Monthly Archives: June 2010
Fabio Capello needs a history lesson. The retired Italian footballer and current manager of England’s seeded – and now soundly defeated – World Cup team banned butter as part of the team’s rigorous training regimen.
Big mistake. Big, huge mistake.
A study of traditional cultures from around the world as performed by Dr. Weston A. Price in his epic work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration showed that, without exception, a strong correlation exists between diets rich in animal fats, robust health, and elite athletic ability. Traditional Swiss athletes, for example, were fed bowls of cream before competition. In Africa, groups that ate lots of fatty meat, organ meats, and fatty fish consistently won athletic competitions. Tribes whose diets were largely vegetarian were athletically dominated by the animal fat/meat eating tribes (or powned as my son would say – tween slang for punished and owned, in case you were wondering).
Mr. Capello apparently recommended that Team England follow a Mediterranean style diet in preparation for World Cup competition. While the common people in Ancient Greece may have focused on bread, fruit, and vegetables, the integral parts of a Mediterranean diet, the elite athletes at that time did not eat this way. In fact, Ancient Olympians ate a mostly meat based diet, and it wasn’t lean meat either!
Banning butter (and probably fatty meat, cream, and other sources of blood sugar steadying and stamina producing saturated fats) from the diet of England’s World Cup team was truly a very foolish thing for Mr. Capello to do.
Athletes that “carb load” prior to competition have significantly less endurance than athletes that “fat load” prior to athletic events (High Fat Diets Help Athletes Perform, Science News, 1996, 149:18:287).
Given that England’s level of play at the World Cup was consistently less than inspired and definitely lacking in spirit, it is clear that Mr. Capello could have used a crash course in history before issuing his short sighted diet edict.
You know the old saying that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it? In Fabio Capello’s case, England’s flame out at the World Cup illustrates this adage perfectly.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
This recipe is a recreation of the lemon poppyseed muffin made with coconut flour. They are indescribably good. The lemon juice cuts the slight coconut flavor from the flour so you really don’t taste it at all – not that I mind the coconut flavor, but it’s nice to be able to mask it if you want to.
You simply must try them as they are so very easy to make. Let me know what you think!
Grain Free Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
1/4 cup coconut flour (sources)
4 pastured, local eggs
1/4 cup local honey of choice (sources)
1/4 cup expeller pressed coconut oil or butter (sources)
1/4 tsp sea salt (sources)
1/4 tsp baking soda (sources)
1 TBL poppy seeds (sources)
1-3 TBL fresh lemon juice (adjust based on how lemony you want the muffins to taste)
Soften coconut oil or butter and blend all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Bake at 350F for about 10-12 minutes. Makes about 20 mini muffins.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Gluten allergies are clearly on the increase in our modern society. It seems like practically every other person I know these days has some sort of digestive issue that avoiding gluten would probably improve.
At the top of the list of gluten containing foods is wheat, the indisputable, primary staple of the Western diet and the very foundation of the hopelessly misguided USDA Food Pyramid. Given how important bread and other wheat based carbohydrates are to our society’s basic food requirements, it’s no wonder that folks seek a quick and easy substitute for wheat bread and wheat based snacks when a gluten allergy or celiac disease has been diagnosed.
Millet: An Ancient Whole Grain
Enter millet. This ancient grain was cultivated in East Asia as far back as 10,000 years ago, according to archaeologists. Surprisingly, cultivation of millet in prehistoric times was more prevalent than even rice, particularly in what is now China and the Korean peninsula.
Millet’s resistance to drought is perhaps the reason for its popularity in ancient times and its spread to Europe by 5000 B.C.
Despite the 5000 year difference in adapting this whole grain as a staple food, millet porridge is considered a traditional food in Russia as well as China! Use of millet is also widespread in Africa, known for its drought prone climate.
Millet Bread: A Logical Substitute for Wheat
The protein structure of millet is quite similar to wheat. The one glaring exception is that millet is a non gluten grain. Wheat contains copious amounts of this hard to digest plant protein.
When millet flour is used for baking bread, the resulting loaf is light, white, and quite similar in texture to wheat bread. As a result, people who wish to avoid gluten tend to immediately gravitate to millet bread as the most logical and palatable substitute.
Millet bread is extremely popular in healthfood stores. Sami’s Bakery and Deland Bakery are two local bakeries that sell an absolute ton of millet bread to these stores around my local metro area. I recently corresponded with a person up the East Coast of the USA who was consuming a lot of the millet/flax chips from Sami’s Bakery as an alternative to wheat based snacks and had no idea of the potential health risks from consuming so much millet.
It was this discussion that led me to write this blog and warn folks about the dangers of consuming too much millet!
Beware of Millet – A Potent Goitrogen
While millet may not contain gluten, it does contain goitrogens. Goitrogens are those substances in food that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goiter, an enlargement of this very important gland which resides in the throat. Low iodine intake can also lead to goiter.
Hypothyroidism is a serious and sometimes debilitating condition that accompanies a weak or enlarged thyroid such as what occurs with goiter. Depression, difficulty losing weight, loss of hair, cold hands/feet, and fatigue are common hypothyroid symptoms. By some estimates, hypothyroidism is at epidemic proportions in Western society.
While the goitrogens in foods that contain them are usually reduced by cooking (such as cruciferous vegetables), cooking actually increases the goitrogenic effect of millet! Therefore, when folks begin eating large amounts of millet bread with a wholesale switch over from wheat, the goitrogenic effects of this simple dietary change can be profound.
Eat Millet in Moderation
Protect your thyroid at all costs! It is a real challenge to unwind the effects of hypothyroidism once this vital gland is weakened or enlarged. Don’t take any chances with your thyroid health by consuming large amounts of millet bread or millet based snacks. If gluten and/or wheat is a problem, then simply reduce bread consumption or use another grain that is both non gluten containing and non goitrogenic such as rice or oats. Occasional millet bread consumption is fine if your thyroid is healthy – just don’t overdo!
Given how difficult it is in modern society to maintain thyroid and overall glandular health, taking a chance by eating a lot of millet bread is a risky proposition indeed. Traditional peoples did not have the constant stresses and strains on their glands like modern people do with the pollution of our food, water, air and overall environment. Therefore, we must be overprotective of our glandular health and avoid regular consumption of foods that might impair it in any way.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist