Changing lives: Looking radiant and look ten years younger

DW
By Dr. Walter Vermeulen, 15 December 2018

Talofa Samoa! We are always amazed when we see the patients that follow strictly the whole foods, plant based diet come back to our Clinic after being on the diet for a few weeks. 

They look radiant and look ten years younger (besides having lost weight and having reversed their diabetes or high blood pressure). There is a proven scientific reason for this and I will try to explain this in this Column.

When the doctor takes a tiny piece of your skin and has it examined under the microscope, one sees little round structures tightly packed against each other. They are ‘cells’. 

The same happens when the doctor examines other parts of your body: say he takes a tiny piece of muscle, kidney, liver or brain. When looked at under the microscope, again, one sees ‘cells’. They might have different shapes but they all are structures that are called ‘cells’. 

They all have a membrane that protects the content of the cells and allows them to be stacked unto each other to make the variously shaped body parts. Our body is made up of trillions (one trillion is 1000 billion!) of cells: to be exact, 20 to 60 trillion depending on your size. That’s a lot of cells! And each one of these must receive constantly oxygen and food to be kept alive. 

You will agree that we cannot live without oxygen but, at the same time, oxygen can cause damage to our body, especially to what happens inside our cells. 

This damage is caused by what is called ‘oxidation’. Just look at a cut apple: after a while the cut surface will become brownish, or an iron piece of equipment left outside will eventually become rusty and break down. This ‘oxidation’ is caused by various types of ‘oxidants’, also called ‘reactive oxygen species’ (ROS) which are a type of so-called ‘free radicals’. 

This happens continuously and over time this can cause disease and make us look older. How can we protect ourselves from having the rust set in our cells and body – so to speak? Simply by eating plenty of plant food… Let me explain.

Plants take the energy of the sun and transform it inside their cells into life through what is called ‘photosynthesis’. This production of energy is a bit like what happens in a nuclear reactor. Tremendous amounts of energy are produced by a high-powered activity that allows tiny bits of particles called electrons to be exchanged between molecules. In the case of humans and animals, something similar happens in our cells, not through photosynthesis but through the oxygen and the food that each cell receives, which turns it into energy through a process called metabolism so that the cell can continue to function.

These electrons zooming around in the plant or in our cells must be managed very carefully. If they stray from their rightful places, they may create havoc in the plant or our cells, causing malfunction and disease. You could compare it to the core of a nuclear reactor leaking radioactive materials (free radicals) that can be very dangerous for the surrounding areas.

How can humans, other living creatures and plants protect themselves against these free radicals? In the case of plants, they put a shield around potentially dangerous reaction sites that sponges up these highly mobile free radicals. The shield is made up of what are called ‘anti-oxidants’ that intercept and scavenge these free radicals. Anti-oxidants come in all kinds of colours that produce the bright colored vegetables and fruits we know. Anti-oxidants are plant chemicals (also called phytochemicals) of which science has now discovered more than one thousand different ones. Some are colourless, like vitamin C, found in most fruits; others with bright colours like beta-carotene (yellow) found in pumpkin or lycopene (red) found in tomatoes.

Animals and humans do not carry out photosynthesis and therefore do not produce anti-oxidants. Fortunately, the anti-oxidants in plants work in our bodies the same way they work in plants. Therefore, the more vegetables and fruits we eat, the more anti-oxidants we take in that protect us against these ‘free radicals’ that cause the aging process and lead to disease. By taking in these anti-oxidants we not only reverse the chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension but we also reverse the aging process, which leads us to look younger!

Professor Colin Campbell in ‘The China Study’ notes: “What a beautiful harmony and an example of nature’s wisdom! The plants make the anti-oxidant shields and make them appealing with beautiful, appetizing colours! Then humans and animals, are attracted to the plants and eat them, and borrow these anti-oxidants for their own health!”

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This is why it is so important to adopt the Whole Foods, Plant Based diet that METI is promoting. All these anti-oxidants and other nutrients work in harmony in our bodies and are ‘orchestrating a wondrous symphony of health’: no single supplement pill can compete with that!  So, the ‘take home’ message is: eat plenty of fruits and vegetables! In later columns we will discuss in more detail the various anti-oxidants that are crucial for your health. 

We are happy to present here –in his own words- the testimony of Lome Laalaai, another one of our ‘champions’, who has rapidly brought down his gout, high blood pressure and heart failure from which he suffered for nearly 30 years. By strictly following the WFPB diet, he was able to regain his health and stop all the drugs he had been taking for years. 

 

 

Name: Lome Laalaai

Village: Letogo and Leusoalii

 

I am a father of 69 years of age from the villages mentioned above. I suffered from gout, Hypertension and then Heart failure for the past thirty years. For the past 26 years I was taking drugs till in September 2018 my condition became worse and I thought these were my final days on earth. My whole body felt weak and I couldn’t walk anymore. I was using a wheelchair and also two different types of crutches. 

Earlier on, at the time I developed Hypertension and Heart failure, I was frequently admitted to the Hospital at Motootua.  Two years ago I travelled to Australia to visit my family and also to seek medical treatment. I didn’t stay there for a long period, and decided to come back to Samoa. While I was on my way to the airport in Australia, I collapsed and was admitted to the hospital there. I stayed in the hospital for a week, and then came back to Samoa. Both in Australia and on my return to Faleolo, I needed a wheelchair as I was unable to walk. I was readmitted to hospital after one week after my arrival from Australia.  I felt hopeless and thought that my last days on earth were there. 

And then, in September of this year, I found out about the METI program when I attended their presentation at Letogo where METI has a project. Although I was in a very bad shape: not able to walk and just sleeping the whole day, I decided to follow the whole food plant based Nutrition 100%. After one month on the diet, I felt a big difference and I was able to stop taking my pills. I gradually was able to start walking again.

Right now I am back to my normal duties working in my plantation and my strength is back to normal. All the pains I felt before have gone and no more gout, hypertension or heart failure. 

I would like to say a big faafetai tele lava (thank you very much) to my lovely wife and my kids for supporting me in cooking the delicious food. 

Thank you very much METI for this special program that helps sick people like me. I encourage people who are suffering from these diseases for a long time to come and join METI’s Healthy Living Program. Soifua. 

 

If you, reading this Health column or any of your family or friends are suffering from NCD, it might be wise for all of you 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 during working hours, 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday.

DW
By Dr. Walter Vermeulen, 15 December 2018

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