Keeping your healthy balance over the holidays

We know it well, silly season is not for sissies. We always head into it with the best intentions not to give way to the over-indulgence; not to leave our healthy eating plans by the wayside, and to make sure we have the ‘me-time’ for prioritising the physical activity and self-care that we need to maintain our healthy balance. But we can trip up.

No sooner have we got through the swirl of team, company and client lunches, drinks and parties than we’re whirling off on holiday with non-stop plans for spending (well-deserved) time with family and friends. And, you know what? It’s actually, all good.

Our human drive to gather together around food is really not the problem. No matter what is available, what’s on offer and even, what might be pressed upon us, we still remain absolutely in charge of everything that we choose to eat or drink over the upcoming festive season. What’s critically important is how you think and how you decide to act in the moment.

For some, the legendary lavishness of the holidays is an excuse to let go despite the stated aspirations to achieve that bikini body this summer. It’s easy to take an ‘everybody’s doing it, I can’t avoid it’ approach, and lose your balance and your focus on your personal goals.

Or, you can see it for what it is – a highly social time that is good for you in so many ways, but will inevitably be accompanied by loads of food and drink. It’s important to stay mindful of this fact: you are completely in charge of how the holiday unfolds for you. You have all the power to maintain balance and progress on your healthy lifestyle goals – without suffering, and without setting yourself uncomfortably apart from others.

Healthy lifestyles have gained serious traction over the past years. Sure, no one has yet been able to convince Grandma to replace the condensed milk with low-fat yoghurt in her classic Christmas Day potato salad, but the chances are you will still find plenty of others in your social circles who, like you, want to start some new, healthier traditions and eating habits when it comes to the food we share over the festive season. It’s actually so unlikely at any holiday gathering this year that you won’t find some companions who also intend to stay focused on balanced eating in the context of a healthy lifestyle. Find them, band together and forge forward into a festive season that truly recharges mind, body and soul.

We asked Registered Dietitians, Retha Booyens and Mbali Mapholi, spokespeople for ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) to each give us their top festive season tips for mindful, in charge, healthy eating over the holidays:

Mbali says:

  • It’s the same packet of chips – “Yes, you’re relaxing on the beach with friends and the context is the holidays – but the packet of chips being offered around is just the same as any other time, so, stick to your same reactions. If you’re not hungry, or if you would prefer a healthier snack, pass it on. This is not different advice from how to choose when waiters at a party are offering trays of canapes – just because it is in front of you, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Be mindful about what you choose to eat. Sometimes when it comes to food offerings, we go on autopilot and think we need to hoover up everything in our sights just because it is on offer. But, we don’t. It’s just food. There will be more. There will be other contexts. We still have free choice, and we need to keep this in perspective – it is the same packet of chips you could say no to any other day, so say no today.”

Retha reiterates:

  • Keep it in perspective – “If you find yourself in Rome on a rare holiday with the chance to enjoy an Italian Gelato alongside the Trevi Fountain – just go right ahead and enjoy it. But if the choice is about yet another third helping of Mom’s peppermint crisp tart, you can probably skip that this time around. If it is a genuine once in a lifetime experience, go for it, but if it’s a holiday habit that just trips you up, let it go.”

Retha says:

  • You won’t feel happy if you just over-ride your healthy weight loss or weight management plans – “You can avoid the stress that compromises your enjoyment of the holidays by sticking to your goals and plans in flexible and practical ways. Keep your portion sizes in check at every meal. Cut back on the empty calories of alcohol by consciously reducing your intake and also drinking a glass of water between every glass of wine or beer. Never slake your thirst with an alcoholic beverage. Stick to your exercise regime. If you can’t access your usual classes, sessions and activities, then run, walk, ride or play physical games for a minimum of two and a half hours a week.”

Mbali adds:

  • The devil is in the detail – “It’s not the holiday season that is the pitfall but rather our mindless reactions. Step away from the snack table. When you eat; choose well, chew slowly and be aware of what you are eating. Bring your favourite healthy dish to the family braai. Don’t hesitate to eat well and share that. Keep your eye on portion size and trade the treats you don’t want to miss out on with increased exercise and a more balanced meal before or after.”

 

For more information about ADSA or to find a dietitian in your area, please visit www.adsa.org.za


Women and Diabetes in the Spotlight this November

Over the past decades, the rise of diabetes around the world has been so prevalent and extreme, it is sometimes referred to as the epidemic of our modern times. In 2017, the diabetes focus theme is Women and Diabetes. Globally, diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women, resulting in 2.1 million deaths each year. It is estimated that there are currently more than 199 million women living with diabetes, and by 2040, this total is expected to reach over 310 million.

Registered dietitian and ADSA (the Association for Dietetics in South Africa) spokesperson, Ria Catsicas says, “According to the latest mortality report for South Africa released earlier this year, diabetes is ranked as the leading cause of death in women, and the most important risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes is obesity. At this time, more than 60% of South African women are either overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk than men of developing diabetes in the future.”

Gender also means that women experience additional health risks due to obesity. As Ria notes: “Almost 17% of pregnant South African women experience gestational diabetes which is directly related to obesity. This condition puts them at risk of experiencing high blood pressure during their pregnancy, miscarriages and still birth. In addition, the babies of mothers-to-be with gestational diabetes tend to be large which can contribute to complications during birth and are themselves at a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes later in life. Obesity also plays a role in increasing the risks of female infertility.”

Optimal nutrition is key for the person with diabetes; it is also crucial for those who may not have diabetes yet, but are insulin-resistant and those with a family history of diabetes, as genetics are also a risk. Optimal nutrition is also essential for all women – up to 70% of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle.

Type 1 diabetes is managed by medication (injectable insulin and or tablets),a controlled diet and exercise; but when it comes to Type 2 diabetes, good nutrition along with other healthy lifestyle changes are usually the first line of treatment to manage diabetes, and if medication is required, a healthy diet can complement and often influence the medicine, to help avoid experiencing the life-threatening complications of diabetes. Tabitha Hume, also a registered dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, points out that common-sense healthy lifestyle changes can be a vital safeguard. “Balanced meals that are made up of a combination of high fibre, low-GI carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy plant fats with generous helpings of vegetables and salads and some fruit (in controlled portions) can be a general guide. However, plasma glucose control is very individual, depending on the severity of the diabetes, and the type and dosage of medication being used. Diabetics will need the help of a registered clinical dietitian who can support them in translating these guidelines into the practical meal plans that best suit their food culture, their taste preferences, daily routines and lifestyles.’’

ADSA spokesperson, Nasreen Jaffer agrees, “There is no ‘one size fits all’. In order to make a sustainable change to a healthier eating plan, all aspects of a person’s life must be taken into account. A working mom with kids at school does not have the same amount of time for food planning and preparation compared to a stay-at-home mom. It is the role of the dietitian to help tailor an eating plan that is healthy – as well as practical, affordable and do-able for the individual.”

All three experts agree that this year’s World Diabetes Day focus on women is relevant to the adoption of healthy lifestyles across South Africa’s population.   While many men play a prominent nurturing role in the home, and many are becoming increasingly interested in the impact of nutrition on health and physical performance, it is still common for women to take the dominant role in the nourishing of the family, and ensuring health and disease prevention.

