‘Making a contribution to the bigger health picture’

ADSA_NeilStephens2017a_1We chatted to Neil Stephen, Chief Dietitian at Addington Hospital in Durban, to find out why he became a dietitian, what he loves about his work and what the challenges are:

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I developed an interest in nutrition when someone at the gym suggested I should see a dietitian to improve my performance.  I asked my parents if they knew of any dietitians and they told me that my cousin Nathan was one.  Later I decided to change from a general BSc to BSc Dietetics.  I was going to pursue a career in sports nutrition… which is the last thing I am interested in now.  To my surprise I was one of very few males in the class,  I had no idea that dietitians were mostly female!

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

I have quite a diverse range of areas I really love.  Top of the list is child health, followed by critical care, maternal health, student training and lastly, monitoring and evaluation of health systems and programmes (I’m a bit of a nerd).  I work daily with patients who have very little or nothing.  These patients are so humble and appreciative of any assistance you give them, whether its counselling or treatment.  The most satisfying moments are when I bump into moms with their young children or babies, who stop me, and they proudly tell me they are still breastfeeding. Another is when an acutely ill malnourished child improves over night and I know that nutrition has greatly contributed to the positive outcome.  Finally, its awesome speaking to previous interns and finding out they are succeeding at what they do. 

What has been your career highlight?

Well I started to collect data on every patient I treated when I started working.  I had a good amount of information per patient.  I put together a cool spreadsheet in excel to do my monthly stats for me, and eventually got my whole department on to it.  After a few years I decided to study further and used the information I had been collecting over the years.  So a highlight was definitely that I was selected to present my research for the MEC and Head of the KZN Department of Health.  Being selected really made me feel like I was valued and was making a contribution to the bigger health picture. 

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

I think that for me its been a long journey of challenges and realisations which have grown me into the dietitian I am today.  Working in the public sector, I experience first hand the outcomes of social and economic  issues that face the general population on a daily basis.  It is heartbreaking to find that children are severely malnourished purely because they have a limited access to food.  A large proportion of patients of all ages are referred for HIV related problems which are often hard to manage and outcomes may be poor.  I need to mention that I love pregnant moms, children, and critically ill patients because they almost always accept advice and are compliant – the challenge is the patient who is resistant to change, because they don’t embrace the importance of lifestyle and dietary change.

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

Hahaha, I usually just take a nap.

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

  • How can I lose the fat on my….(insert body part!!)???
  • Isn’t there some kind of a pill or something I can take??
  • I don’t eat carbs.

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

Dietitians are all equally qualified to treat any patient presented to them.  If you have a specific need, some dietitians will list their special interests, one of which you may be looking for. 

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

  • Favourite dish – Butter Chicken Curry with garlic butter naan bread
  • Favourite treat food – chocolate mousse (I can eat it by the litre)

 

Read more about the career of a registered dietitian: Is a career as a dietitian for you?

 


Meet the new ADSA President!

We chatted to Nicole Lubasinski, the new ADSA President (July 2017 to June 2019), to find out about her plans for ADSA and why she became a dietitian, what she loves about her work and what the challenges are:

As the new President, what are you looking foward to achieving?

I am looking forward to playing a role in unifying the profession, continuing to build a great Association for all our fellow dietians and to achieving ADSA’s vision – to represent and develop the dietetic profession to contribute towards achieving optimal nutrition for all South Africans.

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

This is a complicated question for me to answer as there were many factors in play. Food is a key part in our daily lives, as with most young girls weight and food were an intricate part of my life growing up. I wanted to be able to understand our relationship with food better and to hopefully help other people come to terms with it too.

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

I think it’s similar for most dietitians. We tend to be the patients last resort for many patients and the “ah ha” moment that happens when people realise achieving a healthy balanced lifestyle doesn’t have to be restrictive or stringent. And that dietitians can often work in favourite foods to limit the sense of deprivation.

What has been your career highlight?

I think the achievement that sticks out the most is receiving my IOC diploma in Sports Nutrition in Switzerland. The reason being is I completed my final assignment whilst in hospital after delivering my little girl & she happened to be breastfeeding at the time of submission.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Being the last resort, people have preconceived ideas about what a dietitian is or does. Automatically people judge you for your appearance and food choice, or feel you will judge them for theirs.

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

Everything in moderation. Add in an extra few KMs or reps in my work out session. Life happens and its ok. We tend to be pretty hard on ourselves and I think that needs to change.

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

  • “Oh goodness, I better not eat this in front of you then”
  • “So what’s the best way to lose weight”
  • “Oh really, I would of thought dietitians needed to look a certain way”

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

Someone you can relate to. A patient relationship with a dietitian is more than “just tell me what to eat”. The ups and downs that come with changing a lifestyle or dealing with a health condition can be emotional, it’s good to have someone in your corner who will motivate you in a way that works for you.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

Oh wow, just about anything my mom cooks. But my all-time overly decadent high day and holiday meal is grown up Mac and Cheese. One of our wonderful ADSA chefs needs to tailor this to be more nutritionally balanced

 

 


Turnip Tagliatelle with Chicken & Herb Sauce

Registered Dietitian and food blogger Cheryl Meyer, from Dish & Delite, kicks off our new series of NutritionConfidence recipes with a delicious ‘Turnip Tagliatelle with Chicken & Herb Sauce’. As always, the focus is on real food that is healthy and delicious, encouraging local, close-to-home ingredients.

We love this recipe because turnips are easy to spiralize and make lovely veggie noodles. When raw, they can tend to have a sharp distinct taste, warming them softens the flavour and makes for a perfect veggie noodle base for your dish.

Cheryl says: “Veggie noodles are a great way to the boost the vegetable component of a meal and plain yoghurt serves as a nutritious alternative in this twist on classic creamy carbonara.”

INGREDIENTS

(serves 4)

4 medium turnips

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

4 chicken breasts, cubed (approx. 125 g each – 500 g)

4 leeks

250 g mushrooms

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

½ cup plain yoghurt

2 large eggs

30 ml fresh chopped parsley

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper, to season

METHOD

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook the cubed chicken pieces. Set the cooked chicken aside.
  2. Slice the mushrooms and leeks.
  3. Heat the other 2 teaspoons of olive oil and soften the mushrooms and leeks. Just before cooked, add the garlic for the last 2 minutes. Remove and combine with the chicken.
  4. Peel turnips and cut the ends off flatly and evenly. Spiralize them to tagliatelle thickness (blade C on the inspiralizer).
  5. Boil turnip noodles for 2-3 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl or jug whisk the egg, yoghurt and parsley together well. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. When the turnip noodles are done, drain them, return them to the pot off the heat, pour in the egg mixture and toss until evenly coated (the warmth of the cooked noodles cooks the egg but it is important to do this off the heat, otherwise the egg will scramble when you add it, and we don’t want that).
  8. Serve the noodles topped with the chicken, leek & mushroom mixture and garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

 

Nutrition Information: Per serving

Energy: 1487 kJ Protein: 38.7 g Carbohydrate: 25.7 g Of which, total sugars: 11.0 g Fat: 14.8 g Fibre: 4.7 g Sodium: 303 mg

 

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

 


Meet registered dietitian, Thembekile Dlamini

We chat to registered dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, Thembekile Dlamini to find outADSA_Spokesperson_Thembekile why she became a dietitian and what she loves most about her work. Thembekile works at the Free State Department of Health, is busy doing her PhD in Public Health and has a special interest in paediatric nutrition.

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

Saving lives has always been my first priority but I didn’t want to do it in the usual and obvious ways that society dictates. I saw a need to communicate the science of nutrition especially for the benefit of the black community. I thought if I understood healthy eating in any context, I would then be able to disseminate information correctly and with sensitivity to cultural preferences. That way I knew I would make a difference and save lives through nutrition.

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

I am mostly based in the paediatric ward, doing both inpatients and outpatients. When I meet a helpless soul in the ward admitted for whatever condition, just knowing that I will make a difference in their life makes my life and work enjoyable.

Most satisfying moments: every time my little patients get well and are discharged and I know I made a huge difference on their journey to getting better.

What has been your career highlight?

I have a couple of those:

  • When mortality rates of a hospital dropped within 3 months of my arrival in the facility.
  • When my child health and nutrition research paper got an award for best poster presentation in 2015 in the whole province.
  • Getting a Gold award for saving cost of service delivery in the province through my hard work.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Working with the most disadvantaged communities which cannot afford even the basic foods. Counseling them becomes a challenge because they always highlight their affordability challenges.

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

I have a few of those but when they happen, I drink lots of water and morning exercise.

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

  • Please give me a diet
  • I want to loose weight
  • Give me a list of the right foods to eat

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

  • Dietitian must be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa
  • Dietitian must have a practice number and/or have a facility practice number
  • Must be easily accessible
  • Must be reliable
  • Must have a love for people
  • Must provide quality services

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

Pap and Masonja (Mopani worms) in tomato sauce!

