Maasai have been coexisting with the wildlife surrounding them for years. This is in part because their way of life revolves around their cattle. Here is a look into how cattle and other livestock are important in the diet of Maasai people. 

Being pastoralists, cattle and livestock are central to Maasai culture and society. Maasai believe that God gave them their cattle, and because of this, they are a vital part of Maasai ways of life. The Maasai main diet consists of three things: milk, meat, and blood. 

Milk is stored in a calabash, made from a gourd, and is drunk on its own or occasionally mixed with fresh cow blood to be used for ritual purposes or to be given to someone who is sick. Fresh blood is obtained using a bow and arrow to safely hit the jugular vein to draw blood. 

Meat is obtained, as can be expected, through the slaughtering of bulls, sheep, and goats. In Maasai culture, nothing is wasted, so not only is the meat consumed, but the hides are typically used to make bedding, shoes, and cloth for rituals. Further, bull horns are removed to use as a cup to drink milk and local alcohol, and the tips of the tails can be used to keep flies away. That’s not all: cow dung can be mixed with soil to plaster Maasai houses, or bomas. 

These three food items have been staples of the Maasai diet, and only recently have Maasai people begun to supplement their diet with foods such as cornmeal, beans, and rice.