Change for your children, chef says

Samoans need to dig deep on their diet and choose to be there for their children, restaurateur Dora Rossi says.

Ms. Rossi cut meat, eggs, dairy and processed food from her diet a year ago and now only eats whole, plant based foods. 

After losing her children’s father to a rare cancer ten months ago, the chef and restaurateur said she got a wakeup call about the way she was living.

“It made me think about my personal life, my diet, and I just wanted to be there for my kids.

“So I challenged myself, and I stuck with it.”

In the beginning she cut out only red meat, and then eventually became a vegan, a diet that does not include any food from animals or animal products. 

“I am loving it, and I have never felt better in my life,” she said.

“I just wanted to make healthier choices, because life is really precious and its worth making sacrifices for.”

Speaking ahead of Pacific Island Food Revolution season two launch at Paddles Restaurant on Thursday, Ms. Rossi said eating healthy is not prohibitively expensive.  

“I think one of the problems we are really tackling is that unhealthy food products are really cheap, and cheaper than our wholefoods sold that the market.

“In saying that, people need to make conscious choices to start looking after their health – I truly believe that health is wealth.”

Also present for the launch was episode star guest and Former Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

She said the show revealed how special Samoan cuisine can be, despite the perception that it might have a largely plain repertoire. 

“Sometimes people think that Samoan cuisine is plain or boring but seeing how these people do their thing, […] people love their Samoan food.

“This simplicity of our produce and the simplicity of the cooking… this looked like real food.” 

Non-communicable diseases, caused so often by inactivity and poor diet that they are called lifestyle diseases, are responsible for 75 per cent of the total disease burdens in 2016 and more than half of all premature deaths.

An estimated 94 per cent of the adult population is overweight and 75 per cent is obese, according to World Health Organisation data. 

As well as encouraging people to improve their lives through diet and exercise, the Ministry of Health is conducting regular screening programmes across Samoa to catch the warning signs of N.C.D.s earlier.

The Vice Chancellor of the Oceania University of Medicine, Manufalealili Dr. Viali Lameko, said behaviour change policies are not enough, and that taxes, import regulations and advertising bans will do more to reduce unhealthy diets across Samoa. 

He is currently undergoing a policy review of Samoa’s N.C.D. control efforts. 

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