By now just about everyone you meet has not only heard of the paleo diet, but they probably have tried it! While the Native American diets could not be called strictly paleo, they are an inspiration for the diet.
But what exactly did gathering food mean for the Native Americans? After all, they didn’t have grocery stores to go to!
I have to say that I have always been a great admirer of the Native peoples of North America and how closely they lived in tune with nature. I am constantly amazed as I study their cultures how diverse they all are. The amount of knowledge they had about the land and animals around them was extraordinary! And using that knowledge and the gifts of nature by hunting, gathering, planting and foraging for them is how many of the native tribes survived. All of nature was their grocery store.
Each tribe was unique in what they could gather depending on what grew around them in their region. Tribes in the south or southwest were much more likely to grow or forage their foods and knew how to use such unusual food stuffs as cactus, acorns, cassava and chilies.
The Native Americans living on the plains survived mainly by hunting. Their main source of food was the buffalo and what they could find foraging and trading with other tribes.
Tribes in the northeast and northwest often planted and harvested their food tending gardens containing what were called the well-known “three sisters”, corn, beans and squash. They also ate much more fish, salmon and shellfish.