Traditional Indigenous Peoples’ Lifestyle is vigorous. It is physical and foods are organic and fresh. To obtain wholesome foods, much energy is used and the result is a healthier body. Here are some simple, lifestyle traditions and how to practise them in every-day living.
1. The lifestyle is physical. Exercises like walking and canoeing help to accomplish every-day tasks such as sourcing food. Walk to get what you want — like your grocery shopping.
2. A lot of fetching has to be done. People carry their own belongings — they physically transport food produce from the farm. Instead of having your food delivered, carry them yourself.
3. Food is more fresh and organic. With no refrigeration and the lengthy methods of other types of food preservation, it is simpler to use fresh foods. Eat fresh foods instead of preserved ones.
4. Organic vegetables are grown in small natural gardens using natural methods. Grow your own food in your garden or boxes using natural methods.
5. Eating is seasonal. Foods come in a wide variety of taste. Eat seasonal — when foods are in season, they are fresher, tastier and cheaper.
6. Energy is used to source wholesome food. Because food sources are specific, it takes time and effort to get special foods. Instead of settling for ‘easy food’, source wholesome food and go get it. Walk if you can.
7. Diet is varied because it ties in with the season. Eat seasonal and you would find your diet more varied.
Make your own indigenous-style Cassava Bread (stove-top, step-by-step guide)
Following, is a very simple fresh cassava bread recipe that makes fresh, soft bread, similar to tortilla wrap. Almost anyone with a western stove top kitchen can try this step-by-step, photo-illustrated recipe and have some small cakes of fresh, soft cassava bread in minutes.
Making Cassava Bread video
Back-up recipe below
Click on pictures for bigger image
Wide mouth mixing bowl
Small wide mouth bowl
Frying pan with thick bottom
7⅟2 ins Pizza hoop
Ingredients (makes 3 small cakes)
200g farinha de mandioca or cassava flour (from Brazil and can be bought from ethnic supermarkets)
150ml water (room temperature)
1. Measure flour In mixing bowl.
Do not confuse cassava bread with the root vegetable cassava. Also, do not confuse cassava bread with loaf bread made with a proportion of cassava flour together with rising agents, sugar, salts, fats etc. etc.
The bread is made from the processed cassava flour of the bitter cassava root. Water holding starch and other properties are removed which results in a coarse flour.
The flour is baked into a flat, pancake like bread. Cassava bread is free from any additive including salt, sugar, fats, preservatives and rising agents.
It is also gluten free. It is high in fibre and carbohydrates. With its neutral, ordinary taste, it complements many other types of sweet and savoury foods.
11 Dietary Benefits of Cassava Bread
1. Cassava bread has no additional salt, so is good for people requiring a low salt diet. It can be eaten with complementary foods such as avocado or boiled crab where no salt is required.
2. With no sugar added, cassava bread is sugar free. It is good to train the appetite for less sugar. If something sweet is preferred, eating the bread with ripe banana is an excellent way to have some natural sweetness.
3. For those people requiring a low fat diet, cassava bread is an excellent choice. In this case, it is delicious with boiled or steamed fish. If you like chilli, you can add a bit to the fish.
4. There are no added preservatives in cassava bread. Instead, it is preserved by drying in the sun. If you are looking for a naturally preserved food, cassava bread should be your choice.
5. People with an allergy to any rising agent such as yeast or baking powder can use cassava bread. The bread is flat and does not rise while baking.
6. If you require a gluten free food, cassava bread is gluten free. It is recommended for persons suffering from celiac disease.
7. Cassava bread is excellent for those wishing to lose weight. It is rich in fibre so acts as a filler food. When combined with digestive juices in the stomach, it swells and lessens hunger pangs.
8. Cassava bread is rich in fibre. A fibre rich diet reduces cholesterol which lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
9. Eating cassava bread may lower blood sugar levels. Fibre rich foods tend to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.
10. Because it is high in fibre, it is good for those suffering from constipation.
11. For sustaining energy, cassava bread, high in carbohydrates is an excellent food. It is eaten while going on long forest treks. The carbohydrates are converted to glucose which is converted to glycogen and stored in the muscles.
Cassava bread is seen as an important part of indigenous peoples' traditional diet. It is said to keep away 'new-world' diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure and obesity. Cassava, also known as manioc or yuca in the Americas, is widely used all over the world as a staple.
Fresh fish or meat served with Cassava bread is a substantial rain-forest meal. Part of this typical meal is fresh hot pepper. Fish or meat is sourced locally. Barbecut meat (a Lokono word from which Barbecue is derived) is commonly served with cassava bread.
Animals are becoming scarcer, so fish is now much more on the menu. Drinks are made from cassava too.
When dried properly the bread can last for days, weeks or even months. For good preservation, it has to be properly dried to a biscuit type dryness. The thick, moist type (arasoka) if kept overnight, can be returned to an enjoyable state if mildly simmered in a gravy. One of the best ways to enjoy traditional cassava bread is the traditional way ... eaten fresh.
Cassava flour is made purely from the cassava root and processed until it is a soft coarse meal, similar to moist corn meal.
How Indigenous people make Cassava bread
Cassava bread drying naturally in the sun
Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a root. The flour is prepared in a quantity so as to have enough for baking.
First the cassava root is peeled or scraped of its skin. It is then washed clean and grated. The grated cassava is then squeezed moist of its juice. This is done using a matapee which is a contractible sieve made of mukru cane (Ischnosiphon arouma, Ischnosiphon obliquus).
The resulting dried out pulp which is now known as the meal has to be broken apart into smaller bits, because when it comes out of the matapee it leaves as a compact tube. The meal is pounded very fine and sifted to take out any large lumps or fibre from the root. The fine powdery flour is now ready for baking.
The bread is baked flat, like a huge flan on a pan. In order to get its form, a hoop can be used to contain the flour which is carefully spread evenly within the hoop and across the entire surface. The flour is gently pressed down to make it compact and allowed to bake slowly until the flour is cooked, and the bread comes together as a flat cake. The cake is then turned over to bake on the other side. When this is done, it is ready for eating.
In order to preserve the bread to last longer, it is put out into the hot sun to dry. In the forest where people spend their time doing many chores, having a food that lasts over a period of time is convenient.
Bi-products of Cassava
Tapioca and Starch
Tapioca and starch are bi-products of cassava.
The liquid or juice that remains after squeezing is first made into a delicious sauce. It is boiled and the foamy top is scooped off and collected. This thick frothy sauce is called cadikura. Fresh meat, fish, shrimp or crab is cooked in the sauce and spiced with fresh, hot pepper. This dish has a unique delicious taste and is highly prized.
Casareep - for preserving food
Preserving fresh food such as meat and fish is very important because it is vital that food is not wasted. The best way to do this is by using casareep sauce. This sauce is made by the further simmering of the liquid gathered from the squeezing of the cassava after the cadikura is made. After a long time of simmering, the liquid becomes thick and concentrated.
By adding the right amount of casareep to fresh meat or fish and including some fresh pepper to taste, a dish is made that can last for weeks by just warming up every day. The casareep sauce preserves the meal. The bonus, is that, the longer this dish is kept, the more mature it becomes and the better it tastes. Like cassava bread, this dish has a long life and is very convenient.