Changing lives: Now that the Festive season is finished

By Dr. Walter Vermeulen 19 January 2019, 12:00AM

Talofa Samoa!

In the first week of last year, I was looking for one of METI ‘champions’: someone, who had been following the whole foods, plant based (WFPB) diet that METI promotes and who had been successful in reversing his diabetes condition, which had been crippling him for years. 

I selected this person, not only because he had made a remarkable recovery but also because he had been very outspoken about his recovery, to the point where he had been actively encouraging other diabetics to attend METI’s Health Seminar and follow the WFPB diet. 

I thought he would be the ideal person to have his testimony printed in the first METI Health Column of the New Year. 

So, I called him and invited him to write his testimony. He answered with a whimpering voice and confessed that he was feeling miserable because he had ‘cheated’ over the Holidays and had not strictly followed the WFPB diet…

When I asked him what he was going to do about his poor condition, he replied in a slightly irritated voice: ‘I know what to do… call me back in three weeks.’  I did call him back and found that he was strictly following the diet and was again in excellent condition…

The Holiday Season is now officially over and if –like our ‘champion’- you have overindulged during this Season, now is the right time to recommit to a healthy lifestyle. Those of you who have attended METI’s Health Seminar know what to do, since the Seminar has enlightened you. On this, I recall the famous words of Thomas Paine, one of the Fathers of the American Revolution, who once said: “The mind, once enlightened, cannot again become dark.”! 

And for those of you, who are now suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, we encourage you to come and attend our Seminar at METI’s Motootua Clinic to receive guidance on how to start the WFPB diet in order to reverse your medical condition.

We realize that some of you might feel hesitant to radically change your eating habits and adopt what is basically a low fat vegan diet. Especially since the social media are promoting so many different diets, which is confusing to the Public, which finally is at a loss about what would be the best diet to choose… And then, of course, many people like to hear good things about bad habits like gorging yourself on fatty animal-based foods…

We believe that by word of mouth and also thanks to the many testimonies we have presented in our Health Column throughout last year, the Samoan Public has become to appreciate the value of the WFPB diet to reverse the medical conditions mentioned. And yet, we are aware of the powerful attraction of the advertisements that urge you to adopt a diet that is the complete opposite of the WFPB diet. I am talking specifically of the so-called ‘low carbohydrate’ diets.

Of all the many ‘diets’ you can find by searching the Internet, the ketogenic diet was the most popular diet searched on Google in 2018 and has officially reached ‘mega-fad status’. 

If you don’t know what the ketogenic diet is all about, it basically is a diet comprised of 70-80% fat, “moderate” (too much) protein, and almost zero carbohydrates.

I have devoted an entire Health Column last year explaining the latest scientific research results that show that the diet –in the short run- might help with weight loss- but in the long run can lead to heart disease and cancer. 

Eating more fibre, found in wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread and root crops like taro as well as vegetables, fruits and legumes (which are peas, beans or lentils), will cut people’s chances of heart disease and early death, according to a recent landmark review commissioned by the World Health Organization. The research was led by Prof Jim Mann’s team at the University of Otago in New Zealand, who also carried out the major review that informed WHO guidance on curbing sugar in the diet, leading to sugar taxes around the world.

 The findings of this review are good news for METI’s WFPB diet– but incompatible with the fashionable low-carb diets.

 It highlight that there are ‘bad’ (simple) and ‘good’ (complex) carbohydrates. Sugar is a “bad” carbohydrate, but “good” carbohydrates are those that have a high fibre content like Samoa’s staple food, taro.  This distinction is very important, a point missed by those popular fad diets that reject all carbohydrates. By doing so, they miss out on the all-important fibre in the complex carbohydrates that can, say the scientists, save lives.

 We are happy to present, explained in his own words, the testimony of one of our ‘champions’, Afioga Su’a Leomaga Pita, who had been on diabetic drugs for many years and reversed his diabetes and hypertension in a matter of weeks by strictly following the WFPB diet.




Name : Su’a Leomaga Pita

Village: Gagaifo Lefaga/Tuana’i

I am a former Public Servant. 

I am eighty one years of age, with forty years suffering from diabetes and Hypertension. By the time that I developed diabetes and Hypertension I started taking pills and later had to add insulin because my blood sugar was still going up. 

Sometimes I felt dizzy because my condition got worse and worse. But I never gave up looking for any treatment that would help for me because the Doctor told me: ‘Next time, if the blood sugar still goes up, you will have to go to the dialysis’. But I did not like the idea of this kind of treatment. 

One day while I am walking in front of the old Acute 7 to see the doctor, I saw the sign called METI; I couldn’t wait and went inside that office. 

Started from that time until now I strictly follow this METI diet and never gave it up. I know this diet helps me a lot. I am back to my normal duties, I throw away all my pills and especially I stopped the insulin injections. I do some exercises like walking. I am a happy man right now, free from drugs with my diabetes and hypertension reversed. 

Thanks to my aiga for support, also METI for this message of hope. If you have got any of these non-communicable diseases like diabetes or hypertension, come and join METI’s diet.  Faafetai.


*For more information about METI’s Healthy Living Programme and how to register for the enlightening Health Seminars, come and visit us at METI’s Clinic at Motootua or call us on 30550. 

By Dr. Walter Vermeulen 19 January 2019, 12:00AM

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