kind of breakfast is eaten every morning on a trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro?  Ok, you’ve probably never given it much thought, but now you’re wondering, aren’t you?  I had the pleasure of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2014 so I can tell you firsthand.

Well, as you’d expect you need a hearty breakfast for the energy required for long days of trekking up hill at increasing altitude.  So eggs, toast and banana fritters were on the menu every morning. But chocolate? Yes, chocolate breakfast cereal was a staple on the slopes of Kilimanjaro!  My version of Mountain Climbers Chocolate Breakfast Cereal is actually quite different, but far superior if I do say so myself. More delicious and nutritious! Read on for the recipe and tales of my Kili adventure.

Kili Adventure of a Lifetime

This was the best trip ever! Long days filled with hiking beautiful trails, breathing in fresh clean air, enjoying the absolutely breathtaking scenery and meeting new friends.

Not for the faint of heart, we had no running water for 6 days and slept in tiny tents. The toilets were wooden shacks with a hole in the ground at camp, or our “luxury” toilet carried by one of the porters – a bucket with a plastic toilet seat on it in a canvas tent with a zipper door. But I’m pretty hardcore so none of this really bothered me, just added to the experience.

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Pole, pole is the Swahili motto for climbing Kili.  Slowly, slowly.  The theory is that you need to save your energy or the altitude has a way of kicking you in the ass if you overdo it. You need to adjust slowly so you’ll be ready for the grueling overnight trek to the summit. I knew I would have a really hard time with the pole, pole thing. In addition to being hardcore, I like to do my own thing. Early on the slow single file walking was killing me, so I was able to go at my own pace ahead of the pack with a couple of friends and one of the guides.  Ahhh, sweet relief from the crowds. Strong like Simba my guides called me.

Day 1 – Enchanted Rainforest

kili01aScenery on the trail on day one was spectacular! Beautiful rainforest trees, with long hanging moss, an enchanted forest like something out of Hansel and Gretel.  Suddenly we got hit by pouring rain, thunder and lightning.  It took a couple of days for my boots to completely dry out, but I didn’t let it get my spirits down.  I mean hey, it’s called the rainforest for a reason right?

Day 2 – Rocky Trails

After the rainforest, day two started to feel more like a mountain.  Spent the day scrambling rocks on the trails, and getting a first glimpse of Kili when it appeared for a brief moment from behind the clouds at lunch. It was at our camp that we really got a great view.  Wow, so majestic, surreal and looked so far away!

This moment right now is something you will never experience again so BE PRESENT and enjoy it.

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Day 3 – Lava Tower

My most enjoyable day on the mountain! Walking with views of Kili all morning, the altitude was getting higher and having an affect on some of my climbing buddies, but not me.  I’m still feeling strong like Simba.

The Lava Tower is a rock formation about 300 feet tall and formed from, you guessed it, lava way back in the day when Kilimanjaro was still an active volcano.  It used to be pretty common to climb, but they’ve gotten strict over the years. I told my guides I wanted to do it, and they told me I’m not allowed.  It’s dangerous, it’s against park regulations and they cannot be responsible if anything happens. They really tried to talk me out of it.  But this is something I really, really wanted to do and will never have this chance again.  So in the end I persisted, wrote up and signed my own waiver and climbed the lava tower with a friend and two guides.   A super cool bonus adventure!

Day 4 – Barranco Wall to Moon Camp

Started off climbing the Barranco wall. Looking a little intimidating from camp, it’s an 800 foot steep, almost vertical rock and you have to use both hands to scramble up the wall. So much fun!

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Enjoyed hiking through the rocky alpine desert after lunch. Then we finally reached our base camp in the late afternoon. Moon camp I called it because it really does feel like we’re on the moon.  Altitude is now 4550 meters, too high for any plant life, it’s super dry and dusty and barren.

I was getting nervous for the summit climb now.  They had been taking readings of our oxygen levels and blood pressure every night and I always had really good readings, so far…. But on summit night my oxygen level was the lowest in the group. Still ok to summit, but made me nervous. Off to bed after dinner for a couple of hours, hoping to get some sleep before our 10:45pm wake up to start the summit climb.

I know that you’re excited to see how that turns out so check out my Miracles on Mount Kilimanjaro Summit Night.

But first, as promised, here’s my chocolate breakfast recipe.

Chocolate Breakfast

Milo porridge was our chocolate breakfast on the slopes.  What the heck is Milo you ask? My new Australian friends described it as an Australian version of Nestle Nesquik chocolate powder. I later looked it up and it actually has some malted barley in it, so probably marginally healthier. I guess we needed the sugar for energy for all the hiking. And I totally love the concept of chocolate for breakfast!   So here’s my SO MUCH HEALTHIER (and much tastier!) version.

Inspired not just by Kili Milo porridge but mainly the lovely and talented Sara B from My New Roots.  Check out her version here.

Chocolate Mountain Climbers Breakfast Granola Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups large flake oats
  • 2 cups raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup rough chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts – mix it up!)
  • 1 cup seeds (raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds)
  • 1/3 cup raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 Tbsp ginger
  • ½ cup raw cacao powder

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 200°F.
  • In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add honey/maple syrup, vanilla, raw cocoa powder and spices. Whisk to combine until smooth.
  • Pour liquid ingredients over dry mix together thoroughly.
  • Spread mixture out in an even layer on a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 2 hours total, removing from the oven to mix part way through and check to make sure it’s not overdone.

Notes

  • Another option is to bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes and remove from the oven to flip after the first 10 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • Get creative and adjust the spices to your tastes. I also like to add some cardamom and sea salt.
  • Switch up the nuts and seeds that you use to get a variety of flavors and nutrients.

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I like to enjoy with almond milk and a sprinkle of goji berries, but it’s delicious all on it’s own, and quite addictive!

What’s your fave healthy and delicious breakfast? I’d love to know! Please share in the comments below.

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Thanks so much for reading and feel free to share the love on social media. I’d be super grateful 🙂

Leanne

xox

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