September 16, 2008

Proof’s in the Eating

By SUMNER, Bonnie

Raw, organic and vegetarian. Bonnie Sumner gets a lesson in how much it does matter what food we eat. ------------------- FAMILY ILLNESS inspired Sydney- based filmmaker James Colquhoun to create a documentary showing that the right diet can save your life. His father had been suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome for five years and was taking a host of medications. The problem was, they had their own (commonly expected) side effects, including depression and anxiety. By the time Colquhoun approached his father, an accountant and financial adviser, with an alternative solution, he was suicidal.

"It was just those very typical symptoms of burnt-out professional men and women who are in their late 40s, who have had a very busy professional career and they get hit with these chronic illnesses and they don't know where to turn," explains Colquhoun.

The answer? Food.

In the documentary Food Matters, Colquhoun and his wife, Laurentine ten Bosch, both certified nutritional consultants, put forward the idea that what we eat can save our lives.

"I think intuitively people would prefer to go the natural route where they can support the body's own immune system and support the body to heal itself - which they know it already does from when you've got a cut or a cold," Colquhoun says.

"When you've got mucous running out, that's your body getting rid of toxicity. Instead of taking a Codral and keeping it all down there, you want to promote the body to detoxify and encourage nutrients and that's the basis for healing. It's no different no matter what disease you have, but it does require a multifaceted approach."

So what and how should we be eating to prevent illness and promote wellness? The short answer is mostly raw and organic food in a vegetarian diet.

"We need to be eating a predominantly plant-based diet for optimum health," says Colquhoun.

"I think extremes cause problems because you have to be very in tune with what you're eating. The less extreme, the easier it is for people. (Raw-food guru and author) David Wolfe's concept is that if you simply add in more good food it will crowd out the bad food. Wake up and drink lots of water, and then have a vegetable juice or a superfood or green smoothie. You get a great start to the day and even if you have some toast or something afterwards, at the least you've got some great food to start with. Then for your lunch and dinner make sure you're having big salads with lots of raw food with your meals."

Tall, blonde and tanned, they are an unlikely looking pair to be representing a sector stereotypically peopled by hippy types. It probably works in their favour when presenting claims some will find extraordinary - that conditions such as heart disease and mental illness can be cured with the right nutritional approach.

"Belief systems are really at the core of everything," Colquhoun says. "I think we've really tried to create this film to influence people's belief systems, but in a way that appeals to the conscious mind."

The film is essentially a collection of talking heads, including a raft of respected professionals such as surgeons, doctors, nutritionists and journalists.

"I think it's most important for people to realise that there are scientifically viable avenues for healing outside of conventional medicine and that most of that exists in the realm of nutrition and detoxification. I think it goes a little beyond you are what you eat."

The couple, who met while studying at the Maritime College in Tasmania (Colquhoun is Australian and a qualified chief ship's officer, ten Bosch is from Holland and is a specialist in international maritime logistics), had spent several years working on luxury yachts around the world before deciding to make a documentary.

"We realised our calling was in nutrition and that it wasn't so fulfilling driving ships around," says Colquhoun.

"We'd always taken a lot of interest in nutrition but it wasn't until our family members started getting ill that we began researching some alternatives for them and looking to nutrition."

So did the right food help his father?

"He was on anti-psychotics, anti- depressants and tranquillisers because he thought that was right. He was able to get off all his medications, lost 20% of his body weight and completely turned his life around. Last week he called me and told me that it's been one year since he gave up all his medications and went on a full nutrient programme. And he said 'I've got my life back'."

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We have five copies of the Food Matters DVD to give away. Email [email protected] with "Food Matters" in the subject line by Friday, September 19, to be in the draw. Raw power: Drink lots of water when you wake up, followed by a vegetable juice or a superfood or green smoothie with breakfast. For lunch and dinner, eat big salads with lots of raw food with your meals. Go organic: Organic produce has been grown, raised, harvested and packaged without the use of chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides, insecticides, growth hormones or antibiotics, which have been shown to be harmful. The best way to get organic produce is to grow it yourself. If that's not an option, try your local fruit and veg shop, farmers' markets or search the internet for a company that delivers organic produce to your door. Eat superfoods: Superfoods are foods found in nature that have few calories yet are high in nutrients. They are superior sources of essential nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. These superfoods include spirulina, propolis, kelp, aloe vera, ginseng, goji berries, coconuts and raw cacao. Get out and about: Everyone knows that exercise has multiple benefits, and good physical health is top of the list. Walking, cycling, running, playing sport and swimming regularly are some ways to help prevent heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety. To make exercise more enjoyable and a part of your daily routine you can invite a friend along, listen to your music and include your family. Practise yoga: Yoga, built on exercise, breathing and meditation, is well known for its therapeutic health effects as well as its ability to improve mood and concentration. Chiropractors, dermatologists and integrated medical practitioners are recommending yoga for a wide range of symptoms and illnesses, as well as a healthy preventative measure. -


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