Turtle Island in the creation stories of many first nations is the name given to all of North America.
'The Turtle Island Table' refers to a way of eating that embraces both the foods that were traditionally cultivated before the arrival of the Europeans and foods that individuals can grow on their farm or in their garden without mechanization or chemical inputs. It rejects certain foods that were brought by the Europeans and now dominate the North American diet.
It celebrates home grown foods and eating with the seasons. It exalts simmered foods and fermented foods. It also includes healing foods from other countries, foods that supplement rather than displace locally grown staples. This way of eating values the efforts of farmers who grew our foods, both here and abroad. We cannot always know the source of the foods we buy but when buying foods from elsewhere we choose foods that are typically grown by small farmers and foods grown on trees. This way of eating favours perennial harvests.
It is about eating in a way that favours the transition from industrial food system back to real farming, farming that is diverse, integrated and low input. It requires that we think about how we can buy local, buy sustainable and buy fair. The turtle island table is eco-eating.
The purpose of transitioning to this way of eating is two fold. First of all the Turtle Island Table is a way of eating that is healing. It is anti inflammatory and favours foods with healing properties, particularly foods that are anti-cancer.
Not only will most people, within a very short time, start to feel better, the point is that hopefully, by adopting this way of eating, they will prevent the onset of the main diseases of our time. With statistics indicating that most of us will get cancer, heart disease, diabetes or a choice of a whole lot of other chronic illnesses, this way of eating is prudent. Its hard to keep track of the foods that prevent cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes etc and its even harder to figure out how to integrate healing foods into our diet, so our recipes include those superfoods that you've started to collect but don't know how to use.
The second reason to transition is that this way of eating promotes local, regenerative agriculture. There are other low-carbohydrate and anti-inflamatory diets that have some of the same benefits but this one takes into consideration the ethics of our food system, favouring sustainably grown foods, rejecting the overfishing of our oceans, the destruction of our forests, and the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. It honours the first nations and their history with and respect for the land. It celebrates diversity.
This is a way of eating that requires a transition. Inflammation is triggered. It is your body's defence and often it takes 5 days for your body to take down its defenses.
It is very easy to make mistakes. Someone else cooked dinner and they thought they could use the spices you should have thrown out or you forget to check for additives in a food. Or, more often than not, you didn't prepare in advance and you could not resist eating something you shouldn't have. You have to take measures to avoid common pitfalls.
It’s not an easy transition as it requires a significant departure from the present day North American diet. You have to bring your own food, forego the convenience of supermarkets, and learn to buy local.
It takes resolution to make the transition. It takes courage to politely decline what is offered. It takes perserverance to plan and to keep preparing for oneself. But, the results are worth the trouble.
To help you succeed, our goals are to simplify, to find affordable solutions and to provide alternatives to the delicious food that is always available.