4

votes

What sweet potatoes were the Kitavans eating?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 29, 2012 at 4:22 AM

was it the purple okinawans, american sweet orange ones, or the other sweet potatoe with the white inner?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

She got upset over the roles of women. She couldn't wear a skirt, she had to work in the fields. Maybe I missed part of the episode, but at no point in what I saw did she complain about the yams.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 08, 2012
at 02:38 AM

Okay, clearly I'm not trying to neg anybody who is short, rather I'm trying to stress the relevance that eating a diet high in sweet potatoes could be disadvantageous long term since, while it did lead to proper bone formation, I'd argue it is questionable if they truly thrived on this diet. However, your question doesn't ask if you should include them as a substantial portion of your diet, rather, what kind were they. To this my response does seem rather out of place.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:25 PM

Who cares? They are completely different plants. Sweet potatoes are as related to cassava as they are to yams. The "yams that have a white flesh" and "with either a darker or dirty skin" you mention sounds like an actual yam root.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:22 PM

Alec is not completely wrong. The main root they ate was yams, and yams are definitely not sweet potatoes.

9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

(355)

on December 01, 2012
at 04:57 AM

Here's Melissa McEwen's post with a great quote: http://huntgatherlove.com/content/tribal-wives-kitava

9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

(355)

on December 01, 2012
at 04:55 AM

If you are talking about the BBC's 'Tribal Wives: Kitava' then that is exactly how it went.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on November 30, 2012
at 11:24 AM

haha that's not at all how it went.

9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

(355)

on November 30, 2012
at 07:42 AM

Yes, I saw the program. The lady from London was overwhelmed by the Kitavans' obsession with yams to the point that she almost broke down.

9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

(355)

on November 30, 2012
at 07:39 AM

A BBC documentary which I cannot now find on youtube showed that Kitavans eat almost exclusively 'Yams' and showed the yam harvest to be perhaps the most important cultural event on their island. Not sure why the downvotes?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on November 30, 2012
at 01:59 AM

sounds like a good reason to inquire rather than to open a book and look it up. good luck with that!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on November 30, 2012
at 01:57 AM

that sounds like a soup question. good luck with that.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on November 29, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I'm 5'4"... it has some advantages.

E8c2167284f0cdd16a12bea2741975b4

(476)

on November 29, 2012
at 09:42 PM

What's wrong with that? What if I am short? Are you vaguely suggesting that I adopt your estimation that being short is disadvantageous?

E8c2167284f0cdd16a12bea2741975b4

(476)

on November 29, 2012
at 09:41 PM

Perhaps i have no intention of eating potatoes at all and just wanted to know.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on November 29, 2012
at 02:58 PM

http://www.staffanlindeberg.com/TheKitavaStudy.html "root vegetables (yam, sweet potato, taro, tapioca)"

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on November 29, 2012
at 11:16 AM

The average male height for the Kitavans is also 5'4".

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4 Answers

2
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on November 29, 2012
at 10:19 PM

What sweet potatoes were the Kitavans eating? was it the purple okinawans, american sweet orange ones, or the other sweet potatoe with the white inner?

I can't find any information about cultivars of sweet potatoes grown on Kitava. However information is available about sweet potatoes in Papua New Guinea as a whole. One of the world's leading experts seems to be a scientist named Mike Bourke at the Australian National University in Canberra. His bio:

http://cci.anu.edu.au/researchers/view/mike_bourke/

Regarding sweet potato cultivars in Papua New Guinea, he writes:

Cultivars [of sweet potatoes]
  • Unknown number used in PNG [Papua New Guinea]
  • Crudely estimated that about 5000 cultivars are grown in PNG
  • No single cultivar dominates production or trade
  • Big range in flesh and tuber skin colour
  • Lower moisture content types strongly preferred
  • 5000 cultivars! :)

    If you write to him, maybe he can give you more info. Here's his email address:

    mike.bourke@anu.edu.au

    Another person who might be able to answer your question is Dr. Segie Kopen Bang, Director of Research at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Papua New Guinea. Email nari@datec.net.pg or naridr@global.net.pg.

