Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

July 9, 2014

Native diet to defeat diabetes

PESHAWBESTON — There's a new addition to the Great Lakes foodie hit list: fresh, local, seasonal and now, Traditional.

Getting back to, recognizing the value of and learning how to prepare regional Native American foods is the focus of a cooking class July 12 at the Anishinabek Cultural Center.

"It gets back to the food our ancestors ate," said Chris Moran, a Traverse City chiropractor who will present the free class, sponsored by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and open to the public.

Foraged and grown vegetables, berries and fruits were pesticide-free. No hormones were added to fish and hunted meats. Local and seasonal was a lifestyle — not a catch-phrase, Moran said.

The Anishinabek food pyramid contains no dairy, and is rich in regional, foraged foods like wild rice, blueberries and mushrooms. Grains are replaced at the pyramid's base by traditional meat, fish, bird and eggs.

This diet "produced a community of people of unparalleled health and vitality," and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer and autoimmune diseases were virtually unknown, Moran said.

Moran, 53, has personal experience, he said.

Fifteen years ago, he took stock. He'd gained weight. He was stressed out. He was living a mile high — in Denver, Colo. — but felt physically low. Then a nutritional healer moved into his chiropractic office and started changing people's lives with plant-based diets and unprocessed foods.

"The changes happened quickly for me," Moran said. "I dropped about 30 pounds of excess weight and was able to run again, which I hadn't done in years ... change typically happens when people decide they are 'sick and tired' of being sick and tired."

A good diet is good medicine for "lifestyle" illnesses like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, he said.

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