I love Rum ‘n Raisin ice cream. A bowl of that is the perfect treat!


What your dietitian wants you to know about diabetes

There were 2.28 million cases of diabetes in South Africa in 2015 according to the International Diabetes Foundation and around 1.21 million people with undiagnosed diabetes. Considering these numbers it remains vitally important to continue educating South Africans about diabetes and to address the myths that are often associated with this lifestyle disease.

Nasreen Jaffer, Registered Dietitian and ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) spokesperson has a special interest in diabetes. She debunks some of the myths surrounding diabetes and nutrition:

People with diabetes have to follow a special diet or have to eat special diabetic foods.

People with diabetes do not have to follow a ‘special’ diet. People with diabetes need to make the same healthy eating choices as everyone else. Healthy eating choices include vegetables and fruit; whole grains; fish, lean meats and poultry; dairy products; seeds, nuts, legumes and plant oils. Everyone needs to limit fatty red meats, processed meats, salt and foods high in salt, and foods and beverages with added sugar.

There are foods that should be avoided completely.

The answer, is ‘no’. Moderation is key, the minute you’ve banned a certain food entirely, you’re likely to start craving it intensely. Your health and weight are more affected by what you do daily than what you eat once or twice a week, so if you’re in the mood for a piece of cake once in a while, buy a small one and share. If you deprive yourself of something you’re craving, it’s just a matter of time until your binge on it and sabotage your motivation. However, crisps, chocolates, and sweets are high in saturated and trans fat, while sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, iced tea and energy drinks contain a large amount of sugar, so these have to be limited.

 If I am diabetic, my diet is going to be more expensive.

It is not necessary to buy expensive foods marketed to diabetics. Healthy eating can be economical, and is often cheaper than buying unhealthy treats. Buying seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables is cheaper than buying fruit juices and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you replace sweets, chocolates, crisps, puddings and cakes with fruits, yoghurt and salads as your snacks and desserts, you’ll find you will save money. Legumes, such as lentils and beans, are cheaper alternatives to red meat, while providing numerous health benefits.

Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Too much sugar does not necessarily cause diabetes, but because foods and drinks with added sugar are often energy-dense (high in kilojoules), consuming too much of these on a regular basis can lead to weight gain. This can put us at risk for type 2 diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages seem to have the strongest link to type 2 diabetes. ‘Sugar’ doesn’t only refer to the sugar added to tea and coffee, but also includes sugar and sweetened products added when cooking and at the table. Look out for hidden sugars in pre-prepared and processed foods, like some breakfast cereals, sweetened drinks, dairy products, sauces and sweet treats. People with diabetes should limit or avoid adding sugar as it can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels.

 People with diabetes cannot eat carbohydrates.

No, this is not true. While all foods that contain carbohydrates will affect your blood sugar levels, people with diabetes can still eat carbohydrate foods. There are healthy types of carbohydrates that you do want to include in your eating plan, and the type or quality of carbohydrate foods is important. Therefore, for optimal blood glucose control it is important to control the quantity, and distribute carbohydrate foods equally throughout the day. For example, choose wholegrain or high-fibre carbohydrate foods as they don’t increase blood sugar as quickly as refined grains, and make sure that each meal is balanced, containing not only carbohydrate foods, but also protein or dairy, non-starchy vegetables or healthy fats.

People with diabetes should restrict their fruit intake.

Because fruit contains natural sugars, too much fruit can contribute to an increase in blood glucose levels. However, eating fruit also adds fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals to the diet, so while people with diabetes should not eat excessive amounts of fruit, fruit should not be completely eliminated. Portion control is important, and people with diabetes should choose whole fruit rather than fruit juice. It is recommended that you consult your dietitian to calculate the amount of fruit that you should include in your daily diet.

If one of my parents has diabetes, there is nothing I can do about it – I will develop diabetes eventually.

If you have a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes, you have all the reason you need to embrace a healthy lifestyle. While genetics may contribute 30 to 40% to the development of any condition, including diabetes, environmental and lifestyle factors may have a 60 to 70% impact. If you maintain a healthy body weight, stick to a healthy eating plan, avoid tobacco use and keep physically active regularly, you have a very good chance of not developing diabetes.

If I have diabetes, I can’t exercise.

On the contrary, diabetes is a compelling reason to exercise regularly. The reason for this is that physical activity plays a very important role in lowering blood glucose levels. Exercise also predisposes your body cells to being more sensitive to insulin, and of course, it helps to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, such as brisk walking, while doing some resistance or strength exercises at least twice a week. If you use insulin it is important to check your blood glucose levels before and after physical activity. If you get results below 6 mmol/l it is recommended that you lower your insulin dose or eat a healthy snack to prevent a hypoglycemic attack during or after exercise.

Early diagnosis of diabetes is vitally important. This year the theme of World Diabetes Day is “Eyes on Diabetes”, focusing on the screening for type 2 diabetes to ensure early diagnosis and treatment, which can in turn reduce the risk of serious complications. The sooner that elevated blood glucose levels can be treated and returned to normal, the better. If you are diagnosed with either pre-diabetes or diabetes, you need to start moving towards a healthier lifestyle that focuses on regular physical activity, good nutrition and weight-loss if you are overweight or obese.

Everyone over the age of 45 years should be screened for diabetes every 2 to 3 years, or earlier if you are overweight and have other risk factors for diabetes (such as a family history, high blood pressure or previous diabetes during pregnancy). If you haven’t yet been screened, visit a healthcare professional to find out if you are at risk.

Should you experience any of the following symptoms contact your doctor as soon as possible – sudden weight loss, hunger, blurred vision, tiredness, excessive thirst and frequent urination.

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

 


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. 


Ostrich Stew with Gremolata

A great choice for health-conscious red meat lovers and a wonderful in-between seasons recipe – Ostrich Stew with Gremolata, created by chef Vanessa Marx.

Our dietitians say: Ostrich is a great tasting lean read meat. It is low in fat (only 1.4 g fat per 100 g meat), rich in protein (22 protein per 100 g meat), lower in cholesterol than other red meats (only 60 mg per 100 g meat), and a good source of biologically available iron  (3.2 mg iron per 100 g serving of meat)

INGREDIENTS

500 g ostrich fillet cubes

1 tablespoon (15 ml) canola oil

2 cans (400 g each) chopped tomato

1 cup (250 ml) red wine

1 carrot

1 onion

100 g mushrooms

100 g green beans

10 g thyme, fresh

10 g rosemary, fresh

1 can (400 g net, 244 g drained) beans e.g. kidney, butter beans or cooked sugar beans, drained and rinsed

salt & pepper

1 tablespoon (15 ml) xylitol

2 cloves garlic

10 g Italian parsley

1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Peel and chop the onion and carrot, and slice the mushrooms and green beans.
  2. Place a large pot on a high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the onion, mushroom and carrot and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the ostrich cubes, chopped tomato, wine and chopped herbs and reduce the heat to low.
  4. Allow the pot to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, the sauce will reduce and thicken and the ostrich will soften. Once this happens, add the green beans and season with salt and pepper, add the xylitol and the can of beans & stir.
  5. Simmer the stew for another 5 minutes to cook the green beans.
  6. To make the gremolata, chop the fresh garlic finely, chop the parsley and zest the lemon. Mix the parsley garlic & lemon zest together.
  7. Serve the stew hot and sprinkle with the fresh gremolata.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

(recipe serves 4)

Energy: 1400 kJ Protein: 35.6 g Carbohydrate: 23.8 g Of which, total sugars: 9.1 g Fat: 6.7 g Fibre: 17.2 g Sodium: 180 mg

 

 


“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.

 

 


Flying the flag for nutrition – Meet Lisanne du Plessis (RD)

lisanneWe chatted to registered dietitian Lisanne du Plessis who is a senior lecturer and the Head of Community Nutrition at Stellenbosch University, to find out why she became a dietitian, what she loves the most about the work she does and what she wishes people would stop saying when they meet a dietitian.

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

While I was in high school, I was randomly selected to take part in the MRC’s Coronary Risk Factor Study (CORIS). I was fascinated by the information provided to us about the ways in which nutrition could prevent and treat diseases. Two dietitians (Edelweiss Wentzel-Viljoen and Marjanne Senekal) were part of the research team who visited my hometown, Robertson, for this project and I was inspired by the prospects of the profession. I went on to study BSc Dietetics at Stellenbosch University and it was a very proud moment for me when I could write “RD/SA”, and for some time now, also “NT/SA” behind my name.

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

I am a senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University in the Division of Human Nutrition. I enjoy teaching, experiencing students who engage with nutrition theory in a positive way, watching them translate the theory into practice, seeing them graduate with big smiles and when they say: “Mam, you have instilled a passion in us for infant and young child nutrition” – those are golden moments for me.

What has been your career highlight?

