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The Power of TEFF

This mighty grain is a staple food for some (often called an ancient grain) that has been used by many unrivaled athletes from Ethiopia.

I have taken the pursuit to eat more ancient grains in my meals. A lot of us are used to grits, cream of wheat, and other starchy items, however there are many powerful benefits we can get from eating teff regularly.

Teff is an underestimated powerful ingredient that is often overlooked in the grocery store. It originally comes from Ethiopia and has many different colors such as white, red, and dark brown. It is a staple grain found in most Ethiopian cuisines that I enjoy.

As a person of african descent, I try to always make sure I institute native foods in my diet. like most, I have grown up eating things that were simply not healthy for me or majority of it derived from a western diet. It doesn't hurt for us to retrace a few steps pre-colonialism and understand the vastness of african food and grains. Likewise, other cultures should embrace diversity in their meals as well, celebrating the traditions and styles of others. Food and cooking can be another way we learn about the world and people around us.

Nutrition facts;

Half a cup of raw teff has 13g of protein and 8g of fiber, offering minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, B6 and more.

Athletic & biological Benefits:

Over the years, famed distance runners would credit teff for endurance abilities. This could be related to the high iron content in teff. The high iron content found in teff increases oxygenation to the blood, helping improve circulation which is vital for running and athletic activities. Many people (even non-runners) can use a lot more iron and red blood circulation. Most have used this grain as a pre-race meal, especially for people in endurance sports.

Other benefits:

  • Copper and phosphorus: which reduces inflammation and muscle cramps

  • High in calcium: which is excellent for bone health

  • High in magnese: which contributes to normal insulin function

Teff is a main component of the diets of many of Ethiopia's running elite such as:

  • Haile Gebrselassie

  • Kenenisa Bekele

  • Tirunesh Dibaba

Great "plant protein"

Once you change to a plant-based diet most (especially athletes) want to maintain muscles and body weight. This suits as a very good alternative to a lot of other dairy and meat foods, teff is also gluten free.

(fitness Genes, 2017)

How do I make my Teff?

I typically eat them whole and it still tastes very filling and warm. To get the optimal benefit of grains, it is much healthier to eat them whole instead of processed, however it is not bad to eat teff processed into flour, pancakes, bread, or injera. All of it is really really good for you and far more powerful than other foods we eat in the morning.

In the morning (and in the picture) I make my teff like porridge because it is much faster and healthier for me to make it this way. When I eat it in the morning, it has a very warm nutty taste, but I add a few things for more alkalinity and sweetness. See below:

My Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 1/2 cup of Teff

  • 2 cups of spring water

  • 1 date pitted and sliced

  • 1 tablespoon of vegan butter

  • 2 cloves

  • Dash of salt


  • 1 tablespoon Sugar cane (optional)

  • 1/4 cup of plant-based milk (optional)

  • Walnuts (optional)

  • Chopped bananas (optional)

Instructions (pretend like you're making oatmeal)

  • Bring water to a boil

  • Add all ingredients

  • Stir, put stove on medium for about 10-15min

  • Taste to make sure the consistency is right (grain should be a nice crunchy taste)

  • Remove cloves

  • All done!

Serve and be happy !

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