The athletics club coach said “Don’t drink cokes”. He was talking of all the delicious fizzy bottled cold drinks in general.My mom and dad encouraged us to eat liver, lamb chops, kidneys, ox tongue, tripe (here I had trouble), fat fish like Mackerel and Galjoen (Black Bream), oxtail, and to enjoy slow cooked broths and stews.

We had fruit farms in the family, but we were discouraged from indulging because of the sugar, and we were steered towards “leafy greens” and above-ground veg, though sweet potatoes, beetroot, turnips, carrots etc, were not discouraged. My father was a damn good vegetable gardener.

You might think our coach and my parents were influenced by Prof Tim Noakes, or Zoe Harcombe. You would be about 60 years wrong. Tim would have been a nipper, and Zoe not born yet’ but all the basic thoughts match nicely.

Swimming, track and field athletics, free and scuba diving, fencing and sailing all played a big part all my life (not all at the same time, of course). What to eat was never a problem, because I was brought up in the family kitchen, so preparing and cooking meals was natural for me. Being slim and well nourished was something I never thought about. And then I started to put on weight.

We retired from the normal, formal work-a-day life nearly 14 years ago, and I indulged in diving and sailing, and baking breads, and dining on fabulous fruit salads, fresh fish-and-chips on the local cliff-top walks, or tea-and-scones in country villages. Tea and coffee with milk and sugar went down my neck at twice rate compared to the previous 40 years. We prepared beautiful “Iced teas” to ensure we avoided those fizzy drinks the coach warned us about. The availability of a wide range of fruits in the area had me making wholesome jams and preserves, free of additives and colourants. Somehow the lessons about baked goods and sugar-laden foods slipped into another universe, and I found my belt was getting short of holes.

For whatever reason, books on cooking, or books about nutrition and related matters were always at hand. The book “A Blueprint for Better Health” by Prof Louis de Villiers, a Pretoria University medical scientist came my way. This book got me thinking differently. Then Prof Tim Noakes big turn-around came to my notice. Then the efforts of Michael Eades, Zoe Harcombe, Malcolm Kendrick, Gary Taubes and many more came crashing into my consciousness. It was clear that they all ran into opposition to some degree. Because Prof de Villiers produced that book when he lived here in Hermanus, the heavy criticism he experienced seemed more personal , but the bricks that started flying at Tim’s head are something else entirely.

The food and pharmacy industries displeasure, even out-right antagonism, towards the efforts of Tim, Gary, Zoe and co has been as educational as the science. The case being brought against Tim in the Health Professionals Council will yield a lot more educational material. Thanks to Tim, my waistline has almost completely returned to where it was about 15 years ago. For this I’m really indebted to his clear thinking and courage. I hope he wins this case emphatically.


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