Premier Winde's diabetes does a 180 thanks to work with wellness NPO
In just 21 days, Western Cape premier Alan Winde, 56, has managed to turn his 12-year history of type 2 diabetes around with the help of a wellness NPO in Cape Town.
On September 19 the premier was on an oversight visit to the Ubuntu Wellness Centre, an outreach which educates and facilitates job creation by training health and wellness practices for vulnerable communities.
Ubuntu Wellness director Ian Macfarlane said he challenged the premier to participate in a supervised 21-day plant-based eating programme meant to help heal and reset his diabetic condition.
“The premier had been very vocal about his health issues especially after recovering from Covid-19. I went over to him and challenged him to the programme and he was interested in getting off his medication. He suggested we create a group programme that he would participate in.”
Winde's physician Dr Marina Klocke is said to be “astounded at the medical results”.
Winde said he was inspired and driven to share the plant-based outcomes with all those affected by lifestyle diseases to reduce suffering and to increase wellness.
“That's one down. Now for the next million,” he said.
Macfarlane said it took him and others until April to perfect the programme under the label #UbuntuWellnessChallenge.
Pearl Mpange, 57, one of 50 Ubuntu Wellness beneficiaries and a type 2 diabetic, joined Winde on the challenge.
“The pair met at the doctor's office today [Friday] and both have managed to reset their diabetes, Winde by 95% and Mpange is 100% off her medication,” he said.
“It shows the commonality of this lifestyle disease. These are two people from two different backgrounds but suffering from the same lifestyle-based disease.”
After seeing Mpange's transformation, her sister and aunt are eager to be in the next group which already has 10 members ready to start their 21 days.
According to Ubuntu Wellness there has been a steady increase in the impact of lifestyle-related diseases on the mortality pattern of South Africans over the past few decades.
Lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes are responsible for 24.5% of deaths of all South Africans, according to Stats SA.
Macfarlane said around 4.5 million South Africans had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but that the number of undiagnosed type 2 diabetics is estimated to match that.
“So over 10% of the population suffers with the disease.
“At the last African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) conference it was recorded that the number of people suffering non communicable diseases — diseases not transmittable by person, like diabetes — had eclipsed communicable diseases like HIV and Covid-19.
“In light of Covid-19, 50% of those who died from comorbidities were type 2 diabetics. But [this study] shows that the disease is reversible. There is hope.”
The #UbuntuWellnessChallenge is inspired by eminent doctors and medical professionals worldwide who prescribe healthy vegan programmes to their patients including Dr Nandita Shah, founder of SHARAN India, a healthcare company dedicated to the prevention and reversal of lifestyle diseases through food rather than medicines, Dr Laurie Marbas of the US from plant-based Telehealth, also editor of the Journal for Disease Reversal, and Nelson Campbell of PlantPure Nation, a non-profit collective building stronger, healthier, and more sustainable communities.
According to Ubuntu Wellness, the diet addresses the cause of insulin resistance and offers participants a new perspective on how to treat and reset lifestyle-related illness through making use of plants as our medicine.
Participants in the programme are prescribed a healthy plant based no-oil diet after having received permission from a doctor, dietitian or medical professional.
The challenge will eventually be rolled out across the country especially to vulnerable communities.
“Everyone needs access to information on healing diabetes,” Macfarlane said.
He said Pick n Pay, a project sponsor having loaded Ubuntu as a transformation partner in 2020, was offering free ingredients for participants during this early phase of the project and would be showcasing the project widely in future.
Western Cape on Wellness (WoW!), a programme of the Western Cape health department, co-designed and tested a 5-day plant-based cooking trainer course with community volunteers, and recently launched its first annual #PlantBasedFood campaign; in partnership with Ubuntu Wellness, ProVeg International and PAN SA.
Deputy director of wellness promotion at the Western Cape health department Dr Frederick Marais said: “There is growing evidence globally of the urgency for all of us to shift towards eating more plant-based foods and less animal-based products for personal health and global wellbeing. And WoW! is proud to be part of a growing partnership that seeks suitable solutions for all.”
Prof Andrew Robinson, chair of the Physicians Association of Nutrition in SA, is part of the ongoing research into the Ubuntu Wellness Challenge.
“Only if we truly nurture and love ourselves can we nurture the planet back to health — we are all in this together. All living beings, including Gaia [the earth], have the ability to heal, if just given the chance to do so. As with all change it always starts with oneself. All the best and enjoy the best health,” he said.