Meat Is the Meal in Remote Afghanistan, Greenland

Vegetarianism isn’t an option for the Kyrgyz in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor or for Inuits in Greenland. Whether it’s yaks or seals, the diet of both communities is almost exclusively meat, since few plants can survive in such harsh climates.

As part of our Future of Food series, photographer Matthieu Paley went to eight remote parts of the world to document the evolution of diet. Our video team captured his NG Live! lectures about his work in a series of videos starting with these two.

Watch as Paley learns how to trade yaks for flour (or cigarettes or candy) in Wakhan Corridor. “If you are a vegetarian, it will be a slow death,” says Paley. Milk, meat, bread and salt tea are a typical meal there.

In Greenland, Paley faces the challenges of a seal hunt, and observes an Inuit toddler unfazed by a dead polar bear head defrosting on the kitchen table.

(Read more about the health challenges of the Inuit diet.)

man stores seal meat in basement

After feeding his sled dogs, an Inuit hunter stashes seal meat in his basement for his family. Photograph by Matthieu Paley for National Geographic

(Read about the question of ethical eating.)

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Amazon Dwellers Eat What Jungle Offers | The Plate

    […] the meat-heavy diet of the Inuits and Kyrgyz, the Tsimane people of the Bolivian Amazon survive primarily on plants […]

    June 4, 201519:08 am