I am fortunate that there have been many. I was exposed to wonderful, humble and sincere people in my very first job as a community dietitian. I have treasured the life lessons I learnt from them during my career. I was honoured to serve the profession on the ADSA Western Cape branch and the ADSA Executive committee in my early career and I also served as ADSA President (2002-2004). I have met amazing mentors and colleagues who have become friends and partners in flying the flag for nutrition; I have seen interesting and beautiful places and have had the opportunity to listen and speak to diverse nutrition audiences. Obtaining my PhD and surviving to tell the tale is the latest on the list of career highlights!

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Juggling life (husband, children, home, family, friends) with an intense and diverse workload.

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

Sigh…and try to do better the following day. I enjoy exercise – so that helps!

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

  • Please don’t look in my shopping trolley/plate!
  • I usually eat healthily.
  • Can you work out a diet for me?

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

They should always feel that the dietitian carries their best interest at heart.

They should be able to build a trust-relationship with a dietitian fairly quickly.

They should be convinced that the dietitian is truthful when he/she says: “we practice evidence-based nutrition.”

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

I love many different kinds of food and especially enjoy tapas-style meals. I am well-known for my love of chocolate and bubbly!

 

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

 

 


It is never too early to change to a healthy lifestyle

ADSA_Zelda_Success Story_1We 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.

It is never too early make lifestyle changes and start a nutritional journey that will benefit you for the rest of your life.  This week we chat to 16-year old Chad Niebur, who started seeing Registered Dietitian Zelda Ackerman last year:

Tell us about your journey with the dietitian?

The journey with my dietitian was definitely a very insightful one. We’d usually arrive in the morning just before we headed off to the grocery store to stock up on the newest list of food products suggested, and reducing the amounts of some of the others that we’d usually buy. From the first to the last session, there was always something new to learn. A new food item to add, another one to reduce. We’d be asked how the week prior went, if we were keeping up with our exercise regime, etc. All and all, it was very insightful and much more easy going than I expected.

Tell us about your results?

My results were definitely more prominent than I expected. Within two months I went from baggy tracksuit pants and to skinny jeans. I can remember within the first three weeks losing just over four kilos, and went on to lose much more over time.

What was the hardest part of the journey?

The hardest part of my journey was cutting out Coca-Cola, but over time I grew to miss it less and less. To this day I don’t drink Coca-Cola at all, nor do I miss it.”

What are the top three tips you can share?

  • Find a healthy substitute to you favourites drinks and snacks. I replaced Coca-Cola with carbonated water and a low-cal fruit juice concentrate.
  • Don’t really make a big deal out of it, treat it as something you’ll be doing for the rest of your life and you’ll come to accept, get used to, and genuinely favour it over the way you used to live.
  • Try and get the rest of the family involved, it’s definitely easier since there will be a lot less junk food in the house.

Feedback from Chad’s dietitian, Zelda Ackerman

Few patients really make a complete lifestyle change, and Chad really did! He changed his eating habits and became much more active. He used the eating plan as a guide, not as something that controls him. He learned to make healthy choices and be in control of his own eating habits. His mother was extremely supportive without being controlling, an attribute that is vital for parents to help their children attain an ideal body weight. I am very proud of Chad and his mother Sharrin.

To find a Registered Dietitian in your area visit: http://www.adsa.org.za/Public/FindARegisteredDietitian.aspx


“I love the versatility our profession”

Monique_1We chatted to Registered Dietitian, Monique Piderit who works mostly in the corporate wellness space, 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 heard about dietetics for the first time when I was in 2nd year at Wits doing a BSc. I soon realised that all my subject choices where right in line with the types of subjects done in dietetics. It was one of those “aha” moments where I realised I have just fallen in love with my future profession.

If you ask my mother this question, she will tell you I was born to be a dietitian. From an early age, it was natural and easy for me to choose the healthier foods. I disliked fatty meats, chicken skin, and creamy-based foods, and processed meats like polony made me ill. I was quite happy to have milk with my meals, never went overboard on sweets and chocolates, and there was never a struggle as a toddler to eat veggies. It really is just something that is instinctive for me to be healthy and thus it’s easy to lead by example.

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

I love the versatility our profession. People think dietitians just help with weight loss diets. The truth is almost every medical concern, disease or condition can be managed, treated, or even prevented with good food choices.

Also, I enjoy how impactful our profession can be. I work mostly in the corporate wellness space. Employees spend 1/3 of their time at work, making the workplace the ideal opportunity to promote and encourage healthy nutrition. I am involved in onsite nutrition consultations, canteen audits, nutrition workshops and article writing for corporates, all impactful yet undervalued ways to address nutrition.

What has been your career highlight?

There are many dietitians that I look up to and admire in our profession, and when these dietitians express acknowledgement in the work that I do, it is hugely fulfilling. It is gratifying and rewarding when your mentors, dietitians who love and protect profession as much as you do, recognise and compliment you on your contribution to the profession.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Everyone eats, so everyone thinks they’re an expert in nutrition. The truth is nutrition is far more complex than calories and not as simple as just being about food. On a daily basis, dietitians, the nutrition experts who study for years to practice, are confronted by people who (unknowingly) cannot discern evidence-based nutrition from sensationalist ‘fact’ found on the internet. It has been a personal challenge to learn how best to address the controversial questions in a friendly manner, remaining true to the science. Regardless, my immense pride to be a dietitian always helps me keep my head high.

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

I never let it get to a point of an entire day of poor choices, but rather a cheat window where I allow myself to relax the nutrition strings, thoroughly savouring and enjoying the less healthy choice. It’s so vital to change how you think about food. Food nourishes the body and is not a sentence to a life of unhappiness. There will be meals where you overeat or eat incorrectly. But the power resides in you that at the next meal or even in the very next bite you decide you are in control. Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect (not even your dietitian).

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

  • Are you really going to eat that? Dietitians are humans and have taste buds and emotions like everyone else. When you’ve eaten well most of the time, your body can certainly tolerate a little cheat here and there, so yes, I’m not only going to eat that but delight in every bite along the way.
  • So tell me, what’s your opinion on Banting? The answer is I don’t have an opinion, I have a position, a position that, like other health care professionals guided by science, is based on scientifically-sound, evidence-based, high quality research.
  • Can you make me a meal plan quickly? Meal plans take time and effort and require an understanding of your needs, likes, dislikes, medical history, budget, lifestyle, etc. If meal plans were the ultimate answer, then one could simply download one of the thousands on the internet and be healthy, happy, skinny, and fit. A meal plan is a guide to healthy eating, not the ultimate answer.

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

Our relationship with food is so very intimate and personal that you need to be comfortable to open up and share that with your dietitian. You need to find a person that you trust in and can connect with. It’s also important to remember that dietitians are the leading experts in nutrition and you should note red flags when the person favours a certain diet, pushes sales of a product that you “have to have”, or “prescribing” weight loss medication. Chances are this person is not a dietitian.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

My family is Portuguese and I am the first generation to be born in SA. The culture, language, and of course, food, is still a large part of who I am. A freshly baked, hot bread roll with butter or perfectly plump roast potatoes are an all-time comfort and favourite. I am also not inclined to part with my beloved red wine (red grapes count as a serving of fruit, surely?

Monique is a registered dietitian with a background in corporate wellness and Masters degree in Dietetics in sports nutrition. Guided by evidence-based nutrition, Monique believes in an integrated approach to wellness where the key to being healthy is to adopt small yet sustainable changes to your lifestyle. Monique is a member of the ADSA (Association of Dietetics of South Africa) Gauteng South branch and registered with the HPCSA (Health Professionals Council of South Africa). She is also a Discovery Wellness Network dietitian and DNAlysis accredited practitioner.

 

 


The Importance of Healthy Eating to Corporate Wellness

Today is the first day of Corporate Wellness Week, which is running until 5 July.

Employees eat nearly half of their daily meals and snacks at the workplace, which means that what is consumed during working hours can have a great impact on overall diet and health. It’s not uncommon to find that many of us, who may well be healthy eaters at home, give way to speed and convenience when it comes to the food choices that are made, often under pressure, during working hours.

Corporate Wellness Week emphasises the need to put workplace nutrition in the spotlight. The calories we consume at work do count, as does the quality of the nutrients in the types of food we are choosing. While employers need to focus on the food that is being made readily available to employees, we also need to reflect on our choices and habits when it comes to eating on the job.

It is vital that companies focus on making healthy eating choices accessible and affordable. Canteen or cafeteria menus need to be in line with the SA Food-based Dietary Guidelines or developed together with a Registered Dietitian. Vending machines in the corporate environment should offer a majority of healthy eating options. Likewise, drinks and snacks made available at corporate meetings and events should be wholesome and healthy options. The benefits to businesses that care about healthy nutrition are far-reaching. There’s a wide array of research studies that provide comprehensive evidence of the effects of what we eat on performance. Who doesn’t want healthy, focused and productive employees?

