Traditional Foods of the Seminole Tribe of Florida

by Sarah Green Living, Healthy LivingComments: 64

seminole tribe

The Seminole tribe was the dominant Native American force in Florida during colonization of the area by European settlers during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Each year, Fort Foster at Hillsborough River State Park hosts a living history exhibit where schoolchildren can come and learn about the Second Seminole War, also called the Florida War, which occurred from 1835 -1842 between the United States and the the Seminoles.

My child’s class took a field trip to Fort Foster this week to experience the living museum firsthand and I was happy to tag along as one of the chaperones for the class.

Every facet of life during this period for both the American soldier and Seminole Indians was covered in detail as one walked around the Fort as well as the tribal settlement located across the pristine waters of the Hillsborough River via a wooden bridge.  While all aspects of the living museum proved interesting, I was particularly fascinated by the traditional foods of Native Americans living in Florida at that time as demonstrated by a lady dressed in Seminole attire who thoroughly explained how the tribe nourished themselves on a daily basis.

In the picture above, you can see an animal roasting over a fire.

The kids and chaperones had a fun time trying to guess what the animal was, but we all were wrong even though the claws are a dead giveaway that the animal is a raccoon!

Raccoons supposedly taste like, you guessed it, chicken!

Not boneless, skinless chicken breasts, mind you, but the dark meat of a chicken which is mineral rich and full of very nourishing fat.

Soaked Corn The Mainstay of the Seminole Tribe

The dish that really caught my eye, however, was the soaked corn gruel that served as the mainstay of the Seminole tribe diet.

The corn was pounded into a coarse, cracked flour, soaked in weak lye water obtained from wood ash and then cooked over low to medium heat for 3-4 hours into a soup called sofkey.

The lye increased the nutrient availability of the corn, most notably niacin. Since sofkey was the mainstay of the Seminole diet, release of the niacin from the corn via soaking was absolutely critical to health.

Pellagra, a vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency disease is a devastating illness which can result in death following progressively worsening symptoms of diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia.  Soaking the corn prior to cooking and eating alleviated risk of this illness.

Sofkey is sour to the taste indicating that the corn was fermented as well as soaked further improving digestibility and nutrient absorption for the Seminoles.

The Seminole Tribe in Florida was never completely defeated by the United States with several hundred individuals hiding out in the Everglades indefinitely eluding attempts to round them up and ship them off to an Oklahoma reservation.

The Seminole tribe living in Florida today are quite proud of the fact that they were never officially conquered which played a role in the recognition of the tribe’s sovereign rights by the federal government in 1957.

No doubt, the Seminole tribe’s wise and careful preparation of their grain based foods proved a deciding and critical factor in their ability to evade and resist resettlement by the United States government for over a hundred years all the while remaining healthy and strong.

If you live in the West Central Florida area, you can still visit the living history museum at Fort Foster which is on display through the weekend.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Comments (64)

  • Tylar

    Does anyone have any information on what species of grains were consumed by Native Americans here in Florida? I see and expect to see maize, but “grain” can mean a lot of things.

    Did the Native Americans eat other grains?

    If I went for a hike in Florida, what edible grains might I find?

    December 9th, 2013 9:43 pm Reply
  • portabella

    I’ve read a lot of good comments on this post.

    Here’s my two cents, echoing a lot of other folks:

    I eat a loose version of Paleo/Primal, corresponding most closely to Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet. I have Sarah Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions and Weston Price’s book, and consider that school as fellow travellers.

    My take-away from the post, and other reading on the subject, is that traditional methods of preparing grains are fairly onerous. So the Paleo/Primal shortcut of just skipping grains entirely is completely valid, and quite a reasonable approach.

    I enjoy this blog, but I think sometimes it plays up the differences between Primal/Paleo and Weston Price inspired diets, like grains, too much. They are much more similar than different.

    May 2nd, 2012 9:41 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I find the Paleo/Primal view that preparing grains is onerous silly. It is easy to prepare grains and grains are an important part of the diet and cannot be replaced with other foods.

      Any women who eats traditionally and has breasfed KNOWS that soaked cereal grains cause the milk supply to go through the roof. A sweet potato, baked potato or other type of carb DOES NOT do the same thing.

      Excluding an entire food group is not wise unless a particular health condition is warranted. In my view, the majority of paleo/primal eaters will resume eating grains at some point realizing that excluding them completely from the diet was not a smart move unless for a short period of time to heal the gut or solve an autoimmune problem (such as GAPS diet).

      May 2nd, 2012 9:56 am Reply
      • portabella

        I don’t see how this follows from the article. The Seminoles take the grain, pound it, mash it, soak it and cook it over a slow fire… and that’s NOT tedious?

        I’m a modern American. When I cook lentils I soak them twice, over at least a day and a half, when I could just cook up some fresh meat and veggies… and that’s NOT inconvenient?

        Doable, sure. Not even difficult. But certainly not convenient.

        You do break with the Primal/Paleo people over whether grains are necessary or not. It seems dubious from any evolutionary point of view… if wheat domestication is 9,000 years old, as Wikipedia suggests, then how did we survive without this “essential” food? Or consider Asian diets, entirely lacking in wheat and corn until a hundred years ago.

        If your point is that prepared properly you CAN consume these foods, sure, I’ll buy that. Necessary, no way.

