actually diabetes showed up in NA populations in the 1800s when flour and sugar replaced their own meat, grains, veggie diet. and it continues to be so because they still have access only to the worst of the diets through food stamps or access in their reservations. amongst other things and other reasons.
but maize was not grown as far as the colder parts. warmer areas saw food eaten gathered and stored v. differently.
so some tribes did not store food. they caught meat which was central to their diet during winter. some tribes had members who were hunter gatherers who lived in the highlands adn the same tribe in the lowlands were farmers. both tribes had very different philosophy towards food.
the hunter gatherer did not grow maize. but their lowland cousin did. how maize was fairly new to the area when teh pilgrims arrived. its been there these last 1000 years. so just coz a tribe grew maize didnt mean the whole tribe had access to maize.
the hunter gatherers who lived in the mountains here in CA same thing. the mountain tribes had a whole different diet than valley tribes. however agribulture was never practised in CA. here too the highland tribes either came down to the valleys or lived on very little food in the mountains.
historically though man has never consumed as much food ever before as we do now.
I know that the Algonquin of New England and New York practiced a certain agriculture - particularly relating to the "Three Sisters" (maize, squash, beans) and did so hundreds of years before the first Europeans arrived. New England and New York may get cold but the area has always had a huge agricultural component. You don't really see mountains until you get into upstate New York and the northern parts of New England. I agree that there was a different philosophy toward food in varying areas and that hunting was much more relied upon in Northern parts. I also agree that historically humans have never consumed as much food as we do now. I think it was common practice among the Algonquin and the Iroquois to go for days without eating. Totally foreign concept to most of us.
On a light note, I have a French friend who said that in France, it is not a negative thing to feel hungry. She said that feeling hunger leads to joyful eating. :)
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