The Other Bread

bannockTo follow up the post on the ever popular fry bread, it is important to know there are other breads that are seen as traditional for American Indian Tribes.   I thought about doing this follow up piece to the fry bread post after hearing a nutrition educator from the Minnesota Chippewa tribe talk about their efforts to offer bannock in place of fry bread at community gatherings .  Bannock is a traditional Ojibwe bread that is often baked.  The bannock, of course, having less calories and fat than fry bread will take less time in the gym to work off after eating the several pieces we are likely to consume!

Other traditional breads of American Indian Tribes include cornbread, tortillas, and Lugaled to name a few.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the first two but Lugaled is a traditional bread for which my grandma had recipes in her recipe files.  Lugaled, also spelled Lagilette, means fire bread.  It was traditionally made in a skillet over the open fire, or if there wasn’t a skillet available, the dough could be wrapped around a branch and baked over the flames.

The recipe for Lugaled in my grandma’s collection includes flour, baking powder, salt, lard, and water.   These were likely ingredients that were available either on the reservation or by trading.  By hearing the ingredients you can imagine it would be more like a biscuit than the fluffy fry bread.  I’m told by one of the nutrition program staff in Red Cliff that it is best with bacon on it!  Obviously, our more healthy option is compromised with bacon!

A friend and student of my grandma’s, James “Jimmy” Pete, wrote a cultural preservation article for the Red Cliff Tribal Community in which he addressed the importance of remembering Lugaled.  It was clear from his article that Lugaled had a connection to the past and is a small way of keeping traditions in the forefront of our lives.  Like many traditional foods, it is a way to bridge generations by sharing stories and sometimes tall tales of what it has meant in our lives.

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5 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 tbsp. lard or drippings

2 ½ cups water

Mix dry ingredients.  Add fat and work until crumbly.  Add water.  The dough will be stiff.  Knead in a bowl for 10 rounds.  Add a bit of flour if mixture is sticky.  Place in a greased flat cake pan and bake at 400° for 40 minutes.  Lug can be cooked outside by an open fire by placing in a greased skilled and facing the fire.  When one side is brown, turn over in pan and cook the other side the same way.

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Venison Wild Rice Meatloaf

Unlike most commercial farming today where animals are raised under intense pressure to pack on the pounds as quickly as possible (often times with the help of steroids and growth hormones), whitetail deer live a more free and natural life without any hormones, additives or antibiotics added. They live and grow in a wild environment munching on leaves  berries, new shoot twigs, nuts, grass & other natural food.

INGREDIENTS                                                                                                     

  • 2 pounds ground venisonPicture2
  • 1 cup carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups wild rice (cooked)

Tomato Jam Sauce

  • 1 jar (18 oz) orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.   Spray a 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine venison, carrot, onion, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt. Whisk eggs together and add to meat mixture. Mix well. Once combined, add cooked wild rice to mixture and mix well.
  3. Press mixture into the greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.   Remove from oven and drain liquid and skim away any fat. Before serving, top with tomato jam sauce (see next step for recipe).
  4. For tomato jam sauce: in a small sauce pan, combine 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 18 oz jar of orange marmalade. Bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and set aside.

Per serving (1 slice meatloaf with 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato jam – makes 10 servings):   292 calories, 8 grams total fat (4 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat), 33 grams carbohydrate, 23 grams protein, 365 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Source: http://diningwithalice.com/twin-cities-live/venison-meatloaf/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waawaashkeshi (Deer)

Many different types of meat were eaten by the Ojibwe, such as omashkooz (elk), mooz (moose) and makwa (bear). But deer, or venison, is one of the most commonly consumed today.

The diets of Native Americans varied with the location of each tribe. But all were based on animal foods of every kind. Native peoples diets included not only large game like deer, buffalo, wild sheep, antelope, moose, elk, caribou, and bear but also small animals such as beaver, rabbit, squirrel, muskrat, turtle and raccoon as well as many different types of fish, shellfish and wild birds including ducks and geese.

winter-deer-janelle-streedThe Ojibwe traditionally hunted many of these animals. However, several of these animals have decreased in number in many areas, preferring northern lands that are less populated. Elk and moose, for example, are much less part of the diet as they once were. Today, the most commonly consumed wild game is deer, or venison, along with fish and other small game.

By Ojibwe tradition, waawaashkeshi are ready for harvest when fireflies begin making small sparks in the night air. The Ojibwe were extremely skilled hunters. They hunted all animals in a very careful way. Prayers of thanks and gratitude to the animal were extended before, during and after the hunt.

