NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SmartEatingWeek : We give 40,000 years of bushtucker and #nutrition the #thumpsup : Contributions from @Wuchopperen @NutritionAust #NATryFor5 #NATryFor5 @SandroDemaio @MenziesResearch @DAA_feed

 ” Bush tucker, or bush food, we have used the environment around us for generations (40,000 years ) , living off a diet high in protein, fibre, and micronutrients, and low in sugars. Much of the bush tucker eaten is still available and eaten today.

We guide you through it here ”

See Part 1 Below.

Read over 45 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Nutrition Healthy Foods articles published last 6 years

 ” Wuchopperen Health Service celebrated Smart Eating Week (12 – 18 February) by promoting the GOOD TUCKER app which gives food items thumbs up, thumbs across, or thumbs down depending on how healthy they are.

The GOOD TUCKER app was developed by Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up!, The University of South Australia and Menzies School of Health Research in partnership with The George Institute, to provide a simple way for people to identify the healthiest food and drink options available in stores.

Your smart phone can help you make smart choices, Sometime the nutrition panels on food items can be complex – using the Thumbs Up app gives people a quick rating to help them make a better choice “

See Part 2 Below

 ” Why you still need to eat healthy foods — even if you aren’t overweight

We all have that one friend whose eating habits and body shape simply don’t add up. While enjoying the unhealthiest of meals and a sedentary lifestyle, somehow they effortlessly retain a slender figure.

At first glance we may assume these slim people are healthy, but it’s not always the case.

So if you don’t have weight to worry about, what’s the impetus for avoiding sweet or salty temptations and eating good, nutritious foods instead? ”

Alessandro R Demaio is an Australian medical doctor and fellow in global health and non-communicable diseases at the University of Copenhagen ( and a supporter of NACCHO ) See Part 3 Below

 ” Menzies is working towards better health through better nutrition by supporting #SmartEatingWeek,Join the celebrations by following
#SmartEatingWeek and check out our SHOP@RIC study resources “

Click here for Resources

To help celebrate Smart Eating Week we’re giving five Australians the chance to WIN some great prizes! To enter upload a photo or video on Facey or Insta of how you’re incorporating veggies into your snacks!

  To help celebrate Smart Eating Week we’re giving five Australians the chance to WIN some great prizes! To enter upload a photo or video on Facebook or Instagram of how you’re incorporating veggies into your snacks!

Don’t forget to tag @NutritionAust and use the hashtag #NATryFor5

DAA would  love for you to get involved this week in . Share with us what Smart Eating means to you. Join the celebrations by downloading our social media toolkit here

Part 1 Bush tucker, or bush food, we have used the environment around us for generations

Originally published HERE

Food from Animals

Providing the consumer with their required intake of Vitamin B, Aboriginal people learnt to hunt animals when they were at their fattest, offering the most amount of meat. Sometimes the meat would require a pounding before being traditionally cooked either over an open fire or by steaming it in pits. When fishing in the ocean, rivers, and ponds, mud crabs and barramundi were the popular choices. Whilst mud crabs were easy to catch, and tasted delicious boiled or roasted, barramundi would commonly grow to 1.2 metres, feeding more mouths, served on hot coals and wrapped in paper bark.

Land animals such as kangaroos, historically known as being high in protein, and emus whose meat is known to be higher in protein, Vitamin C, and protein than beef, are both low in fat. Not only are the two animals from the national emblem native foods, but hunters don’t stop there, hunting both small and large animals. Goannas are said to offer oily white meat tasting like chicken, while a 100g serving of stewed crocodile meat contains as much as 46g of protein, which is almost double the serving of a similar portion of chicken.

Other native animals previously captured by both Aboriginal and White Australians include: carpet snakes, rats, mussels, oysters, turtles, wallabies, echidnas, eels, and ducks. Most animals are still eaten today, and many like barramundi have made it to restaurants.

Insects and Grubs

The most famous of all bush tucker is the witchetty grub, which can be eaten either raw or roasted over a fire or coals, and holds a nutty taste. This grub is ideal for survival as they are a good source of calcium, thiamin, folate, and niacin, rich in protein and supportive of a healthy immune system. Like witchetty grubs, green ants are relatively high in fat content and another popular choice for tucker. Said to taste like lemon, the green ant’s white larvae is usually eaten, otherwise the green ants and their eggs have also made an appearance in a drink suitable for relieving headaches by grounding and mixing them together with water.

