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‘It’s better being on a native diet’

Thursday November 29, 2012
Rick Garrick/Wawatay News
Bossy Ducharme described his traditional diet to a group of youth at the Ontario Native Women’s Association office in Thunder Bay on Nov. 13.

Traditional diet advocate Bossy Ducharme is planning to restart his diet on Dec. 1 after successfully completing his first 16 months of eating only traditional First Nations food last January.

“Right now I’m on the Paleo (paleolithic) diet, which is about 80 per cent of my (traditional diet),” Ducharme said during a Nov. 13 presentation for youth in Thunder Bay. “It’s better being on the native diet, for me, and Dec. 1 can’t come soon enough.”

Ducharme spoke about his exper iences on the traditional diet and since he stopped following it during the youth presentation and at an adult presentation on the following day at the Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre.

Ducharme said he “lost it” after going off the traditional diet last January.

“My anxiety came back,” he said, adding that he also gained weight when he went off the traditional diet.

Ducharme said his whole life changed while he was on his traditional diet, noting that he didn’t experience anxiety or worry while on the diet even though three people close to him died that year.

“I lived in the moment and day by day,” he said.

Ducharme would usually eat “big” when he woke up in the morning while on the traditional diet.

“Sometimes I would have a full meal,” Ducharme said. “If I could afford a salmon filet, I would have it for breakfast. That’s the best thing — to wake up and eat like a bear.”
Ducharme usually broiled his salmon filet.

“It’s crisp on the outside and tasty on the inside,” he said.

In addition to the salmon, Ducharme also loves eating berries, a variety of nuts such as pecans, hazelnuts and pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and wild rice for breakfast.
“A lot of times I would have corn meal cereal with maple syrup if I was in a rush,” he said.
Ducharme usually uses a slow cooker to cook his meals overnight, explaining that turkey, buffalo and elk made up most of his diet.

“Before I went to sleep, I would throw in some meat, usually buffalo or elk or turkey, and then when I wake up in the morning it’s all ready for the day and I would eat that all day,” Ducharme said. “And nine months into my diet I found canned salmon with no salt added. It’s fast.”

Ducharme said the canned salmon made his life on the traditional diet a lot easier, noting that up until he discovered it he had been spending most of his evenings preparing food.
“I always had wild rice on me all the time,” Ducharme said. “I always had nuts and seeds on me at all times and I always had berries.”

Ducharme usually cooked about one cup of wild rice every second evening, which would last him about two days.

“I got most of my wild rice from Winnipeg, because it is actually real wild rice,” he said.
Ducharme’s favourite drink was peppermint tea, with maple syrup as a sweetener.

He also ate pumpkin, squash and even fiddleheads.

“I’m only saying it’s for native ... Turtle Island people,” Ducharme said. “Weston A. Price did a study in the early 1900s and he discovered that if you eat closer to your ancestors environment, what they ate, you will be of optimal health.”

While Ducharme’s diet worked for him, people should consult a doctor or dietician before embarking on any diet.

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