Food was hunted for the entire community. The entire animal was used, not just the muscle (meat) for food. The skin, or hide, of the deer was used to make clothes, shoes and bedding. The meat was eaten fresh and dried in long strips to eat during the long winter.

The fat of the animal was one of the most important sources of calories for the Ojibwe. Organs, tendons and bone were all utilized as well.   Nothing was wasted, as that would be an insult to the animal who had given his life.

Venison was also an important part of feasts and gatherings. Today, hunting is still a widespread practice among the Ojibwe. Many people still honor the animal in the old way and venison is a tasty part of the diet!

 Healthy Waawaashkeshi

Venison is perhaps one of the healthiest meats in the world!

It is a very good source of protein.   Venison is higher in protein than beef & chicken! And, at the same time, it is lower in fat than most commercially available beef.

One 3 oz portion of venison—about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand—contains about 134 calories & 3 grams of fat versus 247 calories & 15 grams of fat in the same sized portion of beef.

Venison is also a good source of iron. Again, venison beats out beef as an iron source! Iron is essential to women who are more at risk for iron deficiency. Growing children and adolescents also have an increased need for iron.

Iron is a key part of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is also essential for energy & metabolism.

Biboon (Winter)

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Bison in Yellowstone Park

Biboon is the Ojibwe word for winter.  For many Native peoples, colder winter weather meant an increased need for heavier foods such as meat like venison & buffalo (and meat’s naturally occurring fat like lard) and complex starches and fiber found in sweet potatoes, winter squash and wild rice (and other foods which can be stored over the winter months). This might also include dried jerky (pemmican), dried berries, corn (hominy), and canned goods.

 

Happy Healthy YOU Year!!

Make 2015 a “Healthy YOU Year”. Find ways to boost your health, fitness, and well-being and be an inspiration to others!

Need inspiration to get started? Meet three people who changed their health habits – and their lives. They lost weight, became active, gained energy, and became role models so their children could live healthier lives too. Here are their stories and tips for making healthy living easier. They say if they can do it, you can too!


Grace

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Grace Goad – Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Elder

Grace Goad changed her fast food eating habits to reach two goals: She wants to live as long as her mother – 105 years. And, she wants to be able to easily bend down to put on her socks.

Grace is 78 years old, and on the right track to achieve her goals. She lives in the tiny village of Timbisha, in the middle of Death Valley, California. She is able to change her eating habits and get some fresh fruits and vegetables. Some food is brought to the village by staff from Toiyabe Indian Health Project, located 120 miles away. Grace also goes to the town of Pahrump, 50 miles away, to shop.

Her trips to town used to include stops at fast-food restaurants. She used to not be picky about what she bought at the grocery store. But Grace wanted to lose some weight to be healthy and move more easily.

Grace also changed her physical activity. She walks every evening, after the heat of the day. She has arthritis in her knees and uses a walker. But that doesn’t stop her. “I walk from my home to that trailer over there.” Grace points to a trailer near her house. With a walker and arthritis, that is far away! But that doesn’t stop Grace. She has goals to walk to the tribal center, and then walk to her sister’s house which is on the far side of the village.

In two week, Grace has lost two pounds! But better than that, she feels good knowing she is on her way to achieving her goals.

Grace has already achieved her other goal. “I can bend over and put on my socks! Ha!” At that moment, Grace bends over, touches her toes, then stands straight up, smiling big.

Here is what Grace did to change her eating habits:

  • Eats oatmeal for breakfast instead of bacon and eggs. She knows oatmeal is good for her heart.
  • Changed the name of “convenience” stores. She calls them all “junk food stores.”
  • Buys fresh fruits, vegetables, beans and rice at the grocery store. She always has these items in her house so she can include them in almost every meal.
  • Changed the way she orders “fast food.” She gets picky about breakfast sandwiches. She orders them on English muffins and not croissants. She orders them with only one egg, without sausage or cheese. “I am satisfied,” she says.

Desba

“I was young and in love. My boyfriend and I enjoyed doing lots of things together – especially eating. We at three big meals a day, usually washing them down with a couple beers. We ate until we were stuffed and it wasn’t long before I needed medication for acid reflux. But it seemed nothing could slow me down and while my weight soared to 250 pounds, I just kept eating.

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Desba

Then the breakup happened. It was a difficult time for me. And in the middle of it all was my excess weight and low energy. I had been worried about my health for a while but never took the time to make changes. Now I had the time and I made the decision to begin taking care of ‘me.’