Tabitha points out: “Since women are most often the home chef, the grocery shopper, and the planner of meals and snacks for children and the family, if nutrition education is targeted at women, there is a higher chance that healthy nutrition guidelines filter through the whole family and have the biggest impact. Family traditions, practices and cultures most often derive from the mother in a family which is why children often adopt the religion and language of the mother. This is where the ‘Mother Tongue’ phrase originates. South African women are encouraged to develop a ‘Mother Meal’ concept moving forward, helping to instil healthy eating habits in children from a young age.”

World Diabetes Day on 14 November aims to shine a light on the risks for developing diabetes; as well as the needs for regular screening, access to information, self-management education, treatments and support, which includes optimal nutrition.


Getting the right help can change your life!

We are sharing success stories to find out why people decide to see a dietitian, what happens on the journey, what the hardest part of that journey is and what results are achieved. This week we chat to Julie Greensmith, who started seeing Registered Dietitian Nathalie Mat after she was diagnosed with Diabetes. Here is her story ….

Tell us about your journey with your dietitian

I changed doctors. I have always been a shut up and get on with it person. After a battery of blood tests to create a profile for my new doctor, she phoned me and asked “Did you know you were a diabetic?” I had no idea and the shock was mixed with the relief of understanding why I had been only half alive for a very long time. I had absolutely no energy, some days I could hardly get up, walking was becoming more and more painful. I even gained weight if I ate a lettuce leaf and seemed to be permanently swollen. Shoes were impossibly difficult. In my volunteer work I am communicating with people all the time and frequently having to stand up and address groups. My concentration was disappearing, I could not think and kept just losing words. It was very scary, I felt out of control and my world was shrinking. All this time I had thought well this is what getting old is all about (I am 72 or to look at it another way I have been 37 twice).

On hearing the word Diabetes my husband immediately went out and bought the Banting book and we went strictly onto the Banting diet. Although I lost 6 kilos I plunged into depression and being no stranger to depression I knew what was happening but just could not get control of it. One really bad day my husband just said enough is enough and made me a piece of rye toast with apricot jam. Within twenty minutes I felt absolutely fine again. A colleague from Lifeline suggested I should see Nathalie Mat, a registered dietitian – which proved to be the best thing ever that could happen for me and a turning point in my recovery.

I was greeted with kindness, consideration and understanding. My fear at being in unknown territory was fully understood and allayed. I felt so supported. My preferences were discussed and incorporated as far as possible and I never felt judged. She was very happy to discuss recipes and wine with my husband (my chef and food policeman) and look for ways of adapting and fitting them into my programme. She also has a great collection of tasty recipes. Not only is Nathalie highly qualified with a huge depth of knowledge, she is so willing to share it finding simple ways of explaining absolutely everything. I understand and trust the importance of all the steps we have taken which makes it so easy to trust the process and feel fully committed to it. It is one thing to have the knowledge but being so enthusiastic and prepared to share is a great gift. It makes me feel like a respected equal and I have felt that partnership thought our journey.

She has understood my fears and celebrated my triumphs, however small. I have felt heard, supported and understood through the whole process.

Perhaps best of all when I don’t stray at all from my diet I never feel as hungry as I did in the past.

Tell us about your results

So far I have lost 20 kilos. I used to be sick all the time with gastro and flu. That hasn’t happened for 18 months now. When I wake up early in the morning I get up with energy. All my blood tests register within the recommended parameters.

My mind is firing on all cylinders again and all thoughts of giving up my work have flown out of the window. I am able to be creative and busy. My movement is far better and my legs and feet are no longer swollen and far less painful. Between the Podiatrist and Biokinetisist I am very mobile and my balance is coming back. Nathalie and my Biokinetisist have worked together to design a programme that addresses both their needs to get the best results they can with my limitations. I have a life back and, let’s face it, is important, my dress size has gone down 3 times which my credit card and sewing machine are busy rectifying.

What was the hardest part of the journey

This is a difficult one to answer. Any hurdles I have had to overcome have been self-imposed. Of course certain deprivations can suddenly get the better of me and I fall off the path now and then. When that happens I see the results on the scales and the rise in my feelings of hunger and those realisations spur me on back into the disciplines of my eating plan. I am so supported by my relationship with Nathalie, my new doctor, and by my husband who is joining me in treating our older age years as a team effort.

I have struggled with the exercise and fighting with my damaged foot and the pain and a certain degree of laziness!

What are the top three tips you can share

Sometimes it is not good to shut up and get on with it. Getting the right help can change your life.

Communicate. Talk about the difficulties you are experiencing with your dietitian and be one hundred percent honest so that you can work out a plan together and trust the process. Leave your ego outside the door.

Patience. Be patient and don’t beat yourself up and set impossible targets that are bound to disappoint, dishearten and even sabotage you.

Trust. Trust the process and embrace it fully.

What dietitian Nathalie Mat says

When I first met Julie, she had not felt well for a long time. Poor blood sugar control was affecting her nervous system and her immunity. She was ready to make changes, but really needed assistance finding the right fit for her body. Diabetes is a scary diagnosis that does not have a simple cure. I wanted Julie to know that she had a partner in understanding her body and the limitations of her blood sugar control. Her eating along with close monitoring by her GP helped stabilize her blood sugar levels and Julie even learnt how she could incorporate less healthy options into her lifestyle without affecting her health.

Julie has amazing support in the form of her husband. He noticed that Julie was regularly having energy dips. I recommended we use a new device which continuously monitors blood sugar levels and we discovered that Julie was spending much of her day with low blood sugar. Julie’s doctor has since dropped Julie’s diabetes medication by half!

Julie has made incredible changes to her health. Her support from her husband as well as her consistent efforts have played a pivotal role in her success. I have so enjoyed being part of her journey to health and look forward to celebrating ongoing successes.

 

To find a registered dietitian in your area visit http://www.adsa.org.za

 


‘I feel healthier, fitter and more energetic!’

We are sharing success stories to find out why people decide to see a dietitian, what happens on the journey, what the hardest part of that journey is and what results are achieved. This week we chat to Adrienne Bewsher, who started seeing Registered Dietitian Monique Piderit following a general health check-up which highlighted concerns around her weight and fitness. Here is her story ….

ADSA_AdrienneBewsher

Tell us about your journey with the dietitian

Just before my 45th birthday late last year, as part of a Women’s Development programme at work, I had a general health check-up and the results highlighted that I was both overweight and totally unfit! I knew I had to do something about that, so, in November 2016, I decided to visit a dietitian, Monique Piderit at Nutritional Solutions, and have a DNA Diet test done. I received the results of my DNA Diet test and the best eating plan for my body was a low-fat diet. Monique put together a very practical eating plan for me which was so easy to follow and apply to my lifestyle. I also had full range of blood tests done to understand my overall health – my overall Cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol were high, whilst my Vitamin D levels were low.

Working with Monique, we set realistic weight loss goals which are achievable and keep me motivated.