    Sources:

    Bourke, Mike. "Sweet Potato in Papua New Guinea." http://ips.cap.anu.edu.au/ssgm/lmg/pubs/ACIAR_2006/BourkeMike.pdf

    International Potato Center. World Sweet Potato Atlas: Papua New Guinea. https://research.cip.cgiar.org/confluence/display/WSA/Papua+New+Guinea

    0
    1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

    on November 29, 2012
    at 11:34 PM

    Hey. I watched a few videos on youtube from some British tv series where they sent a regular London woman to go live amongst the Kitavans for 2 weeks. I just scoured youtube.com and unfortunately can no longer find it. However, I clearly remember a brief section on food. In one part of the episode they explain and show what they eat for dinner, and it is "boiled yams with fish and greens." In this part of the video, they appear to eat yams that have a white flesh (at least, the one family does for the episode they shot... I would imagine they have many different varieties that they cultivate, as yams a staple and highly revered food-source).

    My guess is that the American white sweet potato most is most similar to the afformentioned variety then. And I'm not sure what CD is talking about (sorry man), because a plant food's color says quite a lot about its nutrient profile. It's not orange, so it probably is quite a bit lower in beta and alpha carotene than the more typical orange variety.

    To corroborate what I recall, on staffanlindeberg.com/TheKitavaStudy.html there is a picture of what appears to be possibly two varieties of yams/sweet potatoes (whatever, who gives a f***). One (with either a darker or dirty skin) is sliced open and white flesh is exposed. Another appears to have a (dirty) white skin and looks very similar to American white sweet potatoes.

    I really like sweet potatoes as a source of starch, and the American white sweet potato variety (white skin, white flesh) is less sweet than the orange variety (orange/brown skin, orange flesh), and therefore starchier with a lower fructose/glucose ratio. My favorite are Japanese sweet potatoes (red/brown skin, whitish flesh) and these are also less sweet than the American garnet and jewel varieties.

    Hope that helps some.

    9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

    (355)

    on November 30, 2012
    at 07:42 AM

    Yes, I saw the program. The lady from London was overwhelmed by the Kitavans' obsession with yams to the point that she almost broke down.

    9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

    (355)

    on December 01, 2012
    at 04:55 AM

    If you are talking about the BBC's 'Tribal Wives: Kitava' then that is exactly how it went.

    1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

    (14952)

    on November 30, 2012
    at 11:24 AM

    haha that's not at all how it went.

    1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

    (14952)

    on September 07, 2013
    at 01:28 AM

    She got upset over the roles of women. She couldn't wear a skirt, she had to work in the fields. Maybe I missed part of the episode, but at no point in what I saw did she complain about the yams.

    Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

    (19150)

    on December 05, 2012
    at 03:25 PM

    Who cares? They are completely different plants. Sweet potatoes are as related to cassava as they are to yams. The "yams that have a white flesh" and "with either a darker or dirty skin" you mention sounds like an actual yam root.

    0
    9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

    (355)

    on November 29, 2012
    at 07:42 AM

    The Kitavans eat yams and not sweet potatoes. Yams are a huge part of their culture and life. There are some great videos if you do a youtube search.

    7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

    (5959)

    on November 29, 2012
    at 02:58 PM

    http://www.staffanlindeberg.com/TheKitavaStudy.html "root vegetables (yam, sweet potato, taro, tapioca)"

    9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

    (355)

    on November 30, 2012
    at 07:39 AM

    A BBC documentary which I cannot now find on youtube showed that Kitavans eat almost exclusively 'Yams' and showed the yam harvest to be perhaps the most important cultural event on their island. Not sure why the downvotes?

    9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

    (355)

    on December 01, 2012
    at 04:57 AM

    Here's Melissa McEwen's post with a great quote: http://huntgatherlove.com/content/tribal-wives-kitava

    Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

    (19150)

    on December 05, 2012
    at 03:22 PM

    Alec is not completely wrong. The main root they ate was yams, and yams are definitely not sweet potatoes.

    -1
    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on November 29, 2012
    at 02:02 PM

    Why does it matter? the nutrient profile of the three types of sweet potatoes that you mentioned is moot. They all provide about the same nutrients. Eat them, they taste good and are good for you!

    E8c2167284f0cdd16a12bea2741975b4

    (476)

    on November 29, 2012
    at 09:41 PM

    Perhaps i have no intention of eating potatoes at all and just wanted to know.

    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on November 30, 2012
    at 01:59 AM

    sounds like a good reason to inquire rather than to open a book and look it up. good luck with that!

    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on November 30, 2012
    at 01:57 AM

    that sounds like a soup question. good luck with that.

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