I started by eating less than half of what I ate with my boyfriend. I also started walking to clear my head. Pretty soon I didn’t need the acid reflux pills anymore. My red, puffy face was transformed to smooth and youthful looking skin. And just by eating less and walking I dropped 40 pounds. I was amazed at how much better I felt.

Looking back I felt like I couldn’t get enough food – always living to eat. Now I enjoy what I eat but I eat only until I’m not hungry anymore. I still eat the same foods as before, just not as much of them. And I enjoy them more. I not only survived the breakup, I actually thrived by changing my life.

Sometimes I slip into old habits and eat like the old days. Too much meat, too much everything. It takes my body about two days to recover and I’m happy to return to eating just what I need.

I’m proud of myself.   I don’t see my old boyfriend anymore, but I can see my toes.”

Desba’s tips for improving your health by eating less:

  • Listen to your body and eat only until full.
  • Savor every bite.
  • Go for a walk. Get up and move.
  • Expect some setbacks, but don’t let them push you back into your old habits.

Anna and Pat

Anna and Pat0001

Anna, Pat and their daughter, Eagle Woman

“My husband dreamed of our daughter before she was born. In his dream she was strong and independent – her name was Eagle Woman. This is the name we gave her when she was born. Our little girl is now 3 years old. She is beautiful and smart and powerful, and, yes, strong and independent, like an Eagle.

My husband and I made several important decisions when we decided to have a baby. For one thing, I made a point of eating lots of fruits and vegetables while pregnant with Eagle Woman. It helped me stay healthy during my pregnancy and I believe it made it easier for our baby to like them later on. How many three year olds do you know love broccoli and carrots? She likes to dip them in ranch dressing. And she likes all kinds of fruits.

She likes fruit juice too. In fact, she likes it so much she’d probably drink it all day if we let her. But it’s not good for a child to have so much juice. She drinks milk with her meals – always low-fat – and usually just water in between.

When diabetes runs in your family, like it does mine, you just have to take extra precautions. We all know that fruits and vegetables are best for children. But sometimes well-meaning relatives want to spoil Eagle Woman with candy. My husband and I explain that eagles are sharp and worthy of pride; we want only the best for her and that does not include candy and other ‘junk food.’

It takes time and effort to offer fruits and vegetables with meals. But Eagle Woman is worth it to us. It’s just something we have to do as parents. She’s everything to us. Someday she will soar just like the Eagle.”

Anna and Pat’s healthy eating tips for the whole family:

  • Make a commitment to yourself and your family to be healthy and strong for yourself and each other.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables over candy and other ‘junk food.’
  • Offer fruits and vegetables during meals.
  • Limit the amount of sugar foods.

The one thing all of these stories have in common is that everyone started slow, making small changes that they could easily stick to. As you start your journey towards a Healthy YOU Year, look for small healthy changes you can make in your life and make a list. Can you walk for 10 minutes a day? Get rid of one soda a day and have water instead? Make it a priority to eat breakfast every morning? How about choosing a fruit or vegetable to snack on once a day? Now pick one of the things from your list and do it. When that starts to feel easy, pick another thing from your list and keep going! Before long you will amaze yourself and become an inspiration to others.

Need more inspiration? Check out this website for more stories from other people just like you who made small changes into a BIG difference in their lives. http://www.ihs.gov/MedicalPrograms/Diabetes/index.cfm?module=resourcesPrintableMaterials

Berry Wild Rice Breakfast

Wild rice for breakfast?  Yes!!  This hearty breakfast uses two Ojibwe staple foods – berries and wild rice.  You will get all the benefits of the vitamin C in the berries plus the fiber from the wild rice. Fiber helps you feel full for a longer time so this breakfast dish will fill you up for a long day of summer time fun!   As a bonus, wild rice is also an excellent source of niacin which helps your body release the energy in the foods  you eat to help fuel you up for those long summertime days!


INGREDIENTS

 1/2—3/4 cup blueberries, strawberries or raspberriesPicture1

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup cooked wild rice

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

 

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Melt butter in sauté pan over low heat. Add berries and warm gently for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and heat through.
  3. Serve in a bowl with milk.

 

Serves 2

Per serving : 211 calories; 6 g fat; 37 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 4 g protein.

Note: Nutrition information does not include milk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ode’iminan (Strawberries)

Berries are an important food for many animals and people, especially in Ojibwe tradition. Berries are not simply something to sprinkle on cereal—they are one of the four sacred foods in Ojibwe culture.

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Beautiful beaded ode’imin on this purse!

