PODCAST Drs Heleen and Alphonse Roex on how to become confident, competent and very caring doctors.

Andrew Taylor - Spud Fit | January 6, 2018


One of the great privileges in my life since my Spud Fit Academy is that I’ve had the chance to meet new people and make great friends. Dr’s Heleen and Alphonse are great people, doing great things in nutrition in Australia. They work tirelessly to not only help individuals to get the health and wellbeing they deserve, but they are also dedicated to helping doctors and health professionals understand the huge impact we can have by simply changing the way we eat. They “have a privilege to know and a duty to share” and they take this duty seriously in their mission to teach doctors “how to become confident, competent and very caring doctors.”


I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!


Spud Up!



Find Heleen and Alphonse here –


Stuff we talked about





00:40:59 …… Where do you get your protein?





This podcast has been automatically transcribed by a software and went for a minor editing. If you notice any mistakes or wrong word entry please help us fix them by leaving a comment. We made sure to be the most accurate as we can. Enjoy!



Andrew: All right, get everyone welcome to the Spud Fit podcast. We’re back. It’s been a while. I didn’t plan it this way, but you know life gets in the way and uh, we all know how it is. But anyway, we’re having another crack at it. We’re back this podcast is back in 2018. And uh, I’m going to try and do it more regularly again. I would love to promise but uh, I’ve learned that I maybe I shouldn’t make promises with these sorts of things. Anyway, today’s guests; one of the- I’ve said many times before but… one of the great things about this whole experience for me the way I changed my life and changed my health through my year of eating only potatoes was some of the new friends that I’ve made I made a lot of new friends along the way and uh, and today’s guests are two of them.

Today’s guests are husband and wife team, uh, their powerhouses of nutrition knowledge and uh in in Australia and they’re uh, they’re doing a great job of spreading the word. They’ve gone viral on a on a couple of different videos through plant-based news lately and um, yeah, they’re just they’re passionate and educated and strong voices for for Change and for health. And uh, and it’s a pleasure to call them friends. Uh we have today.Dr Heleen Roex-Haitjema. you can find these guys on a website on their website by the way called I’ll link that in the show notes. So Helene is uh there while they both are migrated from the Netherlands to Australia in the year 2000 Helene had a medical training in Pediatrics in Amsterdam and uh and in 2010 became interested in this in studying and learning more about nutrition and how a healthy plant-based diet is uh can be prevented in for many chronic diseases, but also Curative in many diseases and that’s she’s dedicated her life to that now and uh, and she’s uh, She’s Done a certificate in plant based nutrition through T. Colin Campbell Campbell Center for nutrition studies at Cornell University. And she’s also the first certified instructor through the Physicians committee for responsible medicine food for Life program. Again, you can find out more about what she does with that through her website. Um, so yeah, there’s only one qualified person in Australia. I don’t know maybe there’s more now but this was recorded a few months ago. So there might be more now but she’s definitely the first and uh other guest is Heleen’s husband.  Dr Alphonse Roex  he’s uh, He’s also a doctor is an obstetrician and a gynaecologist and yeah, they both focus on presenting health and nutrition back by sound research. Uh, they’ve done lots of talks around Australia and internationally, there are Fountains of knowledge. They are both absolute pictures of health and fitness themselves, so it’s always nice, too. Uh take advice from people who are experiencing the results that you want to get and that’s no doubt these two are Uh, yeah if I can be if I can be as fit and healthy as these two when I am when I reach their age, then I’ll be very very happy with that.

All right before for we get to uh to the show, I just would like to mention that there are still some places available for the Spud Retreat which is uh happening in a few weeks time. Go to the website WWE and look up the Spud Fit Retreat and see if that’s something you might be interested in. It’s happening in Melbourne, and it’s just going to be a week-long. Uh Spud Fit Academy Guided by me will be all living together. I’ll be living in the house too. And uh and we’ll be doing all sorts of awesome stuff. I won’t bore you with the details now, I just go to the website if you’d like to learn more and also we are we’re in the midst of CANuary, you know, you might have missed the start, but that’s okay. You can join any time there’s but fit challenges and ongoing things so. Again, go to the website and click on the links to take on the challenge if you want to find out more about that… Alright back to the episode. Let’s hear from. Dr Heleen Roex-Haitjema. And Dr Alphonse Roex  and it was a good conversation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Have a listen and spud up!

Alright we’re on!  Here we are with Doctor- Why dont you introduce yourselves actually I was about to do it myself, but maybe you guys can do it for yourselves. So, who do we got on the podcast today?

Dr Heleen: Thank you Andrew for having us and um, my name is Helene Roex. I’m originally a pediatrician. And from the Netherlands trained in the Netherlands but never got registered here. So I’m not practicing.

Andrew:  Okay, interesting. Yes that is that a um issue with regulations and things like-

Dr Heleen: Yeah, but when I that’s it’s difficult to get registered, but when we came over here in 2000. I was already not working anymore in the Netherlands because of the family. So I look more or less after three children. Yeah, and so for me that was not really necessary to get registered here. And uh, yeah, so but that’s my background as a pediatrician and um, um, That’s that’s in short, my background. Maybe Alphonse wants to tell a little bit about himself.

