Traditional meals are consumed by the elderly and older Aboriginal people at a higher rate than by younger individuals. 23 Traditional energy sources provide energy for around 10–36 percent of the Canadian Arctic population, while hunting and trapping remain a way of life for one-third of the James Bay Cree people. 25 Energy production from renewable sources such as solar power and wind turbines is a growing field in Canada's North.
In terms of total energy consumption, the Canadian Arctic consumes more electricity than any other region in Canada. This is mostly due to high rates of consumption during winter months when residents heat homes with electricity. The average household in the Canadian Arctic uses about 1500 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per year, which is more than three times the national average. The main reason for this high rate of consumption is that most houses in the Canadian Arctic are not heated with fuel oil or natural gas but instead with electricity. In fact, almost half of all households in some regions are electric heaters, making them among the highest users of electricity in Canada.
Electricity is also very expensive in the Canadian Arctic. Average household prices in some territories are over twice those of other parts of Canada. This high cost is mainly due to the lack of competition between electricity providers in most communities. There are no large hydroelectric facilities in the Canadian Arctic so most electricity is produced from fossil fuels, leading to higher emissions and greater dependence on foreign oil.
The Aboriginals were hunters and gatherers, hunting animals for meat and gathering fruits, seeds, and insects for daily sustenance. Each season, weather conditions, and geographical location would influence the sorts of food available, resulting in a diverse and well-balanced diet. Women and men performed different roles at home and away from it. Men went hunting and fishing, while women gathered fruits, vegetables, and seeds.
Aboriginal people used fire to prepare their food. They made fires by rubbing two dry sticks together or using a torch. The flames cooked the food thoroughly and also destroyed many harmful organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Fire was very important to them; they never burned anything unnecessarily.
Aboriginal people lived in small groups called "groups". These could be families living together or even larger communities with other groups. Sometimes groups would join together to form a tribe. Usually there was a leader who decided what kind of game to hunt and how to share it between the members of the group. But sometimes accidents happened and everyone got sick at once or someone stole someone's food so there had to be a way for equality to exist within groups.
Equality existed in several forms among the Aboriginals. First, there was no such thing as rich and poor - everyone ate about the same quality of food, depending on what they hunted or fished up.
Aboriginal people consumed a wide range of plant foods, including fruits, nuts, roots, vegetables, grasses, and seeds, as well as meats such as kangaroos, 'porcupine,' emus, possums, goannas, turtles, shellfish, and fish. They also used herbs for medicine and food flavoring.
A typical Aboriginal diet consisted of about 55% carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 25% fat. They got most of their energy from eating plants, which are high in fiber and contain the essential nutrients they need to live healthy lives. Aborigines didn't eat much meat - usually only enough to fill up their stomachs and provide some energy - and they mostly ate whole plants instead of meat products. This is different from how most people eat today, who rely on meat and dairy products as their main source of nutrition.
Aboriginal people lived in communities where all their needs were met. The men went out hunting and fishing and brought home food to eat. The women looked after the children and prepared the meals. Both men and women participated in community life by taking part in religious ceremonies and trading with other tribes. In return, the Aborigines were given trade goods such as knives, spears, and boomerangs. They also received iron tools that helped them build their houses and make weapons.
Thus, aboriginal people didn't need to eat meat to survive.
All known data shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were historically healthy, eating a diverse diet of fresh plant and animal items that were low in calorie density and high in nutrients. They did not suffer from malnutrition or any form of chronic disease.
It is now thought that the first Australians may have moved to northern Australia about 50,000 years ago. There they met the hunter-gatherers who would later become known as the Yolngu people. The two groups shared ideas and technologies which led to an overlap in their knowledge systems. For example, both groups made use of wild rice but interpreted this food resource differently. The Yolngu used the tip of the grass shoot while the Australian hunters collected the whole seedhead when it was dry. This shows how different ways of thinking can lead to similar results.
The traditional diet of Aboriginal people was varied and contained all nine essential amino acids needed by humans for proper growth development and repair of tissues. It also included vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. In addition, fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants - substances found in plants that protect them against damage caused by free radicals. Fruits and vegetables contain these antioxidants either in natural forms such as flavonoids and carotenoids, or in fortified foods such as juices and cereals.
Although diets varied greatly depending on season and location, traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diets featured a variety of nutritious plant and animal items. The majority of bush foods are high in fiber and low in saturated fat. Traditional foods include seasonal fruits. Winter foods may include roots, bulbs, and seeds.
Aboriginal people kept themselves healthy by exercising, not eating junk food, and taking care of their mental health.
Exercise was important for keeping body and mind strong. Activities included walking, hunting, fishing, dancing, singing, playing games, and other activities needed to keep humans active and healthy.
In today's world, many Aboriginal people eat poorly and lack exercise. This leads to obesity rates that are higher than other groups in Australia and the United States. Additionally, some Aboriginal people suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease due to poor nutrition and lack of activity.
However, not all Aboriginal people suffer from these problems. Many live long lives thanks to their healthy lifestyles. They get out into the community and teach others how to maintain their health too.
Traditional Aboriginal medicine is being revived today. Doctors are learning about the old ways and incorporating them into modern medicine. For example, an Aboriginal person might be given an herb instead of pills.