        May 2nd, 2012 10:23 am Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          You don’t have to do that anymore with modern technology :) You probably marinate chicken or steak, right? Soaking grains is comparable to this simple task.

          For healthy people, properly prepared grains are a necessary part of the diet. Grains are necessary to achieve optimal health and development in children as discovered by Dr. Price who found that the cereal grain eating tribes who combined this food with animal foods were stronger and better developed physically than the primarily carnivorous and the vegetarian tribes.

          May 2nd, 2012 3:04 pm Reply
  • D.

    I found this information by accident not long ago and decided it was worth putting “out there” for others to see. Quite a lot of history here:

    and here:

    Part Amistad, part Braveheart, part Spartacus: (This is a very good overview from a Professor)

    I had no idea they traveled from FL to OK and then down into Mexico to settle, because slavery was illegal in Mexico.

    I’m interested in lots of historical things and this article on Seminole’s really piqued my interest – especially when within the first few comments here someone took you to task for the fact that Seminole’s were something different than what was presented in your article!

    March 28th, 2012 8:26 pm Reply
  • dani

    PS- I want to add that I’ve been reading over past posts (specficially the ones about veg*n diets) and reading over the comments. I really do commend you for not sugar coating anything, for standing your ground, and for defending your opinions even if people don’t agree. I can’t believe some of the names people have called you, and called you snotty, or an agenda-pusher, or that you think you’re better. This is ridiculous. It seems like when you provide facts to a lot of these people they get pissed and lash out. I guess I just want to say good job and keep it up!

    February 15th, 2012 11:43 am Reply
  • dani

    I like your blog, just like I like Cheeseslave. But I think that both of you have approached the grain issue from a perspective of putting down the paleo/primal community. I think you both could talk about the benefits of grains, and that’d be awesome, it’s your opinion. But I don’t think there is any reason to put the paleo/primal community down while you’re doing it (I’ve never seen a paleo-primal blogger hate on WAPF, I’m sure it’s out there, just not on blogs I read). Especially because both communities are so similar and we are both working toward a food revolution. I don’t eat too many grains because my body just doesn’t agree with them, even when prepared properly. And because you can get ALL of the same nutritional benefits from other (arguably better) food sources, without having to soak/ferment/sprout. I still value your blog and I definitely support you providing your opinion on grains – I just don’t think you should put down the paleo/primal community when doing so.

    February 14th, 2012 5:04 pm Reply
  • Jan

    Sarah, calm down please, for your own sake ar least. If you are so convinced, fine, eat as you wish. Your approach hurts your message. Feel free to eat my cereals, I will not touch them at all. :-)

    February 14th, 2012 11:08 am Reply
  • becky

    All well and good. The point I was trying to make was that it isn’t WHAT you said as much as HOW you said it. I respect that you feel strongly about your beliefs and your blog reflects that. But, I think that when trying to educate people to make their lives better, it doesn’t do your cause any good to be condescending when they don’t completely agree with your viewpoint or initially understand it. Rather than ridicule them for it, just continue to teach in a non-judgmental way and I think more people might try to learn from your viewpoint instead of being put on the defensive and walking away. I, for one, don’t feel SUPERIOR because I choose not to eat grains and that’s not the impression I’ve ever gotten from the paleo community. I can’t say the same for your blog posts on the subject though. It seems, whether intentional or not, that there is a feeling of superiority because you DO eat grains.

    I like your blog and I read it regularly. I was just disappointed to feel that my lifestyle was being ridiculed when I’ve worked so hard to get to this point. I guess I tend to look at it that if this was a PERFECT world, then yes, we’d all eat perfectly. It’s not a perfect world though and so ANY changes we can make for improved health are better than doing nothing at all. I guess in a nutshell, my viewpoint is that “I’d rather have the real food lifestyle I have now, with no grains, than eating ANYTHING like I did a year ago”. Put those 2 options side by side and my current lifestyle wins hands down every time. So, even though I don’t eat grains, I believe that I’m still on a much better path than ever before.

    I do hope your overall message gets through to people and encourages them to eat better for their health and their children’s health. I’ve learned a lot from your blog and believe that I’ll continue to learn from it but, for me, it’s easier to be open to new ideas when you don’t feel that someone is being judgmental and critical, and that they’re truly just trying to educate.

    February 12th, 2012 4:42 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I didn’t mean to ridicule you Becky. I apologize if my choice of words conveyed that message.

      February 12th, 2012 5:22 pm Reply
  • becky

    I finally had to post a comment. It’s unbelievable to me that someone in Sarah’s position would choose to criticize a group of people simply because they choose to eliminate a food group from their diet! And, a food group that can easily be compensated for in other ways. Even worse, she BLAMES people who have imbalanced guts and digestive issues saying it’s their own fault through bad choices and lifestyle choices. How sad that you would be so judgmental of people who – like me – until only a year or so ago, started realizing what real nutrition really was. Was it my FAULT that I was raised on a diet that wasn’t healthy because my parents thought they were doing the right thing because it’s what they had always been told? No it is not. No more so than it was my parents. They did what they thought was right because they grew up in a generation that believes what our government tells us. There are so many facets to this grain/no grain issue that you seem to just poo-poo and tell people that they’re not going to be healthy if they don’t eat grains! How ridiculous that is!

