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Six Nations mother connecting with ancestral foods for a better future

Six Nations mother connecting with ancestral foods for a better future

For the last seven weeks Six Nations woman Julee Green has been a participant in the Healthy Roots Indigenous Wellness Challenge. She has stopped eating the ‘five white gifts’ of sugar, salt, lard, dairy and wheat. She has incorporated 30 minutes of daily activity and in doing so she is changing her life. We sat

For the last seven weeks Six Nations woman Julee Green has been a participant in the Healthy Roots Indigenous Wellness Challenge. She has stopped eating the ‘five white gifts’ of sugar, salt, lard, dairy and wheat. She has incorporated 30 minutes of daily activity and in doing so she is changing her life. We sat down to check in with Julee and get an update on how she is doing.

So you’ve been participating in the Healthy Roots Indigenous Wellness Challenge for seven weeks now. How are you feeling so far?

I’m feeling great! Before I began I was feeling horrible. I had aches and paints in my back and feet. My digestion wasn’t working right. But I noticed a difference just after two days into the diet. That sold me! That is when I realized, ‘Okay. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.’

It’s also giving me a sense of how our ancestors used to eat. How would they have eaten and been more physically active? It really got me thinking. One time my meat was on a ration and I was still hungry and I thought to myself, ‘Is this maybe what it would have felt like when back in the day there was only so much food to go around until they could go out and get more?’

Wow – you made the connection.

I realized that eating this way is making my body function better.

Being in pain and feeling lethargic all the time weighs heavy on your spirit. It must have been empowering to overcome that pain.

I continued everyday from that day forward just feeling better. Feeling lighter and in my overall health feeling like everything was functioning properly. After the end of the first month I felt like my mind was even feeling clearer. There was less fog. I didn’t even realize that that was a thing until I started doing this diet and I was reading up on brain fog and realized that, ‘Wow. People get brain fog. And that is what had been happening to me.’

Awesome! So you got a handle on the foods list. How was the journey adding 30 minutes a day of physical activity?

Since I’d been spending so much energy putting good food into my mouth, it just made sense to get this good activity going through my body too. Being a part of the Healthy Roots Indigenous Wellness Challenge Group on Facebook and having the support of others who are participating is also helping. Having the Fitbit is helping me keep my steps up and keeping me accountable. Even being in the group and having people encourage you. Now everyday I am doing something physical. Before maybe I was doing that once a week but now I’m definitely more mindful of it.

What has been your biggest victory so far?

Staying away from the ‘five white gifts’ (sugar, wheat, salt, lard and dairy). It’s been seven weeks and when I look back at how I’ve come this far I think to myself, ‘I can’t believe I haven’t had sugar! I can’t believe I haven’t had wheat!’

Before I would think I could not ever go without it. Now I’m standing here seven weeks later seeing these changes in my body and I’m going, ‘Wow! I’m really doing it!’ To me that is continually amazing. I never thought I could do anything like this but here I am doing it. Its such a rewarding thing thinking to realize that I don’t really need those things.

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Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow is Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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1 Comment

  • Elder Anthony Quentin Vaughan
    February 23, 2015, 7:39 am

    I would like to start this Challenge. Where do I find the information to start. I feel this would be a good start on my road to recovery from so many medical issues I have. I am Native American too and I agree that we need to go back to the original ways including our diets…

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