There’s also a lot that each of us can do to ensure that we are eating healthily during working hours.

Monique Piderit a Registered Dietitian and spokesperson for ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) works regularly in the corporate sector and has particular insights into the challenges of workplace nutrition and its important place in Corporate Wellness. She recommends:

  • Be aware of everything that you are eating and drinking during working hours. Yes, you are under pressure but every calorie, and every nutrient still counts just the same
  • Take note of your eating habits at work, especially those triggered by workplace stress and pressure. If you find yourself routinely buying a packet of chips or a chocolate from the vending machine around the corner from your desk every time the going gets tough, it’s time to change your habits and make better choices that will really help you to feel better. For example, replace a crunchy crisp craving for healthier nuts, popcorn or pretzels, and a sweet tooth with fresh fruit or dried fruit like cranberries.
  • If your healthy eating choices are limited by what’s available around you at or in close proximity to work, consider taking charge and preparing your own daily healthy lunchbox. It is actually not as much work as you may think, and it can be cost-saving too. When you get the balance of protein, carbohydrate, healthy fat and vitamins and minerals right in your lunchbox, you’ve aligned your workplace nutrition with your healthy lifestyle goals. When preparing dinner allow for a portion of food to be allocated for the next day. As you serve dinner, immediately set aside a portion of food into a container for lunch the next day.
  • Make an effort to reduce your processed foods intake and go for the real thing. For instance, buy more lean chicken pieces than what you will eat for dinner, and then tuck a left-over drumstick in your lunchbox rather than spending extra on buying vienna’s and other processed meats for your lunchbox.
  • Declare an outright ban on sugary drinks in the workplace which are often all too easily available. Make water your first port of call. You can bring it to work infused with citrus, ginger or mint. Choose rooibos or herbal teas as your hot drinks at meetings or have cooled as a homemade iced tea in summer.
  • Stock up on nutrient-dense, fresh fruit, veg and nuts that are so easy to snack right at your desk. Maybe you can stock the fridge at work, or also choose long-lasting fresh produce options like citrus or bananas that can stand on your desk all week long.
  • Also keep easy options at hand like wholewheat/high fiber crackers, salt and sugar-free peanut butter and lean biltong. These foods can keep for weeks at a time. Making the healthy options the closest to hand so that when you are under pressure you will grab something that is really good for you

As Monique points out: “We can’t talk about Corporate Wellness during this awareness week without talking about nutrition. A healthy employee is a focused and productive employee. What we eat is fundamental to our well-being in the short and long term. It is also fundamental to our performance in the moment. Work dominates the lives of adults and how we manage and choose our food at work is critical to our well-being.”

To find a Registered Dietitian in your area visit http://www.adsa.org.za/Public/


“We all make mistakes or have bad days” – meet dietitian, Faaizah Laher

ADSA Spokesperson_Faaizah Laher_1

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

Cooking has always been a favourite pastime and being Indian so many of our occasions revolve around food and the kitchen. Helping people through what they eat became an interest when I was in high school and applying for a degree in dietetics seemed like the most natural and ‘next step’.

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

The feeling when a patient with a perforated bowel or frozen abdomen – after a prolonged stay in ICU, high care and general ward – os finally able to leave the hospital and able to eat normally. When a renal patient who feels like they have no hope realises there are healthy and nutritious food choices they can make to ensure they live a healthy life.

What has been your career highlight?

My healthy cooking demos – getting this project off the ground and inspiring participants to eat and lead a healthier life. Translating nutrition knowledge into little pieces of practical advice for a magazine article or radio interview.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

The uncertainty when I left government service to start a private practise. Private can be a lonely place and fostering new relationships and keeping old ones close is so important!

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

Get right back into eating healthy again. We all make mistakes or have bad days. Accept it, learn from it and move forward.

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

  • I really need to come see you! (As they rub their tummy)
  • Oh, so should you really be eating that?
  • Email me a diet, I don’t eat but I just keep putting on all this weight!!

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

Proximity to your work or house. Someone located close to you makes follow ups easier and also enables success in terms of achieving goals and relationship building. Consider choosing a professional that has an interest in the needs you have. Not all are comfortable in terms of allergies/ paeds and other specific conditions.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

  • Favourite dish at the moment: Tandoori chicken grilled perfectly, with a crunchy salad and grilled potatoes. Using the leftovers in a wrap the next day for work! .
  • Popcorn!!

 


New Recipe: Veggie Frittata

Our latest NutritionConfidence recipe (developed by chef Vanessa Marx) is quick, easy, packed with good nutrition, and a versatile choice for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It may sound exotic but a veggie frittata is really just a fancy omelette mixed with colourful vegetables and cooked in the oven.  Once you get comfortable making a frittata, branch out and make different flavours by swopping in seasonal vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes or spinach.

What the dietitian says: Eggs are a good source of high quality protein. They are also one of the few foods that contain high concentrations of Choline – essential for normal development and linked to improved memory and performance.

This recipe serves 8

INGREDIENTS

6 large free-range eggs

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ a medium onion

½ a red pepper

2 courgettes

100 g mushrooms

100 g mozzarella, grated

50 g feta, crumbled

5 g Italian parsley, chopped

5 g fresh coriander, chopped

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Beat the eggs together, season and set aside.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil into a large ovenproof, non-stick frying pan and set over medium heat on the stove.
  4. Slice up the onion, red pepper, courgettes and mushrooms.
  5. Add the sliced vegetables to the pan and fry until they begin to get a little colour.
  6. Add the beaten eggs and the cheese and mix slightly. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for three to five minutes until a crust begins to form on the bottom (do not stir the mixture).
  7. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mixture has set.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the frittata to cool slightly (five minutes).
  9. Tip the frittata out upside down onto a board or platter, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and coriander and serve warm.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per slice (8 slices per frittata)

Energy: 527 kJ Protein: 9.5 g Carbohydrate: 3.9 g Of which, total sugars: 2.6 g Fat: 9.6 g Fibre: 0.9 g Sodium: 195 mg


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.


“Sensible, long-term healthy eating is not the sexiest of subjects” – meet dietitian, Hlanzeka Mpanza

ADSA Spokesperson_Hlanzeka Mpanza_1Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

By accident actually. My father brought a career guidance book home that featured a dietitian when I was in standard 9.  I was fascinated about the idea that everyday food could help with getting the most out of life whether in sports, work, disease and general mental well-being. I still am.

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

I work in the food industry. I believe this is the most exciting area to work in in dietetics today as there is so much happening in the field of food policy worldwide. My job as an industry dietitian is to make nutrition relevant and accessible to our consumers through relevant  products, messages and projects. And most importantly to provide our consumers with nutrition information that they need to make informed choices.  I like knowing that when we hit that sweet spot between the right health message and product/ project, we can positively change lives of millions of people every-day.

What has been your career highlight?

For a black girl from very humble beginnings, my job has allowed me to travel to places I never thought I’d see in my life. After qualifying, I registered as a dietitian in the UK, where I later went to work as I travelled my way around the continent over a number of years.  I not only got to work and live with diverse people from all over the world, I did it whilst still feeling like I was making a difference in peoples’ lives. Those years were special for me.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Sensible long-term healthy eating is not the sexiest of subjects.  How do we as a profession get better at enabling the general public to eat better, without bells and whistles?  I’d like us to crack the key to population-wide healthy eating messages that are based on nutrition science yet are simple, engaging and accessible (not just financially but culturally as well).  We have to get to a point where investing in credible nutrition is the only sensible choice. At the moment, there is so much information clutter that the general public is mostly confused about what sensible healthy eating is. And when people are not food literate, they are not able to make lifestyle changes that they need to make for them live longer, more productive lives.

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

Except I don’t call them nutrition disasters. I call them celebration days like when your BFF gets a promotion and you share one big cake between the two of you or sad days when you get ceremoniously dumped by your ‘not-really-serious-boyfriend’ and you eat all the food in the house.  The problem is when sad and celebration day kind of eating becomes the norm, which is when you need to start recreating a healthier normal.  How I cope is I pick myself up the following day and go live my best life, it’s all about trying to do better every-day. I believe food is a legitimate way of coping with emotional events and marking milestones, that’s ok.  I don’t think shame and guilt are useful when it comes to sustainable healthy eating.

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

Are you really going to eat that?

How do I gain muscle or lose weight?

Don’t look at what I’m eating! (this makes us feel like the food police, which we’d like to think we are not)

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

Find someone who gets you and your vision. Someone who understands what you want to achieve. Other than when dealing with certain medical conditions, success in nutrition is mostly relative. Define what success means for you, your health, your culture, your work, your mental well-being, your budget, stage of life, support system, etc. Choose someone that can help you navigate what success means for you and how to get there without giving up the most basic parts of yourself that make you YOU. You are more likely to be successful when you do that.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

It changes, right now I am loving ujeqe obrown ( steamed brown bread) that I make at home a serve with everything. As a treat, I have a weakness for  spicy chicken wings from the orange fast food chain.