    My husband and I chose to stop eating grains a year ago when we found out he had type 2 diabetes. Grains are just too high in carbs to fit into his diet on a regular basis and so we decided to see if we could cut them out. We’ve made the adjustment and feel FANTASTIC about it! It was hard because I can honestly say, we were both completely addicted to a lot of grain based carbs in our diet. We’ve changed every aspect of our diet and now only eat real food with lots of grass fed meat and butter. It was a major life-style change for us and took a lot of research and time to get into a routine of preparing all of our own foods. But, there are plenty of people who’s lifestyles just don’t offer that flexibility and while it still frustrates me to see it, I would NEVER condemn them for not being able to eat a better diet. I don’t believe it’s always a question of CHOICE. I’m more of a realist than that. I’m sure that a lot of people would gladly CHOOSE to eat differently if they had the time and/or finances to support it because let’s face it, even it’s it’s only a small increase in your food budget, it’s still an increase to eat a healthier diet. I think the government intentionally makes that happen so they can continue to justify their screwed-up handling of our food supply. Some people barely have enough time in the day as it is and are just scraping by financially. We could get really into the nitty-gritty and say that they could eat healthier if they gave up this, that or the other, but I think the better approach would be to try and supply them the information they need to make better choices BUT, don’t judge them if it’s just not something they feel they can cope with for one reason or another at this time in their lives.

    I try to live by the idea that ANY changes you can make to your diet to get you on the road to a healthier life are better than doing nothing so who would I be to condemn someone for not doing EVERYTHING that needs to be done to have the OPTIMAL diet? That’s what is ridiculous and silly and very condescending too.

    Yes, I eat a primal/paleo diet but I do include raw dairy. But, NO GRAINS. My husband and I feel better than we have in years and he’s already gone from being on 2 diabetes meds down to 1. The primal/paleo world is what opened my eyes to all of the bad foods we were eating and how unhealthy they were. It’s also taught me to think for myself when it comes to nutrition and medical issues and to not just believe everything the government tells us. I am truly grateful to them for getting my husband and I on this road to recovery and I can personally say that I have no intention of ver including grains in my diet and I don’t believe for one second that it will cause me any adverse health effects.

    Like another reader, the few times I have had grains over the last year, the cravings they create are unbelievable. I just want to keep eating more and more carbs. And yes, these are even if they’ve been properly prepared. I don’t feel that way when I avoid them. So, for me, they’re not a good thing. But, I would never call someone SILLY or RIDICULOUS because they choose to eat them. I won’t even call Sarah SILLY and RIDICULOUS for saying that people should. She’s entitled to her opinion. It’s just sad that in a world where the REAL FOODIES are so outnumbered, we can’t be more accepting of each others ideas and not be so adamant and judgmental in our thinking that OUR WAY is the only way and if you’re not doing it 100%, you’re not good enough and you’re wrong.

    Whether that was Sarah’s intent or not, that’s what I took away from this blog post and it’s unfortunate. I’ve always enjoyed Sarah’s articles but lately, she seems to be getting more and more JUDGMENTAL and not just trying to be INFORMATIVE. It’s one thing to be a strong advocate for what you believe. I’m all for that. And sometimes you definitely have to be critical but there’s a time and place for that . But, how sad is it when you feel the need to criticize and ridicule the people who agree with you 99% of the time simply because it’s not 100%? That’s going to be the real issue as we try to move forward in educating people about good health and nutrition. If we can’t even accept minor differences within the REAL FOOD WORLD, and stop bickering about such things, how will we ever get more people to take us seriously and actually want to change their lifestyles? And, if we don’t stop making people feel like they’re not good enough or they’re wrong because they can’t live a 100% healthy lifestyle, we’ve alienated them before we’ve ever had the chance to educate them.

    That’s the other thing I’m grateful to the primal/paleo community for. They don’t make you feel like it has to be all or nothing. They acknowledge that it’s a PROCESS and doesn’t have to happen overnight. The way I look at it, my husband and I are 200% better off and healthier than we were a year ago and how can that be a bad thing? Compared to the way we used to eat, we’re light years ahead of the game. To call us silly and ridiculous because we don’t include grains, negates all of the other changes we’ve made to get healthier and happier. It was a very poor choice of words. Like I said, believe what you want, but don’t condemn other people who are on the same road as you but just have a different opinion about some of the forks in that road.

    February 12th, 2012 11:51 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      This blog is primarily about nutritional truth as discovered, researched and documented by Dr. Weston A. Price. People who espouse Paleo or Primal eating are ignoring these basic truths and in some cases (not all) at the expense of their long term health and quite possibly that of their children.

      I do not care how much vitriol I experience from posting about this, it needs to be said and I’m going to say it, over and over if need be.

      Not eating grains is NOT somehow superior to eating them when are carefully and traditionally prepared. The vast majority of folks who are grain free are still in the honeymoon phase with it … they do not have the perspective of eating this way for YEARS or DECADES and will see over time, the error of their ways. Hence the coming backlash.

      You can quote me on that.

