A Rotorua father of three is urging people to think more about what they are eat after experiencing a close call with diabetes.
Rawiri Te Kowhai managed to ward off the chronic disease through exercise and by making significant changes to his diet but says he was lucky to have caught it early.
People need to stop eating poisonous foods such as sugar and flour, and start taking better care of their bodies and health or they’ll end up where I was.”
Mr Te Kowhai said before he became unwell, he had been eating ‘all the wrong foods’, wasn’t exercising and had put on weight, particularly around his waist area.
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
He said he became concerned when he noticed changes with his body that he had heard were possible signs of diabetes.
“I was getting ‘dry horrors’ at night, and there was a funny smell when I went to the bathroom.”
Blood tests showed his cholesterol levels were high and he had the beginning signs of type 2 diabetes.
“The doctor said I was a walking heart attack or stroke victim and that frightened me. I got worried because I am a solo dad with four kids.”
Mr Te Kowhai said he decided not to take diabetes pills prescribed by his doctor because of the possible side effects listed on the label.
Hauora Maori – The Key to Maori Well-being
A friend also suggested he go online and look up the types of food he should be eating for his blood type.
“I then got rid of all of the sugary foods in my cupboards. That was the hardest thing, giving up the sugary foods,” he said.
A year later, Mr Te Kowhai’s blood tests showed no signs of diabetes and his cholesterol levels were ‘back in the black’.
“I’m really cautious about what I eat now, and I definitely eat much less sugar. I still go to the gym – I’ve lost about 20kg, and I’m thinking about competing in a physique bodybuilding competition in the future.”
Caring for Yourself IS Caring for your Whanau
Mr Te Kowhai said he also gets checked for everything from cholesterol and diabetes, to prostate cancer once a year.
It’s about my kids. A lot of our men put it off and then by the time they go to the doctors, they’ve only got six months left to live,” he said.
A dedicated prevention workforce targeting chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer was launched in Rotorua on November 25.
Healthy Families Rotorua will work with community leaders and organisations to identify, design and implement changes in local schools, workplaces and communities to help people make healthier choices and live healthier lives.