Andrew: All right, and I’ll just quickly explain him between that the I’ve got two microphones here. And and so I’m on one and Heleen and Alphonse sharing the other ones so. Yeah, we might have a little bit of issues with sound but we do what we can.

Dr Alphonse: Well, my name is Alphonse. I’m a Obstetrician – gynecologist. I work at Lyell McEwen Hospital in Australia and also work as senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide. So we’re I teach mainly you five had six medical students how to become confident competent and very caring doctors. Nice. So how did this come about then? How did you both of you get into being doctors? Well for me, it was a choice. I was always interested in Psychology and human behavior. And I’m still I still find it intriguing.

Um, but um and biology was for me the topic I enjoyed so and medicine is that was a choice for me to become a doctor and then updating Gynecology is the combination of surgery. And the surgeon and physician so thinking and combining with using your hands. So great job.

Andrew: All right, that’s interesting. What you said about psychology because I’ve my sub major in nearly was psychology and I think uh being healthy and eating well is at least as much about psychology as it is about uh your food choices because uh, you know, If you want to make consistent good choices in food or any other part of life, then you need to be a master of your own psychology to a degree.

Dr. Alphonse: So yeah, I agree I think as well what you eat is it’s very much culture. But also I think as a young child what your mom gave you. That’s what you like. That’s what you prefer in general and it’s very hard to get rid of those habits as well. So it’s a very much a psychological mental mental challenge as well if you want to change at least.

Dr Heleen: And yeah, how did I get into medicine? I never thought to become a doctor I always wanted to be a teacher as a child. I really looked up to my teachers at primary school, but progressing through high school and everything. I ended up first doing like a secretary course quite upmarket one but doing that one. I thought now this is nothing for me and by accident. Came into contact with a third-year medical student and he talked about what he was learning and doing and then I thought wow, that’s so interesting and that’s how my path in medicine started and Pediatrics was I think yeah, I from being a child myself. I already was always fond very fond of little children. So, uh, That appealed to me straight away and in the end I ended up doing neonatology. Uh, which is the intensive care for newborn babies, especially premature and the sick newborns. So, um, yeah,

Andrew: that’s that’s quite intense kind of work. I imagine

Dr Heleen: very very intense. And yeah, you deal not only with the little with a little child, but with the parents and sometimes the siblings little siblings of the child. Yeah.

Andrew:  Yeah. Okay, and that’s not. An area that at least I typically associate with nutrition and and uh, you know, there’s doesn’t I don’t imagine there’s a big focus on diet for helping a newborn. uh pretty date baby sort of, you know, helping things work better in that area. So so that makes me curious about how then you came to this. Uh idea of how food plant-based nutrition for good health since it doesn’t seem to be so relative in the job that you are doing.




Dr Heleen: No, not really at all because the premature babies the first need because it’s an intensive care you need to stabilize them. So they are on trips sometimes Fantasia and all kind of equipment. So not a lot of nutrition going in there and when they are better day, you try to get them on breast milk, of course. Yeah. Yeah, um nutrition is a very relative to my pediatrician work young evolvement. So about seven years ago. I came across the fact just online scrolling around and that Bill Clinton Is diet and um, yeah looking at it. I saw an interview done by a CNN anchor with Dean ornish and  Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn at the same time and that blow me away as a doctor never knew that information.

Dr Heleen:  So what sort of information where they talkin about about heart disease and how you can stop and reverse that. Weight of plant-based diet. Well, that was that was news, you know, because modern medicine cannot stop or reverse that is easy chronic disease for  definition that goes worse step by step. It’s getting worse. It’s not navigating better.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s only about uh, it’s only about managing the symptoms really, isn’t it?

Dr Heleen: Exactly and that’s what it called in medicine managing chronic diseases. So, you know, we’re not doing anything to cure it potentially. We’re just managing it, right?

Andrew: Yeah. Actually I actually don’t think I’ve heard that before about it. Just being all of that management rather than. That trying to fix anything.

Dr Heleen: Yeah, because it’s unfixable. That’s what we know about chronic diseases. You know, it’s and that’s what doctors tell you, you know, when you’ve got a chronic disease your medication for the rest of your life.

Andrew: All right. Yeah, so it’s mind-blowing to hear a couple of doctors talkin about getting off these medications that you previously thought was not possible to do.

Dr Heleen: Yeah, that that for me. It was such mind-blowing information from that moment onwards. I started researching everything I could and I was so um and enthusiastic about it. So I have two maybe three four five weeks. I started constructing an email for family and friends and listen you need to know this! And I thought everyone would be jumping up from joy like I was but  not really yeah. Yeah, that’s the complete different story.

Andrew:  I remember having similar feelings. Well this this information on finding out amazing. I have to tell everybody because everyone’s going to be equally excited as I am and they all going to change.

Dr: Heleen: Yeah, you learn very quickly that that’s not the case. That’s not the case, but ya no. But that very happy. I came across that information.

Andrew:Yeah, and that video you talk about where you’re watching it together.

Dr: Heleen: No, I was I was watching it on my own and then yeah, ultimately can maybe tell what happened next.

Andrew: Maybe you were the first recipient of Heleen’s email.