Many other insects known to be favoured include river red gum grub, Coolibah tree grub, cicadas, and tar vine caterpillars. Edible insects themselves offer a large amount of protein for such small creatures, for example, caterpillars contain 280g of protein per 1kg, which is 20g more than what salmon provides, along with good flavour, making insects a popular choice for bush tucker, especially on-the-go.

Fruits and Vegetables

We all know you need to find your five a day, and in bush tucker this is no exception.  Red fruits like quandong, which can be eaten raw or dried, and are often made into jams, and green fruits such as Kakadu plums contain 100 times more Vitamin C than oranges do. Other fruits and berries often eaten include kutjera, Davidson’s plum, boab, native gooseberry, lady apple, wild orange, wild passionfruit, desert lime, snow berry, and white elderberry.

Similarly to fruits, vegetables also act as a source of vitamin C, however, they are usually richer in other vitamins. The kumara, for example, are a staple crop of sweet potatoes that are rich in protein, Vitamins A and C, calcium, dietary fibre, and iron. Other common vegetables include yams, warrigal greens, water lilies, bush potatoes, and sea celery.

Native Spices

You can’t have a meal or make herbal drinks or sweets without a variety of spices. Throughout Australia, there are plenty of native spices from the mountain pepper and aniseed myrtle, to native basil, native ginger, and blue-leaved mallee. Each of these sources is able to be turned into food, an alternative flavour to one of the aforementioned food groups, a healthy drink, or act as a natural medicine.

Tree gums, for example, can be dissolved in water with honey, making sweets that the kids will love, but alternatively the sweet exudate that can be found on some of these trees can be made into jelly. Lemon ironbark and, one of the most famous plants in history, lemon myrtle, can be used in cooking or alternatively used as a herbal ingredient for tea to relieve cramps, fevers, and headaches.

Edible Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are another popular small choice; however, with many nut allergies seen today this shouldn’t be a go-to food group should you have any. Many of the edible seeds require soaking, pounding, and grinding before being baked in a careful ritual that is designed to remove the toxins from the food prior to eating them. If this preparation is not done correctly, most seeds will not be suitable for eating. Most nuts like the macadamia nut, peanut, and the Australian cashew, and seeds like the cycad palm seeds and seeds from the strap wattle and pigweed, can be eaten or turned into breads and cakes.

A prominent food for the Australian Aboriginals is the bunya nut. Similar to a chestnut (in both taste and appearance) this nut can be eaten raw or cooked. Traditionally, the Aboriginal people have been known to turn this nut into a paste to be eaten, or cooked on hot coals making bread. Similarly, seeds from the dead finish are collected to make delicious seedcakes.

Fungi

Although fungi are often believed among Aboriginal communities to hold ‘evil magic’, thus deeming them inedible, there are certain fungi that are believed to be of ‘good magic’. The truffle-like fungus, Choiromyces aboriginum, is a traditional native food that can be eaten raw, as well as cooked for over an hour in hot sand and ashes. This fungus is also a source of water, which is always key.

Commonly known as native bread (fungi) the Laccocephalum mylittae can also be eaten raw, but alternatively when roasted this fungi has been described to hold the flavour of boiled rice.

Part 2 Wuchopperen Health Service ACCHO Thumbs Up for Smart Eating Week

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited will celebrate the Dietitians Association of Australia Smart Eating Week (12 – 18 February) by promoting the GOOD TUCKER app which gives food items thumbs up, thumbs across, or thumbs down depending on how healthy they are.

Members of Wuchopperen’s Allied Health team including Community Dietitian Matthew Topping, Coordinator Allied Health Service Michelle Dougan, Diabetes Educator Tony Pappas, Dietitian Sue Charlesworth, and Exercise Physiologist Myles Hardy will wheel a trolley of common food items around Wuchopperen clinics , showing clients how the app works, and spark conversations about why particular foods get a thumbs up, across or down.

Community Dietitian Matthew Topping said the app was a useful tool to help people make healthy choices around what to eat.

‘Your smart phone can help you make smart choices,’ Matthew explained.

‘Sometime the nutrition panels on food items can be complex – using the Thumbs Up app gives people a quick rating to help them make a better choice.’

‘There’s no need to up end your diet, the key messages are around scanning a couple of your regular items and if they come up thumbs down or thumbs across, scanning another one to see if it’s a thumbs up.

Small changes are all that’s needed. The other thing to remember is that the healthy choice is not always the expensive choice – a home brand bag of rolled oats for example, is only a few dollars.

‘We are looking forward to taking our trolley into the clinics and having a chat with clients about the ratings, and why common foods may be rated thumbs up or thumbs down. This app is all about giving people the knowledge to make good choices.’