      February 12th, 2012 3:40 pm Reply
    • Davida

      I am a type 2 diabetic, and all grains, properly soaked and prepared or not, shoot my blood sugar up very high very quickly, higher and faster and longer than anything with sugar. It is very hard to get my blood sugar down after grains, and eating grains causes intense carb cravings for days. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since the last time I had grains…every time I think it might be ok, since it has been soo long since having any, it happens….blood sugar shoots up over 200, stays high for hours, and I have intense cravings for every carb I see for DAYS after. I can eat the occasional (maybe once every couple months) fruit or chocolate or scoop of ice cream and they don’t cause all the problems grains do. No thanks. I am not missing anything by cutting grains.

      February 13th, 2012 1:13 pm Reply
  • Charlene

    The Paleo diet advocates are quite adamant that eating grains is harmful to all. Strange that Dr. Price documented healing people of dental caries, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperactivity by giving a diet of cod liver oil, high vitamin butter, bone broth, and freshly ground wheat bread. Could it be that so many suffer from intolerance to grain because they lack the beneficial bacteria that help digest the gluten and gliadin?
    I think you are right on target, Sarah, in your suspicion of antibiotics as being a likely culprit. My guess is that the ubiquitous anti-bacterial soaps are no help either. And if the above article is correct that the bacteria genus Rothia breaks down gluten and is in saliva, then we most definitely should avoid anti-bacterial mouthwashes and toothpastes.

    February 12th, 2012 1:30 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It is very uncomfortable for people to place the blame squarely where it belongs: with themselves. It is much easier to blame something else like hybridization of wheat or that grains are somehow not a healthy food to eat. Best to realize one’s personal role through bad choices and lifestyle in destroying gut balance and rectifying the situation rather than living in la la land and rationalizing the situation that grains are the bad guy.

      February 12th, 2012 10:06 am Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    It is really sad to see all this acrimony between folks who should be natural allies. I think we all agree that we do not eat SAD.

    Some of the traditional peoples studied by Dr Weston A Price, ate mostly animal foods , sometimes a few seasonal fruits and vegetables, and never ate grains, like the Native Americans of the far Canadian north, the Inuit, and the Masai. Others ate animal foods, fruits and vegetables, and grains, like the Swiss, the Nuers of the Sudan, and the Kikuyu who lived next to the Masai. Dr Price wrote that the peoples who also ate grains were stronger and had more endurance. But even the animal food only peoples he studied were free of tooth decay and chronic disease, and were so much healthier than people on modern diets.

    Both approaches can work, and both are light years ahead of SAD. I respectfully ask that both sides be tolerant of each other. Our real enemies are not each other, but the food industry and an oppressive government that is trying to take all our food freedom away, and end real food for corporate profit. If we are left with only factory crap to eat, this controversy will be totally meaningless.

    Peace, friends.

    February 11th, 2012 10:29 pm Reply
    • Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

      So true. And this is really what Dr. Price found on his travels. There was no “optimum” way of eating. There were all kinds of variations and all the people he found were super healthy. So why should we judge someone who chooses to eat grains vs. someone who does not?

      When I meet immigrants or people from foreign countries, I always grill them with questions. What did they eat growing up? Did they have cavities? Did they wear braces? Did they have their wisdom teeth removed? Did they ever get sick?

      I have met a few people from India who had absolutely perfect teeth and bone structure. They were vegetarians. They subsisted on mostly grains, beans and produce. They did not eat meat at all — except maybe very occasionally chicken or fish. They did eat lots and lots of dairy and eggs. And they cooked absolutely everything in grass-fed ghee.

      Why would we denigrate these people when they obviously have extremely healthy traditional eating habits? And they do eat grains.

      To each his own. Let’s respect each other however we choose to eat. And recognize that whole grains, properly prepared, are extremely healthy in a balanced diet. Same goes for a diet with no grains if it is balanced. The key is balance. And looking to our ancestors for their wisdom.

      Hugs to you, Stanley! I really hope to see you at the Weston A. Price Foundation conference in the fall. It is in your ‘hood!

      February 11th, 2012 11:09 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        I disagree with you here, Ann Marie, Dr. Price did identify an optimal way of eating based on those who were the strongest and most physically excellent and they were the traditional groups who did not eat at either extreme … not almost vegetarian like the Bantu nor almost carnivore like the Masi.

        The BEST traditional diet for Dr. Price was the mixed diet of the Dinkas which was not too extreme in either direction:

        Dr. Price’s close study of these African groups (Bantu, Masai, Dinkas) convinced him that the best Traditional Diet — one that encourages optimal physical development in children — consisted of a balance of properly prepared whole grains along with animal foods (especially fish), and not tending toward extremes in either direction.

        February 11th, 2012 11:21 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          If anyone needs a reason to eat grains, this is it. It will encourage the optimal physical development in your children. I’m not talking the heavy grain diet of most Americans, I’m talking about a balance such as what the Dinkas (and the Seminoles!) ate.

          As for me, our house EATS GRAINS. And, it ain’t too much trouble to prepare them.

          February 11th, 2012 11:23 pm Reply
  • Joy at The Liberated Kitchen

    I’m ok with people choosing to eat grains, and glad to see the word get spread about the best ways to prepare them.

    But making blanket judgments about people who choose to eat grain free is irresponsible at best. I’m really tired of all the judgement flying around that basically comes down to: if grains make you feel terrible, you’re doing something wrong.

