Changing lives: The risk of dying at an early age

Talofa Samoa! We have emphasized in previous Columns that M.E.T.I’s strategy to tackle the ‘epidemic’ of obesity and N.C.D. is - instead of targeting the general population- to direct its health promoting messages to the thousands and thousands of N.C.D. sufferers, who feel miserable and incapacitated and are at a real risk of dying from their disease at an early age. 

It is M.E.T.I’s experience that these patients, provided they strictly follow the W.F.P.B. diet, are able to reverse their medical conditions in a matter of weeks, which is indeed a most gratifying experience to them. Many such persons, who – to their surprise- have regained full health and are able to resume their normal functions in life actively start promoting the W.F.P.B. diet health message. 

They become ‘beacons of hope’ for other N.C.D. sufferers and in many cases encourage the rest of their family to start following the W.F.P.B. diet. This is how, in our opinion, we will gradually wean off the Samoan population from these unhealthy imported foods and prevent N.C.D. in the future: by first offering a message of hope and compassionate care to those now affected and suffering from these diseases.

We do agree that switching to a plant-based diet takes willpower but, in general, people feel so much better in a matter of a few days that they will stick with the W.F.P.B. diet. At the same time, M.E.T.I. makes an effort to promote recipes that are culturally acceptable and were commonly used by earlier generations of Samoans, in days when obesity or NCD were rare. (I refer to the last Health Column where we showed the Poka with Baked Beans recipe.)

In addition, METI tries to introduce foods that can become a substitute for those foods that must be avoided. We offered for example the ‘tofu mayonnaise’ recipe, as a substitute for the oily mayonnaise made with eggs, which must be avoided.

And so, we are happy to announce to our readers that one of the importers has now brought in ‘nutritional yeast’ (call us to find out who!), which can be used as a substitute for cheese. See below the recipe for ‘Vegan Parmesan’, which is delicious when sprinkled over your vegetable stew or sprinkled over your hummus (chickpea spread) eaten on a piece of wholemeal bread.

But the value of nutritional yeast goes well beyond increasing the tastiness of the WFPB diet. 

Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, a micro-fungus called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it.

Because it’s inactive, it doesn’t froth or grow like baking yeast does so it has no leavening ability. Nutritional yeast contains a type of fibres, called ‘beta-glucans’ that have been found to strengthen the immune system and so enhance the defence against infections and, potentially, cancer.

Beta-glucans themselves do not appear to have a direct effect in terms of killing cancer cells, but may boost anti-tumour immunity by activating our immune cells. For example, if –in the laboratory- they take freshly excised tumours of breast cancer patients, and let loose natural immune killer cells upon them, they can kill off a small percentage of the tumour cells.

But, first let the killer cells eat some yeast beta-glucans, and they become five times more effective at killing cancer cells! Clinical studies have also shown that beta-glucans improve wound healing, besides fighting infections and cancer.

So, why not just incorporate Nutritional yeast in your daily menu? 

In our Healthy Living clinic we now routinely recommend that anyone wanting to boost their immune system mix a teaspoon of Nutritional yeast with their vegetable stew or spread it on their hummus. 

For cancer patients we recommend one tablespoon a day together with one tablespoon of crushed Flax (also called Lin) seeds. Incorporating Nutritional yeast in your WFPB diet offers you a win-win situation: it boosts your immune system to fight infection and cancer and at the same time you will be able to try out delicious recipes like the following one.


If you are missing cheese and especially Parmesan that used to be lathered on your favourite pizza slices, here is a healthier substitute!  



½ cup of cashew nuts or almonds or local peanuts (raw or roasted)

2 TBSP nutritional yeast 



1. Put the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for 30 to 60 seconds until you get a bread crumb type texture.

2. Scrape the mixture off the sides of the blender and continue blending.

3. Sprinkle as topping on your vegetarian pizza or favourite spreads. 


Recipe adapted from the Revive Cafe Cookbooks series. .  Adapted with permission.

We repeat in this Health Column the presentation of the testimony by Christina Robert of Faleasi’u. We present it again to our readers because of her remarkable recovery from heart failure. She continues to follow the WFPB diet strictly and has resumed her normal daily activities. One of the reasons we present her testimony again is that Christina is a ‘taulasea’ (traditional healer). What is remarkable is that she now refers some of her patients to the METI Healthy Living Clinic. We wished all ‘health providers’ would follow her example. Thank you Christina! You are one of our ‘champions’!

Christina Robert

Faleasi’u Tauoo, 64


My name is Christina Robert from Tauoo Faleasi’u. I am a widow of 64 years old. I was Hypertensive for 11 years and started taking pills from that time. In 2010 I developed Heart Failure and needed additional drugs. Starting from that time until last year I felt weak in my body, not only that but also I’ve got back pain. 

In December 2017, I thought that was my last year on earth, I was admitted in Motootua Hospital for two weeks because of my Heart Failure. I was discharged and the Doctor prescribed further drugs. It was hard for me to take these pills as they caused stomach upset. When I came for my next appointment and I explained all this the doctor advised me  to go to METI’s Clinic. The next day, I sent my son to see them. When he came back, he told me about the (whole food, plant based) diet. On the second week of January this year METI started their program called Nutrition Advice, and I started my diet from that time till now. After two weeks on the diet, I stopped all my pills on my own decision as I felt great. I am very interesting in this type of food. Now I am back to my usual duties, attend the women’s committee, weaving mats, because my blood pressure has become normal again and all the pain has gone, and   especially my heart is now OK. Special thanks to my family support my sons and daughters- in-law, without their support I can’t do anything.

If you suffer from all these Non Communicable Disease and you’re sick and tired of taking pills, go and see METI for their help. Last but not the least thank you very much METI for your help. Soifua 


*If you, reading this column or any of your family or friends are suffering from NCD, it might be wise to come to the METI Clinic at Motootua to enroll in our Health Seminars to get all the details of how to start the life-saving WFPB nutrition program. You can reach us at 7636358 or 7239297 during working hours, 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday.

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