Tell us about your results

Since November 2016 I continue to have regular “weigh-ins” with Monique which help to keep me on track and teach me more about healthy nutrition. I am so thrilled that I have lost over 10% (8kgs) of my body weight in 8 months, plus my Cholesterol levels have dropped to low risk levels.

To improve my fitness, I decided to take up running. As a full-time working Mom of 5 year old twins, I needed to find a form of exercise that would fit into my time constraints

and my lifestyle. I started off using an App that taught me to run 5kms in 8 weeks (although it took me more like 12 weeks to complete the programme!). Then in May this year I discovered “Catch Me If You Can” (CMIYC) – a running community exclusively for women in South Africa. CMIYC motivates women at various stages of their running journeys to get out and run together. They have various locations throughout the country, with Team Leaders in different areas who setup running dates throughout the week. Apart from getting fit, there are the added benefits of safety in numbers, tremendous support, motivation and friendship from the other women. I am proud to say that I have completed several 5km and 10km races and have entered my first half-marathon in November this year!

At 45, I now feel healthier, fitter and more energetic than I have for at least the past 10 years.

What was the hardest part of the journey?

My biggest challenge has been sticking to eating healthy during holidays like Christmas and Easter. When I do “de-rail” I am gentle but firm on myself and get back to healthy eating as quickly as possible. Just because I had a “cheat” meal doesn’t mean that I write off the entire day or weekend, but rather get back on track again the very next meal.

What are the top three tips you can share?

Banish the word “diet” from your vocabulary. For me, it comes with such negative connotations and makes me feel immediately hungry! Rather think of yourself as following a healthy lifestyle, as it will benefit so much more than just your weight.

Find a form of exercise that works for you. I do not have the time to drive to gym to do a workout, but road running works for me. If you can, persuade a buddy to join you for your workouts – you will feel far more guilty cancelling on them.

Set yourself goals. I am extremely target driven and by implementing achievable goals, both from a weight-loss and exercise point of view, I am getting there one step at a time. Celebrate when you achieve those goals – you deserve it!

What the dietitian says

I met Adrienne just before her 45th birthday. From day one, her motivation levels were high and her energy to make a change for her health and wellbeing was so strong. I think that’s why Adrienne has done so well (and continues to do so) – it became less about weight and more about health.

Adrienne joined a social running team called Catch Me if You Can which consists of like-minded ladies. She started with short 5km runs, progressing up to doing 10km running events. Running is a great way to boost energy levels, improve sleep, and help with weight loss, and Adrienne soon got addicted to that well-known runners high. Last I saw her, she told me she signed up for her first half-marathon in November. I am so proud of her for being so steadfast in her decision to be health. Who knows, maybe next we’ll be talking running nutrition as she trains for Comrades. Adrienne is a great example of how weight loss is just a by-product of choosing a healthy lifestyle first and foremost.


Is a Career as a Dietitian for You?

Dietetics, the field of nutrition, health and the application of science-based nutrition knowledge offers a variety of distinctive career opportunities that goes beyond the usual view of the dietitian as someone who simply helps others lose weight. If you have interests in health, food, healthy lifestyle and science, you may well find your niche in this growing profession.

“A dietitian is a registered healthcare professional who is qualified to assess, diagnose and treat nutritional problems, as well as to advise on preventative nutritional strategies,” says Maryke Gallagher, registered dietitian and President of ADSA, the Association for Dietetics in South Africa. In South Africa, the minimum qualification for a dietitian is a four-year BSc degree and one-year of community service. To practice dietetics in the country, one must be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). A registered dietitian is, therefore, a recognised expert in evidenced-based nutrition. This scientific expertise is vital in today’s world where there is an abundance of unscientific health and nutrition information, as well as a plethora of fad diets and nutrition gimmicks.

While dietitians are certainly the ‘go-to’ people for those battling with overweight and obesity, there is a lot more to the career than just sharing weight reduction and management expertise. What we eat has significant impacts on many other diseases and health conditions. Whether therapeutic nutrition or preventative nutrition, dietitians promote good health and wellbeing for all. There is much scope to tailor a career in dietetics to your personal passions. You may be interested in focusing on children’s health, maternal health, food allergies or eating disorders, or on some of the many medical conditions that require a dietitian’s management such as diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and intestinal disorders. In addition, when it comes to sports, nutrition also impacts on performance, and dietitians may often play integral roles on the teams managing high performance sportspeople.

Without doubt, there is a high need for registered dietitians in South Africa. While infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS and TB continue to be prevalent in South Africa, non-communicable diseases like heart disease, strokes, cancers and diabetes are actually the main causes of deaths (1). Yet up to 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and over a third of cancers could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, keeping physically active and avoiding tobacco products (2).   South Africa is ranked the most obese country in sub-Saharan Africa(3). Alarmingly, two out of three women and almost one in three men are overweight or obese, and almost 1 in 4 children aged 2-14 years are overweight or obese in South Africa(4). On the opposite side of the coin, chronic under-nutrition is also prevalent with 1 in 4 children aged 0-3 years suffering from stunting, a condition where a child grows to be small for their age due to poor nutrition(4). There is also a high incidence of micronutrient deficiencies, particularly vitamin A and iron, in South African children and women of reproductive age(4). South Africa has high levels of food insecurity with around 1 in 4 food-insecure South Africans experiencing hunger and a further 1 in 4 at risk of hunger(4).

Dietitians may work in a variety of settings with different areas of focus:

Private practice – like other health professionals, dietitians can set themselves up to consult privately with patients who need advice on nutrition therapy and support to make healthy eating a lifestyle change.

Hospitals – known as clinical dietitians, these practitioners primarily work in hospitals consulting with patients who are referred to them by doctors or other healthcare professionals. Their role in a patient care team is to assess and individualise nutrition therapy (whether an appropriate special diet, tube feed or intravenous feed) as an integral part of recovery or palliative care.

Community – these dietitians may be employed in the public sector, or by NGOs or community-based organisations. Their focus is generally on the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding; growth monitoring and the prevention of malnutrition; nutrition promotion and education; promotion of healthy lifestyles to address non- communicable diseases; prevention and treatment of vitamin and mineral deficiencies; and addressing food insecurity issues.

Institution-based – dietitians also work in food service management providing healthy and specialised diets to people living in institutions such as senior homes, school hostels, welfare care centres, prisons and health care facilities. Their work includes planning, costing and developing menus; controlling implementing, evaluating and overseeing food service systems; and managing special dietary requirements.

Industry/Corporate – there are varied roles for dietitians in the food, retail, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. They may advise on current food labelling legislation, nutrition regulations and the nutritional analysis of food items; be involved in product development; share latest developments and trends in nutrition; participate in nutrition-related marketing activities; lead corporate wellness programmes and conduct literature reviews.

Research/Academia – dietitians employed by educational institutions are involved in continuously providing new evidence-based nutrition information through on-going research and teaching and are responsible for the training of new nutrition professionals. 

Media/Publishing – in the Information Age, there is opportunity for dietitians, who have important knowledge to share, to generate expert content providing nutrition advice, latest evidenced-based nutrition news and views, commentary on nutrition issues and inspiration for healthy eating.