    We know all about properly preparing grains. We’ve been working on healing our guts and restoring the balance of flora through the GAPS diet. And we have seen tremendous improvements in our health. But accidental cross-contamination of my son, my own gluten challenge, and the reactions we had to other grains and pseudo-grains have made it abundantly clear that grains are not a good idea for us, certainly at this time, maybe forever.

    Why should we challenge that? Why do all this work to get healthy, then derail it over time by eating the very foods that have contributed so hugely to making us sick in the first place? I’d need to see some pretty strong benefits to be convinced it’s worth the risk. I don’t think that’s a “silly” or misinformed perspective.

    I decided to challenge myself to think up good reasons to eat grains again. Some are more serious than others. Here they are:

    Hint: The Apocalypse figures heavily.

    February 11th, 2012 9:46 pm Reply
  • D.

    It all comes back to doing what feels best for you. Misinformation abounds on the ‘net and people should know that by now. You still hafta do your own research about foods you question. But the bottom line remains the same – eat what feels good and satisfies your body in terms of health. I get sick of being told I’m “doing it all wrong” because I eat an egg, or a piece of toast, or a bowl of oatmeal, or a T-bone steak, or real butter. People can criticize if they want to, but I’ll continue to eat what works for me. I love grain and have no intention of giving it up anytime soon. I also love potatoes and have no intention of giving them up anytime soon either. I don’t eat these items at every meal, so I just tell people to lay off.

    February 11th, 2012 8:29 pm Reply
  • Jeannie

    Also, I think it’s important to have perspective on all this. Whether or not you think humans were “designed” to eat grains simply depends on how far back you want to go. Some prefer to go full-on paleolithic, but others think neolithic is fine. Obviously I lean towards to former, but both are probably fine if done right — you can eat grains, if you do it properly, and be perfectly healthy. And you can not eat grains, if you do it properly, and be perfectly healthy.
    I don’t think we should create divisions amongst ourselves. When we have defeated “My Plate”, low fat, the SAD, and Conventional “Wisdom”, then we can squabble amongst ourselves over the details. Until then, I am going to stand up for real food in all its’ forms!

    February 11th, 2012 7:25 pm Reply
    • Fiona

      The problem, as I see it, is that we are being fed SOOOO many contradictory pieces of information, that it’s almost impossible to sort through it all to figure out who is “right” and who is “wrong”.

      Of course paleo/primal is going to work for you if the only grains you’ve ever experienced haven’t been prepared properly! A lot of people (in fact, most people in my experience) have NO IDEA how to prepare grains to make them properly digestible. It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve become aware of this myself! (And I read a lot about eating/nutrition, and have explored a LOT of books detailing the way we were “meant” to eat… and for me that started off with an exploration of raw vegan, which made perfect sense when I first learned about it!!).

      The point is, so many people are on different stages of the journey. I’d say that a majority of people are still following Government mandated ideas for nutrition, and really they’re the ones I tend to lose patience with (so much more so than those who are at least exploring other avenues, whether or not they’re on the right track). Nevertheless, I’m not going to tell someout outright that they’re silly for believing in what the Government tells us is right… although it is frustrating when your kinds have a health assignment at school which entails them eating the proper “food groups” in the right proportion every day for 7 days in order to get full marks on their assignment *sigh*. Qualified dieticians and nutritionists are being taught this way as well… so those who, with the best intentions, go and visit the “professionals” are also being taught ways to eat that just aren’t ideal.

      Hmm so I guess what I’m saying is to me if someone thinks paleo/primal is best, or even if they think raw vegan is best, I’ll at least give them kudos for at least looking outside the box in their exploration of true health and proper eating, rather than just believing “what they’re told” by those who are the supposed experts!!

      If people ask me about the way I eat, I’m happy to regale them with my newfound knowledge of traditional cooking, and the benefits of consuming butter rather than margarine etc. etc. And yet just recently I was reading a “Health” magazine that had an article on margarine vs butter, and honestly… it’s just so frustrating when people are being told how much HEALTHIER margarine is… and these are the people who are really interested in improving their health!!

      Sorry for my rambling here :).

      February 11th, 2012 8:06 pm Reply
      • Jeannie

        Tell me about it! It wasn’t so long ago I was swallowing their conventional wisdom, hook, line and sinker, too! Now it just makes me fume whenever I read a “Health” article in a magazine. How can our whole society be so deluded? Whether we are spreading it on a peice of sprouted sourdough or some coconut flour bread, how can we not choose natural, grassfed butter over whatever rancid industrial “food” product is in margarine??? If my food needs to be bleached and deodorized to make it palatable…I don’t want to eat it!!

        February 11th, 2012 8:23 pm Reply
        • Danyell

          Unfortunately most people have not taken the time to find all of this out. They are hearing how good it is for them and that is it. They do not realize that it is rancid, bleached and deoderized.

          February 13th, 2012 12:46 pm Reply
  • Mandy Soto

    I think you have proven the point that “preparing grains in a traditional way” if neccessary. If every person eatting grains would take the proper steps to properly prepare grains then maybe they wouldn’t be so offensive or gut-renching. I doubt that many people will go through the process on a regular basis. Were your intention to prove the Paleo/Primal point? It seems you have. Thanks.