June is the time the wild strawberries start ripening and begin to appear, glowing like fire in the grass.  The heart shape of the berry gave the strawberry the name ode’imin.  In fact, the word ode’imin translates to heart berry.  Wild strawberries differ from the cultivated strawberries we see in the grocery store.  Wild strawberries are small; a wild strawberry the size of a thumbnail would be considered large.   And,  unlike some of their domestic cousins, wild strawberries are very sweet and have an intense strawberry flavor.  I’ve been told by people who’ve tried them that once you’ve had a wild strawberry, you will never forget it!

In the Ojibwe culture, each plant was given a soul-spirit and some believe the soul-spirit of this fruit was unique, unlike any other.  It is told that the soul-spirit of the strawberry was that of a being not admitted into the Land of Souls and who was returned to earth complete its term of being in the form of this heart-shaped berry.  Other Anishinabeg teachings portray the strawberries as “preserving marital harmony, their heart-shaped form being a reminder to those who may have forgotten, why we live with a loved one” (from Basil Johnson, Ojibwe heritage, taken from “Jiibaakweda Gimiijiminaan, Let’s Cook Our Food” a collection of recipes by Native Harvest, copyright 2003, Morris Press Cookbooks.)

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Ode’iminan hiding in the grass

During the summer, when berries were abundant, the Anishinaabeg would eat the berries fresh.  They would also gather the berries to preserve for use over the long winter months.  Berries were preserved in many ways. In one method, the Ojibwe would weave mats from strips of pine bark, lay berries on the mats and leave them in the sun until they dried.  Another option was to mix the berries with maple syrup, pour the mixture onto sheets of birch bark where it was left until it was dry.  Sometimes, berries would be made into little patties.  Then, in the winter, they would boil these patties, sprinkle them with a little maple sugar and they would taste just as sweet as they had in the summer.


Traditional Native American diets were exceptionally healthy, keeping the body and spirit strong.   Many of the berries that Native people gathered, ate and preserved for the long winter months are no exception to this tradition of eating healthy foods.  Strawberries, for example, are an excellent source of vitamin C.   Just 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries provides 68 mg of vitamin C….that is 75% of the daily amount needed by men and 90% of the amount needed by women!  Vitamin C plays an important part in keeping you healthy.  In fact, some experts call vitamin C one of the safest and most effective nutrients around.  Some of the ways vitamin C helps keep you healthy include:

  •  It helps boost your immune system to prevent colds.
  • It helps cuts and wounds heal.
  • It keeps your gums healthy.
  • It helps your body absorb iron and folate from plant sources of food.
  • It keeps your blood vessel walls strong and so protects you from bruising.
  • It helps produce collagen – a connective tissue that holds muscles, bones and other tissues together.
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A wild strawberry plant

 

 

 

Dandelions

dandelionHere in Northern Wisconsin, we are still seeing piles of snow remaining on what we hope will soon be green lawns.  Before we know it, we will be visited by the pops of yellow that are loved by children and despised by allergy sufferers.  The dandelion, which is mostly a weed, is a very nutritional plant.  It was used by American Indians for both food and medicine.  The dandelion is rich in vitamins and minerals, specifically Vitamin A (Source: From Blueberries to Wild Roses: A Northwoods Wild Foods Cookbook, Dottie Reeder)

The dandelion is a great example of how the American Indians believe in using everything that The Creator has provided in nature.  The leaves, roots, and even the flower can be put to use.

Leaves:  It is best to harvest when they are young and tender.  As the plant gets older, the leaves tend to have a bitter taste.  Use the leaves as you would fresh greens or steam like spinach.

Flowers: The flowers are edible and have been used in many ways including: in salads, in  beverages, or as a dye.

Roots:  The roots can be collected, cleaned and boiled as a typical root vegetable.


The following recipe from University of Wisconsin Extension Program uses the green leaves in a stir fry.

Dandelion Stir Fry

6 handfuls of dandelion greens

2 fish of choice (any small pan fish) or 1 medium fish (sucker, redhorse or salmon)

Fat to grease pan

2 onions

Salt and pepper

White sage

Cut, clean, and fillet fish.  Cut into long strips.  Chop onions.  Wash and chop dandelion leaves.  Grease metal fry pan slightly.  Place on medium heat.  Place strips of fish in pan.  Add onion, salt and pepper and a few pinches of white sage.  Let cook til nearly done, (fish is flaking and onions are transparent).  Then add dandelion leaves.  Cook until leaves are tender.  Add salt, pepper, and sage again, to taste.


dandelion2My main reason for writing about the dandelion is because of a legend my grandma told me.  It is one of my favorites from the many she shared over the years.  So, I am sharing the story of Shawondasee and the Golden Girl, as roughly told by my Grandma Dee (Delores Bainbridge, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa).

