Well For Culture: Recipes For Ancestral Eating

Chelsey Luger, Native American health and fitness advocate, offers up three nutritious ancestral Native American recipes.
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If you need some ideas for nutritious, delicious meals to make at home, look no further than ancestral, indigenous cuisine.

At Well For Culture, we’ve put together a series of recipes which utilize a mix of both “original ingredients” and “adopted ingredients” to create meals that are nutritious, energizing and tasty. "Original ingredients" are ancestral food, or in other words, foods that are indigenous to North America (like buffalo or squash). "Adopted ingredients" are foods that are nutritionally congruent with an ancestral diet, but are not necessarily indigenous to this continent (like coconut oil or almonds). In any case, we place a premium on original ingredients, and use them as much as possible, supplementing them with adopted ingredients when necessary or convenient.

Remember that healthy meals start with quality ingredients. We would all do well to consume more real food from the earth and less processed foods in our routine. Take note of the ingredients that are used in the following recipes, and try to consistently stockpile your kitchen with the affordable basics like sweet potatoes, eggs and greens.

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It is important to put effort into procuring, growing, hunting, gathering and harvesting indigenous ingredients while also recognizing the health benefits and often more convenient accessibility of adopted ingredients. We encourage a healthy blend of the two in order to create highly functional and easily accessible recipes. Using original ingredients - especially if they have been harvested or hunted locally - is a testament to the staying power and longevity of Native lifestyles. Using adopted ingredients is a testament to the adaptability and continual evolution of Native people and culture. The recipes at Well For Culture are regionally diverse foods that we have tested and found to make us feel well and energized.

The following are a few of our favorite recipes. Remember that this recipe collection is a collaborative community effort.

1. BREAKFAST SWEET POTATO HASH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2-3 free range eggs
  • lacinto kale or spinach
  • white mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil, oregano, rosemary
  • virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of pink Himalayan sea salt

Directions

Wash sweet potato thoroughly then dice into small cubes. Bring frying pan to regular heat and add one tablespoon of virgin coconut oil. Add sweet potato, stir frequently. Midway through, mushrooms and dried herbs. When the sweet potato cubes become cooked and softened, add 2 to 3 free ranges eggs sunny-side up and bring heat to low. As eggs start to cook solid add diced kale and Himalayan sea salt –– cook until desired. This is a great pre-workout meal that will provide you with plenty of complex carbs, healthy fats and protein! Serves 1 to 2 people.

Try having a slice of avocado on the side!

2. BISON TACOS

INGREDIENTS:

  • Bison steak
  • Non-wheat, Non-GMO corn tortillas
  • Cabbage
  • Fresh salsa (tomato + cilantro + garlic + onion)
  • Avocado
  • Lime
  • Coconut oil
  • Organic Garlic sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

On medium-low heat, simmer bison steaks in coconut oil until cooked to your preference. (Medium-rare leaves the meat tender and flavorful.) Season to taste using organic, low-sodium options. We used a little bit of garlic sea salt and organic Worcestershire sauce.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Simply slice avocados and dice cabbage for garnish and texture.

When the meat and veggies are prepared and you’re just about ready to eat, heat the corn tortillas on the stove (medium heat). It only takes a few seconds each side. If you overheat them, they will turn hard, so be careful.

To serve, slice the meat thinly and place all ingredients in the center of the tortilla. Garnish with salsa, cabbage, and avocado. Eggs with spinach make a great option on the side, especially for breakfast.

3. WILD RICE + ELK MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb of Elk Meat (or any other wild game)
  • 1 cup of cooked Ojibwe Wild Rice
  • 1 organic free-range egg
  • 1/8th cup of minced garlic
  • Organic ground pepper
  • 1/8th cup of minced red onions
  • Sea Salt
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400˚F and coat baking sheet with olive oil. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together and shape into 1/1/2 inch meatballs. Place them about 1 inch apart and bake for 18 to 25 minutes until they're no longer pink in the middle. After they're done cooking top them with organic pumpkin seeds and a little more pepper if you like. This makes about 8 meatballs. Total cook and prep time is 30 minutes. Try serving these with a dark leafy green salad like dandelion greens or kale for added fiber, vitamins and minerals. and slices of avocados on the side.

We hope you enjoy them, and all of the other ideas you will find on the Well For Culture website. If you have a recipe to contribute, feel free to send it to us at wellforculture.com. For more healthy living ideas and and daily updates on how we eat and move every day, please check us out on Facebook or follow us on Instagram or on Twitter @wellforculture.