Re: Native American Diet and Health
David Leonard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 18 Apr 1996 11:29:56 -0700 (MST)
>Date: Thu, 18 Apr 1996 09:44:36
>From: David Leonard <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: Native American Diet and Health
>I'm happy to see your project is taking an active role in preventing
dietary deterioration caused by the encroachment of the "modern way" of
eating on the traditional diet. For starters, I'd recommend your getting a
copy of "APRENDIENDO A PROMOVER LA SALUD" by Werner and Bower, available for
$14.00 from the Hesprerian Foundation, 2796 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA
94306, Tel. (415)325-9017, Fax (415)325-9044. Pages 515-520 presents a food
grouping scheme that gives rightful priority to a plant-centered traditional
diet based on locally grown staple foods like maize, sorghum, and beans.
The book is a must for anyone working in health and nutrition promotion in
the 3rd World.
>While technical advisor to the LUPE ag extension program in Honduras
targeting marginal campesino familes, I developed an llustrated field manual
(160 pages) titled "AGRO-NUTRICION CAMPESINA: UNA GUIA PRACTICA PARA LA
BUENA ALIMENTACION DE LA FAMILIA CAMPESINA MEDIANTE UN ENFOQUE INTEGRADO".
Designed for extensionists and health promoters, its goal is to improve
campesino family nutrition and maternal/child health through:
>1. Enhancing the productivity, diversity, and natural resource conservation
of the campesino farm focusing on all 3 of its sub-systems: *basic grains*,
*household/mixed garden/small animals*, and *cattle* (if present). In
contrast, most agro-nutrition manuals focus mainly on the garden (prime
source of vitamins but a poor producer of energy and protein) which doesn't
make much sense if protein/energy malnutrition is a co-existing problem.
>2. Education in practical nutrition (emphasing preservation of the
traditional diet), food preparation/processing/storage, and preventative
health with special emphasis on mothers and pre-school children.
>3. Improving intra-family food distribution
>4. Prevention and adequate treatment of diarrhea, parasites, acute
respiratory infections, measles, and malaria.
>5. Consuming iodized salt.
>A major theme of the manual is that the basic structure of the campesino
family's tortilla/bean-centered diet (plant-centered, low-fat, high-fiber)
confers significant protection against DEGENERATIVE DISEASES such as heart
disease, diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers in contrast to the
supposedly "superior" high-fat, low-fiber, high-protein U.S.-style diet
consumed by the middle and upper classes in 3rd World countries.
>The high rate of malnutrition associated with the traditional campesino
diet stems not from any basic flaw but rather from the underconsumption of
not just fruits and vegetables but tortillas and beans as well. The
traditional diet can be readily corrected through moderate changes that
maintain its basic structure (an economic necessity) and further enhance its
protection against degenerative diseases.
>I'd be happy to airmail you a copy of the agro-nutrition manual if you
could pay postage and photocopying charges (the original edition is out of
print) which would run around $15. I could also e-mail in WordPerfect 5.1
format some relevant exerpts (minus illustrations) and an English or Spanish
summary of the manual.
>Consultant in agro-nutrition and hillside-farming systems
>At 1:49 PM 4/17/96 -0400, you wrote:
>>Mexico's food system has suffered gravely under neoliberal and so-called free
>>trade policies. Not only has food production fallen drastically in the past
>>few years but poor peoples diets have changed from one of traditional foods
>>to packaged and industrialized foods. There are indications that health
>>problems are resulting from these changes--diebetes, obesity, alcoholism and
>>others. We have been asked to put together an exposition for Culture Centers
>>in Chiapas to make people, particularly in Indian communities, aware of the
>>risks involved in these dietary changes. I thought perhaps SANET users could
>>guide us to information resources on this issue, generally in terms of diet
>>and health and more specifically with regard to experiences of other Native
>>American groups. Thank you.