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  • #46
    [QUOTE=twa2w;952479 I believe the Inuit are the fringe - the people who got pushed out of better areas and had no choice but to adapt. If you had a choice would you voluntarily live in the Arctic. Not a chance.
    I did my research - I couldn't find anything to convince that the Inuit diet was as healthy as other 'native diets' and in fact found a fair amount to convince me otherwise. I am on to other things - I still keep an open mind and read threads like this looking to see if something may come up that would make me question my original findings.[/QUOTE]

    Remember, though, that when the Inuit's ancestors first settled the north coast of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, they walked across the Bering Land Bridge into a landscape much different than it is today. The climate was milder and large land mammals ruled the scene--saber-tooth tigers, camels, buffalo, wooly mammoths, cave bears, etc...The area north of the Alaska Range was one of the only non-glaciated places in the northern hemisphere, strangely enough. As the glaciers to the south retreated, these people migrated south and became North American Natives ('Indians'). Some stayed in the north and became Athabaskans, Eskimos, and Inuits. They had extensive trade networks with tribes in the south and traded ivory, whale oil, seal furs for inland goods like animal hides and implements. They even had slaves. Anyhoo--these guys did indeed thrive on a diet limited to mostly fish, seaweed, sea mammals, migratory fowls, and large land mammals (mainly caribou). There were numerous villages that became isolated over the years and starvation was the main wide-spread killer due to seasonal variations in sea-ice and migration of animal changes.

    I guess I'm rambling, but the point is the Inuit weren't always living like they are today. They have a rich history and much has been lost to them over the millenia. The first immigrants into the arctic were probably the hardiest breed of homo ever to roam the earth--not just a bunch of fringe wanderers that managed to survive.

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    • #47
      Well, I finally received and read my copy of The Greenland Mummies. This detailed minutae of what they were like, even the speculation, is right down my alley. The book does not reveal the causes of death for all 8 buried in the two main graves under consideration. After all, I doubt if I'll leave "the butler did it" type clues 500 years after my death, either. Only one, for sure, died of a cancer that was revealed by x-ray, and she was elderly by Inuit standards. As mentioned, the sea furnished the majority of their diets, and an interesting fact was that Inuit were known to bleed easily. Their blood did not clot easily. I upped my salmon oil immediately, as strokes and heart disease have figured in my history. There was no sign of either heart disease nor dental caries in any of the examined mummies, no matter how worn the teeth from hide chewing. Dental plaque extended only to the gum line - there were no signs of gum disease. Lice was abundant in clothing and hair, but especially in the one young woman whose bones were extremely calcium deficient, moreso than all the rest. Their teeth did reveal, however, episodic deprivation for some in early childhood, leading to malnutrition and all its consequences in later years.
      The 4 year old boy likely had a skeletal hip deformity that researchers linked to Down's Syndrome. I reserve judgement, because both my aunt and a SinL have/had Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and they were extremely intelligent, if crippled, people. Modern medicine saved them from total physical disability. No signs of diminished intelligence could be inferred except from his bones, and I remain skeptical. Except for the youngest, who may have been exposed prior to burial, none died as a result of violence.

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      • #48
        Well, I finally received and read my copy of The Greenland Mummies. This detailed minutae of what they were like, even the speculation, is right down my alley. The book does not reveal the causes of death for all 8 buried in the two main graves under consideration. After all, I doubt if I'll leave "the butler did it" type clues 500 years after my death, either. Only one, for sure, died of a cancer that was revealed by x-ray, and she was elderly by Inuit standards. As mentioned, the sea furnished the majority of their diets, and an interesting fact was that Inuit were known to bleed easily. Their blood did not clot easily. I upped my salmon oil immediately, as strokes and heart disease have figured in my history. There was no sign of either heart disease nor dental caries in any of the examined mummies, no matter how worn the teeth from hide chewing. Dental plaque extended only to the gum line - there were no signs of gum disease. Lice was abundant in clothing and hair, but especially in the one young woman whose bones were extremely calcium deficient, moreso than all the rest. Their teeth did reveal, however, episodic deprivation for some in early childhood, leading to malnutrition and all its consequences in later years.
        The 4 year old boy likely had a skeletal hip deformity that researchers linked to Down's Syndrome. I reserve judgement, because both my aunt and a SinL have/had Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and they were extremely intelligent, if crippled, people. Modern medicine saved them from total physical disability. No signs of diminished intelligence could be inferred except from his bones, and I remain skeptical. Except for the youngest, who may have been exposed prior to burial, none died as a result of violence.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by JEL62 View Post
          Nice post.