Do you have what it takes?

Maryke advises that a career in dietetics will suit those who:

  • are interested in food and health
  • enjoy and have a flair for Science
  • would be fulfilled by a caring, helping profession
  • are lifelong learners who are attentive to the on-going developments in Science
  • are able to translate scientific knowledge into practical advice
  • are comfortable in the role of the expert and like sharing knowledge with others
  • have strong inter- and intrapersonal skills
  • have a positive attitude and the ability to motivate others
  • have empathy, understanding and tact

 

 

References
  1. Mortality and causes of death in South Africa, 2014: Findings from death notification / Statistics South Africa. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa, 2015
  2. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2011
  3. World Health Organisation. 2015. Global Health Observatory Data Repository. Accessed June 2015. http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.
  4. Shisana O, Labadarios D, Rehle T, Simbayi L, Zuma K, Dhansay A, et al. South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1). Cape Town: Health Sciences Research Council, 2013.

 ABOUT ADSA

ADSA, the Association for Dietetics in South Africa is one of the country’s professional organisations for registered dietitians.  It is a registered non-profit organisation served by qualified volunteers. The Association represents, and plays a vital role in developing the dietetic profession so as to contribute towards the goal of achieving optimal nutrition for all South Africans.  Through its network of ten branches ADSA provides dietitians with the opportunity to meet and network with other professionals in their provinces. Through its comprehensive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) system, ADSA supports dietitians in meeting their mandatory on-going learning, which is essential to maintain their registration status with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Visit: http://www.adsa.org.za

 


Expert Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

February is national Healthy Lifestyles Awareness Month, with Healthy Lifestyles Awareness Day being celebrated on 22nd February. The National Department of Health encourages all South Africans to live healthier lifestyles, through promoting healthy eating, regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco products, and drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all. But can improving our lifestyles have much of an impact on our health? According to the World Health Organization, the good news is that leading a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and strokes and 60% of premature deaths due to cancer *.

A panel of health and wellness professionals, including dietitians, a psychologist, a sleep expert and a yoga instructor, give us their top tips on healthy eating, aiming to achieve balance, improving sleep and learning to relax to make our lifestyles healthier:

How to Get Healthy Eating Right

To transform poor eating habits into healthy ones, Raeesa Seedat, Registered Dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, says:

  1. Start your day well: Eat breakfast! – Breakfast is linked to improved nutrient intakes, as well as improved concentration and alertness. Studies show that skipping breakfast is associated with increased stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue and tiredness.
  2. Avoid temptation – The sight and smell of food is often enough to tempt us. Avoid keeping tempting but unhealthy foods around the house and avoid the treat aisles in the supermarket.
  3. Shop smart – To avoid impulsive buying, plan your shopping with a budget and a list of what you need to buy and stick to it! If you don’t buy unhealthy foods, you won’t eat them.
  4. Motivate yourself – Research shows that habits that don’t serve us can be overcome with good intentions. For example, having a conscious intention to eat healthier snacks helps to override a habit of making poor food choices.
  5. Do not starve yourself – One of the most common triggers for unhealthy snacking is hunger. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Do not get to the point where you are so hungry you could wolf down anything you get your hands on. Carry healthy snacks such as fruit, plain unsalted nuts or a tub of low fat yoghurt to work or school to snack on.

What small changes can we make to our daily eating that will help us move towards a healthier lifestyle? Kezia Kent, Registered Dietitian and ADSA spokesperson says:

  1. Hydrate: Increase your daily water intake – being well-hydrated is important for overall health. Herbs such as mint, chopped fruit and lemon slices can all be used to make water more interesting. Remember that store-bought flavoured waters often have added sugar and should therefore be avoided.
  2. Eat regularly through the day by trying to eat every 2-3 hours – Eating healthy snacks between main meals helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and can help to control portions at main meals. Your first meal or snack of the day should be within 90 minutes after waking up. Never skip meals.
  3. Only eat until you feel satisfied – If you begin to feel uncomfortable or too full, then you’ve already eaten too much. If you still feel hungry after a meal, have some fresh vegetables with fat-free salad dressing.
  4. Avoid eating while doing something else – eating while driving, watching TV, being on an electronic device or working prevents most people from actually realising what and how much they are putting into their bodies. Focusing on your food enables you to be aware of what your body wants and needs. Many also find they enjoy their food more and are more satisfied with what they have eaten.
  5. Be active every day – it can be a considerable boost to your overall health to prioritize daily physical activity.   Even a short walk is better than nothing.

How to practice balance in your life

Raydene Naidoo, Psychologist from the South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP) recommends:

  • Focus on yourself from time to time and pamper yourself. You can’t expect others to nurture you if you can’t nurture yourself.
  • Learn to say no without feeling guilty. Having reasonable boundaries is healthy, and it helps you to regulate how much you take on.
  • Take time to nurture your relationships, especially with your loved ones.
  • You are only human and you’re not always going to get the balance right. Rome was not built in a day. Allow yourself a cheat day but within moderation.
  • Get a good night’s rest as often as you can, naps count too.
  • Set SMART goals for yourself. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific.

How to improve our sleep

Sleep is central to all body functions. By the time you are 30 years old, you have already slept for about 10 years. The basis of good sleep is to maintain good sleep hygiene. Dr Kevin Rosman from the Morningside Sleep Centre has this advice:

The sleep environment – the bed must be comfortable enough, the room quiet enough, dark enough, cool enough, and secure enough. Complete absence of sound would be the best, but is generally not possible. Second-best is a continuous quiet hum. Television is generally a bad idea. Sometimes double lining of the curtains may be necessary to keep the room dark enough. We sleep better at night when the environment is cool. If you have an air conditioner, for example, set the temperature to that which is comfortable for the “cooler” partner, and let the other simply add a blanket.

Winding down the brain – before going to sleep, one needs to give the brain a chance to wind down. Allocate between 30 and 60 minutes for this. Going to bed directly after working or after exercise can cause difficulty getting to sleep. Caffeine and alcohol can affect sleep, and sufficient time should be allowed after the consumption of these before getting into bed.

Regular sleep habits – because the body works on a number of different cycles, we sleep best at our usual bedtime. Getting up at the same time every day is also helpful.

How to relax more

An important part of a healthy lifestyle is stress reduction and stress management. Lexi Ryman, Co-Founder of Wild Thing Yoga & Body Conditioning, says “Taking time to switch off and quiet your mind is so important for so many reasons; for example, having your nose to the grindstone all the time limits our perspective, meaning we might not achieve our full potential.”

The practice of mindfulness underpins activities such as yoga and meditation. “Yoga is a form of moving meditation where your movement is guided by your own breath,” Lexi says “It is a complete and total mind-body-spirit overhaul and the benefits of practicing yoga range from the physical benefits of increased flexibility and strength right through to mental and emotional wellbeing.”

