A Shout Out To Kiwis

      28 Comments on A Shout Out To Kiwis

I received this comment from a Maori in New Zealand.  I know this  blog has a following in New Zealand, so I’m posting the comment here to ensure all you Kiwis see it.

I commented earlier in the year about how I’d started a new low carb, high fat diet after watching Fat Head on skytv in New Zealand.  Anyway, an update: I’ve lost 24 kg very safely and enjoyably… but the best news is that my asthma and gout have also disappeared.  I partially attribute this to inflammatory consequences of wheat.

I am a NZ Maori (we were colonised only 150 yrs ago — and existed without grains or monocotyledons) and I have a particular interest in this subject since our people (along with other pacific islanders) are over represented in metabolic syndrome mortality rates (cardio vascular, obesity, diabetes). There is also very compelling research by joint US and NZ researchers whom I have contacted who have drawn links between gout and fructose (corn syrup especially).  Eliminate fructose … eliminate gout.  I can tell you that prominent rheumatologists in NZ are very nterested in understanding the link between carb and gout because gout is a ’sentinel’ disease that can indicate metabolic syndrome in Maori before it becomes a problem.

Your information has sparked a movement (not-for-profit) here in Auckland and we plan to implement programmes that support the low carb truth. The good news Is that although the NZ gov’t still subscribes to the US food pyramid model, there are doctors and researchers here who support our theories.

If you could publish my email address in case other Kiwis want to support this cause or need help, I’d appeciate it.

Rhys Coffin


28 thoughts on “A Shout Out To Kiwis

  1. Tammy

    This is a neat post, we actually have a couple friends who are Kiwis living in Auckland. They came to visit earlier in the year and I can say that yes their gov’t does subscribe to the good old US food policies, but the actual people are little smarter than that and are way more open about low carb and the evils of refined carbohydrates than we seem to be here in the US. It probably doesn’t hurt either that their governenment does not give farm subsidies. So no dirt cheap grains like this country with corn, soybeans, etc…

    I noticed the same thing earlier this year when I was up in Montreal, QC. There were bistros all over the place, people love to eat and enjoy themselves, however they just don’t eat alot of crap and I didn’t see very many overweight Canadians. They still seem to have the European mindset with food, sit down, enjoy yourself, and eat good food. I must admit we did eat french fries the first night in Montreal, I mean the menu plainly stated, french fries, fryed in duck fat with homemade mayonnaise – now how could you pass that up? And they were excellent !! Oh and it was a normal portion, about 10 fries each.

    If I had a chance to try french fries cooked in duck fat, I’d go for it too.

  2. Jo

    Wow – interesting email from Rhys. I’m a kiwi too (living in London). It hadn’t occurred to me before that the Maori didn’t eat grains, but of course they didn’t! The only starch they ate was kumara, a delicious sweet potato that has been mentioned here before. As far as I am aware they had good health without the addition of ‘heart healthy’ grains, LOL. I hope NZ is ahead of the game, especially as I am returning home next year! I may get in touch with Rhys and say hi.

  3. Lynda

    New Zealander here – hi Rhys, I saw a documentary about Maoris cutting down on carbs and eating more protein and fat. Buck Shelford (ex top All Black rugby player for those who don’t know) was on it and it was at his home town – Flaxmere I think? Anyway, I’m now pretty disappointed to see him as the front man/new victim for Jenny Craig!! Sure he will lose some weight but I don’t think it will last. He says he is doing it to learn better eating habits too – like eating frozen and processed meals will do that.

    I 100% agree with you about going back to the types of foods Maori (and all Polynesians) used to eat. I have never seen a historic photo of a fat Maori but you certainly see them now. Good on you for doing this.

  4. Tracey Butler

    Hey folks, another kiwi here (based in ‘Shaky Town’ aka Christchurch) and I will certainly be in touch with Rhys to see more about what he’s up to.

