We started this farm to champion wellness. Dr. Lemuel Ng, our resident doctor, leads the charge on digesting the available nutritional science and dishing out his advice to the FOLO community.
His background brief:
Lemuel Ng received his M.D. from Calgary University, Canada. In 2000, submitting a proposal to upgrade the Red Cross Volunteer System as part of a National Information Technology Blueprint, he represented his home country as the youth trade ambassador to Canada for telemedicine. He was trained as a doctor at the Foothills Medical Hospital and at Columbia-New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York. In 2009, as the on site medical doctor in Tibet representing a US Christian charity, he worked to extend the services of a children heart disease programme - Touching Hearts Tibet.
Dr. Lemuel Ng has been associated with public health since 1999. During that time, he has served jungle tribes in Borneo, the mountain tribes in Laos and the nomads of Tibet. He lived and worked in these remote regions, combining modern best practices with proven indigenous solutions.
In 2015, with family and friends, and his lovely new bride, Dr. Lemuel started farming to feed loved ones.
Here are his answers to a few commonly asked questions. He posts regular updates on the Facebook Page: The Farming Doctor.
Q1) In your opinion, what is the best diet?
There are many diets these days, such as the paleo diet, ketogenic diet, low carb diet, Atkin's diet. Every diet has its own proponents and critics. So what is the truth?
Before I share the science on this, let me share my personal journey:
I was brought up in a family that changed its diet radically when my father was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. We went to the best doctor in Singapore and was advised to prepare for bypass and given some vague guidelines by the heart specialist. My mother, a full time professional, took full charge of the kitchen and completely changed the way we ate, by growing our own vegetables and poultry. It's been 30 years since the diagnosis and my dad is alive and well, with no need of bypass.
I have gone on to medical school, lived, studied and worked in Asia, Europe and America. I lived both in the city and in the countryside, keeping an active lifestyle (running, triathlon and adventure racing) and trying out different diets for flavour and fitness. Again and again I found a recurring pattern that supersedes all fads and trends - a diet, or rather, a philosophy that stands the test of time and continues to prove itself against sickness and disease. Unfortunately it's been unprofitable for the world at large and therefore seldom spoken of until recent years.
It is simply this: Know your farmer, know your food.
Know that good health depends on good produce which depends on good soil. This is why we started FOLO, to feed our loved ones the most nutritious food we know, to keep them in the best possible health.
In my opinion, the best diet is a whole food, plant based diet, ideally produced by and for a local community.
Whole food plant based diet? Does that mean we are totally against meat? No! We think that meat has a rightful place on our plate, but it should feature as a visiting guest instead of a permanent squatter on our permanent table, especially processed meat. The longer the shelf life, the shorter your life, is what my grandma used to say as she prepared homemade coconut jam for the family. I completely agree on this.
For more specific guidelines, I recommend Dr. T Colin Campbell's research. He is one of the leading researchers on nutrition, and his legacy, the China Study, has been an international bestseller since its publication in 2005. He also holds the position of Jacob Gould Shurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University.
In summary, he writes that the "ideal human diet looks like this: consume plant-based foods in forms that are close to their natural state as possible ("whole food"). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legume, and whole grain. Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. Aim to get 80% if your calories from carbohydrates, 10% from fat and 10% from protein. " (Whole, Dr. T Campbell).
Q2) Why does it seem like more and more of us get cancer these days? And is it preventable?
Some people say, this is because we are living longer than before, therefore with an older population we are seeing more and more cancer patients. However, cancer rates for both adults and children have been increasing dramatically. Is it because of genes? Environment? Nutrition?
The majority of the evidence points towards nutrition and environment as the immediate causes. But the bulk of investment and resources have been on detection and intervention like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, all of which have severe and expansive side effects.
What is sorely lacking is research on preventing cancer through environmental and nutritional measures. Yes I believe cancer is preventable.
Communities that live in isolated areas, which are mainly pollution-free environments and have pesticide-free local vegetables, have surprisingly low cancer rates. Some even have large populations of healthy centenarians that put urban folks to shame. I have lived and worked in many of these isolated villages and found cancer to be surprisingly rare. In fact, in these isolated communities, it is the community members that have frequent contact or spend part of their time in the city that are the ones most likely to have cancer. Thus the focus really needs to be on our environment and nutrition.
Q3) My uncle has been diagnosed with Stage 2 stomach cancer. What should he eat?
Adopt a general anti cancer diet. We subscribe to an approach that uses nutritional, environmental and psychological interventions to not just survive cancer, but thrive against it. We provide this through our FOLO wellness service, a customised education and consultation service that takes into account all these variables that are within the patient's control: their diet, nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices.
With regards to diet, it is important to 1) exclude all cancer promoting foods, 2) add the specific nutrients to fight the specific type and specific stage of the cancer, 3) not mimic cancer survivors' diets completely. This isn't the wisest strategy because any diet or supplement protocol needs to be tailored to your body's unique needs.
Our FOLO wellness team consist of professionals that have extensive accumulated experience in medicine, environment farming and counseling. We are in partnership with various specialist organisations to keep a grasp on the latest research and development. This includes the Soil Association of UK, the oldest farming standard in the world. Our team also goes through the Cornell nutrition programme started by Dr. T Colin Campbell. Our strength lies in our breadth of expertise, so we can help patients deal with the overload of information that is often conflicting, if not downright harmful.
2. Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell Ph.D
3. The Campbell Plan by Thomas Campbell M.D
For more information, or if you have any questions, please feel free to leave us a message on our contact page.