This is 10-year-old Jayden G. She has a long list of allergies that have plagued her throughout her lifetime, but the most disruptive allergies have been to proteins found in foods such as peanuts/beans/legumes, and chicken/poultry.
If Jayden so much as enters a room where peanut residue is airborne she will react. If she were to come into direct contact with peanuts, she would instantly go into a life-threatening anaphylactic shock response.
Eating poultry causes an equally scary, but less evident reaction. When she eats poultry, Jayden’s breathing shuts down but no hives appear to warn of a reaction. This reaction is scary because you do not realize what is happening until it is almost too late; when her lips are blue and her airway is so swollen that her breathing sounds like an ear-piercing whistle.
The meats and meat alternatives section of Canada’s Food Guide recommends beans, nuts, legumes, chicken and poultry as the healthiest way to obtain your protein intake. When these items had to be removed from Jayden’s diet, her entire family made the same dietary changes. Initially, they tried living on just beef and pork, but after a couple of months, this became unbearable due to the lack of diversity in their diet. So the family sought out the help of local dieticians.
Jayden’s family was advised to return to a traditional Onkwehonwe diet. The non-native dietician said, “Your people had it right the first time.” She said that the mixture of corn, beans and squash eaten together make a protein. She stated that just a small cube of brick cheese added to your food is equal to one serving of protein.
The family started to get brave about reintroducing different beans into Jayden’s diet, in an effort to try the corn, beans and squash mix. Then they went one step further and decided to try wild game.
Jayden’s mom will admit that she is not an overly domestic gal. She was not familiar with how to cook wild game. She got a bit of moose meat, and the first “leather strips” she made were inedible. But knowing that she had no other choice but to figure out how to cook this, she sought out the advice of local chefs.
They advised her to cook the meat slow at a low heat, and add anything acidic. So far, tomatoes or apples are the family’s favourite additions to the wild game. Mom adds a bit of olive oil and spices or a few strips of bacon to make the perfect taste blend. Of course, the two most important pieces of advice she can give is: give thanks to the animal, for his help to feed your family and be sure to cook with love and good intentions. These honestly are the two most important ingredients.
It took some time to connect with enough local hunters to make sure the family has ample supplies at all times. Most guys are eager to help the family, given the young girl’s health circumstances. The family has been taught that meat will have a more wild taste if the hunter chases the animal. In other words, they had to make sure they bought meat from good hunters. So far, though, they have been very impressed with the hunting skills of the men here at Six Nations.
One mistake the mother made in adjusting her daughter’s diet was to focus too much on protein intake. In doing so, Jayden had a reduced intake in fruits and vegetables for awhile. This taught them that balance had to be maintained.
Jayden’s diet was not a weight loss challenge, but a dietary change out of necessity from a life or death medical condition. They have learned that a healthy diet requires the active participation of your mind in a good way in achieving the goals of your diet. Due to all of the restrictions in Jayden’s diet, they have learned that it is not helpful to view food as a form of reward or deprivation.
We must create a healthy relationship with food. See each food item you eat as adding to your nutritional intake, rather than worrying only about your caloric intake. If the ingredients are so complex that you can not thank Creator for what is in the food you are eating, then you probably should not be eating it. Of course, if you can, always be grateful; cook with love and have good intentions.