Kete Maakan – We rise together: the Question of Iron Deficiency

Day 16 UBC. Yes, I know. I’ve skipped Day 15 & 14. But I really wanted to talk about this new group called “Kete Maakan” even though I haven’t finished the posts for 14 & 15 yet.

Kete Maakan was started by Huia Woods-Smith (me!) with Lenny Papertalk during NAIDOC (National amd Indigenous Day of Celebration in Australia) week as a part of #becauseofherwecan campaign beibg run by the Social Justice Commission.

Kete Maakan meets at a local Community Centre as a way to build a community of local, aboriginal and indigenous women who want to be more healthy, lose weight, have more energy and get rid of “brain fog”. We meet weekly in person at Mitchell Street Community Centre in Spalding Western Australia and have a Facebook support page, a chat group, a food page and a blog/website to help answer questions and record our health journies.

The gut-health and associated programs were developed from fodmaps, and other successful health well-being diets and meal plans adapted to suit indigenous and aboriginal women specifically.

At our inaugural meeting we discovered 6 of the 9 attendees worked at Primary Health Providers or Sporting Organisations or were otherwise involved in a health related area. This increased the level of knowledge of general health and made it really easy to discuss the benefits of gut health.

We also could speak with knowledge on the health concerns prevalent in iur Community. This knowledge of the Community shaped our business strategy. Where there is a particular health we discussed corresponding methods of addressing these issues.

For example is iron deficiency is prevalent in our Community. 52 aboriginal school boys recently undertook health checks with Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Sevice. An astounding 41 of 52 boys were found to be deficient in iron. If those results were extrapolated across the Community then there is the potential for 78.8% of the aboriginal population of Geraldton to be deficient in iron and exhibiting the behaviours associated with iron deficiency such …

Gut health phatt

How many people is that???

The population of Geraldton according to the Census in 2016 was 359,347.2. Divide this figure by the percentage of aboriginal people living in the area (9.6%) then again by 78.8% means roughly extrapolated to 29,486 people deficient in iron. That’s a lot of people walking around irritable, fatigued and in a brain fog.

Our group is called “Kete Maakan because “Kete” means “basket” in Maori. “Maakan” means “food” in language. So literally “Food Basket” refers to how our health is linked to our food. So can eating a little bit extra spinach change these statistics and if so, what behaviours currently prevalent in the Community would also change?

Leaving aside the difficulties of measuring “irritability” the symptoms of iron deficiency are easily measurable with a standard health check. Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service would carry out these health checks pro bono as part of their key performance indicators.

One proposal to address iron deficiency is to make red meat available fir the boys in the form of Bbq lunch at school. My suggested approach would be a little different.

From a gut-health perspective, if the boys are in malabsorbtion from the consumption of too much sugar (fizzy drink) then it is unlikely that an increased consumption of red meat will result in a corresponding increase in iron levels. Malabsorbtion through poor gut-health would result in indigestion and the iron in the BBQ would be insoluable. Even if oranges or other sources of Vitamin C which aids in the digestion of iron were made available at the BBQ lunches there may not be a corresponding increase in iron levels. I’m not saying there won’t be an increase. I’m saying it may not be a significant enough increase to impact greatly on the symptoms of iron defiency.

So what would be the most effective way to increase iron levels remembering that we are talking about teenage boys? Well, let’s address the first part of this two part question – what is the most effective way to increase iron levels?

The answer is a carefully crafted green juice taken every morning. Here’s the recipe:

  1. 3 x celery stalks
  2. 1 x kale stalk
  3. 1/2 cucumber
  4. 1 x green apple
  5. 1 x kiwifruit (skin off)
  6. 1 scoop of superfoods powder
  7. 10mls of green juice
  8. 10mls of essential minerals

The hard part is getting teenage boys to drink it which is the second part of the question.

Behavioural issues are exacerbated by iron deficiency – irritability, brain fog and increased aggression can be symptoms of iron deficiency. What would happen if the 5 of the worst offenders for behaviour also corresponded with the lowest iron levels and these boys were “disciplined” by taking 100mls of green juice every morning?

My hypothesis is that not onky would iron levels omprove but behaviour, focus, and concentration would also improve.

Now, how to get the academy to trial it??? Any ideas? Post your suggestions in the comments!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Huia xxx

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