The Traditional Western Apache Diet Project

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Nest’ánThe Traditional WesternApache Diet Project

“If the People ate their Apache foods andexercised, there would be none of these newsicknesses. If the People respected themselves,respect this land, this country would be beautifulagain.”2

Today’s Diet Low in fiberHigh in saturated fat/Low in healthy fatsHigh in cholesterolHigh in sodium and added sugarsHigh in processed foods3

Reservation Health Rates 18% formally diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Over 50% overweight or obese; 49% of our children4

Diseases Related to Obesity Coronary/Heart DiseaseStrokePulmonary EmbolismEnlarged HeartHigh CholesterolDiabetesChronic Renal FailureHypertensionOsteoporosisSleep ApneaGoutHernia Gastro-EsophagealReflux Osteoarthritis Fatty Liver Disease Erectile Dysfunction Lymph Edema Urinary Incontinence Depression Cellulitis Gall Bladder Disease Dementia5

Cancers Associated with Obesity terineProstate KidneyCervicalGall BladderLiverMultiple MyelomaOvarianNon-HodgkinLymphoma6

Traditional Apache HealthcareModels7

Project ProgressSince 2011, we have: Created database of information on the traditional Apache diet Conducted and analyzed information from hundreds ofinterviews with Apache elders and traditional culturalauthorities. Detailed information regarding close to 300 food species. Compiled 96 (8 per month) sample, pre-Reservation Apachedaily menus for nutritional analysis.8

Nutrition Analysis9

Project Findings: Overview of Diet Wild plant foods 40%-60% of total diet Agricultural foods 25%-50% total diet Wild meat 20%–40% of total diet. The most important individual foods by volume in thetraditional diet were roasted agave hearts, Emory oak acorns,wild seeds (primarily sunflower family, mustards, and grasses),corn, and meat.10

Project Findings: Overview of Diet (2) There are over 200 documented Apache edible wildplant species—greens, seeds, nuts, fruits, roots andtubers, stalks, flowers, fungi, and minerals. Our traditional agriculture centered on severalvarieties of corn, a few varieties of squash, and(rarely) beans. We ate about 30 species of mammals, mostly rodentsby volume, and 9 main species of birds,supplemented by several species of songbirds.11

Project Findings:Key Aspects of the Traditional Apache Diet1. The pre-Reservation Apache diet wasextremely nutritious: High in fiberHigh in proteinLow in saturated fatHigh in healthy fatsLow in cholesterolLow in sodium andadded sugars Rich in whole foods Filling, with little volume12

Project Findings: Key Aspects (2)2. The Traditional Apache Diet is Seasonal inNatureThe diet varies according to the seasons, tying individuals and thewhole community to the natural order of seasons in terms ofnutrition, activity, and ceremony.13

Project Findings: Key Aspects (3)3. Food Production Was The Basis of TraditionalApache Activity and Movement, Economy, Ceremony,and Political Structure Following wild plant harvests drove the community’smovement throughout the year and consumed most day-to-dayactivity. Food and food-gathering was the basis of the traditionaleconomy. The origins and timing of foods is the basis or key componentof most ceremonies. Political leaders were chosen largely by their ability toanticipate, organize, and administer food production systemsand activities.14

Project Findings: Key Aspects (4)4. The Traditional Apache Relationship with Foodis Deeply Personal, Respectful, and Spiritual The Holy People, Nigosdzán, food plants and animals,and attaining a state of Gozho’ are all interconnected.15

StrategyBridging the Information Gap By:– Using the Apache Education Model– Remaining Earth-Based and Seasonal– Connecting Land and Family16

Current Activities Nutritional AnalysisField TripsNatural World InformationCalendarsDahitaaYear-Round Apache CurriculumFoodbooks/Recipes/PostsSeeds and GardensHistory PresentationParenting and College CurriculumMuseum ExhibitMeth – Rainbow TreatmentClinical Projects17

Rats are Gross!Gluscho is Beautiful18

ContactTwila Cassadore: tr cassadore@yahoo.comSeth Pilsk: sethpilsk@gmail.com19

Project Findings: Overview of Diet Wild plant foods 40%-60% of total diet Agricultural foods 25%-50% total diet Wild meat 20%–40% of total diet. The most important individual foods by volume in the traditional diet were roasted agave hearts, Emory oak acorns, wild s

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