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

 


NEW NutritionConfidence recipe: Fish en Papillote

“Many people do not know how to cook fish or dislike making their entire kitchen smell like fish. Cooking fish en papillote (in a baking paper parcel) is an easy way around both these issues”, says Nathalie Mat, registered dietitian and creator of our latest NutritionConfidence recipe.

The fish used in this recipe is hake, a fish on the SASSI green list. You are welcome to use any other fish in the recipe. Choosing a SASSI green listed fish will ensure that your heart-healthy dish is also one that is healthier for the planet.

If you have “vegetable resistant” children, get them involved in packing their own parcels. They can choose more of the vegetable they prefer and limit the ones that they do not like. Involving children in cooking improves familiarity with foods and increases the likelihood that these foods will be eaten.

Ingredients per parcel

½ a yellow pepper

2 baby marrows

150-200 g hake fillet

1 slice of lemon

Black pepper to taste

Herbed dressing

30 g fresh parsley

10 g fresh basil leaves

1 tbsp capers

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of ½ – 1 lemon (to taste)

Black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200˚C
  2. Fold baking paper to make a large square and then cut the folded paper like you did in school to make a rounded heart shape. Cutting a shape like this increases the amount of food you can easily seal into the parcel.
  3. Chop the pepper into batons; trim and quarter the marrows.
  4. The vegetables will form a bed on which we will place the fish. Open the baking paper and near the centre fold, make a layer of peppers. Top with a layer of marrows. Finally, place the fish on the marrows.
  5. Season the fish and place the lemon slice on top of the fish. To close the parcel, close the heart shape. With the edges lying together, start at the top of the heart, making small overlapping folds the whole way around to the bottom of the heart. Be sure to fold the bottom of the heart securely so that the parcel does not open in the oven.
  6. Place the parcel in the oven for 15-20 minutes. If the hake fillet is 2cm or thicker leave it in the oven closer to 20 minutes. If you have a thinner fillet the fish will be ready after 15 minutes. If you are not sure, this steaming method is a gentle way of cooking fish, leaving it up to 20 minutes should not be a problem. With practice, you will become more confident with this way of cooking.
  7. For the herbed dressing: put all the ingredients (start with the juice of ½ a lemon) and blend until nearly smooth. Check for acidity, add more lemon juice if needed and season to taste. Blend one last time.
  8. Serve by letting everyone empty their parcels onto their plates. Top the fish with 2-3 teaspoons of herbed dressing. This dish is delicious served with boiled baby potatoes or herbed whole-wheat couscous and a green salad.

The herbed dressing is delicious dotted onto the fish before cooking but it does lose its vibrant green colour when cooked.

 

Nutritional information per parcel (175g fish) with 3 teaspoons herbed dressing:

Energy: 1308 kJ; Protein: 37.2 g; Carbohydrates: 6.9 g; Fat: 14.1 g; Sodium: 268 g

 


Liquid Assets

Considering a juice fast? Read this first. Lauren Shapiro from My Kitchen magazine chatted to ADSA spokesperson and Registered Dietitian Nathalie Mat to find out if this is just another fad diet or if there is more to it:

ADSA_My Kitchen_Liquid Assets_April15

http://www.tfgclub.co.za/mykitchen

MyKitchen_April15 Cover


Skipping breakfast will do more than damage your health

It’s 6am, you are up and about and ready to start your day, but have no appetite or time to eat breakfast, and so you decide to postpone eating until the next meal of the day, which is only at 12pm. In essence, choosing not to eat breakfast means you are consciously making the decision to hamper your health as well as your performance at work or even at home. Perhaps it’s because you want to lose a few kilos?

Registered Dietitian Nathalie Mat puts that weight-loss myth to rest and explains how, by not eating breakfast, you are in fact depriving your body of sufficient nutrients that it needs in order to function on a daily basis. “Our bodies are not given any food overnight while sleeping, the first meal of the day helps to get our body started and get our metabolisms going,” says Mat. “Skipping breakfast is associated with higher weight gain and poorer performance.”

Perhaps you struggle to gulp down a meal in the morning due to the fact that you simply do not possess an appetite at that time. According to Mat, you are not alone: “Many people report having no appetite in the morning. I often find this is because they are eating too large a dinner. Reducing the size of your dinner may improve your morning appetite.” Choosing healthy foods that form a balanced meal will ensure your blood sugar levels are consistent meaning you won’t burn out later that morning, which is often the case.

“A healthy breakfast is a balanced one that includes a mix of wholegrain starchy foods (such as high fibre cereals, porridge, wholegrain or sourdough bread and even legumes like as beans or chickpeas) and protein rich foods (such as dairy products, eggs, lean meats or fish),” says Mat. “For example, it could be oats porridge with low fat milk, bran rich cereal with milk or wholegrain bread with some cheese, egg, beans or even peanut butter.” You can also add fruit to your breakfast. Fruit is a natural source of sugar but should be consumed as fresh fruit rather than juice if you want to control your blood sugar levels well.

Not only will eating a decent breakfast improve your performance throughout the day, but sustaining a lifestyle that is balanced in general will put diseases like cancer, strokes and heart attacks at bay. “Poor diet, physical inactivity and smoking are believed to contribute to those conditions,” says Mat. “These can be prevented by managing your lifestyle choices.”

The sooner you make the first step by eating the first, crucial meal of the day, the sooner you will begin living a more health and vitality-filled life.