To practice mindfulness, start small. “Set your alarm clock for 10 minutes earlier in the mornings. Find somewhere quiet, with a comfortable seat. Close your eyes, and focus on your breath – allowing it to move freely in and out of your nose. Start with 5 minutes and see how you go from there. If you really aren’t a morning person, try it in the evenings. Tonight, instead of your usual routine of flicking on the TV when you get home, take a few moments, find a quiet space, no technology on or around you and just breathe. Find a way of moving your body that feels good in your body. Try out different exercise or yoga classes, until you find an environment that’s comfortable to you.”

To find a registered dietitian in your area who can assist you with a healthy lifestyle plan, visit www.adsa.org.za. 

* Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2011

CHICKEN SKEWERS, DIPS & SEED FLATBREAD

We love this recipe – it makes a delicious starter for summer entertaining. Making your own dips and marinade rather than using store-bought varieties gives you more control and means you know exactly which ingredients have gone into those dishes.

Not only are the chickpeas in the hummus rich in slowly-digested starch and fibre, helping to control blood sugar levels, but they are also a great source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals.

Using whole-wheat flour and oat flour in the flatbread adds healthy fibre, lowering the glycaemic index and aiding in blood sugar control. Because this is still a carbohydrate-containing food, people with diabetes should enjoy the flatbread in appropriate portions.

Homemade chicken skewers are a great lean protein option, and this protein further lowers the glycaemic index of the meal.

RECIPE (Serves 4 as a main or 8 as a starter/snacks)

Chicken skewers

600 g free-range chicken breast

2 lemons

1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard

salt & black pepper

30 g chopped oregano

8 sosatie sticks (you can cut them in half if you want smaller ones for snacks)

 TO MAKE IT

  • Cut the chicken breasts into cubes, about the size of an ice cube
  • Put the chicken in a mixing bowl, and add the zest and juice of the lemons, mustard, and chopped oregano, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Leave the chicken to marinade in the juices for an hour or so
  • Skewer the cubes of chicken onto the sticks
  • Put a pan onto a medium/high heat and add some canola oil
  • When the pan is hot, add your chicken skewers, and allow them to cook on the first side for about 2 or 3 minutes before turning them. Cook the other side for another 2 or 3 minutes and then check between the pieces of chicken to see that the flesh is white, and no longer translucent. You want the chicken to be cooked all the way through, but not dry. Remove from the pan and set aside until you are ready to serve.

Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained

125 ml Extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 fresh lemon

salt & pepper

5 ml tahini

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

 TO MAKE IT

  • Put the chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, garlic, tahini into a blender or food processor, and season with salt & pepper.
  • Blend together until smooth
  • Scrape the hummus from the jug with a spatula into a serving bowl
  • Top the hummus with toasted sesame seeds and drizzle with olive oil

Tzatziki

1 cup plain yoghurt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

15 g fresh mint

salt & pepper

1/2 a cucumber

TO MAKE IT

  • Grate the cucumber into a bowl, and squeeze off the excess water
  • Add the yoghurt, lemon juice, mint, and season with salt & pepper and put into a serving bowl

 Tomato Pesto

100 g sun-dried tomatoes in oil

30 g roasted plain almonds

10 g fresh parsley, chopped

TO MAKE IT

  • Roughly chop the tomatoes
  • Put the sundried tomatoes with the oil into a blender
  • Add the roasted almonds & chopped parsley
  • Pulse the blender to combine the ingredients into a chunky pesto
  • Scrape from the blender into a serving bowl

Seed flatbread

100 g whole-wheat flour

100 g oat flour

150 g cake flour

100 g plain yoghurt

250 g water (lukewarm)

1 sachet yeast

2 tsp salt

50 g mixed seeds: sesame, flax, sunflower, poppy, pumpkin

TO MAKE IT

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, yeast, salt and seeds and mix together
  • Mix together the water and yoghurt
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and gradually add the yoghurt/water mixture little by little and mix together to form a dough.
  • Stop adding liquid once the dough comes together, or add extra if you find the dough to be too sticky.
  • Knead the dough together to form an elastic ball of dough.
  • Separate the dough into golf ball sized balls
  • Put a griddle pan onto a medium high heat
  • Dust a clean working surface with a little flour, and roll each dough ball into a flat bread (about 3mm thick).
  • Place the flatbreads onto the hot griddle and allow to cook until a little golden and firm on the first side, and then repeat on the other side.

TO SERVE

On a large board or platter, place the flatbreads and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place your bowls of dips and you chicken skewers onto the platter and sprinkle with fresh herbs

 

 


Navigating the journey to healthy living

adsa-spokesperson_alpha-rasekhala

We recently chatted to Registered Dietitian, Alpha Rasekhala, to find out why he became a dietitian, what he enjoys most about the work her does, the challenges he faces. Alpha is also a member of the ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) Executive Committee and looks after the Representation Portfolio (Liaising with the Association’s Representatives to obtain feedback from nutrition and profession related bodies on which they serve and to obtain and provide feedback from the Association to these nutrition and profession related bodies)

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I grew up in Limpopo and severe acute malnutrition was a problem. I always wanted to find a solution. As subsistence farmers we had a good harvest of maize, wild spinach,  nuts and peanuts. During high school the marketing manager from University of the North came to my school to inform us about the new dietetic programme the university was running.  I knew then and there that dietetics was my passion and could help me find the solution to my community’s malnutrition problems.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

I work as a private practising dietitian. I love the fact that I educate people on positive diet changes and navigate the journey to healthy living with them. It is such a great feeling when I help a client to make a turn around turn from poor nutrition choices to better choices and experience the improvement in health.

What are the most satisfying moments?

I always have a big smile on my face when a client makes the connection between the chronic disease of lifestyle and the bad food choices. Helping a client find the missing piece of the nutrition puzzle and transform their relationship with food is so rewarding.

What have been your career highlights?

I have worked in government, industry and private health sector. I have done a full circle in dietetics. I have been honoured to serve on the board of dietetics and nutrition for 10 years. I have learned about governance and regulations. I am on the ADSA executive committee, for the second time. I have completed my masters in dietetics. I have met amazing people through my dietetics journey.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Nutrition misinformation. There is a lot of advise out there and it can be downright confusing to sort through it all and make sense of it. Most people can cook and think that dietetics is all about cooking. The majority of people forget that nutrition is a science, and the advise given is evidence based. Poor nutrition advice has life implications which have serious consequences.

How do you cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices?

I am never on diet. I enjoy food. My motto is moderation is key.

What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?

  • Email me a meal plan as if we are in a business of issuing out meal plans. People do not understand that a lifestyle change is needed to achieve a goal.
  • What should I do to lose weight?
  • Are carbohydrates fattening? No magic food causes weight loss and no food is inherently fattening. Eat a variety of foods from leagues, meat, dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables and small amount of fat daily.

What should clients look out for when deciding which dietitian to work with?

Look for a dietitian who understands your cultural background, beliefs, socio economic status and eating habits. Someone who will listen to you and work with you and be a partner through your journey to a healthier you.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

My favourite dish  is samp and beans, spinach and beef stew.

My favourite treat is strawberry cheese cake.

To find a Registered Dietitian in your area, visit the Find a Registered Dietitian page on the ADSA website. 