Dr. Alphonse: No, we still communicate face-to-face everyone. We have been married for only thirty seven years before the time of E-communication. No, when I came home and Leen shared that information with me It was clear, like as a doctor. I see on the daily basis the misery of a chronic illnesses. I see patients who pop 12 different pills were overweight who have high blood pressure who have diabetes even in pregnancy. So as a doctor, I know how precious it is that your health is so in the lane share that information from with me. I studied those article myself and it was very convincing very compelling and I was flabbergasted.

I felt stupid that I didn’t know that but also that well did medical School or my colleagues did not shared with me. So from then on we became very by by being convinced by the evidence. We became hopeful plant-based and we never look back and we feel now. This is now Our obligation as doctors to share. Now. We have the privilege to know we have the duty to share that with as many people around Australia and the Netherlands as possible.

Andrew: Yeah. Definitely. I agree that feels like it’s my job as well now to know that, you know, I’ve had the big changes that I’ve had that yeah, it’s my duty to try to share the message wide and part of that is talking to people like you was well. So did you did you change your diet immediately or how did that go for you?

Dr Heleen: Um almost immediately I would say there were a few odd things that you know you hang on to one of the difficult things was the changing the type of milk in the coffee. And maybe not even been drinking coffee.

Andrew:  But yeah, I was assuming you were gonna say stroke waffles.

Dr Heleen: Yeah, cook the pancake you can do that quite easily. But yeah, I know it was the for instance. I found it really hard to to have other milk in the coffee and I have only one coffee a day, but I enjoyed it once so I can remember that I was having everything hopeful plant-based but I I bought a little carton of normal you know milk and then certain point in time. I thought this is ridiculous and just started using soy milk. And you get used to it and it’s just three weeks or so. Yeah, okay, and it’s gone and if they by accident now, give me a coffee with normal milk. I don’t want it. You know, I don’t like it anymore.

Andrew: Yeah, my wife experience. My wife’s experience very similar. I’ve never drank hot drinks coffee or tea. So I don’t know that what that changes like, but my wife was the same it was uh, Yeah, just a couple of weeks and she was used to soy milk and now cow’s milk is disgusting to her.

Dr Alphonse: Yeah, maybe as Helene really she was close to addicted to eating cheese. If we had a chunk of cheese she would just uh, it was disappear quicker than the mice could get to it. And it’s interesting now, we know that she’s is not promoting your health to the country when um, when you look at these it’s it’s like it’s a high in fat even if they advertised as low-fat cheese, so we know now it has a lot of stuff which is not healthy. So after six weeks of not eating cheese anymore, you reset your taste buds or your palate setting and all of a sudden you get used to different foods and that’s important message for the listener as well you think you know, I love my what, you know my spaghetti or my my meatballs and you can just by not eating them for a few weeks. Maybe six weeks in a row, you’ll get a different appreciation for other Foods because initially I think of what do plan these people eat. It must be boring. It must be blend. It’s not the case. That’s one of the Prejudice ideas we had before we came home food plant-based.

Andrew: Yeah, I had the same idea and I can relate to the cheese thing. I used to one of my favorite things before I made any changes was a toasted cheese sandwich. You just couldn’t beat that in my eyes. Yeah, I’ve got no interest in it. Now know that I’ve broken the ties I don’t care for it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that I’m not having a toasted cheese sandwich. That’s fine.

Dr Heleen:  Yeah, and that’s that’s really you know, so. Almost unbelievable before you you were really really loving it. And I now tell people if there is a table full of different cheeses and front of me, it wouldn’t appeal to me. Yeah, I wouldn’t feel drawn into that at all.

Andrew: It’s not even food now.

Dr Heleen: No, no.

Andrew:  so did you notice any changes in your own health? When you when you first made your dietary changes did things change for your personally?




Dr Heleen:  Yeah, that’s one of the stories that we don’t carry with us and a lot of people that are now Whole Food plant-based have sometimes remarkable stories how their lives changed weight-wise and health-wise and of course you Andrew can relate to that but uh so many other people, you know with heart disease or an autoimmune disease, but you know, both of us we were not over weight.  Wait, I think we might have lost both of us like two kilos or so, changing the diet. But um and we didn’t have as far as we knew in don’t know what was simmering in the background. But we as far as we knew we didn’t have any Chronic disease we were not on medications nothing and you know when we started changing we were in our late 50s. So uh a fairly healthy. Yeah, so we don’t have that story not even you know, do you oh, I feel so much more fit. Yeah, I to a degree can say that I felt that more energy. That’s what you’re here. Yeah, but you know, you can’t quantify that that’s like subjective information.

Andrew:  Yeah, if you already Lane and you’re already reasonably fit then there’s what else is going to improve it would be what would be really interesting would be to know about how the health of your arteries changed for me, but obviously there’s no way to know now, but you know, maybe in someone if someone in your position could be monitored through the change and see.

Dr Alphonse: And what happens on the inside that would be really interesting and I’m curious about that for you guys as well. So no symptoms. We were as we were healthy and that counted count our blessings, but I know my cholesterol I have over the years and a routine check-up with my GP and I know my cholesterol was in the normal range, but now it has it has sunk to a level where I feel I made myself heart attack proof, and that’s also. And I’m very happy with the fact my Artisan recently had a special measurement of my the flexibility of my arteries and the young researcher who did check my blood pressure and that flexibility test. She was surprised as well. That looks great. And I told her I’m 63. She couldn’t believe it. So I don’t know precisely watching measured but my and the thiam function saw the inner lining of my arteries.