          It saddens me to see so many people hanging their diet on the Inuit... when by many accounts it wasn't really a healthy diet at all.

          A necessary diet... but not necessarily healthy.

          The longest lived peoples on earth have always had a high plant-based diet.
          Meh, not really. Last I read something like greater than 20% of well lived hunter gatherers get 85%+ of their calories from large game. The other 15% is foraged and small game/insects. Beyond that the average of all known HG societies averaged 70% hunted and 30% foraged with the "foraged" including small game and insects.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
            Meh, not really. Last I read something like greater than 20% of well lived hunter gatherers get 85%+ of their calories from large game. The other 15% is foraged and small game/insects. Beyond that the average of all known HG societies averaged 70% hunted and 30% foraged with the "foraged" including small game and insects.
            Most hunters were also gatherers. There is no real contradiction, because if the climate had serious temperature differences, meat/fat formed most of the winter diet; plants and sea creatures formed much of the summer diet. Dried and fermented foods rounded out the diet.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Paysan View Post
              Most hunters were also gatherers. There is no real contradiction, because if the climate had serious temperature differences, meat/fat formed most of the winter diet; plants and sea creatures formed much of the summer diet. Dried and fermented foods rounded out the diet.
              In respect to the thread...I was responding to JEL's assertions about "mostly vegetable" diets being optimal. As humans we have a long history of eating primarily meat. Doesn't mean you we can't live or even thrive on a large variety in terms of diet, as long as its real food that we are adapted to eating. The point actually was that the majority of wild humans thrive on a meat heavy diet....and when they dont, it is not in favor of vegetables.....its tubers or even some fruit that replace it.

              Now that I reread he does say "plant" which doesn't really change the facts of things though.
              Last edited by Neckhammer; 10-08-2012, 07:27 PM.

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              • #52
                Little known fact: Inuit relied on POTATOES!!! when food was scarce. There is a plant, known as Eskimo Potato, that grows well into the arctic and was dug, stored, and eaten all winter.

                Eskimo potato - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                From: Bear Root And Indian Potato–Traditional Medicine or Food Use Raven’s Ruff Stuff And Other Things Native
                Food Use: Like garden parsnips, the roots of Indian potato are sweetened by frost. The plump fall or spring roots can be washed and eaten raw like carrots, grated into coleslaw, sliced and stir-fried, steamed as a dinner vegetable, simmered in stews, or added to boiled dinners. Try tatercakes when camping, serve them as a breakfast pancake, or as a supper potato substitute.

                Dena’ina Athabascans feed the softened roots to infants who lack mother’s milk. The food is an important staple, which is stored in quantity in underground food caches. The Dena’ina refer to H. alpinum as k’tl’ila meaning “rope,” an apt description of the root that grows to two feet long. H. mackenzii is ggagga k’tl’ina, which translates as “good food for bears.”

                Interior Athabascans gather Indian potato in fall and store the roots, mixed wish fish oil and Rubus chamaemorus berries in cellars for winter use. Flora Kokrine, an Athabascan born in Tanana, Alaska, favors roots fried in oil. Elder Howard Luke of Nenana says he adds the roots to moose soup.

                Kobuk River Eskimos crush H. alpinum root, called ‘masru’ and use as butter. Roots are often taken from mouse holes and replaced with fish or other food. According to Inupiat teachings, masru should always be eaten with oil. Eating the root plain can cause constipation.

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                • #53
                  Edible Wild Plants: 19 Wild Plants You Can Eat to Survive in the Wild | The Art of Manliness
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                  • #54
                    Sweet! I'm actually looking for a book....like a foragers guide to wild plants in my part of the country. Anybody who knows a good one, I'd appreciate the recommendations.

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                    • #55
                      Where do you live, Neckhammer? Decades ago (seems like centuries), I fell into appreciating one of the first wild fooders, Euell Gibbons. One of his stunts was to take a group of skeptics walking through city lots and harvest a meal's worth of greens. He wrote at least 3 books -Stalking the Wild Asparagus, Stalking the Blue-eyed Scallop, and Stalking the Healthful Herbs. I learned a lot from him, but since moving to a semi-arid mountainous area, find many of my earlier wild foods unavailable. Nevertheless, there are plants outside my home that would spice up a meal of freshly harvested roadkill - deer, moose, elk, wild ponies, mountain goats and sheep, as well as Canada geese, coots, seagulls and other avian life forms. We do have lots of wild berries in a good year, chokecherries, etc.
                      I was surprised to find out just how many plants can be harvested above the Arctic Circle. Keep looking.

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