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John Mohawk has long been a grower and advocate of the health benefits of this heirloom corn, a slow-
release carbohydrate that is beneficial in preventing diabetes "If it’s good for Indians, it must be good for
other people too".
He is a staunch advocate of the slow-food movement, a worldwide effort to safeguard and promote the use
of traditional, unprocessed foods that digest very slowly, which means they are a lot better for you than the
foods that populate the average American diet.

Iroquois corn and other ancient crops are absorbed by the body slowly -- hence the name "slow foods" --
and, proponents say, can reduce and even reverse degenerative diseases.

"Slow" foods, which include squash, watermelon, ancient varieties of corn and a dense, tough desert bean
called pepary, were commonly grown and eaten by the America's general population before the 19th-
century agricultural revolution.

"Because they are slow-release carbohydrates, they do no dramatically raise blood-sugar levels and keep us
feeling full, whereas processed foods -- and today they are very highly processed -- disperse sugar rapidly
into the bloodstream, raise blood sugar, then insulin levels and promote fat storage," he says.

"Among those most vulnerable to these degenerative diseases are indigenous peoples," Mohawk says.

"In some regions of this country, for instance, native communities have a diabetes rate of 80 percent. It's
been found that when such people go back to eating what we might call their traditional diet, more wild
leeks or berries or cactus, they can count on a reduction and even a reversal of these conditions."
The continual overcharging of one's glands with sugar has a depressing influence on your metabolism. That
is, instead of speeding it up, it actually slows it down, resulting among other things, in a lower than normal
blood sugar.

The slowdown foods are sugar, refined breads and packaged cereals, pie, cookies, pastry, ice cream,
candies, coffee, tea, alcohol and soft drinks.

It was always assumed in the past that all complex carbohydrates like bread and potatoes were slow-release
carbohydrates (i.e. converted into sugar very slowly) and that all simple sugars such as table sugar were
fast-release carbohydrates. However, recent research has proven these assumptions wrong!

We now know that some simple carbohydrates do not make our blood sugar rise any more than some
complex carbohydrates do, and that different types of carbohydrates produce different blood glucose

Carbohydrates are now classified according to their glucose response or glycaemic index, which is simply a
ranking of carbohydrate foods, based on their direct effect on blood glucose levels. The GI measures how
fast the carbohydrate of a particular food is converted to glucose and enters the bloodstream.

Foods are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100, according to their effect on blood glucose levels - the lower the
number, the slower the action (i.e. the slower the food is converted to glucose) and the better it is. Glucose
is taken as 100, since it causes the greatest and most rapid rise in blood glucose, and all other foods are
rated in comparison.
How the GI is determined

The GI of a specific food is determined by comparing the response of blood glucose levels to that food with
the response of blood glucose to glucose. The blood glucose response measurement is done by testing the
blood glucose level of the test person every 15 minutes over a period of three hours.

As a general rule of thumb, foods with a GI value of:

        Below 55 (low GI) are good choices
        Between 55 and 70 (intermediate GI) are safer choices
        Seventy or more (high GI) must be used very sparingly, or only in combination with low GI foods

GI list
Recognizing that the enjoyment of wholesome food is essential to the pursuit of happiness, Slow Food
U.S.A. is an educational organization dedicated to stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food
production; to the revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture, and community; to the
invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions; and to living a slower and more
harmonious rhythm of life.

Saving Cherished Slow Foods, One Product at a Time
If you would like to learn more about the Iroquois White Corn Project and other projects of Collective
Heritage Institute, sign our Guestbook and receive a FREE Newsletter

White corn, an Iroquois staple that is still cultivated by Indian farmers in New York, Ontario, Quebec, and
Wisconsin, is considered vastly superior in taste and nutrition but requires a lot of labor to reach the table.
We used to group sugars into the categories of simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates were by definition simple molecules that broke down quickly once in the blood
stream and caused a fast spike in your blood sugar levels triggering the release of the hormone insulin
whose job was to protect the brain and get sugars out of the blood and to the muscles.
Complex carbohydrates on the other hand were those that via a complex molecular structure were slower to
break down and therefore released a more consistent flow of sugar into the blood stream.
If the carbohydrate is slow to be digested then it will avoid causing an insulin release and will give you a
slow release of energy throughout the day and indeed activity -all the properties of complex carbohydrates.
Seems simple enough to replace the words simple with high GI and the words complex with low GI right?
Wrong! The studies have revealed that many of the foods we traditionally thought of as complex and slow
to digest may be quite rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and those that we thought of as causing
insulin levels to rise may not be a dramatic as we thought.
How you cook the food. If you grind foods down or remove their skins and coatings (say washing down
rice) you tend to speed up the rate it can be broken down and the effect that it will have on your blood


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