    February 11th, 2012 6:47 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The vast majority of Paleo/Primal people I know feel that they don’t eat grains not because preparing them correctly is inconvenient but rather because grain free eating is superior and the proper way for humans to eat. This is a completely incorrect line of thinking.

      February 11th, 2012 6:55 pm Reply
      • Mandy Soto

        Most people that are Primal are drawn to the 80/20 rule. We all sacrifice on something. I can’t stand the cravings it causes so I choose to avoid it. I also have pretty bad belly issues when I eat grains.

        “how hard it is to soak”? You have to soak them for a significant period of time. To me it isn’t worth the end result. And even then I still suffer some side effects.

        Don’t get me wrong, every few months I cave to see if I’m missing something special. I’m almost always sorry I did.

        Sarah, have you ever tried it to see how you feel after? You might be surprised. You might actually experience the same benefits we are boasting about.

        Please don’t take it as us against you. I’m against fast foods, modified foods and conventional wisdom. Not grains. If you eat them and feel good then carry on. But try it before you knock it.

        February 11th, 2012 11:25 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          I was grain free for 5 months last year when my husband was on GAPS. I am definitely better on grains as are most people who have their guts in order. If your gut is messed up, then stay off the grains, but this does not make grains bad.

          February 11th, 2012 11:40 pm Reply
    • Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

      How hard is it to soak a bowl of rice or oatmeal?

      February 11th, 2012 11:00 pm Reply
  • Jeannie

    I consider myself primal, and I eat a very balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, meats, nuts and seeds. And occasionally a nice big bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with lots of cream on wintry mornings ;). My diet isn’t restrictive and I don’t like being lumped in with vegans. Being active in the paleo/primal blogosphere, yes I have seen many people saying “grains are teh badz!”, but they are not judgemental of those who do eat them, and always respond politely (at least at first) to the inevitable vegan trolls. Try getting that respect from a vegan site like 30BaD. Point is, I don’t like being lumped in with crazies for choosing not to eat grains (mostly), and I don’t judge people who do eat grains. I think they are fine for some, if your digestion is healthy and you are not insulin sensitive. I just mainly choose to avoid them, because it’s easier and I feel better that way. Nothing wrong with that, right? We are all Real Food friends here, after all!
    Anyway, I will be glad when this whole How to Prepare Grains webinar is over because it has taken over the Real Food blogosphere! Seriously, almost every post I have read for the past week has been about how GRAINS IS GOOD (join our webinar!!!). Not trying to troll, and I love your blog, just saying I’m looking forward to some different topics soon!!

    February 11th, 2012 6:21 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, there a few of us Real Foodies who have had it with the grain free blah blah blah.

      I’ve been over it for a looonnngggg time, but have held my tongue (or should I say my fingers) as I didn’t want to offend anyone. Then, I realized that so many people were taking this to heart and not eating grains thinking this was a somehow superior way for humans to eat and that is completely wrong so I just let ‘er rip so to speak. Something at which I do seem to have quite the talent for. LOL

      February 11th, 2012 6:29 pm Reply
      • Jeannie

        That’s ok, that’s one thing I like about your blog :). I don’t think I or anybody needs to be defensive about our diets, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with any whole, natural food as long as care is taken to prepare it properly. Me, I feel much better without grains (and I certainly don’t want to depend too much on them the way SAD so often does), but it’s important for people to experiment and find what makes them feel the best. A lot of factors are involved, after all. One reason I think that having oats sometimes is ok for me is that I am of Scottish extraction :).

        February 11th, 2012 6:55 pm Reply
        • Meagan

          This is slightly off topic but relevant to the grain topic so I figured I would pass it along.

          Great article I just read that was linked on Jill’s (Real Food Forager) recent grain related post. There is a big difference in how our bodies metabolize glucose and fructose. The carb/sugar glucose content (in bread) is metabolized by all of our bodies’ cells vs. fructose being metabolized by our liver. Therefore the insulin resistance a lot of us are experiencing comes mainly from consuming too much sugar. Which is usually 50/50 glucose/fructose where bread/carbs are straight glucose. I personally will be researching more about this as I am a sugar-aholic desperately trying to cut the crap.

          I think grains are good in a diet if prepared properly and for those that are celiac avoid gluten, but still try to include other grains because they are not only healthy but usually available in bulk and more affordable.

          February 17th, 2012 10:30 am Reply
  • marina

    think you Sarah, I love historical posts just as I liked Prince’s book.
    I think it is very hard for people to find the time to prepare grains properly. That is why we eat white rice, and I buy sourdough rye bread an buckwheat from a Polish store, and try to bake with more digestible flours other than whole wheat. I found that I simply do not have the time to prepare grains traditionally.

    February 11th, 2012 6:05 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Sure, I get that. It’s good that you have found a way to make it work rather than writing them off and rationalizing to yourself incorrectly that “grains are bad” which is a fallacy that is easily identified simply by examining healthy traditional cultures such as the Seminole tribe.