“I’m fascinated about the effect of food on our health”

We chatted to Registered Dietitian, Kelly Schreuder who also has professional culinary experienceadsa_kelly-schreuder2, to find out why she became a dietitian, what she loves about her work and what the challenges are:

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I was very interested in health and the prevention of disease – always reading about nutrition and fascinated about the effect of food on our health.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?

I love supporting individuals through healthy lifestyle change. Everyone is totally unique and it’s very satisfying to work out what inspires and motivates each person. Everyone also has a point of readiness they need to reach before lifestyle change starts to feel easier and I love getting people to that point.

What has been your career highlight?

Running a sustainable business – making a living doing what I love and working on things that inspire me.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Running my own business! Even when you love what you do, there will always be admin, chores, and those days when you’d rather not show up.

How do you cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices?

Get over it and start again – always going back to what I know works for me.

What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?

  • “Oooh…Don’t look at what I’m eating!” (We trust that you are able to make your own decisions and we are not always perfect either)
  • “Is this fattening?” (The answer will always be “it depends”)
  • “What do you think of [insert latest diet trend]?” (unless you want a long answer that will also end up being something along the lines of “it depends”!)

Generally though, we are quite used to answering these questions, so bring it on!

What should clients look out for when deciding which dietitian to work with?

Good rapport with the person. Our training is the same, and you should always feel that you can trust a dietitian, and get good advice, but when you have to work with someone long-term, it really helps to enjoy the time you spend with them.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

At the end of the week I like to chop up all the leftover vegetables in my fridge and make a kind of fried rice (with brown rice, ideally) with spring onions, garlic and ginger. Favourite treat: Chocolate with nuts – any kind will do. I have a couple of squares almost every single day after dinner, with a cup of plain rooibos or green tea.

To find a dietitian in your area visit the ‘Find A Dietitian’ section on the ADSA website.

 

 


Add to your ‘must try’ dessert list: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Chocolateavomousse(3)We just couldn’t resist re-sharing this amazing ‘Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse’ – a much healthier alternative to regular chocolate mousse and just as delicious. The mousse is packed with healthy unsaturated fat and an ideal alternative for vegans. It also contains none of the major allergens (cows milk, egg, soya, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat/gluten) and is ideal for individuals suffering from allergies to these food items. Developed by chef, Vanessa Marx, this should be at the top of your list of ‘desserts I must try’.

Our dietitians say:

Avocado pears contain primarily mono-unsaturated fats that have been shown to assist in keeping your heart healthy! They are also a good source of Vitamin E, which keeps your skin healthy and speeds up healing, as well as protecting red blood cells; Folic Acid, which helps with the production of red blood cells; and Selenium, which is an integral part of anti-oxidants (these help protect body cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and also needed for the proper functioning of the immune system)

RECIPE

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

1 ripe banana

1 orange

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons xylitol

How to make it

– cut the avo in half. Remove the pip from the centre and discard. Remove and discard the skin too.

– in a food processor, add the avo, banana, cocoa powder, and xylitol.

– zest and juice the orange and add both to the food processor.

– blend the mixture until completely smooth and dark chocolate brown. The sweetness and darkness can both be adjusted by adding more or less xylitol and cocoa powder. The xylitol can also be substituted with honey, a low calorie or non-nutritive sweetener.

– you can remove the orange and replace with another flavour variation like cinnamon, lemon zest etc.

– spoon the mousse into 4 glasses for serving and refrigerate until ready to serve.

– serve with fresh fruit or biscotti

The nutritional value serves 4:

Energy: 1075 kJ

Protein: 3 g

Carbohydrate: 17 g

Total fat: 19 g

Dietary Fibre: 6.5 g

Sodium: 46 mg

To download the recipe card, visit http://www.adsa.org.za/Public/Recipes.aspx


Healthy Nutrition during Pregnancy

We are sharing success stories to find out why people decide to see a dietitian, what happens on the journey, what the hardest part of that journey is and what results are achieved. This week we chat to Bonnie Classen, who started seeing Registered Dietitian Alex Royal when she fell pregnant:

Tell us about your journey with the dietician? 

Over the past few years I have strived to lead a healthy lifestyle, with my food choices being based around eating as many real foods as possible, and minimal processed and refined foods. Despite my diet being healthy for the most part, I still  found that I still struggled in a few areas – such as afternoon slumps, sugar cravings, and low energy during certain times of the day.

After falling pregnant, I felt it would be a good idea to visit Alex Royal for a dietetics consultation, to help guide me on the optimum food choices during my pregnancy. As the majority of my food choices were already healthy, I was very curious to see the assessment of my current diet, as I couldn’t imagine what possible improvements could be made.

Wow did I have a lot to learn !!

 While on the whole my food choices had been good, Alex highlighted so many interesting points regarding my current diet. From the excessive amount of fat I was eating each morning (I was shocked to hear how much fat I was consuming with my breakfast each morning, I had no idea), my very low calcium intake, and so much more.

Using my existing food choices and lifestyle – Alex helped adjust my current eating regime. Adjustments were made to my meals. From distributing my fat intake more evenly throughout the day, increasing of calcium, including protein & vegetables during certain times and so much more.

 As Alex worked with my current eating style and diet when making these adjustments, these changes weren’t very challenging to implement into my daily routine, which made them far more manageable to achieve.

What a difference these seemingly simple changes made to my life !

She also helped highlight some really important information to me regarding my dietary needs during pregnancy, such as the importance of calcium intake during pregnancy and the daily recommended dosage, as well as information on all the other essential nutrients required during pregnancy.

During our second consultation Alex also suggested I bring in all my vitamins, and assessed my vitamins dosages, giving fantastic suggestions on inclusions and improvements here too.

 Tell us about your results? 

The results I achieved after implementing the dietary changes were nothing short of fantastic! My afternoon slumps diminished, and I realized that my previous afternoon ‘sugar’ cravings was simply hunger – I was eating lunch far too early in the day and then only eating dinner after 7pm. So without an afternoon snack, was starving by 5pm!

By adjusting my food quantities, including protein into my breakfast each morning, and spreading out my fat intake –  I also felt far more sustained throughout the day.

Alex also gave me tips on how to ‘give in’ to my pregnancy craving, but ensuring that this was done with the right food choices, so that the extra calories I was consuming weren’t empty calories. She took my pregnancy experiences into consideration when creating my customized eating plan. Despite being starving, I was also struggling with severe nausea (a combination I didn’t know was possible prior to pregnancy!) After most meals, I then also suffered from heartburn and indigestion, making eating full-size meals very unpleasant.

One of Alex suggestions was to eat a healthy snack a few hours after dinner, which ensured I still got my extra calories required despite eating a small dinner. By also eating this healthy snack before the hunger & cravings hit, I felt satisfied and managed to avoid the late night “pregnancy” sugar binges I found myself giving into prior to my consultations.

During my consultations Alex tracked my pregnancy weight gain, ensuring this was on track, while still increasing my muscle mass. I have now managed to maintain an extremely healthy weight gain throughout my pregnancy. I have not only loved my pregnancy body, but also feel such a great sense of confidence that I have given my baby the best head start in life, by ensuring she has had the optimal nutrition needed 🙂

 What was the hardest part of the journey? 

