Eating and living the diet of our ancestors

I am Anishnaabe kwe from the Ojibwe tribe with some Scottish ancestry. I grew up in a small village in Northern Ontario right on the north shores of Georgian Bay. Being almost two hours away from the closest city we were raised in the bush with farms, gardens to live on and big wood stoves to heat us in the colder months.

Growing up with this life style kept me healthy and strong as everything was in walking distance and required, as my mother would say, “a little bit of elbow grease.” My life in the north was challenging at times, but hard work and my mother’s many words of wisdom made me knowledgeable and strong in the wilderness that surrounded us.

Life took a very different turn when I left my family and moved to a southern city to continue my education at Brock University. During my years of study I found it very difficult to adjust to this new way of living and still be healthy. Living so far away from my family in a southern city I found myself making bad choices when it came to eating and lifestyle choices. My schooling and limited budget forced me to buy a lot of boxed, canned, and packaged food and I spent most of my time sitting in the library studying.

Not only was my physical self being strained with unhealthy living, but my mental, spiritual and emotional self was severely affected with the stress of school, a drastically different living space and no family to support me. I fell into a very dark and un-healthy state and my weight increased significantly.

In 2008 I graduated from Brock and started working in SOADI’s Foot Care Program. It was at that time that SOADI’s healthy attitude motivated me to start a new and healthy path. I started a paleo diet that lasted until December of 2012. During that time I also joined a gym and worked out almost every day. During my first six months I lost 60 pounds and I continue to lose weight up to this very day.

During my healing journey I traveled to Peru and spend time with the Indigenous people of that land. I learned about their culture and way of life and upon my return I met a man named Bossy who had done a north American Ancestral Diet. Bossy’s story and my journey through Peru inspired me to challenge myself to a year of a Turtle Island Ancestral Diet.

The year of 2013 has taught me a lot about our ancestors and the foods that they had and why and when they would eat them. I have never felt healthier or more alive in my life, and I will continue this traditional diet in my home for many years to come. I dropped from a weight of 210 pounds to 145 and regained my spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health.

Some of the foods that I would have every day are; nuts and seeds, wild rice, wild meat, fish, turkey, berries and apples as well as the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash). I still face challenges every day, but what makes up a person is what we choose in the face of those challenges, and to see our bodies as a sacred gift that needs protecting by making those healthy good choices.

I decided that I needed to make my health my first priority because if I am no longer here than my other priorities of family and work no longer matter. The biggest lesson that I learned during this healing journey is that no matter what happens in your life, as long as you seek the support you need and learn what is good for you, you have the power and strength to make good choices.

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