Photograph by Matthieu Paley for National Geographic
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An Inuit girl feeds her brother a bit of liver from a seal their father has just caught.
Photograph by Matthieu Paley for National Geographic

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.

We Are What We Eat: Afghanistan

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.

We Are What We Eat: Greenland
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After feeding his sled dogs, an Inuit hunter stashes seal meat in his basement for his family. Photograph by Matthieu Paley for National Geographic