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Native American Food

A Healthier Way of Living

Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans

by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD

The authors are grateful to Don Cot? for his help with this article


1. S. Boyd Eaton, MD with Marjorie Shostak and Melvin Konner, MD, PhD, The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living, Harper & Row

2. Loren Cordain, PhD and Boyd Eaton, “Evolutionary aspects of diet: Old genes, new fuels. Nutritional changes since agriculture,” World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics 1997:81

3. Jean Carper, USA Weekend

4. Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, “Stone Age Diet,” SHAPE, October 1998

5. Weston A. Price, DDS, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, (619) 574-7763, pages 73-102

6. Ibid., p 91

7. The explorer Cabeza de Vaca is quoted in WW Newcomb, The Indians of Texas, 1961, University of Texas.

8. Ibid.

9. Eaton, op cit, p 80

10. USDA data, prepared by John L. Weihrauch with technical assistance of Julianne Borton and Theresa Sampagna

11. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, The Fat of the Land, MacMillan Company, 1956

12. Frances Densmore, “Chippewa Customs,” Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 86, page 43

13. Stefansson, op cit

14. Beverly Hungry Wolf, The Ways of My Grandmother, pages 183-189

15. John (fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes, Lame Deer Seeker of Visions, Simon and Schuster, 1972, page 111

16. Stefansson, op cit, page 27

17. The Journals of Samuel Hearne, 1768.

18. Hungry Wolf, op cit

19. Hungry Wolf, op cit

20. Inez Hilger, “Chippewa Child Life,” Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 146, page 96

21. William Campbell Douglass, MD, The Milk Book, Second Opinion Publishing 1994, page 215

22. Personal communication, Florence Shipek, expert on the Californian coastal Indians.

23. Mary Ulmer and Samuel E. Beck, Cherokee Cooklore, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1951

24. Cabeza de Vaca, op cit

25. Samuel Hearne, op cit

26. Frances Densmore, op cit, page 39

27. “Wildman” Steve Brill with Evelyn Dean, Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants, Hearst Books, New York, 1994, page 220

28. Personal communication, Florence Shipek, op cit

29. Mary Ulmer, op cit

30. Keith Steinkraus, ed, Handbook of Indigenous Fermented Foods, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1983

31. Weston Price, op cit, page 31


American Indians know all too well the havoc that Type II Diabetes can wreak on the human body. What they may not know is that Uncle Sam is to blame.

Thousands of American Indians depend on the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). What do participants receive? It should come as no surprise that the commodities are loaded with carbohydrates with very little protein on the menu and even less fat. And the fats Indians do receive are loaded with trans fats. These foods are cheap and the multinational giants that produce them are equipped with lawyers and lobbyists to ensure that their products are the ones our government buys. The federal government feeds 53 million people per day. Is it any wonder they’re out to cut costs, whatever the consequences to our health?

Even in light of the latest research on the ill effect of excess carbohydrates on the human body, federal agencies have no choice. The National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 , also known as Public Law 101-445, states that all federal agencies shall promote the current US Dietary Recommendations in carrying out any federal food, nutrition or health program. The USDA Food Pyramid is more than a recommendation; it’s a federal prescription written in stone. And it’s speeding the death of most if not all Americans.

The Indians are hit harder and faster than the rest of us because they are only two generations away from the “old way” of life, based on game animals and fish. Uncle Sam will never admit that the Indians were tall, lean and healthy just two generations ago. If ever someone wanted proof that humans weren’t designed to eat a grain-based diet, look at the American Indian population—almost all of them are battling overweight, diabetes, and heart disease. Addictions are common. Yet many Indians have vivid memories of life before federal handouts, a time when diabetes and other diseases of civilization were unheard of among the Indians.

The US government has failed miserably when it comes to treating its native peoples. But without a change in US law, Indians will continue to receive a recipe for death. One possible remedy is the Tribal Self-Governance Project, created by Congress in 1988, which allows tribal governments more flexibility in the decision-making and administration of their contracted programs. Indians must take a stand and demand that government subsidies reflect their native diet. Better yet, Indians who can should refuse their “gift” from the government and return to hunting and fishing—the only way to reclaim their health.

With the link below, you will find Native American Recipes. Enjoy!
Nativetech: Native American Technology and Art

Michael Eades, MD
Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades are the authors of Protein Power Lifeplan (Warner, 2000)

All Credit goes to:
Traditional Diets
for the Information on this page.

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