And are doing well. But your question did we have any symptoms we did not respond to a disease or a threat about our health. We just dated because of them the evidence in before our eyes that’s why we made the change and to prevent to go into that trap of chronic diseases. We want to stay healthy. As long as possible we want to stay away from the doctors and the hospitals because hospitals and doctors. Yeah, we are disease managers. We are in principle hospice are dangerous places places that you know, Andrew if you look at the top 10 causes of death in the United States, the medical treatment itself is on the fifth spot.

So you might be in a hospital you get a drag while which allergic to you get a coronary bypass operation complication. You die Etc. So Healthcare, so it should be disease care in my view. Is that number five cause of death in the United States? Food for thought

Andrew: that is incredible. So people are dying because of the treatment that they’ve wow, that’s I was at a John McDougall talk recently and he talked about I can’t remember exactly but it was something to do with like colonoscopies for cancer or something that people are more likely to die from complications to the colonoscopy than they are to. Uh be, you know live longer because they find a cancer. Uh, so yeah, that’s that blew my mind and now you’re blowing my mind again. So yeah.

Dr Heleen: Yeah, that’s true. That’s absolutely true. And now I think one of the was that Canada are so that now is saying that it’s not a um, Screening tool anymore a Colonoscopy. Yeah, I think some countries are now walking away from it because it does not really add enough information. So if you do stool tests on uh, whether there is some blood in the stools. So for people that are not at risk, I’m talkin. Yeah, so really screening for all the. Apparently healthy people. It’s not a good thing to do that anymore, especially because it doesn’t give enough people that you pick up and and the risk the combination.

Andrew: Yeah, so sooner or later. I imagine you you start bringing your ideas of a whole food plant-based eating into your work. So, uh, how does that process go for you guys?

Dr Alphonse: Well, I’m still practicing as a gynecologist and one of the things I did pregnant women in the community. We serve it’s an underprivileged community. Quite often are diagnosed with an iron deficiency. Anemia that means the iron levels in blood are low and the red blood cell count is low and typically what we do in deficiency, anemia we give women advice to take a pill, an iron suplement. And typically iron suplements has some side effects, one of them is constipation and sometimes it makes your stomach upset. Well, what do we do if you have constipation. Well we have an appearance as we call it. Number two is going to the toilet. So for iron deficiency anemia, which is a common condition.

Andrew: It’s especially in pregnant mothers.

Dr Alphonse: Yeah, so we have two pills and what I did; Helene produced a beautiful leaflet and she explained in that leaflet that evidence-based but eating more leafy green vegetables. And beans and whole grains that you can actually offer your gut more natural iron, and if you combine that with food, which is rich in vitamin C so fruit, then you absorb more of the natural iron. You should not combine your leafy greens Etc with drinking tea or coffee at the same time because that hinders the absorption. So I made that Helene method leaflet. And I’m using that I’m printing that off many many times even when I do a an antenatal Clinic I shared that with the women, but also I share it with some of my colleagues the students and The Midwives and you see there’s a different approach and of course, I know this that leaflet you could see people were laughing about it because that is something weird.

Andrew:Yeah. Let’s do it if you want Iron.

Dr. Alphonse: Yeah. Yeah, and this is what we still teach at medical schools. Red meat is your breast for best friend, by the way, I like to make two comments here the the heme iron. So that’s the iron which is bound to red blood cells of animals of Flesh. If you that absorption. If that’s well absorbed that absorption is not regulated and that sounds a bonus but it is also a negative aspect because heme iron when you absorb that into your body is a very strong oxidant an oxidation means aging more risk for chronic diseases Etc. And we know that heme plays a role in for instance the contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. So heme iron you should not have a surplus in heme in your body. Meat is another thing we know now that processed meat causes cancer in human beings. Published in October 20, 2015. So processed meat causes cancer in human beings and the risk that you get for instance bowel cancer colorectal cancer is comparable with passive smoking. The passive smoking is banned in our community. You would not put your child in a room where people have been smoking before yet. The whole society consumes processed meat. So, where are we where are the health authorities to share that with us meet? So a meat is most likely causing cancer in human being so meat is not promoting Health meat red meat is not required to deal with your iron deficiency anemia. It just advertising and in a very Sleek way. It’s planted in our brains as young children. We believe in Australia particular that you need me to be strong. You need meat for your proteins. You need meat for your iron and when Elena and I look at the evidence. The evidence is the opposite but how many blogs believe that they think that you need to eat me to be strong and muscular and if you know, if you go to the gym and you want to add muscle that you need to eat protein shakes Etc.
It’s all good for the hip pockets of the people who sell that to you, but it’s not necessary.

