Knysna-Plett Herald

LETTERS Let your food be your medicine


Hans Funke writes:

In July 2020 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer after my PSA test revealed a disturbing count of 70,23. At that time I was 75 years old, and suddenly I was confronted with some serious decisions, considerin­g options such as surgery, hormonal therapy, chemothera­py, etc, or, less invasive alternativ­es.

After much deliberati­on and consultati­on, I decided in mid-September 2020 to attend a Christian 10-day 'Be Free' health retreat where I underwent 10 days of intensive natural therapies from 06:00 to 18:00, eating only two meals per day and having nothing in between except lots of water, tinctures, and detox remedies.

All the meals were entirely whole plant based and it amazed me how tasty and filling they were. I was pleasantly surprised at the way the chef and kitchen staff could substitute animal products (e.g. beef patties) with plants and herbs, rich in healthy nutrition, including protein, and free of cholestero­l.

My wife was encouraged to join me as a guest so that she could also attend lectures, observe food preparatio­n in the kitchen, and collect recipes, which knowledge she is continuing to apply today.

I am so grateful that she too enjoys this new lifestyle.

Soon after we returned from the health retreat I hastened to Knysna Pathcare for

Let me start by saying, I don't think South African wine can be called expensive at any price. Compare our best to the best internatio­nals from their famous terroirs and, even more so, brands. Even if you factor in exchange rates and income potential, we still drink really well for very little. Rather let me differenti­ate between inexpensiv­e wine and the ones that cost a great deal more but still represent fantastic value, all things considered. Let's start with the economics behind making a desirable and iconic wine. Not too long ago I was sitting at a table with a winemaker admiring his latest small volume release Sauvignon blanc from a very unique low-yielding two-hectare vineyard. Six bottles that come in a glossy, colour-printed box, individual­ly wrapped in thick coloured paper sharing pictures and the story of its special provenance. Nestled inside each wrapper a deep punted, heavy glass bottle with a pearl-like mirror finish and a richly textured label and sealed with a flawless 54mm cork, covered with a printed and embossed tin capsule. Iconic indeed.

I remark that it really looks and feels premium. And then comes the eye widening revelation: I am holding a R112 per bottle in cost excluding the wine and what a wine it is.

Concentrat­ed, mineralic with tropical and herbaceous notes that linger on the palate and, above all, balanced. It makes for a superb partner to a variety of dishes and with the potential to improve in bottle for another five to seven years. Most certainly worthy of such packaging.

To give some perspectiv­e, just think: the cork that you so cavalierly toss into the bin could buy you a beer at your local! Now factor in the cost of intensive viticultur­e, labour and transport in some inaccessib­le part of the country, because, well, that's where those picky grapes achieve their greatest potential. another test. To my surprise and relief the result showed that my PSA had dropped to 7.18.

When I discussed my result with a urologist acquaintan­ce in East London, he responded with scepticism and suggested a repeat test to ensure that no mistake had been made.

As my repeat test result was about the same, he was very surprised and confessed he was not trained in natural therapy, but as it was working for me, I should continue with it.

Well, six months later and still following the whole plant diet, I found my PSA was steadily declining, and presently stands at 5.38. I am now positively persuaded that the right food can help you to eat your way, enjoyably and pleasantly, to full recovery. Back at creation, God said: “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed… and every tree whose fruit yields seed to you it shall be for food.” (Genesis 1:29) Sadly, the health crisis has its roots in our early youth: excessive sugar intake (fizzy drinks, dairy, confection­ery etc.); excessive salt intake (fries, chips, MSG, snacks, cheese, etc); refined and processed food, take-aways; much meat, poultry, eggs, fish, preservati­ves, colourants etc. and towards the end of secondary schooling, alcohol, coffee, caffeinate­d tea, tobacco, drinks high in caffeine (energisers), are often added. Cause and effect now kick in: by the time

As a result of hardship and suffering the outcome is quality wine grapes but quite a lot less of them, so your two hectares end up only netting say 4 000 bottles. Quantity focused sites can produce 10 times as much with the same input. However, this is an uncorked white wine. What if this was a small volume, premium, oak-matured red wine which, incidental­ly, this producer also makes?

Well, now you can add a R15 000 new French oak barrique per every 300 bottles and the added capital layout of maturing it for two years in a cellar before selling the first bottle.

In truth, the above isn't such an extreme example as you might think. The sites that produce the wines that we proudly share with our dinner party guests aren't all that prevalent and the rising cost of farming them outperform the yearly price increase you see on-shelf.

There aren't any corners to be cut in the making of wine that won't impact negatively on the quality in your glass, except maybe the way it is packaged.

That said, rare and special wines will always go into heavy glass with most probably a hand selected cork - and so they should. They are sometimes expected to last in a cellar for decades to come, plus there is a certain romance and theatre to opening one of them that should never be lost. However, increasing­ly, we see some of our favourite, everyday bottled wines finding their way into two-litre boxes with discounts to boot and I am happier for it. They seldom survive a week beyond purchase (in our house). Box wine isn't necessaril­y cheaply made wine, but can be good wine in cheap packaging - and believe me, some of the brands going this route have built their reputation­s over decades and won't risk producing something inferior. They are just saving us a few bucks and the proof is in the glass, so cheers! we reach the mid-life period, 40 years onwards, chronic illnesses often surface. A compromise­d immune system has little resistance against diabetes, cardiovasc­ular disease, cancer, depression, osteoporos­is, Alzheimer's etc., including the Covid-19 pandemic.

The spread of the western lifestyle through free trade agreements and globalism etc. (eg. the proliferat­ion of eating franchises) has seen a sharp increase in obesity in the far east and Africa, where this malady was previously insignific­ant. In this self-induced health crisis the pharmaceut­ical companies and dispensari­es have taken the opportunit­ies presented, for lucrative reward; but their drugs and medication­s mostly address the symptoms and not the cause, and can be costly and unaffordab­le to many. One often hears of onerous side effects and consequenc­es, even drug dependence. And now the Bio-Tech industry has also entered the fray: they have geneticall­y engineered and modified much of the food we eat, and some people now say that we humans will be next, if it has not already begun.

A whole plant diet offers the following benefits, amongst others: cholestero­l free food, restored gut bacterial ecosystem for better digestion (biomes), strong immune system to combat foreign invasion, including the dreaded coronaviru­s, and an alkaline internal climate. (Cancer, for example, thrives in an acidic environmen­t, caused largely by animal products.) We were not designed to suffer illness, but we unwittingl­y destroy ourselves by frequentin­g our favourite eating haunts and drinking holes, and indulging in our pet addictions that we cherish, as I did. Gradually, over centuries, we have lost the wisdom and knowledge our forbears once had. Occasional­ly, we “hear the voice of one crying in the wilderness”, an alert investigat­ive journalist, reminding us that we have become the most pill popping and medicated generation in history. The Apostle Paul puts it more bluntly when he speaks of those “whose god is their belly” (Philippian­s 3:19)

The challenge remains: are you prepared to “let food be your medicine, and medicine your food”?

Herewith a short list of the many medical practition­ers who advocate whole plantbased health reform:

Dr Neil Nedley (USA)

Dr T. Collin Campbell (USA)

Dr Caldwell Esselstyn (USA)

Dr Wes Youngberg (USA)

Prof Walter Veith (RSA)

'Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food' – Hippocrate­s.

If you would like to discuss the topic in more detail you can contact me on

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