“The more processed food you eat as an athlete the more likely you will suffer long-term damage from your concussion.” – Dr. Jack Kruse
I remember John Papadakis telling me, if I wanted to big and strong, I needed to eat big and strong. John played football at USC in the 60’s, and I played football with his sons, Taso and Petros. Taso took an interest in this weak kid and taught me how to lift weights. But his dad showed us how to eat. They owned a Greek restaurant and knew how to cook and eat.
Since those days, I have held the belief that people never got strong eating from a vending machine. Looks like I am going to have to revise my tag line to include new research.
Eating from a vending machine will not afford you the protection you will need to survive the demands of playing football. You need to be strong of body and mind and the chemicals in processed foods will contribute and speed up the damage your brain suffers during the violent impacts of contact sports.
“We also must remember that these athletes, soldiers, and high school students are simultaneously ingesting huge amounts of MSG and aspartame in a standard American diet.”
What is MSG?
Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a sodium salt or glutamic acid, a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid. It is used as a food additive and flavor enhancer. At one time it was made from wheat flour, but is now made from bacterial fermentation.
It is found quite often in Asian cuisine and is used by virtually all fast food chains in their processed foods. However, it is not contained to just processed foods, but can be found in dietary supplements, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Anything made with a sugar substitute likely contains neurotoxic aspartme, Equal, NutraSweet, or AminoSweet. The FDA allows food companies to use the name “natural flavor” to refer to MSG w/o the sodium salt attached in foods.
“In the last decade, acute neurologic trauma in the forum of concussions has made huge national news because of high profile injured athletes whose careers where cut short and in some cases their life ended. For decades, the issues of concussions in the NFL were accepted as collateral damage to the dangerous sport.”
When I came into the NFL in 1999, I was led to believe a concussion only occurred when you were knocked unconscious. Fast forward to 2010 when I was evaluated by the Amen Clinics for a study on NFL players, a concussion was re-classified as any hit where your vision blurs, you go crossed-eyed, have ringing in your head or ears or feel a dull ache in your head.
Once they tell you this, they ask, based on the new definition how many concussions have you had?
My Berkeley educated mind could only utter one word…”Fuck.”
“If the person has continued assault by exogenous excitotoxins, a leaky gut barrier, or by a leaky brain blood barrier the incidence of neurodegenerative disease can be easily estimated.”
In 2009, we launched the football site. The same year we started traveling the world educating coaches and athletes. In 2010, I added Talk To Me Johnnie in to answer a few of the questions I receive on a daily basis. The food was simple, red meat, chicken, fish, starchy and green vegetables, whole dairy, fruit, roots, tubers, bulbs, coconut oil, olive oil and avocados. Simple foods that have aided and protected our bodies long before we created this fad called the Internet.