Nutritionist uses medicine wheel to illustrate dietary problems


Nutritionist Kibbe McGaa Conti has looked into her own American Indian past to solve a modern dietary problem among Indians.

Conti has developed an alternative to the traditional "food pyramid" with a simple, yet radically different, theory of what Indians should eat.

It is a medicine wheel, the basis of much of the Northern Plains tribal culture. The wheel features four sections colored white, yellow, red and black. The colors represent the four directions, the four races of mankind, four natural elements, the four seasons, and four parts of the life cycle among other images.

Conti, a dietitian since 1994, was born in South Dakota and raised in Minnesota. Her first name, pronounced "kibbee," was taken from her grandmother's last name, and she is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.


Conti believes Indians have changed their eating habits over the past 50 years and are now suffering the consequences.

"There is an imbalance right now with diabetes, obesity and substance abuse," Conti said. "We often look to our traditions and culture to restore balance. We are finding balance, or `wicozani,' through our tradition."

The full article is located here:

This topic is now closed to further replies.