The hardest part was to be more disciplined in preparing lunches and snacks for my work day. While packing lunch was easy (as we generally made a generous healthy dinner the night before – and took leftovers to work), I never prepared any snacks for work.

So it took some time to adjust to having to be slightly more disciplined in my preparation each morning, but the results were worth it! By simply taking those 15 minutes each morning to pack for the day, I now am completely able to avoid the 5pm ‘binge’ I found myself falling into each afternoon.  

What are the top 3 tips you can share? 

  • From the 2nd trimester you should increase your daily calorie, but the extra food you eat shouldn’t just be empty calories, as it should provide the nutrients for your growing baby needs. It is also easier than you think to get these extra calories!
  • You can get creative with your eating schedule during pregnancy. As mentioned, I suffered from extreme nausea, heartburn and indigestion when eating full-size meals, often making meals unpleasant. By splitting up your meals and eating smaller meals and snacks at different times within the day, it helped ensure I still consumed the calories and nutritional intake during pregnancy, while avoiding the excessive pregnancy heartburn & indigestion i experienced with larger meals.
  • Be prepared !! When you have a busy work schedule, it is very easy to get caught up in your day and go for long stretches without food, then give in to the ‘convenient’ foods that are in reach (these usually being unprocessed, sugar filled snacks) By simply making time to prepare your lunches & snacks for your day ahead, you can maintain your healthy diet habits and continue to feel sustained throughout the day.

Feedback from the Alex Royal

It was an absolute pleasure to help Bonnie along this path. She made excellent dietary and lifestyle changes which benefited both her and her little one. Her body composition improved during her pregnancy with her body fat decreasing while her muscle mass improved. She managed her cravings and followed the meal plan to the letter, including the nutrients that we needed to focus on to help her baby develop and grow well.  Her motivation and commitment to her health and to her baby’s well being was inspiring.


4 NUTRITION TIPS FOR HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AWARENESS MONTH

February is Healthy Lifestyles Awareness Month and with high rates of obesity and the so-called ‘lifestyle’ diseases, such as diabetes, it’s quite clear that South Africans need to develop more awareness about making healthy eating choices. We asked four of our dietitians what South Africans should know about nutrition:

  • Let’s head for the kitchen and start cooking, invites Cath Day, RD:

“My top tip to my clients is to start cooking your own healthy meals from scratch as often as possible, using the freshest and healthiest ingredients. It’s the best way to control not only everything that goes into your meal, but also portion sizes. If you cook often at home, you have full awareness of making healthy eating choices most of the time. Cooking with fresh, healthy ingredients, making delicious meals and snacks can easily be fun rather than a chore. You can cultivate a family culture of great enjoyment at healthy eating by involving your partner, your kids, the whole family, and even, friends in preparing and sharing healthy food.”

  • Let’s limit the sugar, advises Catherine Pereira, RD:

“ADSA supports the recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that added sugar intake should be limited to no more than 5 % of total energy intake. The South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines states that ‘sugar, and foods and drinks high in sugar should be consumed sparingly’. These foods include all types of confectionery (biscuits, cakes, etc.) as well as sugar-sweetened drinks. The key to getting this right is to become far more aware of ‘hidden’ sugars. We all know that when choose to eat a packet of sweets, we’re eating too much sugar; but we’re perhaps less aware that when we order an iced tea or a glass of wine at a restaurant, these also spike our daily sugar intake beyond sensible levels. When it comes to avoiding empty calories, what we drink counts every bit as much as what we eat; and we need a far higher level of awareness of our actual daily sugar intake in order to make sure we are keeping to the guidelines.”

  • Let’s get over obsessing over restrictive or fad diets, says Kezia Kent, RD:

“Following your friends’ latest diet or the newest fad promoted on social media is not necessarily going to work for you as it may be working for others. Eating healthily should be tailored specifically for you and it should happen every day, not just over a time when you are trying to lose weight. There is always going to be a ‘latest’ diet; and chopping and changing according to fads can prevent you from developing sensible and sustainable healthy eating habits that truly suit your lifestyle and your body. Especially, avoid diets that promise you’ll lose weight quickly. Slow, steady weight loss lasts longer than quick, dramatic weight loss. If you lose weight quickly, you may lose muscle and water which increases your chances of regaining the weight. If you need to change to healthier eating or need to lose weight, get professional advice to develop a sustainable plan for you.”

  • Let’s be careful about making carbs an enemy, warns Monique dos Santos, RD:

“There’s an immense amount of attention on low carb-high fat diets right now. We’ve got to keep the perspective that there are good reasons to include carbohydrates in our diets. Obviously, you want to limit sugar and refined starches, but there are carbohydrates in many, many foods that are good for us. Our bodies rely on a combination of carbohydrates and fat for energy to fuel daily activities. Carbohydrates are the brain’s number one energy source so cutting out carbs will zap your energy levels and leave you feeling fatigued. When carbs are limited excessively, you get really, really cranky. We also need carbohydrates to build muscle (in combination with sufficient protein in the diet and training). Fibre-rich carbohydrates such as fruits, some vegetables, legumes and wholegrain starches like oats, wild rice, and whole-wheat pasta are important for gut health. Let’s not forget that many carbs are also rich in other nutrients. If you restrict fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains then you are also limiting your intake of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. B-vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium and other essential micro-nutrients are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods.”

Our ‘Fishcakes with Barley Salad and Lemon Drizzle’ recipe ticks all the boxes – high in fibre, packed with omega 3 fatty acids, heart healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids, an array of vitamins and minerals and contains a great balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat; and besides that its good for the earth and tastes yummy!

 

Fishcakes2

Serves 4

FISHCAKES

Ingredients

1 x can (400 g) of mackerel (middle cut)

1/4 cup oat bran

1/2 cup grated carrot

1 free-range egg

Zest of 1 lemon

10 g chopped fresh herbs (chives, dill, parsley)

Salt & pepper

2 tablespoons avocado oil

How to make it

– drain the mackerel of any liquid, and put it into a large mixing bowl.

– using a fork, shred the fish up until it’s fine and there are no large chunks.

– add the oat bran, carrot, egg, lemon zest, and chopped herbs, and mix well. Leave the mixture to stand for a bout 30min in the fridge, so the oat bran soaks up excess liquid in the mixture.

– separate the mixture into 8 equal sized balls, and shape them into patties.

– season the fishcakes with salt & pepper.

– put a large non-stick frying pan onto a medium heat and drizzle the oil into the pan.

– once the pan is hot, add the fishcakes and fry on the first side for around 2 minutes, until golden brown. Turn them over and repeat on the other side.

BARLEY SALAD

Ingredients

1 cup cooked pearl barley, cold

40 g watercress

1/2 medium cucumber

1 avo

50 g almonds, raw & chopped

50 g mixed bean sprouts

100 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

50 g sliced red onion

10 g basil

10 g fennel

100 g feta

Salt & pepper

How to make it

 – wash the cucumber, tomatoes, and herbs.

– using a peeler, shave the cucumber into ribbons.

– cut the avo in half, remove the skin & pip and cut the avo into chunks.