Andrew: All right. Yeah. Yeah for me. Um, it’s really interesting that you’re uh, you’re working a lot with um, pregnant women and uh and Advising on diet for for during pregnancy, because uh when my wife was pregnant with our a little boy that we have now, she was vegan and mostly Whole Food plant-based. We were trying to be healthy plant-based and she was much better at it than me, obviously. Um, and I got even worse after that but uh, that’s another story but when we went for check-ups with Specialists and doctors and things and uh, as soon as they found out that Mandy was eating vegan or there’s a write a note down on on Mandy’s little uh chart and we better just uh, ask for a few more tests than we normally would and then I think maybe you should add in to meet just once a week have some meat once a week just to make sure.
Anyway, so now we’ve uh, now I’m talkin to, you know, a specialist in this area who would say not what you’re on the right track and that would have been nice at the time. So, um, do you have any uh, were there any moments in your professional lives where something happened? You had a patient where something good happening. Yes. I’m on the right track now. This is I’m doing I know that this is working in this instance and it feels good that I’ve been able to make a difference with this advice.

Dr: Heleen: Alphonse. Yeah. Have you have have you had ever a patient that changed? Yeah, I know there are a few examples of patients where we

Andrew: I mean not someone that totally changed their diet little bit plant-based, but maybe someone that did start eating leafy greens in there the Um that iron level got better or something.

Dr Alphonse: Absolutely. I know from a patient who had a bowel resection in the past because of cancer and she had also radiotherapy. She had our whole life iron deficiency and sometimes she needed because about could not absorb it anymore and also she needed every now and then, blood transfusions and she she’s a nurse by the way, and when she changed her diet to Whole Food plant-based for the first time ever in a life. He came back and told me well my red blood cell count hemoglobin is normal Emma back to normal and her GP said what’s happening? So it was thanks to the change in diet chief for the first time in her life. She was chronically anemic struggling. And now with the powerful plant-based diet. She is absolutely normal and it has that’s now a few years ago. So a small example of a remarkable change. Yeah, that’s that is amazing. Yeah, and uh, I bet the a better doctor was happy about that, too. Yeah, he was happy but also very surprised he didn’t understand.

Andrew: Okay, well now we need to help him understand.

Dr Heleen: Yeah, and although, for the past so many years. I don’t deal with patients. In the meantime. I did some schooling extra schooling in nutrition. And for instance the nutrition what is called? Yeah at Cornell and plant-based nutrition course at Cornell. That’s a course you do over the Internet. I’d like to have a go at that much. Yeah, it’s a really it’s really nice background information and you get a beautiful whole picture of a thing. Yeah Colin Campbell who wrote The China Study started is and after that I went to I went physically to Washington DC to P. Sharon, which is the Physicians’ committee for responsible medicine with Neil Barnard. He founded it in 1985 and um, he they trained people to become a food for Life instructor as they call it. So you have to go there you have to apply and um and when you get in you have to go there and being trained as such and I’m at the moment the only one in Australia.

Andrew: Really? Wow and I knew you were doing that but I didn’t realize you’re the only one.




Dr Heleen: Yeah. Yeah and um based in Adelaide. So, uh few times a year. I conduct five-week courses. So people come once a week for two hours. And um during that period I do some education about plant-based nutrition. There is also every visit when they come a video with Neil Bernard talking to them and explaining things as well. And then there is a cooking demonstration every night where I demonstrate three different recipes each night. So uh, and then people are blown away by, first of all that you can prepare food without oil because Whole Food plant-based also means no added oil and there are also blown away how simple the recipes are and how well they taste. So yeah, the cooking demonstration comes along also with tastings,

Andrew: Great! I wish it was in Melbourne on come along myself.

Dr Heleen: Yeah. Yeah, hopefully yeah that will happen sort of foods the cook then. Um, yeah. Well one of the foods is what a lot of people have for breakfast and oatmeal, uh dish with a little bit of raisins or sultanas and maybe edit in a little bit of sweetness like maple syrup, but if you if you want to but you don’t have to and some cinnamon. Uh, so simple and yeah or apple went into it as well. So um, but it is very simple and people can then decide. I want to keep it that simple or I can add I can add in a few other items to make it may be a little bit more, uh exciting. Um is a dish really beautiful quinoa chickpea salad with a miso dressing and orange  miso dressing where you use orange juice and meat so and ginger and a little bit of garlic, no oil required and yeah every time when they have that sin the second on the second night that I demonstrated one they come back the next week. And so many people say I made that one. I made that. Yeah, I loved it so much. Uh, there is a very simple super sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Uh, we’ve got ya the potatoes are there as well. Mushrooms, And um capsicum red capsicum dish with a little bit of soy sauce here.

Andrew: All right, sounds good. So its pretty simple then?

Dr Heleen:  it’s very very simple but very tasty. All right. Yeah, sounds good. No, excuse people. No. No, but yeah, uh, I remember how in the beginning you’re feeling a little bit. You know, what as in what do I do? What do I prepare so and that and then people think it’s that it has to be difficult and that you need many many ingredients and it’s just keep it simple, especially in the beginning. Just keep it simple and eat Whole Foods.