    Here’s a link to the details about the doco Lynda mentioned: http://www.3news.co.nz/Randells-revolution/tabid/371/articleID/164713/Default.aspx or here: http://bepure.co.nz/bepure-info/bepure-media.html

    Note it’s Taine Randall involved in the Flaxmere traditional diet, not Buck Shelford so you can be reassured that Buck hasn’t done an about turn, he just needs to have a good chat with Taine!

    I would love to see more about this rolling out around NZ, but while the people who go into the nutrition or health and wellness streams are naturally slim and athletic with no experience of what it is like to be overweight or obese it will be difficult to change the ‘it’s their fault, they just need self control’ mentality. It’s what frustrates me the most about my studies, that and the demonisation of fats when it should be such a simple thing to see through.

    By the way I’m sure I’m not the only one to see many similarities between the Flaxmere doco and Wortman’s ‘My Big Fat Diet’ doco.

    Sady NZ is still based very much on the American food pyramid – ‘normal’ food is based around bread and spuds predominantly, followed by pasta and rice – but I think our portion sizes are less out of control than in the US and we do have reasonably easy access to real food, even in supermarkets. And on another positive note, I was doing a wee investigation recently on use of HFCS in NZ, and because real sugar is cheaper than HFCS for our manufacturers it doesn’t make economic sense for them to use it.

    Kia ora Tom for the Noo Zillund post.

  5. Pierce

    Maybe this is how real change will come about. The US, for all the individual people who get it and mean well, is too big, corrupt, and bureaucratic to change course quickly, but smaller nations like NZ have access to top rate science as well, and probably have the upper hand when it comes to “real food” (I’ve heard the lamb is outstanding). I know the whole primal thing is gaining momentum in Sweden. Maybe smaller nations will be more flexible and willing to try and see what actually works when it comes to nutrition, and that will provide an indisputable counterpoint to the crap we hear all the time in the US. Can hope anyway.

    I hope you’re right. Our government is far too heavily invested in the grain business to change anytime soon.

  6. Nick

    Another kiwi here. I’m surprised there’s so many kiwis who read this blog. I’m in Auckland and have recently gone paleo and have seen dramatic weight loss. I’m in the process of gathering healthy paleo recipes and adding them to my site (http://www.cookingjunkies.com).

    Good on Rhys for trying to help Maori and Pacific Islanders. Hopefully the more people who know about nutrition the more it will spread through communities and benefit more people.

    We picked up a lot of NZ traffic after the film aired on TV there. Quite a few viewers left comments here or on the YouTube channel. It was my first exposure to the meaning of “gobsmacked.”

  7. Chris Gregory

    There are a lot of obesity issues in the NZ media that seem to be little more than expressions of covert racism. The Maori weight ‘problem’ is, if anything, a symptom of social inequities. There’s a very clear link between social status and mortality rates (homosexuality used to be blamed for pretty much the same diseases as obesity currently is). Fat people tend to be poor, tend to avoid going to the doctor, can’t afford to eat as well…

    HFCS is not used much outside of the US, not here in Australia or anywhere else much. So blaming it for the obesity increase is very questionable logic. People are fatter now than they used to be – everybody is around the world (and the distribution curve has stayed the same, just moved over a bit). That’s the result of better nutrition, not worse nutrition (people are also taller and smarter, both of which are potential factors in the weight increase). It is still a bit of a mystery why we all got bigger (although it stopped at least ten years ago and has reversed a little in men), but we did, and we’re living longer than ever.

    The food pyramid is stupid. It’s an advertising gimmick. People eat for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with health – it’s social and cultural. Making them eat one way or another is, well, it doesn’t work to start with. They don’t do it. And you can’t base advice on something that you know people won’t do (or claim that it would have worked *if* they had complied).

  8. Rhys Coffin

    Thank you for all your encouragement and support.

    Over the next few months, my company will be contributing resources (I am a shareholder of an internet marketing company) to create a campaign in NZ to help Maori Pacific people with the low carb message.

    As a matter of interest, did you know that before the europeans arrived here, the only real starch consumed (apart from Kumara) was the root of the native bracken fern). The rest of the diet was mainly birds, fish (no mammals around) and vegetables.

