‘Globally, indigenous peoples suffer from poorer health, are more likely to experience disability and reduced quality of life, and ultimately die younger than their non-indigenous counterparts.’

A UN Report on the health of indigenous peoples points to a significant problem, but the question is WHY? Why are native populations more prone to autoimmune disorders and type 1 diabetes? Why do they have a higher incidence of alcoholism and drug addiction? And why the lower life expectancy?

The Gluten Free RN is exploring the role of food in health outcomes for indigenous populations around the world. She begins with an explanation of the dietary differences between hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies, discussing how native populations were exposed to the gluten in grains only when European conquerors came to occupy their lands.

Nadine shares her challenge in finding information about indigenous populations and celiac disease, explaining why further study is necessary. She speaks to the highly processed nature of the commodity foods provided to Native Americans in the US and the shortcomings of Canada’s Food Guide when it comes to the health of First Nations people. Listen in and learn the significance of educating indigenous populations around celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, empowering those groups to make choices that will improve their health and quality of life!

What’s Discussed:

The global indigenous population

  • 370M in 70-plus countries
  • Rich diversity of cultures

The health status of indigenous populations

  • Higher incidence of autoimmune disorders, T1D
  • Higher prevalence of addictive disorders, cardiovascular disease
  • Lower life expectancy, increased morbidity/mortality

Why indigenous populations have more health issues

  • Access to health care, isolation and lifestyle
  • Food (hunter-gatherer vs. agricultural society)

The lack of information around indigenous populations and celiac disease

  • Very few studies available

The impact of grains on the native population

  • Significant change in health care outcomes, quality of life

The prevalence of celiac disease in indigenous populations

  • At least 1%, likely 3% or higher
  • No way to know without mass screening

Why eating healthy is a challenge for the indigenous population

  • Food scarcity, desserts
  • Reliance on commodity foods provided by government

The conclusions of the Prairie Nymph blog on Canada’s Food Guide

  • Based on diet of European origins, doesn’t mention celiac disease
  • Ignores health benefits of traditional diet for First Nations people

Why it’s important to educate indigenous people around celiac disease

  • Empower to make food choices with better health outcomes

Resources:

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jaren M. Diamond

Dough Nation by Nadine Grzeskowiak

USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program

‘Canada’s Food Guide and Native Women’ by Prairie Nymph

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman

American Indian and Alaska Native Health

‘Celiac Disease: A Disorder Emerging from Antiquity, Its Evolving Classification and Risk, and Potential New Treatment Paradigms’ in Gut Liver

‘Celiac Disease: A Life-Changing Diagnosis’ in Indian Country Today

‘Government Food Boxes? It’s Nothing New for Native Americans’ on WDET

UN Indigenous Peoples Fact Sheet

‘Many Native Americans Lack Access to Healthy Food, But There’s a Growing Movement to Change That’ in Grist

‘Characteristics and Factors Related to Quality of Life in Mexican Mestizo Patients with Celiac Disease’ in BMC Gastroenterology

Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

WHO Health of Indigenous Peoples

WHO Indigenous Peoples and Substance Abuse

Connect with Nadine:

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Heal

Posted by Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

Nadine is a 'food is medicine’ activist and is very proud of her work to educate all people about the power of food in health and wellness. Nadine is an expert consultant, professional speaker with over 1500 lectures to date, author of DOUGH NATION: A Nurse's Memoir of Celiac Disease From Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism, podcaster, mom and former emergency/trauma/critical care nurse. Nadine is co-authoring her next book on the science of celiac disease.

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