Annie is a healthy 68 year-old woman, although you wouldn’t think so to look at her. There was a time when that was very different. Annie struggled all her life with obesity. The last few years were the most difficult when her symptoms worsened: chronic pain, breathlessness and exhaustion. When she retired, she felt utterly drained and was afraid of what was to come: finally a lot of free time, but no energy to do anything. Annie was heading for a depression…
Eventually, she took the Pascale Naessens’ books that she had received as a parting gift for her retirement and decided to try it out: “What did I have to lose, anyway? I made a menu for one week and got started.” Annie is amazed at the new flavors that she’s trying for the first time. She used to always eat cauliflower with béchamel sauce, but now she can truly enjoy the pure taste of the vegetable itself. Annie can also sleep much better again and gets up each morning, fresh and raring to go.
After a month, Annie feels like a wholly different person. The people closest to her have also reacted positively to this change. A friend wants to know her secret and Annie suggests cooking for this friend and her family: they enjoy the meal together and can split the costs, perfect! Her friend’s father has type-2 diabetes and notices that he doesn’t have to inject insulin anymore. Annie lost 53 pounds in six months.
Annie is truly a different person: she glows and people approach her spontaneously on the street and tell her how great she looks. They even ask if she has had a gastric bypass. Annie is very proud to say that it’s all pure and natural and achieved by simply eating healthily. She returns to work and helps out at the hospital where she used to be employed. Even the doctors couldn’t believe what they saw and now ask her for nutritional advice. She’s also surprised at what’s being served in the hospital canteen: white bread sandwiches, salads swimming in mayonnaise, unbelievable right?
Annie can’t believe that she would ever go back to her old, bad habits because she feels so good about herself now: “I feel a whole lot better than I felt when I was 60.” She won’t give up her bowl of fruit for any amount of money: “I have breakfast at eight-thirty every morning and I can easily keep going until one o’clock. I no longer have hunger pangs. Annie also plans a weekly menu and goes to the greengrocers twice a week.
Pascale Naessens’ cookbooks are her health bibles. A lot of people ask her for a few recipes, just to try them, but she really advises them to read the book and then to get started with the recipes. “After 14 days you feel completely detoxed!”
Photograph: Benno de Wilde
Annie is truly a different person: she glows and people approach her spontaneously on the street and tell her how great she looks.