Article by: Irena Stanisławska, Photo: Marta Wojtal
There’s no one out there taking an interest in professional sportsmen ending their careers, in order to gently lead them from the active stage into a sporting retirement. Previously, you had to be the best, so you forgot about the rest of the world, because the only thing that mattered was winning. Then, when you find yourself alone, because that is the brutal truth, you look around and see that life goes on all around you. It turns out you have to somehow earn a living in order to maintain the family and solve problems that you never had before – says Czesław Lang in a frank interview with “Fashion for health”. He and his wife, Elżbieta, share with us their way to a healthy and happy life.
Let’s start from the beginning – with the cabbage stew and hot dogs that riders were fed during races. That’s what I read on the Internet.
Czesław Lang (Cz.L.) – And that kind of breakfast stuck in my throat right through the stage of a race! In the seventies, when I was an athlete, nobody paid attention to diet. I remember one race, during which we every day ate huge quantities of steak tartare, and a year later only Kogel mogel. So from one extreme to another. But somehow the body dealt with it. But once you stop living such an active life and the bad eating habits remain, your body is unable to burn this huge amount of protein and fat, and suddenly it turns out that you have gained twenty-odd kilos. You also experience a sense of rejection, because you were previously in the limelight, and after a year has passed, journalists quit phoning to ask for an interview. And many athletes can’t cope with that stress.
And they become addicted, to food for instance.
Cz.L. – I too had that problem. Fortunately, I was able to put my life in order: I found a new passion – work, I started walking a lot, and horseback riding. Up to our fifties, we function quite well, but after that age problems usually begin. I was overweight, I was sluggish, always tired. I started to have health problems. I’d always had a heart as sound as a bell, and then suddenly there I was with arrhythmia and arterial fibrillation. Suddenly I was suffering from Meniere’s disease. I had to take medication for it and learn to live with it. It’s difficult, because from out of the blue you feel like you have drunk half a litre of vodka, and you lose your balance. You’re driving a car, when suddenly you feel a ringing in your ear, and you know an attack is coming. Then you need to lie down as soon as possible. And on top of that, there’s nausea and vomiting. The doctors couldn’t help me. They suggested steroids, trepanation of the skull. So we started to look for alternative treatments.
Elżbieta Lang (E.L.) – Not a single doctor in Poland told us that a change of diet could help. One of my friends suggested we try purification of the body. And so three and a half years ago we went to Mexico, to the Gerson Institute, where therapy involves purifying the body of toxins, along with vitamin and mineral supplements in the form of fruits and vegetables. The treatment lasted three weeks. Already after just the first week, all the symptoms disappeared. The arterial fibrillation and dizziness were gone. Czesław began to feel fantastic. They recommended we stay on this orthodox diet for another six months. And when half a year later we underwent tests, we found that the results were sensational.
Cz.L. – We felt great, we had a lot of energy. I started to ride a bike like in the old days. I found that to be a good way. Now, when I’m hungry, I’m not tempted to eat meat, only fruit and vegetables. I discovered some completely new tastes.
E. L. – In Mexico, we learned that we were not only purifying our kidneys and liver, but also the brain. And we began to think quite differently. Then intuition kicks in. We now know automatically what food is good for us.
After returning home, we started to avidly read up on the subject, and I finished my postgraduate dietary studies. We made a decision to put aside animal products for a year, but after a few months we felt so great that there was no way we were going to go back to eating such things.
Is meat really so harmful?
Cz.L. – Meat is extremely acidic for the body. I’ll give you an example. The Peace Race – the most important race in the seventies. People didn’t have too much meat. I lived in the countryside. I ate vegetables, fruits, cereals. But for the race, our trainers thought that the boys needed to be fed more. So they treated us to steak tartare. And though we had arrived in super form, after three days, we were so acidified, and therefore so tired, that we could not move our legs. I only recovered my form when I got home. We do not need such large amounts of protein. Even when working hard, we need a mere 0.84 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. And we can easily find that in peas, chickpeas and beans.
E. L. – The effect of meat on our bodies has been studied by many researchers. One of these is Colin Campbell, an American professor of biochemistry. He himself once ate meat, drank milk every day, but after five years of research became a vegan, because he noticed a disturbing correlation between high intake of animal protein and a higher incidence of liver cancer. Umberto Veronesi – Italy’s former health minister, an oncologist and vegan – writes: “You fight cancer at the table”. Someone may say: “They tout veganism because that’s the fashion”. But no. We promote veganism, because as mature people we feel great. And we previously ate meat every day. Someone may say that this is a placebo effect. I assure you that when I travelled to Mexico, I had no desire to undergo their treatment. I went just to accompany my husband, so that he didn’t have to maintain that diet by himself. When one family member changes his diet, it is best when the rest of the family does likewise, because preparing several types of cuisine is onerous, for the person doing the cooking, and for the patient. And when half a year later I conducted tests, it turned out that one disease, and then another had disappeared. Including Lyme’s disease. So it is diet that heals.
Cz.L. – There’s one more important thing – all products must be organic. Because what is the point of drinking carrot juice, if the carrot has extracted all those pesticides from the soil? If we’re doing detox, then let’s do it 100 percent.
Many people don’t believe in organic food. It is believed to be just a marketing gimmick.
E. L. – I assure you that it is not. Today, it doesn’t pay an organic farmer to cheat, because thorough checks are carried out every year; and if any errors show up – huge fines are imposed. We grow organic cereals on our farm. We do not use any chemicals. It is run according to the biodynamic calendar. You could say that we have gone back in time 200 years. We grow cereals and vegetables according to the phases of the moon. We sow, when it is the time for sowing, we weed when it is time for weeding, and we reap the harvest when the time is right. Our vegetables do not spoil; they are not destroyed by pests. Our organically grown carrots weigh 1.20 kilograms. We are ecology freaks. We try to eat organically, because we are well aware of what the big producers spray on their plants.
The whole of this interview may be found in the June issue of “Fashion for Health”, available only in the best pharmacies.