App demonstrations took place across Wuchopperen clinics on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 February and at Wuchopperen’s Edmonton Clinic on Thursday 15 February.

Find out more about the GOOD TUCKER app here

Check out the app here

 Part 3 Why you still need to eat healthy foods — even if you aren’t overweight

We all have that one friend whose eating habits and body shape simply don’t add up. While enjoying the unhealthiest of meals and a sedentary lifestyle, somehow they effortlessly retain a slender figure.

At first glance we may assume these slim people are healthy, but it’s not always the case.

So if you don’t have weight to worry about, what’s the impetus for avoiding sweet or salty temptations and eating good, nutritious foods instead?

Healthy weight ≠ good health

Body mass index or BMI, the tool most often used to determine “healthy weight ranges”, was designed primarily to track the weight of populations.

While it’s a simple and useful screening tool when looking at groups of people, it’s not a good marker of individual health.

This is because BMI is a measure of our height and our weight, and the ratios of their combination.

But weight alone doesn’t discriminate between a kilogram of fat versus a kilogram of muscle nor does it account for body shape and fat distribution differences relating to, say, ethnicity or gender.

Just as not all obese individuals have heart disease risk factors or unhealthy metabolisms (the conversion of food into energy), nor do all lean people have healthy ones.

There’s a well-documented subset of people known as metabolically obese, normal weight individuals.

These people are not obese as determined by their height and weight, but may face metabolic dysfunction such as insulin resistance (which leads to a build-up of sugar in the blood), and like their physically obese counterparts are predisposed to type 2 diabetes, high levels of fats in the blood, heart disease and even some cancers.

Food is health

The most compelling reason to eat healthy foods is the correlation between good nutrition and wellbeing.

Coupled with regular exercise, eating a diet rich in whole foods and grains, healthy oils and low in sugar and salt, has been shown to convey a number of benefits.

These include a longer life with less pain and suffering, less risk of back pain or muscular problems and even an increased libido.

Studies from around the world also show people with healthy diets are less likely to experience depression while unhealthy diets may put individuals at an increased risk of depression.

Food has been identified as an important risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia in older age.

A healthy diet combined with physical activity can strengthen bones and reduce body aches and pains.

And these benefits are conferred irrespective of your baseline weight or age.

Health risks aren’t always visible

While it might be easy to take solace in a thinner weight, many of the serious health risks associated with poorer diet are often hidden from plain sight.

Excessive salt consumption can cause the kidneys to hold on to more water, resulting in an increase in blood pressure.

High blood pressure strains the arteries that supply blood to our vital organs including our heart and brain, and increases our risk of stroke, dementia, heart attack and kidney disease.

Consumption of high amounts of sugar, especially from sugar sweetened beverages, is associated with an increased risk in fatty liver disease, among many other health problems.

This in turn significantly increases our risk of liver scarring, heart disease and stroke.

Recent research has also reconfirmed a link between bowel cancer and red meat consumption. Processed meats such as ham, bacon and salami appear to be especially problematic.

Not only can all of these occur without any visual cues, but they can also develop irrespective of our weight.

Our kids’ health

The importance of a good diet is not just limited to our own health.

Children of parents with poor diets are significantly more likely to inherit similarly unhealthy eating habits.

And it doesn’t stop there. Through a mechanism called epigenetics, our health and our diet can result in alterations to the expression of our genes.

Animal studies have shown epigenetic changes resulting from poor diet (and other stressors) can influence the healthiness of future generations.

Many scientists now believe the same will prove true for humans too.

Saving lives, and money

Contrary to what many of us think, the latest evidence suggests eating a healthy diet is actually cheaper than consuming the unhealthy foods that now dominate many Australian households.

Analysis of both wealthier and poorer suburbs in Brisbane, for example, showed the average family of four spends 18 per cent more on current diets than would be required if they could more closely adhere to healthy dietary recommendations.

This is not to say eating healthily is easy, accessible or even possible for everyone, but might be more possible than we first think.

Not only would adopting a healthy diet be a beneficial investment for individuals and families, it might also go a long way to curbing the major societal costs from growing weight gain.

The annual costs from obesity already add up to $830 million in Australia alone.

The consequences of poor diet increasingly burden Australians and our healthcare system.

While it’s easy to measure our health based on a reading of the bathroom scales, eating a diverse and nutritious diet will bring overwhelming benefits to everyone — regardless of our current weight.

Thomas Goodwin contributed to the research and writing of this article.

Alessandro R Demaio is an Australian medical doctor and fellow in global health and non-communicable diseases at the University of Copenhagen.

Originally published in The Conversation

 

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