The National Aboriginal Diabetes Association’s (www.nada.ca) response to my query regarding measurable wellness outcomes with indigenous people who transition from traditional to modern diets and back again went something like this: I am sorry, but I am unable to respond to your request at this time. As you are aware, there are many concerns regarding wellness and chronic disease that go beyond diabetes awareness and education and include clinical supervision and guidance to all sufferers of diabetes. (http://www.nccah-ccnsa.ca/265/Traditional_Aboriginal_Diets_and_Health.nccah)
Diabetes is a disease which acts to accelerate the aging process via oxidative stress and other mechanisms. Indigenous peoples seem to suffer more health problems than the average population from modern diets so whatever fixes their problems is certainly applicable to the rest of the population.
My wife, Connie Linda Langan Johnson, (http://www.facebook.com/connie.langanjohnson) is Métis with status family members, so I have been able to observe these problems first hand.
The focus, for information and social action organizations, when serving mass populations must be to use the management style called LEAN, a management style that optimizes the use of resources and money. The resources these type of organizations gather together have to be charted against targets for results in terms of units of health delivered.
At the NADA conference the Pima Indians were pointed out to me as an example of how diabetes can surge or diminish in a single population based only on the change of basic diet. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/16/1/369.full.pdf concludes that if diets for the Pima were to return to what they were for 500-1,000 years, namely, based on wheat, maize, beans, and squash, mule deer, jackrabbits, birds, fish, foods from the desert (such as saguaro cactus fruit, mesquite beans, cholla cactus buds, prickly pear fruit, wild berries, and wild greens), the current extremely high rate of diabetes in this population may begin to reverse itself.
Aboriginals were the first people to use food supplements. Technology has now refined and expanded the ability to access a broader range in an uninterrupted manner with the ability to focus individual supplementation programs to individual needs. Scientist-businesspeople are seizing upon this idea as an opportunity to change the lives of entire populations.
Technology guru Ray Kurzweil is a high-profile example of application by a high-risk individual of medicine and food supplements to solve the problem of diabetes. (http://www.inquisitr.com/1000017/google-exec-ray-kurzweil-takes-150-vitamin-supplements-every-day/)
Ray’s father and grandfather died in their late 50’s from the cardiovascular derivatives of diabetes. Kurzweil himself when diagnosed in his 30’s put the power of knowledge and business resources to find a solution, which he did and kicked his diabetes to the curb. Now at age 66 finds his biomarkers are similar to a person in their 40’s.
His regime is quite complex with 200 plus pills and potions daily and continuous testing to re-evaluate his condition. (see http://www.quora.com/Ray-Kurzweil/Which-150-supplements-does-Ray-Kurzweil-take-daily).
For the rest of us the principals of Lean direct we pick and choose among the supplements and diagnostic tools to achieve results in terms of long term health and wellness.
Leaders like Kurzweil, Google, Venter are creating an industry of health and wellness that can grow exponentially like the computation hardware, software and networking industries and in doing so generate a wave of longevity that is certainly in accordance with something aboriginal elders wisdom would wish for not only their own people but all people.