    The introduction of flour and sugar marked the very sharp decline in overall health.

    Of course this is not just about Maori, it’s about all of us, but we can see an opening and have a sympathetic ear from the South Akld DHB (hospital), Auckland University and now Otago University. Support from very senior clinical staff has already been pledged.

    I am meeting with them in October to propose the campaign which will launch then. If we can get traction there in that niche, we can start to influence other groups in the wider community (non-Maori).

    If you would like to get a copy of the campaign outline/manifesto or can offer support or need help yourself, please email me your details.

    Thank you Tom.

    Kia Ora

    Rhys Coffin

  9. dlm

    I think people have tried to eat well or what they were told was well — follow the food pyramid — get five to ten servings of grain/starch per day, several servings of fruit as well. The more they follow, the fatter they get. And then they’re told they’re not trying hard enough and must be cheating. And if you try to cut out starch/grains/carbs you’re told your health will suffer.

  10. Thomas

    NZ is an enviable location for all paleo/low carb adherents since it probably has the highest quality (all grass fed) meat and dairy readily available in every grocery store.

    It’s high on my to-visit list.

  11. Tim

    Nice work Rhys! I’m another kiwi (just moved to Australia) and have been part of a small movement in Wellington. The WestonAPrice foundation is gaining momentum there. Also gaining popularity is Sean Croxton and Tom Naughton.

    Good work and really motivating to read these life changing stories.

    Tom, I know you battle with ignorant youtube comments a lot but you must also get great support from those you have helped change for the good!

    I hear from fans both here on the blog and by personal messages that arrive through the YouTube channel, and it always brightens my day.

  12. Sonya - NZ

    Hey Tom – my high fat/protein and low carb diet is back on track. I have lost 12 cm off my stomach this week alone – awesome. Thanks to you, I now know that the problem with carbs is that they taste great but once you start, you can’t stop and that is what is making us fatter. Best just to avoid where possible.

    As we have had the huge earthquake in NZ followed by storms, I’ve been travelling the country working non stop for pretty much the last 3 weeks (I’m a loss adjuster). It’s been hard but I’ve avoided the easy snacks of muffins/sandwiches and instead have had bacon and eggs for breakfast with cheese and salami during the day whilst driving.

    The ‘diet’ has stayed on track, I’m slimmer I’m not hungry and I’m not fatigued despite long hours of work.

    People at work hassle me about my ‘heavy’ breakfast of good old kiwi bacon with my own home produced eggs however – I laugh in their general direction.

    They can have their yoghurt, cereal, fruit juice and toast for breakfast, then more carbs for morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, chocolate at 4pm. I don’t need to as I’m all proteined up and feel GREAT.

    Rhys – thanks mate for taking such an active involvement in helping people see the light. Please extend your programme as there are plenty of us pakehas that need help too.

    Keep fighting the good fight Tom – the world needs you.

    Thank you, Sonya. Great results, and keep it up.

  13. julianne taylor

    Another Kiwi here. I live in Auckland, I am a registered nurse and nutritionist. Did some conventional nutrition papers to get to degree level in Human nutrition at Massey.
    However I am passionately Paleo. (After being enthusiastically Zone for 13 years). Paleo’s better! I solved my issues 100% zone solved them 80%. Food quality and cutting grains makes all the difference!.

    Anyway great what you are doing – you should also get in touch with Ben at Be Pure, the nutritionist who worked with the Flaxmere group. I talked to him this week and he is wanting to take the message to health board bosses. http://www.bepure.co.nz

    Can you please get in touch with me too, I am currently working with a Maori group. When I spoke to them about eating like their ancestors, it really hits home. All goes well until they can”t resist the fried bread served with the Hangi on a Marae!

    I’ve had some stunning results with a group of volunteers trying out Paleo eating for 6 weeks.

