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>> Alert Bay is small community made largely of aboriginal Canadians (Namgis tribe). Unfortunately, residents are coping with extremely high rates of obesity and diabetes. Researcher Jay Wortman, M.D., hypothesized that the problem was caused in part by a change in their diet from that of their ancestors, and set out to see what would happen if people returned to a more traditional diet.

Probably the most notable difference between the modern Namgis diet and the traditional one is that until relatively recently the Namgis tribe ate no starches or sugars. Their diet was largely seafood, wild game, and a fat extracted from local fish called oolichan grease. Fats comprised most of the calories of the traditional diet as the grease was liberally used in most traditional dishes. The only plant foods eaten were seasonal wild plants and berries. However, in more recent years, starches and sugars have infiltrated the food supply, until the cupboards of Alert Bay were as full of pasta, crackers, and sweets as any typical North American kitchen.

To mimic the traditional diet but make it more accessible, a group of 100 people went on a diet similar to the Atkins Diet. They were monitored by medical personnel throughout the process. The main differences between the diet in the study and the traditional diet were that the participants were allowed a greater variety of foods such as bacon, eggs, sausage, and non-starchy vegetables including that favorite of low-carb dieters: cauliflower. (The local store found it had to get 4 to 5 times more cauliflower than they usually ordered.)
One thing I liked best about the documentary was that it showed what real people did when they ran into obstacles which threw them off track. People shared their reactions to difficulties with family and health, confessed to "cheating" on the diet, and talked about how they got back on the low-carb wagon. The film is filled with real people who I found myself rooting for, a sign that the filmmaker was able to forge an emotional connection between the audience and the people in the film. But in the end, they kept at it, and the group lost over 1200 pounds. Cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, and other health measures improved. Many were able to eliminate medications for diabetes or blood pressure, or at least cut back to a large degree. <<

I got some good recipes from Dr. Worthman's blog

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