CHAPTER 10

BURYING THE UMBILICUS: NUTRITION TRAUMA, DIABETES AND TRADITIONAL MEDICINE IN RURAL WEST MEXICO
Burying the Umbilicus:

Leslie E. Korn and Rudolph C. Ryser

If you do not care where your umbilical cord is buried, it is as if you had no mother.
Luisa Lorenzo, Community leader

Summary of Chapter 10. This chapter explores the intersections of traditional medicine, nutrition trauma and diabetes in a small indigenous community on the west coast of Mexico based on 27 years of the first author’s direct experience and conducting intensive research. Beginning with the philosophy and practices of the Cent-er for Traditional Medicine, a rural grassroots, natural medicine, public health center, the chapter discusses the current and historical use of traditional medicines in west Mexico, and locates them in the context of the emerging movement of integrative methods. A detailed exploration of the culture and peoples of the region and the effects of “defective development” leads to an examination of development, tourism and community trauma on health in the region. A definition of nutrition trauma provides a basis from which to explore an innovative women-directed community determined program designed to address diabetes with an intergen-erational focus. Intercultural exchanges, clinical health change strategies, authentic nutrition and culinary arts, detoxification, the creative arts and medicinal plants provide the methods by which the community defines its priorities and enacts self determination to regain control over its health.