Native American Diet


This is lunch hour at the Desert Rain Cafe on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona.  Each dish contains at least one traditional food from plants that grow on the reservation.   This popular chicken sandwich has a sauce made from Prickly Pear cactus.  Customers are raving about the tasty and healthy food. 

The cafe also serves calcium rich cholla buds from the Cholla cactus…. He also says he put seeds from a giant cactus in the region in some dishes.

“These are the saguaro seeds that are grown on the Saguaro cactus.  It’s harvested only one time a year,” he explained.

Why all the cactus?

The second largest Native American tribe, Tohono O’odham, has the highest rate of adult onset diabetes in the world….

(T)he traditional foods can prevent diabetes, which affects children as young as six years old. 

“The same compounds that let the plant survive actually regulate blood sugar levels.  They keep blood sugar levels even and help prevent diabetes and keep diabetics healthier,” he said.


    
    
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