How can a Dietitian guide you through the Nutrition Minefield?

From Great Aunt Phyllis, to your Facebook friend that lost 30 kilos last year, to the latest in the multitude of global ‘so-called experts’ who just published a fad diet book, everyone seems to know exactly what we should all be eating. And, unfortunately, very few of them agree with each other.

When it comes to food, just about everyone has strong opinions, views, and diverse assertions about what constitutes healthy nutrition. Caught in the crossfire of a flurry of intense beliefs and often forceful advice, we don’t know who to trust and where to turn to when we know we need to manage our nutrition better. It’s a minefield; and if we are not careful, we can find ourselves trying a bit of this and a bit of that, chopping and changing, and never reaching our healthy living goals – whether that is to lose weight, optimise our physical activity or manage a serious condition such as diabetes.

Because nutrition affects our health in many ways, there’s just about no place more important to find that calm, clear space in the eye of the storm. And, that is where you can find a steady, consistent ally in the nutrition expert, a Registered Dietitian. These are health professionals, regulated by law, who have spent a minimum of four years studying a relevant science degree at an established university. They commit themselves to on-going professional development that keeps them abreast of scientific evolution. They are therefore, a reliable source of the latest nutrition expertise that is wholly evidence-based; and it is this that can help you cut through the noise of the fad diets, sweeping universalities and old wives’ tales when it comes to working out what eating routine would be healthy and sustainable for you at your particular life-stage.

“A common misconception is that a dietitian’s work is simply focused on helping people lose or manage their weight, comments Cath Day, Registered Dietitian and spokesperson for ADSA (Association of Dietetics in South Africa). “While weight loss is an important aspect of dietetics, the reality is that the role of the dietitian is much, much broader.” As a result, dietitians do not only work in private practice; they are also employed across governments; businesses; social, educational, healthcare and research institutions.

Day points out that professional advice from a dietitian is important at different life stages, for instance to determine healthy eating plans for the different nutrition requirements of childhood and for old age, as well as during pregnancy and breastfeeding. “Dietitians also help patients over the long-term to prevent or improve the management of disease,” she says, “It is important to have professional nutritional advice if you are dealing with conditions such as eating disorders, hypertension, gastro-intestinal disorders, pre-diabetes and diabetes, kidney failure, cardiac disease, as well as cancer and HIV/AIDS.” For women, optimal nutrition can play an important role in preventing or improving osteoporosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. The advice of dietitians is also often sought after in a wide range of states of health from those wanting to optimize their recovery from illness or injury, to athletes and others in peak health who want to improve their performance in sports and physical activities. After all, our greatest wealth is our health.

The great advantage that a dietitian offers is that they deal with each person and their nutritional needs on a completely individual basis. “Diets and dietary supplements are marketed as if they will work for everyone,” Day says. “But in truth, we are all very different when it comes to our eating habits, food preferences, physical activity and metabolic rates, and our lifestyle choices at any given time in our lives.” A dietitian works closely with you to determine an optimal nutrition plan that takes all these variances into account so that it is easier for you to make the necessary changes and sustain them over the long term. In addition, they are an advisor and a coach providing vital support and encouragement while you are on this journey.

Did you know?

Dietitians Week, 6th to 10th June, highlights the work and worth of dietitians and the impact of the dietetic profession. To find a dietitian in your area who can assist you with your nutrition journey, visit http://www.adsa.org.za/Public/FindARegisteredDietitian.aspx

ADSA will be joining theBritish Dietetics Association (BDA) and the South African Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (SASPEN) to celebrate Dietitian’s Week. Please keep an eye on our social media channels for more information.

Facebook www.facebook.com/adsarogza | Twitter www.twitter.com/ADSA_RD | Website: http://www.adsa.org.za

Trust a Dietitian


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


LET’S TALK ABOUT ‘HEALTHY EATING IN THE WORKPLACE’

What we eat at our place of work has a huge impact on our overall diet and influences our productivity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity combined is now 65% for females and 31% for males (2012 South African Health and Nutrition Examination Survey – SANHANES) and unhealthy workplace eating behaviour is believed to be playing a role in South Africa’s growing obesity problem.

The Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) has partnered with National Nutrition Week since the late 1990s to highlight important nutrition messages to South Africans. “In line with our continued efforts to support South Africans in living healthier lifestyles and to promote dietitians as the go-to experts for nutrition advice, the issues around healthy eating in the workplace are close to our hearts and something our dietitians deal with on a daily basis”, says ADSA President, Maryke Gallagher.

Employees consume at least half of their meals and snacks during work hours, making this an important place to promote healthy eating. Registered Dietitian, Alex Royal, says that healthy eating at work can be a challenge as there are often too many temptations: the vending machine, the sweets trolley, colleagues who have bad habits that influence others. “During a busy day we don’t have time (or forget) to prepare healthy meals or even forget to eat. So blood glucose levels drop, resulting in an energy dip and potentially cravings, especially for highly processed and sugary foods. This fuels the cycle of unhealthy eating at work”, Royal concludes.

The question is what can employers do to create a healthier food environment at work? Suggestions include changing meal options available at work to be in line with the guidelines for healthy eating, offering a variety of foods, controlling portion sizes, overhauling vending machines and kiosks to include healthy snack options, offering drinks that are not sugar-laden and changing the menu of food provided during meetings. Cath Day, Registered Dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, also offers some tips for employees:

  • Before grabbing a snack, first ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you rather need to take a break from what you are doing. Going for a short walk or getting some fresh air – may be all you need.
  • Don’t skip meals or healthy snacking between meals. Skipping meals and snacks results in dips in blood glucose (sugar) levels and thus you will be more likely to crave unhealthy foods.

We often talk about school lunchboxes, but what about work lunchboxes? These go a long way in giving employees more control over what they eat during the day. According to Registered Dietitian Kelly Schreuder the goals of a healthy work lunchbox include: Variety and balance of foods, providing a variety of nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, fat and micronutrients. Real food, as opposed to processed snacks and those that are high in added sugar, excess salt and poor quality fat, and portion control.

And what about fluids – what should we be drinking while we are at work? “The simple answer is that water should be the main beverage we are drinking while working but there are many other healthy options to choose from as well. People often forget that beverages can contain a large amount of energy (and many beverages contain too much sugar such as sugar sweetened beverages and fruit juice) so we need to be more mindful about what we are drinking”, say ADSA spokesperson Catherine Pereira.

Being active in the workplace is also important and employees should try to be as physically active as possible. Durban-based dietitian, Hlanzeka Mpanza says that it is not impossible to include some physical exercise in the workday. Use the steps instead of the lift; form an exercise club with colleagues and try to fit in a 15 minute walk during the lunch hour; wear a pedometer during the day to keep track of activity levels and as a motivator; and stretch your legs by walking over to your colleagues’ desk instead of sending them an email.

What we eat affects our mood, how alert we are and our overall productivity. We asked dietitian Maryke Bronkhorst why food influences us in this way. “Some foods contain nutrients that are used to manufacture certain brain chemicals that may enhance mental tasks like memory, concentration, and reaction time.   Protein foods enhance the brain’s production of dopamine, a natural brain chemical that helps one to feel alert. Large quantities of carbohydrates, on the other hand, result in the production of serotonin, a natural brain chemical that can cause drowsiness, but glucose in the bloodstream is the brain’s main source of energy. So it’s important that you eat at regular intervals and choose low glycaemic index options to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping too low”, says Bronkhorst. Lean biltong, a small handful nuts, a piece of fresh fruit e.g. blueberries, vegetable crudités with a dip like hummus and plain yoghurt flavoured with handful of berries are great ‘go-to’ snacks.

On Tuesday, 13th October ADSA (@ADSA_RD) is hosting a #WorkplaceNutrition twitter talk from 1pm to 2pm. The talk will focus on healthy eating and healthy living in the workplace providing employees with tips, ideas and advice about achieving a better nutrition balance during work hours. Dietitians and National Nutrition Week partners will be answering questions such as:

  • What are challenges employees face with healthy eating at work?
  • What can employees or workplace do to improve healthy eating during the workday?
  • What should be included in a work lunchbox?
  • What should we be drinking while we are working?
  • How do we stay active while working?
  • What are the go-to snacks that give energy needed to work well?

Join the conversation live on Twitter, follow the @ADSA_RD handle or track the hashtag #WorkplaceNutrition to get some great ideas and tips on how to eat healthily at work.


Creamy Broccoli & Barley Soup

Our latest NutritionConfidence recipe is all about the super vegetable BROCCOLI. Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli has cancer-fighting power and may even help to improve memory. Together with a ‘made at home’ seed loaf this is a perfect family meal. 

WE LOVE IT!

If you could choose only one vegetable to remain after drought or famine, it would be a good idea to choose broccoli!