Andrew:  Yeah. This is a big thing for me that I really think that these um, Well, there’s TV cooking shows at the moment the Master Chef and My Kitchen Rules and all that. I really think they’ve got a lot to answer for in today’s society because you know people seem to have this idea that every meal you eat has to be this amazing Gourmet experience and in yeah, if you don’t spend an hour and half in the kitchen preparing it then it might as well just not do it. It sort of has this weird idea, but it’s I love it that, you know people like you are trying to help people still get amazing flavor, but just cut down the the worry about what you’re doing and let’s just keep it simple and just keep it easy. And

Dr Heleen: Absolutely and I think we have to go back to the bases as in and Basics about why are we eating? We are eating to stay alive as of all but also to stay healthy and that doesn’t come from manipulating food until the point that you don’t recognize it as food anymore. That’s what I find. When I yeah when I look at the shows and I think. I don’t see real food anymore. And um and that’s why it’s really also enjoyable just to stay with the Whole Foods and that you see now I’m eating petite potatoes and here I’m eating beans and they’re eating some brown rice and now I’m having, you know eggplant and It’s really, I find that enticing to see the real food on my plate.

Andrew:  Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed that once upon a time. But once he give you time your taste buds a little bit of time like Alphonse was saying before. About you know, six weeks to allow everything to adjust then then things like that become an enjoyable experience and like these days. I often just eat a carrot or some cherry tomatoes or you know, some potatoes obviously, uh, you know, just a single ingredient is is fine by me now. I’ve got no interest in spending an hour in the kitchen making something incredible. In fact that these days seems like a waste of time to me because I’ve got so many more interesting things. I could be doing rather than you know, an exam much time in the kitchen. Yeah, uh, and I’m healthier for it too.

Dr Heleen: So yeah, and you hear so many people say yeah, but the food still tastes good. Well that is what it does the real food tastes so good that a lot of people might not understand this but we now enjoy a boiled potato as a snack.

Andrew: Yeah, totally.

Dr Heleen:  It’s such a beautiful snake because it’s filling and um, you know, it’s not in your body and then after half an hour you feel already you need anything more you need more food. No, it’s very tight, you know good satiety. And yeah, yeah, so but I would never have thought that I would do that, you know so many years ago.

Dr Alphonse: Yeah. About to boiled potatoes. I think we have an interesting experience because when you travel especially when you hop on a plane, well, you can order vegan food, but it’s quite often heavily processed. So good friends of ours. They had the strategy. They’re prepared a number of boiled potatoes and my family and I we went to Japan last year for skiing holiday and Helene boiled how many two kilos of potatoes and. You could believe it or not. We got standard on at the airport in Tokyo because the connecting flight was canceled because of bad weather and was all the other passengers for grumpy and becoming increasingly hypoglycemic and we were just chewing away those beautiful potatoes and we had a we had a ball.

Andrew:  I had a similar experience not not with a stopover, but I flew to LA and I took. A big box of butter potatoes with me and uh, and when the hostesses came around with meals because this was last year while I was eating only potatoes, so I didn’t expect the airline to have only potatoes for me. So yeah the host Essence become around with their meals and I just had my big box of potatoes my tray and they thanks I’ve got this and then all of those debtors would have to come and have a look obviously the one that came past went and told someone and she just came in. Stuck a head around the side of the seat. So what I was doing and had a little laugh and ran off and then another one came to see this crazy guy that’s eating potatoes. So I can’t have a couple of doctors on the Spud podcast without asking the questions that everyone probably wants to know about uh, the questions that you’ve heard a million times before we were going to go through them again anyway.
So first one protein, where do you get your protein?




Dr Heleen:  There is it again, there is a again. Yeah. No that is such a misconception and you are being such a good example that if you eat for a year potatoes only that you get all the protein you need and um, first of all the misconception that we need so much protein? That’s so overstated. We need only 0.8 grams per ideal body weight. In protein. So for me that’s maybe 40, 50 grams of protein per day on a whole food plant-based diet. I can’t go over that. I already get too much basically, you know, so um, you have to really put in an effort to not get enough protein and that’s only in the situation where there is starvation. So here in modern modern world. We don’t see deficiencies in protein only when people under eat, you know, maybe an anorexia that kind of diseases. Otherwise, you won’t you won’t see it. And so it’s never ever a problem, but people don’t realize that they think they now think in protein and carbohydrates and fats and not in the Whole Foods anymore.
So if you look at fruit, a lot of fruits will still have. Some protein, not much but it will be there leafy greens will have protein um and potatoes and so you don’t have to eat or now. I probably have to eat a lot of beans for the protein because people know that beings will have protein. Oh you don’t because if you eat of everything across the board of the plants, you will get all the protein and more then you need and the healthy protein. So plant proteins are very healthy for us and animal proteins proteins are detrimental for our health. Basically.

Andrew:  Yeah, and even to the point where this protein ideas totally taken over to the point where Um often people don’t even call me anymore. They just call it protein and forget that it’s got other things in it that are not protein. Yeah. It’s like you’re not just eating a chunk of protein fat and cholesterol and who knows what else in there…

Dr Heleen: The Hormones? Antibiotics and many other problems with it and even if, even if animal protein would not be a problem because it is a problem in itself for our health. Then you always have to look at the package you are eating, and that protein comes in a package and that the package you are already, you know. mentioning with the saturated fats and cholesterol and to be our eggs and the hormones not even added hormones that animal has its own hormones that will be in that meat and it’s a very like a insulin-like growth factor 1 it’s called like IGF1 very cancer-promoting hormone. It’s just there. So if you want that animal protein because you want that protein and supposedly so good. Well think about it because it comes in a package with a lot of Um- uh negative products in there as well. If you don’t look at a plant packet, it’s almost all positive. So you have the plant protein that’s healthy and then it comes with vitamins minerals and phytonutrients vitamins. Clowns and so all sorts of nutrients that are never listed on the label if you would list phytonutrients on the label that you know, the label will drag on the floor because so many nutrients are in there that we don’t even realize you know, And then the fiber because animal products have zero fiber and we now know how important the fiber is in our diet and the all the fiber comes from Plants.

