According to Chef Sean Sherman from Sioux’ Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, indigenous diets are particularly underrated, and adopting one can be the key to looking and feeling healthier.
Sherman, an Oglala Lakota who has been a nutrition educator and has spent almost three decades conducting research on pre-European indigenous diets, has pointed out that indigenous diets are particularly good for your overall health, and somehow managed to pass the radar when looking for healthier and sustainable diets.
Indigenous foods are supe-seasonal, depends on local produce and includes no processed food, sugar wheat, dairy or high-cholesterol animal-based foods. It’s naturally low in carbs, high in protein, low in salt and primarily plant-based with a lot of grains, nuts and seeds.
It’s also a more direct way of experiencing nature- a concept particularly important across indigenous cultures, and one that is particularly missing in western culture.
Foods To Stash Up On
Some ways to adopt a more indigenous-style diet is by keeping a generous stash of healthy alternatives for your processed foods. This includes grain-alternative flour, which can be made by drying and grinding acorns, hazelnuts and chestnuts.
You can also begin to plant some of your own herbs, spices and veggies. One particularly easy food to plant is sunflower sprouts- which are sweet, tender and have a high amount of vitamin B.
Keep a good stash of dried wild mushrooms. They’re particularly versatile- you can add them to salads, soups and meat sauces as you please.
You should also keep packets of native seasonings and herbs, such as sage, staghorn sumac, bergamot, mint and mustard powder. Culinary ash is also a secret flavor booster that could help keep you satiated and satisfied.
However, it is important to note that suddenly switching to a diet that’s relatively restrictive in comparison to your current diet- particularly with regards to fat consumption, can trigger your body to go into what is called the “famine reaction.”
Your body gets used to being at a certain weight and having a certain amount of fat. Suddenly switching into a restrictive diet can make you suddenly more vulnerable to emotional eating, as your body will be panicking to try and get you to eat more. It is recommended by scientists that you ease into diets, or even take two-week breaks to ensure your plan for a healthier lifestyle is sustainable and not mentally draining.