Health, Healing & Hope
World-renowned lifestyle doctor presents at Andrews
In January, University Health & Wellness held its first Wellness Fest, a campus-wide event focused on increasing interest in healthy lifestyle choices. The two-day event featured fit breaks, workshops, a 5K walk, planking challenges, and an attempt at a Guinness Book of World Records title.
The featured guest speaker for the Wellness Fest was Chidi Ngwaba, a world-renowned physician from London, United Kingdom, and director of health for the South England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Dr. Chidi, as he prefers to be called, has a passion for helping people who are worried about or already have lifestyle illnesses, and is known internationally for his ability to reverse or prevent almost any disease.
“I work to reverse their illnesses or prevent them from getting ill in the first place,” says Chidi. “I want to get them off of meds and back into normal life.”
His approach to prevention and healing is a system he calls Life Colours. Each major lifestyle disease has a color: Diabetes is purple, cancer is green, high blood pressure is red, etc. This color-coded system is based on all the research Chidi could find on each major illness, as well as the Bible.
Being from one of the most secular countries in the world, Chidi understands how difficult it can be to share the Word of Christ. So he approaches the idea in a practical way. First, he helps them make the changes they need to in order to be healthy, such as diet and exercise. Then they talk about the reasons they choose to eat what they do, even if their choices are bad for them.
“Once you’ve helped them become more healthy, you’re left with ‘how do you learn to de-stress?’ And the answer is always Jesus Christ,” says Chidi. “You’ve taken them from a place they didn’t want to be. They trust you. They’ve moved forward with you, and they’re ready to keep going. Even if some just want to be healthy and move on, you’ve sown the seed.”
As a child, Chidi read “The Ministry of Healing” by Ellen G. White, among others.
“As I read, I thought, ‘This seems to be what the future holds. How can I be involved in it?’” he says. “I thought maybe I’d be a doctor.”
This set Chidi on the path to medicine, and a few years later he was accepted into medical school. As he studied he found himself interested in surgery, and he was given the opportunity to work with Ben Carson at Johns Hopkins University. But something told him this wasn’t the right path for him.
“During my training at Cambridge University, I realized something was missing,” he recalls. “I wasn’t as enthusiastic. I came in to make people healthy and prevent illness, so I moved back toward being a general practitioner, focusing on becoming a lifestyle doctor.”
"Lifestyle doctor” is not a typical med school track. Anyone interested in this specialty must acquire much of his or her knowledge independently, though this idea is becoming more and more popular within the medical world.
“Basically a lifestyle doctor asks his patients what they want to achieve and where they want to go,” says Chidi. “I do all the typical doctor stuff but I also find out what they like to do and don’t like to do—a lifestyle inventory—to pinpoint the problem areas.”
General wellness and making healthy choices has always been a part of Chidi’s life. As a young man he was an active athlete, representing Britain in the long jump and qualifying for the 1992 Olympics. In 2012 he was asked to help with the health clinic at the Olympics in London. In addition, he founded two successful, award-winning vegetarian, plant-based restaurants in Soho, London.
Adventists are not immune to lifestyle illnesses; despite the health message of the Church, many even within the church struggle with issues related to sugar, fat and more.
“It’s an addiction for many, and it’s difficult to get out of,” says Chidi. “We’re talking diabetes, autoimmune problems, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease—all related to high stress. Stress affects every illness out there, and unless we can deal with stress we’ll still have the same illnesses as everyone else.”
Chidi knows that he has information that can benefit everyone, not just those who are able to see him personally, so he has put his Life Colours concept into a book written not for academics, but for “regular and common people.” The book comes complete with workbooks for each color so people can work together in groups to support and teach each other on their paths to healthy living.
“Everyone needs good health,” says Chidi. “My main goal right now is to get ‘Life Colours’ rolled out throughout Britain, Europe and, ultimately, the world. This information will give places like Britain a nice introduction into faith. ‘Heal them and help them.’ That’s one of my biggest life goals.”
Despite being active and eating well, Chidi faces lifestyle challenges just like everyone else. For him these come in the form of giving himself enough rest and relaxation while doing this work he enjoys and saying no to certain opportunities that come his way.
“Everything is exciting and wonderful,” he says, “then the BBC calls. It’s hard to say no to the BBC. Learning to prioritize my time and ask myself what I’m here to do helps. I’m not here to promote myself or gain a big empire. I just want to get the gospel out to as many as possible, and as Adventists we have a wonderful tool in the health message.”
And what is Chidi’s personal secret to a life well lived?
“I take time at seven points in the day to pray,” he says. “I take a few moments and relax while reading His Word and talking to Him. I exercise every day and follow a delicious and non-restrictive vegan diet. I think these are habits every average person can incorporate into their life, as well. They’re habits that encourage me throughout the day and give me hope for a happy, healthy future. I wish that same hope for everyone.”
Watch Chidi present a TEDx Talk on reversing disease
Follow Chidi on Twitter @DrChidiMD
Read more about Chidi’s work
Learn more about Health & Wellness at Andrews University