Horseing Around

The recent revelations in the press regarding horse meat replacing 60% to 100% of the intended beef in Findus beef lasagne brings up some questions. There have been many so-called ‘contamination’ positive tests by athletes across all sports, who claim that they consumed a product that contained whatever banned substance they were caught for, could some of them be telling the truth?


If meat from a different species can turn up in foodstuffs sold in the major supermarkets, it means anything could turn up in virtually any processed food, including sports supplements. It suggests that the assumed quality controls that are there to protect us from consuming products that may contain toxic substances, or eating something dangerous, really don’t exist to the levels that we thought. Potentially Findus will not recover from this and will have to rebrand themselves quite rapidly in order to maintain their ability to sell any products, or it’s likely they’ll go out of business. This isn’t an issue with horse meat, this is eaten in many countries quite safely, but this is more an issue of where this meat came from and is it dangerous? I’ve read that some of the Irish horse meat from the previous scandal involved horses slaughtered due to race horse farms not being able to continue in the current economic climate. If that’s the case, and horse meat got into the food chain from breeders who were trying anything to make some money, surely that makes it highly likely they were resorting to doping horses in order to get results. Those horses then appeared as ‘beef’ in some products, containing all sorts of potentially banned substances & also another drug which is in use in some countries but should be banned as it’s dangerous to humans, it’s called ‘bute’ and any horses treated with it should never be allowed into the food chain, the BBC have story on it here.

Where does your sports supplement come from?

If you don’t know where your sports drink or any other ‘performance’ products you use come from, there’s no time like right now to find out. Otherwise you really have no idea what you are consuming. If you buy sports supplement from somebody on ebay, or anywhere else that could have a multitude of sources, is that really a wise thing to do. Sports supplements are big business, I’ve chatted to one British rider who was ‘popped’ and blamed a sports supplement, I actually believe this man about what happened to him and the ensuing legal problems that resulted from attempting to suggest a large company could have allowed their brand leading product to get ‘contaminated’. He gave up trying to prove this and took his ban rather than fight a corporation. How many pico-grammes of clenbuterol did Contador get caught for (I’m not suggesting anything regarding his guilt here), imagine if there’s as little control of sports supplements as there is in the processed meat industry, do you really know what you’re putting in your body, do you even read the label, could a tiny amount slip into your system and you get labelled a doper?

A solution

The obvious solution is not to use sports supplements, riders rode the Tour de France for 90 years before they needed energy gels or long polymer sports drinks. If you still want some kind of ‘energy’ product, why not make your own, there are plenty of online resources, like this one to find a recipe, just type these four words into google and you’ll find hundreds, home made sports drink. There have also been plenty of articles that suggest your protein rich recovery drink is much better replaced with good old chocolate milk, it contains the proteins & sugars necessary for recovery is quite a bit cheaper than commercial recovery drinks. So maybe it’s time to simplify things and get back to basics, humans have survived for millions of years with a much higher level of activity than we do now, they used what was around them, it seemed to work pretty well up to now, humans are everywhere. So ask yourself, does your sports supplement give you a noticeable advantage, next week try something you made yourself and see if you notice any difference at all, I didn’t, give it the one week challenge and see what you think, you may be surprised.

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