Shawondasee is the south wind.  In the summer, Shawondasee was very lazy and liked to lie in the shade of great oak trees.  He would inhale the wonderful scents of the summer and when he exhaled, he would spread the beautiful odor.

One day, Shawondasee, from his spot under the trees, sleepily glanced around at the fields and saw a beautiful slender girl with yellow hair in the distance.  He thought she was so beautiful and wanted to call her to him.  But, he was too lazy.

The next day, he looked again and spotted the slender girl with the yellow hair, still out there in the field.  He thought her more beautiful than before.  Every day he would wake and hold his breath until he saw her there in the field.

But one day, he awoke and glanced over the field.  He looked again and rubbed his eyes to clear his vision.  His golden girl was gone!  In her place stood an old woman with a head of gray.

Shawondasee was so upset that he cried out “My brother, the north wind, has played a cruel trick on me.  He has put his hand on her head and look what he has done!” Shawondasee was so upset that he gave such a mighty cry that the old woman’s hair fell from her head and she was gone.

And as we know, this is the way of the dandelion, so beautiful and yellow to start and then moving to the gray haired lady before blowing away!

Waagaagin Naboob (Fiddlehead Soup)

fiddlehead-food-fern-springApril 16, 2014

Even though 6-12 inches of snow is predicted for today in Northern Wisconsin, spring is officially here!

Early spring just after the snow has melted is the time to start looking for and harvesting waagaagin – the tightly curled shoots – or fiddleheads – of fern fronds.  Ojibwe people traditionally made use of many of the early spring greens including waagaagin.  Springtime greens were a reminder of new life after the long northern winters.

If you like the taste of asparagus and broccoli, you will probably like the taste of waagaagin.  Waagaagin are most delicious when eaten fresh though they can be canned or frozen for later use.  They taste great steamed or sautéed and work wonderfully in soup.

Some tips for harvesting waagaagin:

  • Do not take more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the young waagaagin from each plant in order to not deplete the plant.  Leave some so the plant can grow and replenish for next spring.
  • Choose small, firm, brightly colored waagaagin with no signs of softening or yellowing.
  • Harvest the waagaagin when they are 2″ – 6″ tall so you can get some of the tasty stem but while the fiddlehead is still tightly curled.  Once the head starts to unfurl the taste can be bitter.
  • Fresh waagaagin do not last long once harvested so they should be eaten or preserved within one to three days of harvesting.  They can be kept in cold water for up to 3 weeks but the taste may be compromised.

Eating traditional foods is a healthy way of eating!  Waagaagin are fat free, cholesterol free and have no sodium.  In addition, they are an excellent source of vitamin A.  Vitamin A does many important things for you:

  • —Protects lungs against the development of lung cancer and emphysema.
  • —Helps prevent the build up of cholesterol in the body – helping to keep the heart healthy and risk of heart attack and stroke down.
  • —Reduces the stress on the heart that is caused by diabetes.

There are many recipes online for fiddlehead soup.  Here is a favorite from Tribal Cooking: Traditional Stories and Favorite Recipes , 1996.  This cookbook is a compilation of recipes from Ojibwe tribal members throughout Wisconsin and was published by the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council in Lac du Flambeau, WI.

Waywaagain Naboob (Wild Fern Soup)

To cook one kettle full for supper!

One grocery bag full of wild ferns (4 inches).

Cut into 1 inch pieces or break up.

4 slices of salt pork – cubed.

Boil for 1/2 hour or until tender.  Make little dumplings and put in kettle.  Let continue boiling for 15 minutes.  Stir so it won’t stick to bottom of kettle.

Very, very delicious!!

P.S. These can be picked anywhere in the woods.

Note: Waagaagin should be thoroughly cooked before eating.  Never eat them raw! In 1990 a food-borne illness outbreak in British Columbia was connected to consuming lightly cooked and raw fiddlehead ferns .

DARK GREENS – Nutrition Champions

Dark greens are great sources of calcium.  Calcium is the mineral that makes our bones and teeth strong.  It is also needed so that our muscles will contract and helps blood from a cut or wound heal and clot. Spinach and other greens such as kale and chard can contain at least 10% of our daily value requirements for calcium.  Spinach is also a great source of iron, which our bodies use to form hemoglobin and myoglobin—these are the proteins that carry oxygen throughout our bodies.  Greens are also very high in beta carotene (vitamin A from plants) and vitamin C.greens