The Telegraph newspaper reports the London Olympic stadium and village were built by many overweight workers who were involved in more accidents than the norm on the job.
It turns out they ate heavy dinners and skipped breakfast. After those workers were fed porridge for breakfast, the number of accidents went down drastically.
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Marco Werman: I am Marco Werman and this is The World. There has been a rush of new construction for the 2012 London Olympics and that’s meant a lot of construction workers; turns out though many of them were overweight. They ate heavy dinners and skipped breakfast and they had a lot of accidents, so the Olympics Delivery Authority came up with a plan. According to the Telegraph newspaper, the Authority offered workers bowls of porridge, basically oatmeal, and they started having fewer accidents. We spoke with Andrew Zimmern, he’s host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods.” He says skipping breakfast or eating an American style meal of eggs, pancakes and bacon is not the healthy start.
Andrew Zimmern: The models for breakfast that are the healthiest are the ones that have the proper blend of natural whole grains, proteins, vegetables and fruits. What it allows your body to do is to process those foods to draw natural stores of reserves without the crash syndrome that so frequently occurs after that sort of traditional American breakfast. The most incredible breakfast that I’ve ever seen and the one that is utilized by the people that have to have the most amount of energy that I’ve ever come across are with the Masai, a tribe that I spent a week with living in Tanzania. They would get up in the morning and have a few cups of two-week old fermented milk. It was basically like their own plain yogurt. Then they would drink a small amount of cow’s blood, that’s where they got their protein from. Then they would have some millet porridge. They would let it cool and roll balls of it and then they would snack on that all morning long as they were herding their animals. They were able to maintain their energy all throughout the day on this regimen. I suspect that what’s going on in London, and it certainly is a huge issue whether it’s kids getting crabby or falling asleep or acting out in schools, or workers, construction workers in London having more accidents, I really think this is all related to having the wrong type of breakfast. If we give people the protein, the carbohydrate and the fruit-based breakfast that is designed for optimum health, you’re not going to have those kinds of crashes that result in the problems that we’re hearing about.
Werman: Does porridge happen to have some special boosting powers?
Zimmern: Well, the thing about porridge is that it’s got the great mix on its own. Think about it, if you have porridge with a sprinkling of brown sugar, a few raisins; you have a little bit of dairy in there – let’s say milk or cream and you have the whole grains…remember oatmeal has a lot of protein in it, you’re having a hard, healthy breakfast that’s fairly well balanced. Your body can store that and draw on those energy reserves all morning long so that you’re not peaking and plummeting, peaking and plummeting. Your body actually is processing the food the way it wants to process foods.
Werman: You spoke of the Masai tribes people who eat a millet porridge for breakfast. How long has porridge been around?
Zimmern: Since the days of the hunter-gatherer. You have to remember that a long time ago meat was dragged back to caves; women and children scoured the countryside looking for edible plants and roots; dining was much simpler.
Werman: Andrew Zimmern is a chef, a gastronaut and host of “Bizarre Foods” on the Travel Channel. Thanks so much for talking to us about porridge.
Zimmern: Thank you, sir.
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