The Decolonizing Diet Project (DDP) was a pilot study of the relationship between humans and Indigenous foods of the Great Lakes Region. Dr. Martin Reinhardt, associate professor of Native American Studies served as the principal investigator and a research subject for the DDP.

The planning phase of the project ran from 2010 to 2012. The implementation phase ran from March 25, 2012 to March 24, 2013. The analysis and reporting phase was from March 25, 2013 to Summer of 2014.

Dr. Reinhardt authored a chapter in the following publication about the outcomes of the DDP:

Reinhardt, M. (2015). “Spirit food: A multidimensional overview of the Decolonizing Diet Project”. Indigenous Innovation: Universalities and Peculiarities, eds., E. Sumida Huaman and B. Sriraman. Rotterdam: Sense.

Reinhardt co-authored a DDP Cookbook with fellow research subjects Leora Lancaster and April Lindala:

Reinhardt, M., Lancaster, L., and Lindala, A. (2016). Decolonizing Diet Project Cookbook. Featuring Indigenous food recipes from the Great Lakes Region. Marquette, MI: Northern Michigan University, Center for Native American Studies. Reinhardt is currently working on another chapter for an upcoming publication which will feature his and his wife's (Tina Moses) reflections about the DDP.

A DDP Three Year Follow-Up Study was recently conducted by K. Nim Reinhardt, a senior nursing student and Indian Health Services Scholar/McNair Scholar at NMU (and yes, she is Dr. Reinhardt's older daughter too). Findings from this study may be submitted for publication soon also.

The DDP continues to influence many other projects and has a wide following on Facebook and in communities around the world. Dr. Reinhardt continues to present on the project and will be looking at future projects related to the outcomes of the DDP.

We would like to thank all of those who have assisted with the DDP over the years and would be more than happy to answer any questions about the DDP via email at:

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Interview with Peter Payette and Scott Herron

This morning I was interviewed by Peter Payette at Interlochen Public Radio, along with Scott Herron from Ferris State University. To listen to the interview click on the link below and then click on the native diet mp3 link.


  1. Greetings. I am very interested in your program, and will be following your progress as you prepare to begin the study. I would like to attempt it. For the past year or so, I have been loosely following a paleo diet, along with a crossfit exercise program. I have experienced the food availability and social barrier issues mentioned in your hypothesis (identifying, planning, and obtaining non-standard food takes a lot of time and patience, especially for an office-based worker like me), but I can say that this diet, along with the exercise, has leaned me out, yielded more energy than I can use in a day, and improved my mental outlook - thus my desire to do more of it, but on a more local scale (I am also a student of peak oil, which would indicate that moving food thousands of miles is not sustainable, even if it is a good nutritional choice.) The crossfit exercise program is a good approximation, I believe, of what primitive people did as normal activity. It combines stretching, weight bearing exercise, agility drills, and slow and intense cardio in an endless variety. I find that I can keep up with fellow crossfitters 20 or more years younger than me. Prior to doing this, I had done traditional weight and cardio workouts, and thought I was in good shape (I was wrong.) You may want to have any time-challenged study participants check this program out as their potential exercise component.

    That being said, I will be reviewing your food lists over the winter, and doing the planning necessary. I live in upstate New York, on Lake Ontario, and have a greenhouse and garden space to attempt to grow the food I can't source commercially. I am not a hunter, but there are probably ways to obtain local meat products (this is also a problem with the paleo diet, which calls for only grass fed meats, and naturally fed chicken, etc..) What is your stance on grass fed beef, as an alternative to wild game?

    Finally, I wish you and your participants good luck and good health. Thanks for developing such a compelling program.

    Tim Wozniak, Pultneyville, NY

  2. Aanii Tim. It sounds like your experience with the paleo diet and crossfit program have served you well. I have read a few articles about paleo diets and the focus seem very similar to the DDP. I will look into the crossfit program and discuss it with Dr. Mohey Mowafy who will be acting as an advisor for the DDP in this area. We are developing ideas for an Indigenous garden area and greenhouse on campus, and hope to have both established in time to support the DDP implementation phase. Regarding beef and DDP, it would not be an eligible food source. That being said, bison and turkey and many other meats are eligible, so there should be no lack of protien for you if you follow the DDP master food list. Please keep in touch. We are now on facebook also.