– in a large bowl, mix together the barley, cucumber ribbons, almonds, bean sprouts, tomatoes, onion, tear the fennel & basil up and add to the salad.

– assemble the salad on a platter. Spread the barley salad mixture on the bottom of the platter. Add the chunks of avo, and crumble the feta over the top of the salad. Sprinkle the watercress on top of the salad.

LEMON DRIZZLE

Ingredients

zest & juice of 1 lemon

1teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped chives

Salt & pepper

How to make it

– whisk together the lemon juice, zest & mustard.

– drizzle the olive oil into the lemon mixture whilst whisking.

– mix int he chopped chives, and season with salt & pepper.

 

Bon appetit!

To find a dietitian in your area who can assist you with a healthy eating lifestyle plan, visit www.adsa.org.za


“I made a complete lifestyle change” – Glenise’s Story

We are sharing success stories to find out why people decide to see a dietitian, what happens on the journey, what the hardest part of that journey is and what results are achieved. This week we chat to Glenise Valentyn, who started seeing Registered Dietitian Retha Mostert after she struggled to fall pregnant and was diagnosed with insulin resistance. Here is her story ….

Why did you decide to see a dietitian? (the before story)

When I visited a gynaecologist, because I was struggling to fall pregnant, he did some tests and I was diagnosed with insulin resistance. He explained the dangers involved for the baby and me, should I fall pregnant and advised me to immediately start with a healthy lifestyle. I decided to see a dietitian.

Tell us about your journey with the dietitian?

I made my first appointment with Registered Dietitian Retha Mostert soon after I saw the gynaecologist. She worked out very easy meal plans (not diet plans) for me. All the ingredients were readily available at our supermarket. I could prepare food that my whole family enjoyed. She taught me how to make the right choices when making decisions on what to eat. I was very comfortable with her. A little bit later I found out that I was pregnant. I visited Retha throughout my whole pregnancy, looking forward to my bi-monthly visits with her.

Tell us about your results / successes?

I could feel a difference in myself right after I started to see Retha. I had much more energy. I only gained a total of 5kg throughout my whole pregnancy. Most of it was only in the last weeks. The gynaecologist was very worried at first that I wasn’t gaining weight, but she checked the baby’s progress and growth and was happy. I was tested for insulin resistance during my pregnancy and there was no sign of it. I gave birth to a normal baby daughter of 2.89kg. My weight after the birth of my baby was less than before I fell pregnant. Seeing Retha helped me make a complete lifestyle change.

What was the hardest part of the journey?

The hardest part was to resist pregnancy cravings. I always had to remind myself of the consequences of eating the wrong foods.

What are the top three tips you can share?

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Trust your dietitian
  3. Always plan ahead and put your plans in writing

What the dietitian says (a few words from Retha Mostert)

Throughout her pregnancy Glenise was so motivated. Her sugar levels were showing warning signs before the pregnancy and by making smart food choices she kept them under control throughout her pregnancy. She proved that its not necessary to ‘eat for two’ when you are pregnant. Even when she went for her regular check-ups with her gynaecologist, he couldn’t believe that she herself was not gaining a lot of weight, but sonars confirmed that her baby was growing the way she should. At 38 weeks Glenise had a healthy baby girl! What better reward can there be?

To find a Registered Dietitian in your area, please visit: www.adsa.org.za


Healthy eating, healthy living in 2015!

Signing up for the gym, eating more tuna and drinking 9 cups of water per day are the seasonal New Year’s resolutions that sit on the top of South African lists. Not to say eating healthier and exercising on a regular basis are not top priorities, but going on a whim when it comes to your health based on what you see on TV and the internet will see those resolutions be pushed down the list as the year progresses.

This is because simply downloading a meal plan for a quick fix diet will not necessarily work for your body, since most of the time they are generalised templates. Seeking expert advice from a Registered Dietitian should replace your first New Year’s resolution on your healthy list and this is where the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) plays a vital role.

Consulting a Registered Dietitian (RD) will ensure that you get professional guidance as well as an analysis of what is best for your specific needs with regards to eating and gaining optimum health. “A Registered Dietitian is a trained professional in the nutrition field, providing expert advice and support to ensure you embody a balanced healthy lifestyle as a permanent one. It is essential for consumers to ask for a Registered Dietitian in order to receive nutrition info they can trust”, says Claire Julsing-Strydom, ADSA President.

A Registered Dietitian is:

  • A qualified health professional registered with the HPCSA
  • Has a minimum qualification of a four year scientific degree
  • Has been trained in all aspects and fields of nutrition therapy

Registered Dietitians are involved in many different fields and areas of expertise including: Private Practising Dietitians, Therapeutic Dietitians (who mainly work in a hospital setting), Community Dietitians (who work in the public sector) and Food Service Management (managing healthy and specialised diets in institutions).

Nutrition is a science and there isn’t one solution that fits everyone. Registered Dietitians are the recognised experts in the field of evidence-based nutrition and will develop personalised nutrition plans for each one of their clients to ensure that they are able to stick to the plan and reach their goals. “Consumers need to be aware that there are many unscientific health and nutrition gimmicks around, with new fad diets launching all the time”, concludes Julsing-Strydom.

To find a dietitian in your area, visit www.adsa.org.za


Grilled ostrich fillet with Egyptian dukkah & cucumber raita

Ostrich fillet is a truly South African (and healthy alternative) for the braai this festive season. The latest NutritionConfidence recipe from Vanessa Marx (Dear Me) combines this South African speciality with the gorgeous Spinach, Beetroot & Pomegranate salad we posted a few days ago. The raita bursts with flavour while being low in sugar and fat.

Our dietitians say:

Ostrich meat is a great alternative to other ‘red meat’ sources. Classified as a ‘white meat’ due to its fat content, it’s low in fat (even lower than some chicken cuts) and saturated fat; but also a good source of biologically available iron.

A tip from the chef: Ostrich fillet is best cooked on a high heat for a shorter period. This recipe cooking time would result in a medium rare steak, depending on the thickness of the steak. For a rarer steak, cook for one minute less on each side.

Ingredients

2 x 150g ostrich fillet steaks

80g Egyptian dukkah

30ml sunflower oil

Salt flakes

1/2 cup low fat plain yoghurt

1/2 a medium cucumber

10g fresh coriander

The juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salt & pepper

How to make it

For the steaks

– Put a griddle pan on a very high heat.

– Drizzle the ostrich steaks with oil and coat in the dukkah. Season with salt flakes.

– Once the griddle pan is searing hot, lay the steaks onto the griddle. Do not move them around, leave them to grill on the first side for around 2-3 minutes. Turn the steak over and grill on the other side for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove the steaks from the grill and leave to rest for 2 min on a cutting board.

For the raita

– Cut the cucumber into small cubes about 5mm, or for a time-saving method, grate.

– Chop the coriander roughly.

– Mix the cucumber and coriander into the yoghurt.

– Season the raita with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To serve

– Slice the steaks into 1cm thick slices and arrange on a plate or serving platter.

– Add dollops of raita on top of the steaks, and serve with a fresh seasonal salad, or side dish of your choice.

Serves 2

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