Going Plant-Based

Aug. 7, 2020, 10:32 a.m.

Zee Tana (Ngāti Hine), Co-owner of Palate Wholesome, grew up in an environment filled with standard marae kai and is now on a journey to educate whānau on the benefits of a plant-based diet.

The former Masterchef New Zealand contestant said Māori have been exposed to a processed diet that is significantly different from that of our tūpuna and he believes this is having health consequences. 

“Māori, in general, did not have a big consumption of huka, miraka kau and high fats. Māori were collecting their food source from the bush or the ocean and that was our survival space. 

“We’ve become quite lazy and dependent on Pākehā style kai which isn’t good for our body and our body still doesn’t recognise it and so that translates to diabetes, malnutrition, obesity and it’s because of our kai.  Kai should always be our rongoā.”

Zee encourages whānau who want to make changes to start doing their own research on where their diet is currently at and says dairy could be one area for Māori to take a look into.

“We’re quite whakamā to look at what is coming out, but that right there is a true example of how our bodies are processing the kai we put in, we don’t talk about that end product.  If it doesn’t make you feel good and if it doesn’t look good you should be concerned.

“I’m not to tell people what they should put in their body, as that’s their own journey, but I think if you are experiencing eczema, skin disease, bloating or gaining weight and you don’t know why one of the best things to do is look at dairy and have a look at how dairy affects you. For Māori, we never consumed any other form of milk other than from our mother, take a look at miraka, come away from kau.  There’s plenty of natural plant products like hemp, soy, cashew that can save our tinana a lot of māuiui.”

For further information follow Palate Wholesome at Palate Wholesome Collective

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