This week has been an exceptionally busy one, starting with handing in my resignation at work. We decided as a family that things needed to slow down a bit and the less stress the better. It will be a challenge financially but luckily my sustainable ways are economical, so I will be doing my best to apply those practices to more areas of my family’s life as a way of reducing our living costs. Since the day of my resignation I have had some work offered to me which is in line with my ethics and values, and where the hours and starting dates are family friendly; so, many doors are opening and as cliche as it sounds I am finally starting to see where I fit into this world.
Getting into the mode of implementing more sustainable practices into my life, I went to my local community garden hui. It was so interesting to hear the thoughts of local people on their personal health and that of Maori and Pasifika people in their family and wider community, which is mostly in poor shape. When the conversation turned to food what became immediately apparent to me was the rejection of the ancestral way of eating that is unfortunately endorsed by current conventional guidelines. This really concerns me, I am not a nutritionist nor am I a health professional, but if we think about it like this: My ancestors and those of other Pasifika and Maori people were specimens of health –
“…strange that these people enjoy perfect and uninterrupted health…we never saw a single person who appeared to have any bodily complaint…the great number of old men that we saw…appeared to be very ancient, yet none of them were decrepit; and although not equal to the young in muscular strength, were not a white behind them in cheerfulness and vivacity…”(Captain Cook speaking of the New Zealand Māori in 1772).
They ate root vegetables, seafood, meat, leafy greens and experienced good health (read Dr. Western Price’s studies about the health of indigenous populations).
My thought, and indeed the thought of many others, is that the main contributing factor to their poor health is the uptake by Maori and Pasifika people of the modern processed western diet that is high in refined carbohydrate and sugar. My mission is to encourage the Maori and Pasifika people in my community to reclaim their ancestral health by eating the diet of their ancestors. I intend to lead by example and incorporate more foods that my ancestors ate into my family’s daily diet and educate people in my community about food and to take pride in their food history.
We already eat meat, eggs, leafy greens, whole milk and butter but not enough seafood, taro, taro leaves and green bananas. Fish is expensive but shellfish is not, so we will be trying to have two meals a week that contain mussels. I’m excited about this challenge and will document my progress here on the blog.