Talking Turkey with Prof Trim

Why not the Australian Aboriginal diet for health and weight loss?
The Mediterranean diet; a mixture of fruit, nuts, vegetables, seafood, pasta and olive oil has been sold so much as the healthy diet by nutritionists and the medical profession in recent years, that many people think they have to move to Crete or Italy to survive. But as usual, the Professor is here to throw a spanner into the works.

Not only does the real Mediterranean diet hardly still exist in the Mediterranean in its real form, but it’s probably no more healthy than the traditional Aboriginal diet, the Nordic diet, the Hunza diet, the Okinawa diet – or any of a number of other forms of ‘native’ diet eaten traditionally by inhabitants of a particular region before the advent of industrialisation of foods, domestication of animals and proliferation of ‘fast’ foods.

People (including scientists) get carried away with specific diets and components of diets, which they consider to be the elixir for good health, based on the fact that they have been eaten for thousands of years. But humans have existed in all parts of the world for thousands of years and have eaten a wide variety of localized foods. Hence, it’s the common ingredients of such ‘native’ foods that are likely to have the positive benefits, rather than the particular foods themselves. For example, it’s known that native Australian fruits and vegetables are high in anti-oxidants, and the native fish and animal meats are lean and extremely low fat (i.e. healthy).

Recently, your own humble Professor has been involved in a study comparing inflammation markers in the bloodstream of a number of people after a meal of kangaroo (a ‘native’ food), compared to a meal of wagyu beef (a domesticated animal food). Wagyu was only bred into existence about two decades ago. It is reasonably high in fat (although not as bad as some other meat breeds on the market). Kangaroo, on the other hand, has been around for eons, and is very low in fat (in fact hardly any). In the Australian study (yet to be published), kangaroo didn’t increase inflammation, whereas wagyu did.

So why bother with the Mediterranean diet, when here in Australia we have possibly one of the world’s healthiest diets on our doorstep. Although it’s not likely to exist, except in trendy middle class restaurants these days, here is a sample of what you might have expected in the traditional Australian Aboriginal diet:

Land foodWater foodSky food
Kangaroo (now marketed as ‘Kroo’), wallaby, emu, goanna, snakes and grubsFish, crayfish/yabbies, lobster, prawns/shrimp, crabs, octopus, squidDuck, goose, native pigeon, mutton bird, swamp fowl, pheasant
Natives berries and fruits, native vegetables, yams and seedsWater plantsBats

Quandong roo

Photo: Kangaroo fillet with quandong confit courtesy Dining Downunder Promotions chefs Benjamin Christie and Vic Cherikoff

For more information on weight loss for men, check out Professor Trim's website HERE.

Want to find out more about Australia’s wild foods?
Check out a copy of Vic Cherikoff’s Super Foods for Super Health (with George Kowalski) and read all about Kakadu plum (the world’s highest fruit source of vitamin C), wild rosella, Illawarra plum, mountain pepper, quandong and Australian native herb extracts. If you are inspired to try these wild foods, you won’t find them in your fruit shop – they aren’t available in commercial quantities. ‘Kakadu Juice which is packed with anti-oxidants is the only way we can easily add these wild foods to our diet,’ says Vic.