THE POWER OF PORRIDGE
On a 6/14/2012 NPR broadcast Marcus Weirman of “The World” / Public Radio International interviewed Andrew Zimmerman host of “Bizarre Foods” in The Travel Channel. The gist of the interview is that eating heavy fats, refined carbs, sugar and caffeine are proven to not be a healthy way to start the day. The time tested ingestion of whole grain hot cereal, also known as porridge, is a staple for many indigenous people all over the world. It is a time tested way to start the day.
I guess this is still a revelation to many people. I want to believe it would not be to the NPR demographic. The need for repetition of this this kind of common sense information, in the USA, through all forms of media, is astounding. That this simple kind of eating is such an anomaly says one thing: food is a socially acceptable addictive substance throughout the industrialized world.
Ironically the advertising for empty calorie foods is often sandwiched between [no pun intended] a show such as The Biggest Looser. Their sponsors are in the category of KFC and McDonald’s. I hope someone else besides me and stand-up comics see the blatantly obvious crazy in all of this. It seems clear that the network knows their audience well. The bottom line is that very few or its viewing population notice, or have enough energy consuming The Standard American Diet [SAD] to care.
THE DIET OF THE MAASAI OF TANZANIA
The Power in Porridge segment that most drew my attention was the description of the Maasai Tribe diet. It is composed of fermented milk as a probiotic, minute amounts of cows blood for protein and the, more alkaline, grain millet as a slow burning, complex carbohydrate. The tribe eats for endurance to maintain their energy for the many long hours herding animals. The porridge part of the meal is composed of small easily transportable balls of cooked millet. The Maasai carry it with them to eat for sustenance as they go about their day.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO OUR WORLD?
Well, within the brief interview, Zimmerman gives one example of a situation in London. A simple bowl of oatmeal porridge parlayed into better health, weight loss and more efficiency among some ironworkers. Below are some ways and reasons for harnessing the Masai approach to eating for endurance in our industrialized world.
First off, in many traditional cultures the daily breakfast begins with a fermented food that is either dairy based, such as yogurt and kefir or cultured vegetables, sauerkraut. Cultured milk products such as yogurt and kefir are important for creating a healthy gut and immune system. Non-dairy fermented choices are coconut water and kombucha. According to one holistic autism information site, Russian children are provided kefir upon arriving at school each day.
WHY FERMENTED FOODS?
Refined foods, fast foods, refined sugar, refined oils, environmental toxins, antibiotics and other prescriptive medicines help to chip away at the microflora in our guts. Bacteria rich foods such as kefir, yogurt and probiotic supplements help to replenish this necessary microflora. I recommend people read The Body Ecology Diet. A really good reference for information and ideas concerning rebuilding a healthy immune system.
Secondly, it is important to eat a protein source that is easy to assimilate. The blood of a cow is not happening in our society. We need to eat foods that are rich in minerals and other nutrients in easily digestable portions. In other words; do not overeat. Raw goat or cow’s milk cheese, small portions of animal protein, raw [yolks] or lightly cooked eggs are ways to obtain needed protein. For vegans E3 Live, spirulina, chlorella, hemp and other seeds are the way to go. There are many Raw Food nutrition books covering this subject. Chew well.
Thirdly, replacing hybridized wheat with whole grain millet, quinoa, amaranth and oatmeal is primary. Greens and vegetables are not mentioned as part of the Maasai tribe breakfast probably because they are not available and do not travel well. The Maasai of Tanzania discussed here are a nomadic tribe of herders.
In Asian countries vegetables are part of their traditional breakfast. So are sea vegetables rich in minerals such as wakame, arame, hiziki, dulse and nori. Pickles and miso are the fermented foods of the Japanese diet.
Transcript for “Power of Porridge” click here.
Magical Powers of Fermented Foods by Terri L. Saunders click here.
Kefir in Russian Schools click here. Bedrock Community Autism Website.
Body Ecology Diet click here.
As a postscript 8/2013: I stand behind everything I wrote here. However, I have since discovered The Unique Healing Program Donna Pessin. If you have health / digestive imbalances check out her website. I am presently doing her program and am grateful to have found it. It is not a magic bullet, but it does work. Link here.