Dr Alphonse: Yeah. So you should reverse that question the silly protein deficiency when you stuck in the desert stuck in the desert and there’s nobody around you will have protein deficiency after a few days. But what about your fiber deficiency and what about the deficiency in nutrients and micronutrients? So but it’s planted in our brain. And all the human brain is reluctant to change habits, especially if it’s about the food is one of the habits we don’t want to change unless there’s compelling evidence and you really are prepared to make the change because the information is very clear. So if you think about August 2017 if you look at all the evidence. Whole food plant-based nutrition is the healthiest food we have at the moment. We let you know if the evidence uh changes but I don’t think so at the moment.

Andrew: Yeah, no worries. Well, that’s a that’s a good answer.

Dr Alphonse: A little bit of a long one.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s good. We need to get into detail because you know, I think one of the things that one of the reasons this message doesn’t get out is because um is because people go well, Nobody’s gonna make that bigger change to their diet. I’ve heard many times that doctors and other professionals say yeah Whole Food plant-based diets good, but it’s too hard. So we’re not going to bother telling people about it because it’s too hard. So I think it’s important. I’m the opposite. I think that we should be empowering people with information and allow them to be fully educated and then really, Make an educated decision based on what’s best for their health. Not just what you know, what’s at the TV tells them to do.

Dr Heleen: Yeah, that’s so true. That’s that’s what we you know want to do Alphonse and I together we do quite a bit of presentations as well for the general public but also for doctors and it’s called Grand rounds in hospitals where they have every week like a scientific talk. And we have been in almost all um. Academic hospitals in in Adelaide we have been talkin there and also in the Netherlands in one just to educate the the medical world as well. It’s so important that they know. Yeah, because even though the doctor might not be plant-based himself as long as the doctor knows that it’s very healthy. Then you don’t have that situation what you see now so often that the patient wants to go plant-based when plant-based goes to the doctor tells him her. And then get the answer. Oh, that’s very very dangerous. You shouldn’t be doing that. You need me and you need Dairy and then the patient is confused.

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve had that myself, but luckily I had taken it upon myself to be educated. And yeah, and I was not confident in what the doctor said when he said I should not eat dairy and all of that sort of stuff. So but  you know not everyone’s in that position.

Dr Heleen: So no and what I would like to add is that I don’t blame doctors because seven years ago we were the same. We didn’t know so they don’t know it’s not in the education. It’s not in their toolbox. So that’s one of the things that we would like to do also educate the medical world. And so I’m not blaming anyone.

Andrew: No. No, I totally understand it. You can’t people can’t change if they don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and they don’t have the information. So let’s just get the information out. Yeah allow people to. Make up their minds because at the moment people are not making up their own minds. They’re just doing what they’ve always done or what they’ve been told and they’re not making decisions. They’re just following what they’ve always done you guys are allowing people to actually make a decision for the first time in their lives. So yeah, that’s a big thing.

Dr Alphonse: Also, I think an important point is if you eat what you eat you can eat. Very unhealthy food for many many many years. It has Alleyway of maybe 30 years before you hit the wall. So when you’re young and you feel a healthy and you feel also in uh, bullet proof invincible, so you are allowed to eat whatever you like to drink whatever you like but in the meantime, there is a chronic inflammation brewing inside of you and it’s a matter of time. So you could what you eat and drink every day, it’s good. It’s a potentially a slow sneaky slow killer and that’s why we want young people and healthy people to realize that because now the vast majority of people make a change of to diet when they are diagnosed with the wake up.

Hopefully, they’re still alive after a big in fact and the doctor tells them, you know, well, you need to change your lifestyle. So you start jogging you start stop smoking the good ones and you change your diet. Most important message for the communities prevent this from happening in the first place by having a healthy lifestyle and of all the parameters of your lifestyle, so you’re jogging smoking is important but nutrition is the number one issue which has the biggest impact on that. So it’s not only for the old and the frail in the ones who have. Diseases already. This message is very powerful for the ones who still very healthy and fit.

Dr Heleen: and on that note Alphonse mentioned, you know, you you might get heart disease in the end after so many years when you are 50 or 60 years old and a lot of people might think oh well because it’s also really good this died in reversing chronic diseases, you know, I will do that when I get there. But especially with heart disease if you look at it 50% five zero percent of all the patients that died of heart disease. They died with their first heart attack, which is then the first symptom. So your first symptom might be your last symptom. So only fifty percent of people have the chance to change and their diet and do something about the heart disease. Uh, so that is not really an option to say, you know our wait until yeah-

Andrew:  I don’t want to take that chance.

