What the Inuit Eats? | Traditional cuisine (series)

inuit fishing

“The blood and flesh of walrus, seal, whale, caribou, and polar bear make up much of the Inuit diet. They also eat birds and eggs, and fish including sculpin, Arctic cod, and lake trout. And plant base foods such as seaweed, grass, roots, and berries.” Said John, a western scientist, at a recent briefing on world’s cultures recently held at the L’ EcoResorts’ conference hall in Key Largo, Florida.

He went on further to state “despite consuming copious amount of fatty meats the Inuit do not suffer from obesity when they stick to their traditional diet..…. neither was type two diabetes a factor and heart attack was a rarity within their group. They [Inuit] tends to develop and retain better teeth and jaws due in part to their lifestyle.

“In the 1970s, Danish researchers studying Inuit metabolism proposed that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish were protective. Those conclusions eventually led to the recommendation that Westerners eat more fish to help prevent heart disease and sent tens of millions scrambling for fish oil pills.” — The New York Times

inuit clothing
Child dressed in traditional inuit clothing.

A native group of people occupying the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland and Alaska, the Inuit never farm. This is perhaps because little vegetation can grow in the Arctic. The people, sustainable hunters they were had relied on the sea for their food. But also, hunted inland. The meat they gathered would be eaten in the raw (hence the nickname given to the group by outsiders Eskimo for eater of raw meat, according to sources). The protein was also dried to be preserved and consumed later. Some fire cooking took place but traditionally this was limited due to lack of resources to do so.

In most cases, almost all the parts of the animal hunted were used. The skin and fur to make clothing, the ivory, bone, antlers, teeth, horns to make tools for the household (including knives, needles), hunting (including harpoons), symbolic items (including masks, trinkets).

Also, see: Modern vs. Traditional Life: Information about the similarities and differences of the lifestyles of a traditional Inuit family and that of a modern urban Inuit family.


CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown eats raw seal with the Inuit.