Millet at the Health Food Store

My first visit to a health food store was in 1955. I was on a mission. I had read about the five sacred grains of China, wheat, rice, barley, soy beans and millet. I was after millet.

Being a 12 year old boy back then implies a lack of sophistication more common to a 7 year old today. I didn’t understand what the store was about.

Ann’s Health Foods seemed small and dark. There were lots of little items on wood shelves. There were wooden kegs holding items under tight lids. It had the appearance of a movie western general store, only shrunken to fit the proprietor.

She was a petite woman that I thought of as old. Considering how much longer she lived after I met her, she was not really an old woman. She did have the self-possession that we often find in elders. She knew she was different. She was ready to advocate, even defend that difference.

I asked her for the millet. What did I hope to gain from millet? As a boy raised on the icons of Popeye and Mighty Mouse, it was clear that certain foods could impart super powers. And I desperately needed a super power. (You can see why I’m drawn to superfoods!)

After a brief interaction with the intimidating shop keeper, I left the store with a small paper bag of ground millet and another small bag of raw sunflower seeds.

The sunflower seeds weren’t bad. They raised my hop0e for the millet.

My mom helped me prepare the millet by adding water and helping keep an eye on the pot while it came to a boil. Soon, it was ready, but my hopes were crushed.

It had a bland, different taste, not a good combination. I’m sure I underseasoned it. If I had thought of adding sugar and milk, as I did to cream of wheat, it may have passed muster.

Millet did not take a place in my diet. I did not return to a health food store for fifteen years.

I did continue getting sunflower seeds. There was a deli on the way home from school, when I walked or biked. It had roasted, salted sunflower seeds. They had a much better flavor. Sometimes I got roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, called pepitas, and targetted to Tampa’s Latino community.

When I did begin frequenting the health food store again, Ann had a new location. Her store was bigger and brighter. Oddly, she was about the same age.

I don’t go to health food stores as often these days. The supermarkets have brought in so many items that I used to get at the health food store. But, I haven’t seen any millet.

Maybe it’s time to go on down to the health food store and get a bag of ground millet. Maybe all it needs is maple syrup and a little hemp milk.

List of nutrients from the power of superfoods

This list is from The Power of Superfoods by Sam Graci and Harvey Diamond.

I just culled it from the index, leaving out the non-vegetarian items. The list is not all one kind of thing. What it means to me is, a good place to start.

acerola berries   acidophilus   alfalfa   apple   apple cider vinegar   apricots
bananas barley   beans   bee products   bentonite clay   bilberry
blue-green algae   blueberries bran fiber   broccoli   burdock   butter
cabbage   carrots   chard   cheese   chicory root chlorella   chlorophyll
chromium picolinate   cinnamon   coffee   collards   cottage cheese

cranberries   dandelion greens   dulse   enzymes   essential fatty acids
fiber fructo-oligosaccharides   fruits   garlic   ginger   ginseng
grains, organic, whole   grape grapefruit-seed extract   grasses   honey
herbs   Indian berry   iodine   iron   juices   kale kelp   lactobacillus acidophilus
legumes   lettuce   licorice   magnesium   maple syrup   milk
milk thistle   minerals   miso   molasses, blackstrap   mushrooms
mustard greens   nuts oils   olive oil   omega EFAs   onions   orange juice
organic foods   parsley   peaches   peas pectin   peppers, red   potassium
rapini   rice   royal jelly   salt   sea vegetables   seeds   soy spinach   spirulina
sprouts   squash   strawberries   sunflower seeds   tea, green, herbal
tofu   tomatoes   water   watercress   wheat grass   whey   yams   yogurt   zinc

Here is a link to the book itself:

Bee Pollen as a Superfood

At this time of year in Palm Harbor, the oak trees are in full battle cry. People speak of pollen and sinus, signified by sigh-ness.

I saw a micro photo of oak pollen. The working end of the medieval weapon called the morning star had nothing on the dangerous look of this little beast.

You can well imagine how this spiky marvel of the oak tree can irritate sensitive membranes. And yet, many people are oblivious to this pollen. And, yes, I am among their number.

Two people told me recently of the sinus challenge presented by this oak pollen. I told them the story of my student Jeannie Horrell. She is Gary Horrell’s mom.

Gary did the video for The Money Tunes, and some other productions. Included is his cut of the Orange Blossom Special on YouTube that I did with the Green Grass Boys. There are links to these on his web site where he documents Florida Folk on video.

When Jeannie talked about her sinus problems from oak pollen, I simply recounted what I’ve heard. “Taking bee pollen acts as an inoculation against tree pollen.”

Bee pollen is one of my favorite superfoods. It’s easy to take. I like the taste of it.

Not all health food nuts like bee pollen. We who do are a minority of a minority.

I was drawn to it because of all the superfoods that I knew of at the time, it was tasty and easy to find. I was informed when I started that bee pollen is a good source of minerals, including trace minerals.

Bee pollen also has analogs of hormones that help balance the endocrine system, or so I have read.

It’s been a regular part of my diet for decades. Nowadays, several times a week, not every day.

And, finally, it’s inexpensive. This would not be so if bee pollen was popular. If the 4% of the population who shop at health food stores all got bee pollen, the price would take off like a rocket.

Recommending bee pollen to Jeannie was natural for me. She took the effort to get some at a health food store.

At the next fiddle lesson she told me that it really made a difference with her sinuses. It was a big improvement.

Now I’m waiting for my new people to say how it went for them.