OUR DIETITIANS SAY….

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family (including kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga and turnips). They have a high nutrient density, which means that they are packed with vitamins (Vitamin A, C, K, Folate), minerals (potassium) and phytonutrients.

Eating a high amount of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of lung and colon cancer. Studies have suggested that sulforaphane, the sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter taste, is also what gives them their cancer-fighting power.

SOUP INGREDIENTS

300 g broccoli florets

15 ml olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled & chopped

100 ml water

100 ml reduced fat cream

1 sprig fresh thyme

5 g fresh parsley

1/2 cup cooked pearl barley

30 ml plain yoghurt for garnish

METHOD

  • Put the olive oil, thyme and onions into a medium pot on a medium heat.
  • Sweat the onions until soft and translucent. Add the broccoli, cream and water and put a lid on the pot.
  • Cook for 5min until the broccoli is soft.
  • Add the parsley, and remove from the heat.
  • Blend in small batches until smooth. Do not over fill the blender or it will come out the side of the blender!
  • Remove the soup from the blender back into the pot and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooked barley and heat the soup. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt to garnish and fresh chopped herbs.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter.

Broccoli Soup (serves 2) – per serving:


Energy: 1050 kJ

Protein: 9.2 g

Carbohydrate 17.4 g

Total Fat: 13.2 g

Fibre: 8.4 g

Sodium: 62.5 mg

SEED BREAD INGREDIENTS (10 slices)

300 g stone ground bread flour

150 g stone ground whole wheat flour

5 g salt

20 g poppy seeds

30 g pumpkin seeds

20 g sesame seeds

20 g flax seeds

20 g sunflower seeds

25 g digestive bran

40 g rolled oats

1 sachet dried instant yeast

425 g water (lukewarm)

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the lukewarm water.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the water until all the ingredients are combined into a soft dough.
  • Grease a non-stick loaf pan and dust it with a little flour.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and top with a few oat grains to decorate.
  • Put the loaf in a warm place to prove (rise) until nearly doubled in size.
  • Once your loaf has sufficiently risen, bake in the oven for 30-40min until deep brown and crusty.
  • Remove the loaf from the bread tin and place it in a wire rack to cool.

Bread, per slice (x10 slices per bread)

Energy: 984 kJ

Protein: 8 g

Carbohydrate: 37 g

Of which total sugars: 0.5 g

Total Fat: 5.4 g

Fibre: 6.3 g

Sodium: 199.2 mg

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


“Improving health through diet therapy” – Meet registered dietitian Astrid Wichmann

This week we chat to Astrid Wichmann, Chief Dietitian at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban.

Astrid completed her BSc Degree in Dietetics at the University of Stellenbosch, followed by one year community service in Barberton. She stayed in the public sector and her interests are mainly in the field of clinical dietetics. To date Astrid has one publication, one husband and one child.

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

My plan was to trek up Africa in an old Land Rover and help all the Kwashies. The outcome – I’m based in a clinical setting where I play a role in rehabilitating individuals, with all types of ailments, through nutrition therapy.

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

Enjoy most: Playing a role in enhancing recovery of patients and improving health through diet therapy.

Most satisfying: Seeing the twinkle in patient’s eyes when they grasp a concept and are eager to learn more. Seeing a child grow well after diet therapy has been implemented.

What has been your career highlight?

Being given the opportunity to work in a flagship tertiary and quaternary hospital.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

  • Helping individuals attain a goal with limited resources in their poverty stricken setting.
  • Eloquently defending fact against sensationalistic fiction.

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

By not going on a diet! (Or should I rather say: I do not see it as a disaster and recover by aiming for optimal nutrition)

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

  • Oh!….I need to speak to you about a diet, I need to lose weight!
  • Don’t look at what I’m eating.
  • You are not supposed to eat that if you’re a dietitian.

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

Look out for the field of interest the practitioner has and what client base he/she mainly serves. Generally you are likely to benefit more by seeing someone who specialises in the area you need assistance with, than someone who does not have much exposure to such cases e.g. allergies/diabetes/paediatrics/kidney diseases/ infertility etc.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

My “last supper” would be: moms roast chicken & potatoes with a mixed salad.

Treat food: ice-cream that contains icicles.


Making sustainable lifestyle changes and creating new habits – Michael’s success story

This week we chat to Michael North, as part of the series of success stories we will be sharing over the next couple of months. Michael started seeing Registered Dietitian, Elienne Horwitz, when he started gaining weight and feeling unhealthy:

Why did you decide to see a dietitian? (Michael’s before story)

The short answer is I was getting fat and feeling and unhealthy and all my attempts at watching what I ate and drank were short lived and unsuccessful. I was exercising a bit, mountain biking on the weekend and playing the odd game of squash, but these were usually followed by reward lunches with my friends.

Combined with this was that some friends who I would generally beat up the hills and round the trails started beating me! I also started noticing how slow I was getting and how steep and more difficult the hills were becoming. I guess when the lunches were getting longer and more taxing than the mountain biking, I knew I needed some help.

Tell us about your journey with the dietitian?

My first visit to Elienne was for a Discovery Vitality assessment that a friend from work said I should do to get points on my card to qualify for the discounts. After doing this and realising that the dietitian was not a scary food nazi intent on making me feel useless unless I weighed the same as I did in primary school and only ate salad and tofu, I knew that I needed to step up if I wanted to make any changes. Elienne was really friendly, honestly wanted to help and also had a nice, but slightly strict way about her.

She made me aware of what I ate but also explained why things were good or bad. If I didn’t like some of the food items she suggested, she always had several alternative options and by explaining why I needed those food choices I was, over time and with some practice, quite easily able to choose my own alternatives.

Elienne started out by giving me a breakdown of the number of carb, protein, dairy and fat portions I should eat a day and when and how I should eat them; breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon and dinner.

I started swimming with a group at my local gym and was still mountain biking a bit so she showed me how I should adjust my diet during exercise and for recovery after.

The basic principle was not a quick weight loss scheme but more of a healthier living choice, which facilitated weight loss until reaching a weight appropriate for my height and age, etc. So my journey was not a very quick one but my weight loss and fitness levels gradually but consistently went in the right direction.

Tell us about your results / successes?

I think it took me about a year but I lost 18 kg and quite a few centimeters. I also started cycling more, doing events like the Argus and several open water swims. Most importantly, I just felt better.

After a while I started looking for other challenges to help keep me active and on track with my plan instead of back to the pub everyday! I joined a group called Embark, in Sea Point to train for the Ironman 70.3 event in East London and not only completed the triathalon, but also won the Embark “Most Improved Over All” award at the club after party. I was quite proud of that, considering that I had sworn to never run more than 5km in my life!

The following year I joined another triathlon group (My Training Day) and in April 2014 completed the full Ironman. Now the bug has bitten and this year I improved by time by about 30 minutes.

I still keep pretty much to the same eating plan that Elienne put me on in the beginning but am able to eat a bit more now with all the training I am doing. What is great though is that I now know that when I go off track a bit and maybe pick up a kilo or two and it doesn’t take much to fall back into the routine of eating properly and losing the excess again.

What was the hardest part of the journey?

Avoiding beer, red wine and pizza!

In the beginning, the hardest part was eating 5 times a day. Generally in the past I would not eat breakfast or eat very little, then be so hungry by lunch that I would eat a big, junk food lunch and would justify it by saying that I hadn’t eaten all day “so it was ok”. Then I did the same for dinner.

What are the top three tips you can share?

  • If you want to eat more, exercise more and substitute some of the bad stuff for good stuff.
  • If you want to lose weight, don’t make excuses, you know that pies and chips are not going to help.
  • If you can, go to a dietitian or someone like that to help get you started on your way and explain the ins and outs of the process. Being held responsible for your progress with regular weigh-ins can be a real help and motivation to say no to the extra beer or second helpings.

What the dietitian says

Michael lost 18kg, 13% body fat and 15cm around the waist over 16 months. He slowly changed his habits and started putting more energy into planning and preparing his meals and increasing his levels of exercise. He maintained his weight even a year later.

The most important reason Michael managed to lose the weight and keep it off was because because he did not diet – he made sustainable lifestyle changes and slowly created new habits.


“People don’t eat nutrients, they eat food” – Meet The Dietitian

Over the next couple of months we will be introducing you to some of the amazing dietitians we work with every day. We are going to find out why they became registered dietitians, what they love about their work, how they cope after a day of nutrition disaster and bad eating choices, and what people should look out for when choosing a dietitian.

Meet Nathalie Mat, a clinical dietitian in private practice.

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I grew up in a family that loves and celebrates food but is also concerned with health. What really drew me to becoming a dietitian is that dietetics is based in science but requires artful skill for successful implementation. People don’t eat nutrients, they eat food and it’s my job to help interpret ever-evolving nutrition research into real food that people can eat and enjoy.