      February 11th, 2012 6:31 pm Reply
  • Deborah

    My point is that it is being put out that hybridization doesn’t change the wheat plant and that is incorrect information. Pg 38, Hybridization efforts of the past fifty years have generated numerous additional changes in gluten-coding genes in Triticum aestivum, most of them purposeful modifications of the D genome that confer baking and aesthetic characteristics on flour.(16) Indeed, genes located in the D genome are those most frequently pinpointed as the source of the glutens that trigger celiac disease. (17)
    16. Shewry PR, Halford NG, Belton PS, Tatham AS. The structure and properties of gluten: an elastic protein from wheat grain. Phil Trans Roy Soc London 2002; 357:133-42.
    17. Molberg et al. Gastroenterol 2005;128:393-401.

    Possibly with the GAPS diet this autoimmune disease could be mediated but if you are a celiac I think most of us would prefer to avoid wheat rather than chance that it has been cured. It was once believed that celiac could be outgrown and that is now known not to be true. With the devastation that it does to the body I don’t believe that it is worth the risk but that is my decision and everyone is different.

    February 11th, 2012 6:01 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Sure, I can understand if a celiac prefers to just avoid gluten rather than risk it after a period of healing. That is a personal choice. What I am vehemently opposed to is when folks who can’t handle wheat or grains somehow try to make the rest of us believe that this is the way humans are supposed to eat and that grains are a villain food. Complete rubbish!

      February 11th, 2012 6:04 pm Reply
    • Fiona

      This may be true… BUT normal wheat based flour doesn’t have enough gluten to make good bread. That’s why you can buy “bread flour” or additives to add to regular flour in order to make bread (at least that is true where I live, I really can’t say what it’s like in the US or other countries).

      But in my experience there’s a distinct difference in making, say, pizza dough with regular white flour or with bread flour (not that I’ve done anything with white flour for some time now!). The normal white flour dough is more crumbly and falls apart easier, and the bread flour dough doesn’t… because of the extra gluten.

      So I guess my point is that not ALL wheat is extremely high in gluten. Obviously if you’ve got gluten intolerance you’re going to want to avoid buying store bought bread (of course everyone would benefit from avoiding store bought white bread). But if you make traditionally prepared sourdough bread, it’s not going to be the same thing at all.

      February 11th, 2012 7:53 pm Reply
  • Sandra Pearce

    Well, wasn’t this an adversarial discussion? I am currently grain free, though I dearly hope that I will one day find that YOU were the correct one. I so miss my sour dough bread. Sandra

    PS lighten up folks

    February 11th, 2012 5:33 pm Reply
  • Deborah

    Yes Sarah most plants are hybridized. That doesn’t make them not lethal to some percentage of the population. I am celiac and never plan to eat gluten again. Have you even read the book?

    February 11th, 2012 4:56 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Peanuts are deadly to some folks too. Does that make peanuts an unhealthy food? Of course not.

      February 11th, 2012 5:41 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Peanut allergies are on the rise just like celiac. Does this mean that peanut hybridization is the problem? No. The problem is that people are degenerated big time from several generations of antibiotics and processed foods and their guts are an imbalanced mess. Let’s point the finger at the true cause of the problem and it isn’t the wheat or the grains!

        February 11th, 2012 6:02 pm Reply
  • Erica

    Hi Sarah,

    Does one slice of sourdough bread equal a serving of grain? Thanks!

    February 11th, 2012 3:27 pm Reply
  • D.

    I live in the Black Hills and this area was predominately inhabited by the Lakota Sioux tribes. I have been looking into their way of living for almost 10 years and find it terribly interesting (along with the history, of course, which always fascinates me). One of their primary foods was Pemmican. I tried some when we were at the annual Buffalo Round-Up at Custer State Park and it’s not bad, but my teeth thought it was pretty hard to chew. One thing I am crazy about though is their passion for chokecherry tea. It is said to “stimulate digestion and respiration, help reduce blood pressure, and help with arthritic pain. High in antioxidants and polyphenols, it’s also supposed to be good for people with heart disease and cancer.

    Thanks for the informative post.

    February 11th, 2012 1:58 pm Reply
  • Deborah

    I think if you will read Dr. William Davis’ book Wheatbelly you will find how wheat has been changed through hybridizing it so that it contains more gluten for better baking. It is truly amazing the properties it takes on. So no matter how you prepare wheat it isn’t good for most of us out there. Other grains are fine because they do not have the capabilities of wheat to retain so many chromosomes from hybridizing.

    February 11th, 2012 1:53 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      EVERYTHING is hybridized not just wheat! If you prepare modern wheat traditionally, you can digest it fine if you gut is in good shape. People are pointing the finger at the wrong thing. Fix your gut, the wheat is fine.

      February 11th, 2012 2:46 pm Reply
  • kim

    Very impressive. Thank you for your informative posts!

    February 11th, 2012 10:13 am Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    I must say that I do find it utterly ridiculous that Paleo and Primal eaters say that grains are unhealthy foods to eat when evidence such as what is written about in this post exists. It reminds me of the misguided arguments of vegans who eschew all animal foods for similar irrational reasons.

    February 11th, 2012 10:05 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Eat your grains and enjoy people! They are healthy when prepared traditionally and in most cases, a necessary part of the diet if your gut is in good shape. Grains are also necessary to achieve optimal health as found by Dr. Price (except for a very small minority of people, perhaps only 1%). If your gut is a mess, get it back into shape with GAPS and then start eating grains again in a year or two! Traditional societies such as the Seminoles were more physically excellent and stronger than those that ate very little to no grains such as the Eskimos and Masai.

