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Health & Medical UnderGround >> Paleo Diet and Native Americans


6/12/10 5:14 PM
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oblongo
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OK, I've got a friend who has started down the paleo road.

He's part Native American, and he's telling me that all of the health problems modern Indians have is because they got away from their (presumably paleo) traditional diets and started eating the white man's food.

Now, I'm not expert on Indian history, but I seem to recall how important the Three Sisters (beans, corn and squash) were to Indians, or at least the Eastern Indians. Heck, some tribes still do the Green Corn dance.

I asked him about this and he really didn't know what to say. So is there any evidence that Native Americans ever at a strictly paleo diet?
6/15/10 1:26 AM
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Milford Cubicle
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 <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21826914@N03/4701817897/" title="S7000846 by jaseb71, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4043/4701817897_32c0705f7f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="S7000846" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21826914@N03/4701828269/" title="S7000877 by jaseb71, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1271/4701828269_2df2738db1.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="S7000877" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21826914@N03/4701829599/" title="S7000878 by jaseb71, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4069/4701829599_dd06649dde.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="S7000878" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21826914@N03/4702459040/" title="S7000875 by jaseb71, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4043/4702459040_f74452f022.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="S7000875" /></a>

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<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21826914@N03/4701821587/" title="S7000872 by jaseb71, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1306/4701821587_878713e1a0_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="S7000872" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21826914@N03/4701820377/" title="S7000881 by jaseb71, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4044/4701820377_f9f7298b90_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="S7000881" /></a> 
 
6/16/10 5:15 PM
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knocka
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Edited: 06/16/10 5:15 PM
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 I met this Dr. once that trained in my old kung fu system.  He told me that his wife did research on the obesity problem of native americans and she determined that the main problem was with the genetically modified corn. 

Since corn was such an important staple, most people consumed a lot.  Maybe GM corn can be considered a white mans food...

Never did any research myself to verify his claims.  Took it with a grain of salt because my aunt who is in her 60's, who has a significant native american ancestry, can still do cartwheels and what not and she eats like 6 ears of corn at a time.

Anyway, succotash is a very important meal.  I remember my chemistry teacher telling us that it contain all the essential amino acids needed to build protein bank in 1990.  This is the only link I could find though:  http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=OuwgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=J3IFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1252%2C5414990
 
7/7/10 12:06 AM
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mxyzptlk
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Tricky -- if you want to get into what Native Americans ate before the advent of processed happy meals, it also depends on the tribe. Some were big on the deer, some on buffalo, some on salmon, some on trout, some on shellfish -- depended on their region. Same goes for veggies they ate.

My wife's half Ojibwe, and one thing we know is that certain Old World processing methods that were fine for Europeans were terrible for Native Americans. For instance, Europeans had a few thousand years to physically adapt to processing the sugars out of bread made from fine-ground wheat. Native Americans had a fraction of that time, and they didn't adapt -- they got diabetes instead.

People of Irish descent are more prone to hemochromatosis (the blood hoards iron and begins to poison the organs). That came from thousands of years of living on a low-iron diet; iron wasn't always present in their seasonal foods, so they physically adapted to hold on to it. In the past couple hundred years, there's more than enough iron in most people's diets, but like Native Americans, they haven't had time to physically adapt to that change. So some people try out a kind of Irish paleo diet. (Lots of nuts and seaweed and fish -- no potatoes).

Funny thing; people from Irish and Scottish descent are also more prone to multiple sclerosis, and the paleo diet is recommended (by some) for managing MS symptoms.
9/7/10 3:54 AM
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Dawkins
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Paleo is a fad diet. Just eat healthy and work out.
9/13/10 2:43 AM
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asscobra
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Most native tribes were nomadic so they were extremely active.
Very few tribes rode horses and were used to traveling miles on foot.  
Once the US government put them on reservations their activity level all but disappeared.
Depression and alcoholism along with unbalanced diet and lack of exercise led to a number of health problems.
I work on a reservation and on a regular basis I see cancer patients, diabetes, alcoholism, drug addiction, teen suicide, and obesity.
9/16/10 3:03 PM
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Muay Tired
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We actually have a name for obese Indians, "commod bods." You go from an active lifestyle to sedentary, from farming and hunting to receiving government-approved USDA food (aka commodities), then you get rampant obesity.

These commods are the usual 5 lb block of cheese, cans of nasty peanut butter, etc. The potted meat is pretty good, though.
9/17/10 3:39 PM
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asscobra
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 I work on a reservation and this breaks my heart. At this point it's become a cultural epidemic that will only be corrected through educating them about diet and health
10/21/10 5:34 PM
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fearOfABlackPlanet
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lets not forget the alcohol factor.

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