Dr Heleen: Yeah. No. So you have to realize. But it’s really hard for people in general to be motivated by fear that works only for a certain amount of time and then it winds off but um going on the whole food plant-based diet there is that factor of feeling so much better. Yeah and having so much more energy and although that is subjective. This is a very good stimulant for people to stay on track. And really good motivator. So that’s a very positive motivator. All right. Well, that’s that was tagging probably got to wrap it up.

Now. I’ve been going for long enough and you’ve got a you’ve got to meet your kids and have a good time. Yeah, uh, the last the last thing I wanted to ask is about, you know for me it’s all about. Um, You know, it’s good to have all these information but so many people myself included before that I did my potato thing find it really hard to stick with the change. So do you have some advice or some helpful hints or something to that for people that want to make the change, but I found it hard to stick with. How can you how can you help those people?

Dr Heleen: Very important is to have I think also access to maybe other people that are on the same page. So nowadays, there are many Facebook groups that you can um, sign up to become a member especially here in Australia got Whole Food plant-based Aussies a Facebook group, and there is a lot of support a lot of quality information. Um another good thing might be if you don’t feel like that or that’s not enough now and then do a 21-day Kickstart program online, which is for instance available with pcrm.
It’s all for free. It’s very motivating. There are always the include celebrities that uh, also put in their information and motivation for this. And you can do it as often as you like. So if you think you know, I’m I need some more inspiration. You can do that course. Yeah, it’s PCRM.ORG and then 21-day Kickstart.
Yeah. So, um. A reading talking to other people, um going to website watching documentaries. I find these things are all very motivating to to keep doing what you are doing but community. Be part of a community that is doing it like a Facebook group. If you don’t have a physical Community. I would like to add to that as well Andrew that now we have in every major city in Australia a plant powered group and that is also for meet ups. And so you can talk to other people face-to-face

Andrew: I had a great time at the Adelaide plant powered made up a couple of months ago.

Dr Heleen: Yeah, you were our guests. I was great. Yeah tha was fantastic. So we have planned powered Melbourne plant powered Sydney powered a delay. So the major cities have a group like that and so that would be also a really good. Thing to do for motivation.

Andrew: Yeah, great. Like I said, that was a good time and I I go along to the plant powered Melbourne meetups. It’s really it’s always really nice to share a meal with other people that are eating the same way and you don’t have to spend the whole meal justifying your food choices. You can just talk about interesting things to talk about instead hehehe.

Dr Alphonse: No, maintain your sense of humor because of course people phase out when we tell them that we are hopefully plant-based or vegan and that’s that’s wonderful and and accept. That we still exception but it’s changing. We have seen over the last five years. The number of people who are not plant-based are increasing for very good reasons, so. If people crack a joke about you know, I I love that and I laugh and I think them sincerely because laughter is a very good instrument helps you to stay happy and and also your sanity probably.

Andrew:  That is an important point because I do hear from a lot of people that are you know, someone has said something negative about with me eating only potatoes or something and they want an argument. They need an argument, you know, they want the have to win this debate and often. I just have a laughter. You know, it’s not it doesn’t have to be all that serious. That’s an important Point. All right. Well, yeah, it’s about time to uh to call it quits for today. So Helene and Alphonse, thank you so much for being on the Spud Fit Academy.

And uh. I love your work and I hope it continues to get bigger and better for you.

Dr Heleen: Well, thank you so much Andrew. Yeah, thank you for having us. It was a pleasure.

Andrew:All right, and and enjoy the rest of your little uh, stay in Melbourne.

Dr Heleen: We will we will definitely

Andrew: Alright, Spud Up!


There you have it. I hope you enjoyed the Spud Fit podcast. I hope you’re happy that we’re back and we’re in action and things are happening in 2018. I’m happy about it. And I’m looking forward to having some more guests that are just as good and just as uh enjoyable to talk to as Helene and Alphonse were. I hope you enjoyed it. And uh, if you did enjoy it then the best thing you can do for me is to share it with your friends. Tell everyone, you know about it and uh, so also subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen to podcast go to iTunes Apple podcasts and and click subscribe. That’s really helpful. And also, uh, you know hockey friends phones while they’re not looking and subscribed them to the podcast, too.

What else? All right. So yeah again if you want to keep in touch with uh, Dr Heleen and Alphonse Roaxe then you can go to their website. What was it again? sorry I had a mental blank there for a second, go and check them out. And also make sure that you check out the show notes if you’re interested in learning more about them there’s links to their website in the show notes, but also links to lots of the things that we talked about in the show. So head over to Spud and check out the the show notes for this episode. And again, before we go, uh, go to Spud if you’re interested in the Spud Fit Retreat the first-ever Spud Fit Retreats happening in a few weeks.

It’s going to be awesome. I won’t uh bother to bore you with the details right now, but go to the website if you’re interested, I think it’s going to be really really cool. I’m very very excited about it. And uh, and also of course there’s the Spud membership. So if you want to do you and Spud Fit Academy with some guidance and and help from myself and many other like-minded people then go to the tag challenge links.

All right. Thanks for sticking around to the end. I appreciate it. I appreciate everyone who listened I appreciate everyone who gives me support and help and uh, yeah. Thank you and enjoy your week and uh, We’ll be back.

Spud up!


Thanks to my wife Mandy van Zanen for the theme music.


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