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

My heart absolutely sings when someone walks into my office looking vibrant and healthy and tells me how much better they feel – and all we did was fine tune their eating. I love seeing people transform their health and their relationship with food. It is wonderful seeing people achieve their goals and it is a privilege to share the journey with them.

What has been your career highlight?

Presenting my thesis at an international congress and receiving my masters in nutrition was a definite highlight. I’ve also really enjoyed serving as the ADSA Gauteng South chair and being part of my profession.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Because everyone eats food, almost everyone has a theory on nutrition that is their own and is unique to them. Helping people find their individual recipe for health is my job – but I have to fight a lot of misperceptions. Just because something worked for your aunt/friend/colleague does not mean it’s right for someone with your genetic background or lifestyle.

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

Firstly, if I am making a slightly less healthy choice, I really savour and enjoy it. I think food is meant to be enjoyed! I then make sure that I get back on the healthy bandwagon as soon as possible; I do not wait for Monday. Life is about balance. Your arms and legs won’t fall off if you eat a chocolate; just make sure that you’re choosing chocolate 10-20% of the time and making healthy, balanced choices the other 80-90% of the time.

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

Everyone always asks for a quick tip to losing weight – I don’t mind answering but people tend to ask a second time because they do not like my answer of “Eat more vegetables”. It makes me laugh.

If someone meets me for the first time and we’re having a meal, they often say “please don’t watch what I’m eating”. If it’s Saturday night or after hours, I’m not on the clock. I love answering nutrition questions but I am not secretly calculating everyone’s kilojoule intake.

“I have ; what should I eat for that”? I do my best work when I am in my office; if you’re keen on getting quality nutrition advice, go and see your dietitian for an appointment. Not only can a dietitian miss important points while you’re both eating dinner or having coffee, you are not likely to remember everything that was said over a meal.

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

I think the most important aspect of working with any health professional is that they should hear you. Finding the right dietitian is like finding the right psychologist – you need to be on the same page. You’ve found the right dietitian for you if he/she can create a way of eating that is sustainable in the long term; is manageable (in terms of money, time and effort); and is tasty.

What is your favourite dish and your favourite treat food?

I love everything. I really enjoy eating a wide variety of cuisines and styles so my favourite dish can change every time I’m asked. I am loving fragrant Indian curries at the moment. In terms of a favourite treat, my parents are both Belgian so I think chocolate will always be one of my favourites.

Nathalie Mat completed her Bachelors in Dietetics at the University of Pretoria where she is completing her Masters. Nathalie has experience in both State and Private hospitals and clinics. As a qualified personal trainer and avid cook, she is able to translate up-to-date scientific information into practical and achievable goals for her patients. Nathalie has been published across a variety of media and platforms including CPD activities, Oprah Magazine, Business Day and e-tv. She has worked as a guest lecturer and enjoys a variety corporate work. She’s the treasurer and chair for the ADSA Gauteng South branch.


ADSA represents registered dietitians working in various spheres of nutrition and dietetics in South Africa

The Association for Dietetics is the professional organisation for registered dietitians in South Africa. The activities of the organisation are centred around representing and developing the dietetic profession to contribute to optimal nutrition for all South Africans.

Registered Dietitians are qualified health professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) who have a minimum qualification of a four year scientific degree with training in all aspects and fields of nutrition and dietetics. Whether they consult privately to one client, work within a community or as part of the food supply chain, they have to adhere to best practice guidelines delivering sound dietary advice based on the latest scientific evidence.

ADSA members nominate and vote for members to serve on branch committees regionally or on the ADSA executive committee nationally, once every two years. These elected members serve on a voluntary basis, in their own time, without remuneration.

All committee members are registered dietitians working in different areas within nutrition and dietetics. The current executive committee has representatives from private practice, academia, government and the food industry.

As an association working in South Africa, we know South Africans eat a wide variety of foods from the entire food supply. We can’t ignore entire sections of the food industry, because they’re part of the daily diet of many South Africans.

We agree that while there are lot of nutritious, high quality foods on the market in South Africa, there’s a lot that can and needs to be improved when it comes to nutritional value and quality of some of foods sold in both the informal and formal food supply.

It’s therefore important that there are registered dietitians working in various sectors within the food industry, to influence changes that will benefit all South Africans.

Furthermore, registered dietitians working within the food industry have numerous important roles such as ensuring that foods are labelled correctly, as well as for ensuring compliance to various nutrition-related regulations, which provides the consumer with the information they require to make informed food purchasing decisions. They are also involved in managing nutrition-related queries about products, including ingredient queries, and can also be involved in corporate wellness programmes within the respective organisations, to name a few of their roles.

ADSA will continue to represent registered dietitians working in various spheres of nutrition and dietetics in South Africa, at all levels of the association, to ensure that the association is able to effectively represent and develop the dietetic profession to contribute to optimal nutrition for all South Africans.


Raw Chocolate Truffles

Spoil the one you love with some homemade ‘Raw Chocolate Truffles’ made from raw cocoa paste, dates, goji berries, raw almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon and honey.

Our dietitians say:

Date flesh is a high source of energy and 100 g of flesh (about 4 mejool dates) can provide an average of 1300 kJ. It is rich in mainly fructose and glucose; low in fat and protein; and a good source of magnesium, potassium, copper, selenium and manganese. The consumption of 100 g of dates can provide over 15% of the recommended daily allowance from these minerals.

Vitamins B-complex (especially Vitamin B6) are the major vitamins in dates and they are an excellent source of dietary fiber (up to 8.0 g/100 g).

Last, but not least, dates are a good source of antioxidants, mainly carotenoids and phenolics.

We love this recipe:

Easy to make, package in a beautiful box and voila … a great gift for mom.

The raw chocolate balls are also a great dessert option – and can double up as a high energy lunchbox snack or perfect ‘take along’ energy boost for runners or cyclists.

Ingredients

100 g raw cocoa paste

100 g dates

30 g goji berries

50 g raw almonds, chopped

20 g sunflower seeds

20 g flaxseeds

2 ml cinnamon

20 g honey

*Makes 20 truffles

How to make it

– put the dates into a small saucepan and cover with a little water. Cook the dates in a medium high heat until soft (about 5 minutes) and the water has evaporated. Mash the dates into a purée and set aside.

– gently melt the cocoa paste on a low heat.

– mix the melted cocoa paste, date purée, goji berries, almonds, seeds, cinnamon and honey into a firm paste.

– roll the mixture into 15g balls and dust with cocoa powder, or roll in seeds or coconut to decorate.

The nutritional value per truffle (makes 20 truffles):

Energy: 254 kJ

Protein: 2 g

Carbohydrate: 4 g

Total fat: 3.2 g

Dietary Fibre: 1.1 g

Sodium: 48 mg


Success Story – Carla Schoeman

Over the next couple of months, we are going to share some success stories with you and find out why people decide to see a dietitian, what happens on the journey, what is hardest part of that journey and the end result from the client’s point of view.

First up is 32-year-old Capetonian, Carla Schoeman, who consulted with Registered Dietitian, Catherine Boome:

Why did you decide to see a dietitian? (Carla’s before story)

I have lived a relatively healthy life, eating what I thought was a balanced diet, and exercising regularly but not really seeing or feeling the results I felt I deserved with the effort. I do have some hormonal challenges that also complicate weight loss and felt that I was just getting heavier and heavier –despite pretty much always being on some form of a diet.

I tried my best to hate all carbs and mostly avoided sugar. But not only did I not lose weight, I gained weight, a little more every year. I’ve always been a runner and despite drastically increasing my mileage over the years, I kept getting slower.

At the end of 2012, I just decided enough was enough! I needed to get really serious about my health. I clearly didn’t have all the answers so decided to find someone who does. This was a big step for me – I’m a very proud person and asking for help didn’t come easy.

Tell us about your journey with the dietitian?

I was referred to Catherine Boome by a friend who raved about her holistic, “normal” approach to food and nutrition. I wasn’t too keen on weighing things or counting points, so this was a big plus. I met with her at the end of January 2012 and told her my story.

I expected her to be as perplexed as I was about my weight gain/lack of weight loss but she wasn’t. She was convinced she could help me. After spending about 90 mins with her going over my routine, my likes and dislikes etc. she developed a personal plan for me.

A week later, after spending some time explaining to me how my hormonal imbalances are impacting the way food behaves in my body, she presented me with a plan that not only compensates for that, but also included carbs! (I was worried about that!) .

The main focus was on portion control – helping me understand what my body really needs, how much and how often. She also spent quite a lot of time preparing me mentally – calling me out on being too hard on myself and not having faith in my abilities to accomplish my goals.

The plan was so simple, I couldn’t believe it. It was applicable to pretty much every part of my life. Even when I went out for dinner with friends, I was able to make smart choices within the eating plan, no matter what restaurant I was in.