      February 11th, 2012 10:07 am Reply
      • Gabrielle

        I’m sorry, but I’m originally from Florida, too. Please don’t refer to the Seminoles as a ‘traditional’ tribe because they are anything but traditional. The tribe was comprised of outcasts from everywhere else. Timacuan, Caloosa, Creek, etc. who had been kicked out or were leftover after their tribes were killed. Then loads of runaway slaves they found in the swamps (whom they then made slaves of their own). Other tribal outcasts also joined them later to become a hodgepodge of who and whatever, including whites that no one else would own. From this mixture of traditions, you have a mixture of cultures and eating styles including fairly modern western ways of food preparation. The ‘tribe’ itself only dates back to the late 18th century. No one else wanted anything to do with them for the most part. The modern day Seminole ‘tribe’ will now spin a good story because they are the ultimate profit makers. I’ve had a lot of dealings with these people and they will tell you anything for a dollar. But please, I beg you, don’t use them as a good example of traditional eating because they are NOT.

        February 11th, 2012 2:16 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          I think what you’ve written is rather insulting to the Seminole tribe. And, what they ate back in the 1700’s and 1800’s not traditional? What in the world is your definition of traditional then? This is like saying that the convicts that settled Australia weren’t British and didn’t eat traditional British foods prior to the advent of processed foods after WWII.

          February 11th, 2012 2:43 pm Reply
          • EricsGirl

            And I think what you have written, Sarah, is rather insulting to people who thrive without grains, particularly those “utterly ridiculous” primal/paleo people. I have no problem with you sharing your opinion on this, but if you have any interest in this people HEARING what you say, it would behoove you to do it with some grace rather than calling them “silly” like you did on your Facebook page. If you’re just trying to preach to your own choir, then I guess it doesn’t matter – but if you’re actually trying to HELP those who are avoiding grains then being condescending isn’t going to help you reach your goal. A little kindness and grace goes a loooooong way.

            February 11th, 2012 4:20 pm
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            @EricsGirl, I call it as I see it and this grain free thing is nothing but a fad which will have a backlash like eating fads always do. Some folks do need to be grain free forever and I have made that abundantly clear and am sensitive to their situation. The vast majority that are advocating that this is somehow how humans are supposed to eat are completely off the reservation however. That assertion is indeed ridiculous and I’m not going to tone down the language. Many people are getting confused and led astray by this silliness and I am going to call it for what it is.

            February 11th, 2012 5:45 pm
          • EricsGirl

            Well I think there’s a way to be passionate and emphatic without being a jerk. You don’t seem concerned with that though. I think that’s a shame. It lowers the bar. I would feel the same way if someone on the anti-grain side of this debate used similar language.

            February 11th, 2012 6:31 pm
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            You have just lowered the bar yourself by calling me a jerk. I never lowered the bar at all. I just said that eating grain free was silly and ridiculous and not based in historical reality. This is not a personal affront to anyone, it is a general observation.

            February 11th, 2012 6:35 pm
        • EricsGirl

          Just taking a page from your book and “calling it as I see it”.

          February 11th, 2012 6:40 pm Reply
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            Calling an individual a jerk is quite different than calling a way of eating silly and ridiculous.

            February 11th, 2012 6:52 pm
          • EricsGirl

            Sarah you are not a victim here, and somehow I doubt you really give a hoot if someone thinks you’re a jerk. If you do, I say you can dish it out but can’t take it. You know darn well that people are very passionate about their way of eating and many of us have tried umpteen things including no-grain, lot’s of grain, gluten free grain, properly prepared grain, etc, etc. Calling peoples choices silly and ridiculous isn’t all that far removed from calling them ridiculous. And I don’t use words like “jerk” lightly or often, but I definitely think you were being one in this post and on facebook. I’ve sent so many people to this blog as a first stop place to gaining knowledge when that ask about how I eat. Why would I want to do that now? Being harsh and unkind devalues are the great work you’ve done here. I really don’t care about your position on grains, and I’m inclined to agree with you for SOME people, but I think this world is unkind and unforgiving enough already. I don’t need to subject myself to more of it from blogs.

            February 11th, 2012 7:08 pm
        • Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

          Whether or not they were “outcasts” is immaterial.

          Dr. Weston Price thought they were an excellent example of traditional eating, which is why he included them in his book, Nutrition & Physical Degeneration.

          Just look at these photos of Seminoles who were eating a traditional diet. They had perfect piano key teeth, gorgeous bone structure, and optimal health:

          February 11th, 2012 10:52 pm Reply
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            Nothing I have written was intended as a personal attack. Only to jolt people back to reality about the Paleo/Primal arguments against grains which are incorrect and not rooted in historical accuracy.

            February 11th, 2012 11:07 pm
        • Meghan

          How does the fact that this tribe is a mishmash from a number of different tribes and peoples make it an any less valid tribe? Isn’t that the same thing as saying someone from one country can never truly become a citizen of another country, if they choose to do so? If that’s your reasoning, Americans and Canadians better stop calling themselves “Americans and Canadians” and start reclaiming their forefathers’ nationalities. There are corrupt people in EVERY tribe, people and nation. It doesn’t meant the entire population is corrupt. Use some logic, and drop the prejudiced rhetoric.

          February 13th, 2012 11:31 am Reply

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