Q: Nutrition in the Field

Faybienne Geenhuizen (fgeenhzn@IU.NET)
Sat, 8 Apr 1995 08:02:41 -0400

Speaking to anthropologists who do participant observation in remote
locations, where you will be essentially living off the land, do you
take nutritional supplements with you into the field?

I have asked one anthropologist about this in person. She periodically
spends time with a foraging/horticultural group in the Amazon
rainforest in Bolivia. They catch or grow almost everything that they
eat. They also can buy things at the missionary store with money
that they are paid for doing chores for the missionaries, but this
is not how they get most of their food.

The anthropologist said she didn't in years past take any nutritional
supplements with her when she went in, but that she has begun to
do so recently. She takes vitamin B supplements.

We saw a video about another foraging group in the Amazon. They had
distended bellies, and this was said to be due to their high-carbohydrate
diet. The anthropologist standing in their midst did not have a
distended belly. How is this avoided? If there is a protein deficiency
in the group, does the anthropologist pack along protein supplements?

Faybienne Geenhuizen