    Also You may be interested Robb Wolf – who has just released his book “The Paleolithic Solution” is coming to New Zealand in January or February next year http://www.robbwolf.com

    He says he will probably be doing a seminar, so I would love to get in touch with anyone who might be interested.

    @Bob, We currently still use plain old sugar in Coke, and other soft drinks. (Although table sugar is still 50% fructose, just not as a monosaccharide)

    Glad to know you’ve got a little movement going on down there. Those before and after results are impressive.

  14. Nora

    As to calling fat people fat instead of obese? Um, HELLO? We KNOW we’re fat. And, amazingly, knowing we’re fat doesn’t necessarily make us change our behavior. Plus? I reallyreallyreally don’t want the government telling me what I should eat. They handle so many other things *so* well, I can just imagine how well they’ll handle determining what’s best for me, foodwise.
    And BTW, the only thing I *don’t* like about the FatHead blog is that it took me this long to discover it (which is, of course, your fault, not mine, because as a fat person, I obviously don’t take personal responsibility for ANYTHING).
    //sarcasm off

    Nobody had to inform me I was fat. I was reminded of it every time I looked in the mirror.

  15. Natalie

    Hi Tom!

    Yet another Kiwi fat head here. It seems you shouldn’t have moved to Tennessee but to Aoteroa, because you’re better known there!

    I’m from NZ, but I live in Holland and just knowing that there is such a strong low-carb/Paleo movement in New Zealand is making me as homesick as. Here in the NL the Dutch are addicted to bread, cheese, coffee, CAFO meats and packaged foods. What in Dog’s name am I still doing here when I read this kind of stuff on your blog about what is happening in my own country? Time to start thinking about emigrating back and scouring the Internet for cheap fares, methinks! 🙂

    I love Tennessee, but if my country goes the way of Argentina and spends itself into permanent poverty, I may be looking for another home. NZ would be high on the list.

  16. Tracey Butler

    Yeah Tom, come to NZ, it’s great. Best little country in the world 😀

    Seriously tho, if I win lotto in the next while I’ll bring your family out and set up a speaking tour for you, plus maybe some gatherings of like-minded folk around the country. Just need to start buying lotto tickets….

    I’d love to do a speaking tour there and meet all the Kiwis who’ve written or commented in the past year.

  17. Barbara

    Hey Tom,

    I personally blame you 100% for this low-carb journey of discovery I’ve been on this year since being capitvated by ‘Fat Head’!! And then I discovered Jimmy Moore and the two of you together have been my inspirations this year!! I took Jimmy’s advice and have taken most of the year to look for the low-carb programme that works for me and I found it in Mark Sisson’s ‘Primal Blueprint’…since starting it five or six weeks ago I have lost 5kgs (11lbs). It’s been the easiest thing I’ve ever done for myself – excluding the odd ‘off day’…it took a while to fins but I got there and think I’ve convinced my partner it would be beneficial for him to get on board the low-carb lifestyle!!

    I’m a Kiwi, in Wellington and it’s great to see so many others commenting here…and agree with Tracey about meeting other low-carbers out there

    Keep up the great work Tom…I look forward to each of your posts…I’ve learnt so much from you this year…and you do it all with great humour!!! Would love to see you over here too!!

    Thank you, Barbara. Jimmy and I happily accept the blame.

  18. John F

    Another low carber in Wellington, NZ signing in. I love my high fat, high protein, low carb foods. Also enjoy slow burn work outs.

    Is there a low carb group in Wellington that meets regularly or anything?

  19. Prue

    Great idea Tracey!
    If Robb can come out here, then you bet we’d love to have Tom and family out here too.
    There needs to be some coordination into a low carb/Paleo/Primal movement here so we have more impact.
    Thanks Tom – you’ve got quite a fan club down under!

    I believed someone dubbed the group the Kiwi Konverts some months back. Looking forward to meeting you all someday.

  20. Melanie

    Kia Ora Rhys I too am a Maori, well half Pakeha as well. This has been on my mind as well. Thanks for the posting, this is more meaningful knowing that other Maori think along the same lines as I do. cheers


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