Once I understood why my body was being so stubborn about weight loss, I could work with that to make smarter food choices. Even after the “diet” finished.

Catherine was also fantastic in providing leadership when I decided to enter the Argus – helping me make the best choices for my body’s needs over such a long distance. She helped me prepare for holidays, giving me tips on what types of foods I should favour when I’m in another country and not in control of the preparation or the menu.

Every time I had a question (or a meltdown), Catherine calmly provided me with the information I needed to make the right choice. She is part and parcel of my success story – she provided the framework I needed to get to where I wanted to be, and which allowed me to be “in charge” of the decisions I made.

Tell us about your results?

I refuse to weigh myself so the only times I’ve been on a scale in the past 5 years has been in Catherine’s office. Three months into the plan I had lost about 6kgs. No one was more surprised than me.

I continued to lose another 8kgs by the end of 2013. That was 14kgs in about 11 months. I dropped 2 dress sizes and my entire body composition changed. Also, I went from average runner to a really good one – taking almost 30mins off my average time for a half marathon.

At the end of 2013 Catherine gave me a maintenance plan. I check in with her every 6 months to keep myself accountable and I’ve managed to keep my weight consistent over the past 15 months, since finishing the plan. I also talk to her regularly for advice on changes in my routine, or when I’m training for a particular race. I feel so in tune with my body, I can feel when I’ve had an unhealthy couple of days – and I know exactly how to fix it. No need for a panic, or a crash diet. I just go back to the basics that Catherine gave me.

What was the hardest part of the journey?

For me the biggest hurdle was to actually make the appointment to go and see her, as I couldn’t imagine that she would be able to tell me something I didn’t know. I was very wrong!

That first winter was pretty tough too because I was less active and therefore home more and wanted to eat more! Catherine provided some great advice and ideas that got me around those hurdles without any long-term damage. Socially I struggled a bit with friendship-dynamics changing when I gave up alcohol, but mostly I was very well supported in my journey. I haven’t given up alcohol completely – I love my red wine, but now have it as a treat when I’m with friends. It’s not part of my daily routine anymore.

What are the top three tips you can share? 

  1. The dietitian’s advice won’t help you unless you do what she says.
  2. The only way to get lasting results is to make lifestyle changes. You can’t do a fad diet and expect a long-term result. It must be about being healthy, first. Weight loss is a consequence of that.
  3. It’s TOTALLY worth it

What the dietitian says (feedback from Catherine Boome)

Carla was destined to succeed right from the minute she walked into my rooms. She was very motivated to be healthy but just so confused with what, when and how to eat in order to manage her weight. She had been making a great effort to lose weight but she was not being rewarded with the results she deserved. Something just did not make sense and she decided to approach an expert in food and nutrition to help her make sense of it all.

We started with basic Nutrition 101. Nutrition Education in order to facilitate a good understanding of food as a source of nutrition and fuel for the body, understanding metabolism and how certain food choices and eating habits can affect the body’s metabolism, hormones, insulin response, fat burning capabilities and therefore the ability to either gain or lose weight.

It was important for me to find out a bit about Carla – her food preferences, type of work, lifestyle patterns, exercise and hobbies in order to put together something that would fit into her way of life so that it would be practical for her to follow.

I then put together an individualized eating plan for Carla to follow and encouraged her to return to me periodically (as and when it suited her) for more support and motivation. This would also be an opportunity to tweak the plan if we needed to, or to answer any questions she might have had.

Incorporating healthy eating habits into Carla’s life did not appear to be too difficult, in fact she made it look very easy! This was a result of her motivation levels and go-getter personality. I believe that benefits of her improved energy levels, vitality and overall health served as a great motivator for her to keep going.

I believe that one needs to learn HOW to eat in order to manage weight, as opposed how to learning NOT to eat. This is such a valuable lesson for many of my patients.

To find a dietitian in your area visithttp://www.adsa.org.za/Public/FindARegisteredDietitian.aspx


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.


Kidney Health For All

“Kidney Health For All” is the theme of today’s World Kidney Day

Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will largely affect your quality of life. The mission of World Kidney Day is to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems.

Nutrition plays an important role in keeping kidneys healthy

Registered Dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, Brigitte Leclercq recently visited the Seychelles to provide counselling to dialysis patients at Victoria Hospital. She is graduating with her Masters in Nutrition on kidney disease in June 2015 and will be presenting her research at the World Congress of Nephrology in March 2015.

Brigitte’s visit to Victoria Hospital was to help 100 dialysis patients with their meal plans, giving them guidelines on what they can eat and what they should avoid. During her two weeks in the Seychelles, Brigitte provided individual meal plans to each of the 100 dialysis patients at Victoria Hospital. In the Seychelles the rate of patients with kidney failure is extremely high, considering that over 100 patients are receiving dialysis in a population of 90 000 people. Seychelles is currently one of the most obese nations in sub-Saharan Africa. For optimum health, diets should consist of more healthy food options such as grilled fish and vegetables. Unfortunately there is a prevalence of diets high in fat in the Seychelles as most of the food is fried and too much takeaway food is being consumed.

High blood pressure and diabetes are the two biggest causes of kidney failure. Many people in the Seychelles and in South Africa who are overweight develop high blood pressure and diabetes, and eventually need dialysis unless they drastically change their nutrition and their lifestyle.

What can you do for your kidneys today?

www.worldkidneyday.org has the following 8 tips: to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease:

Keep fit and active

Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.

Keep regular control of your blood sugar level

About half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney function.

Monitor your blood pressure

Although many people may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, few know that it is also the most common cause of kidney damage.

Eat healthy and keep your weight in check

This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease.

Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon). In order to reduce your salt intake, try and limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and do not add salt to food. It will be easier to control your intake if you prepare the food yourself with fresh ingredients. For more information on nutrition and kidney friendly cooking, visit our nutrition page

Maintain a healthy fluid intake

Although clinical studies have not reached an agreement on the ideal quantity of water and other fluids we should consume daily to maintain good health, traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 litres (3 to 4 pints) of water per day.

Do not smoke

Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it impairs their ability to function properly. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 percent.

Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis

Common drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.

Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors

  • you have diabetes
  • you have hypertension
  • you are obese
  • one of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease
  • you are of African, Asian, or Aboriginal origin

*Brigitte Leclercq’s visit to the Seychelles was made possible by The Ministry of Health and the dialysis centre in the Seychelles and a travel sponsorship from Eden Island, who also sponsored posters and dietary notes for all the patients.


Response to Grass Consumer Group Questions

Grass Consumer Group asked us some very important questions on Twitter last week. Some of our answers won’t quite fit into 140 characters, so we’ve put together a Q&A in response to their questions:

Question1: ‘You state that you share science-based research with your members – what about public awareness? Any sugar studies? How do you promote the nutritional well being of the community?

We are involved in numerous activities to raise public awareness around nutrition issues including National Nutrition Week, a Department of Health initiative to inform the public on practical ways to incorporate the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines. This includes messages around sugar.

We also support the South African Food Based Dietary guidelines that clearly state the following about sugar: “Use foods and drinks containing sugar sparingly, and not between meals” and agree with the following abstract from SAJCN on the reviewed dietary guidelines 2010: “This should remain unchanged. An excessive intake of sugar should be seen as a public health challenge that requires many approaches to be managed, including new policies and appropriate dietary advice.” (http://www.sajcn.co.za/index.php/SAJCN/article/view/752)

The South African Food Based Dietary guidelines and this technical paper were shared with dietitians and nutritionists at the 25th Congress of the Nutrition Society of South Africa and the 13th Congress of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa.

A document “Guidelines for Healthy Eating Information for Nutrition Educators” was created to be used by nutrition educators in the public sector.

We have partnered with PEN Global Resource for Nutrition Practice, a dynamic knowledge translation subscription service to bring our members the most up-to-date, evidence-based nutrition resources.

ADSA Spokespeople are always available to engage with the media on nutrition topics and communicate nutrition messages to the public via ADSA website http://www.adsa.org.za, ADSA blog https://nutritionconfidence.wordpress.com/, ADSA Twitter account https://twitter.com/ADSA_RD and ADSA Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ADSAorgza.

We share nutrition information around many topics, including but not limited to strategies to reduce salt intake (we are involved in the Salt Watch campaign), sugar, obesity, portion control, food labeling, nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding, nutrition for active kids, nutrition for cancer patients and nutrition for optimal diabetes management.

We have in the past (and will continue in the future) been involved with campaigns during Salt Awareness Week, Breastfeeding Week, Diabetes Month and many more.

Question 2: How do you approach your sponsors? Who approaches whom? What is a gold sponsor?

Some of our sponsors have approached us directly and others we approach. We (ADSA) and some of our members work with industry and think that is a powerful way to make change happen. We believe that it is important for us and dietitians to be involved with the food industry – imagine the food supply if we didn’t.

At the same time we don’t believe in endorsing brands to the communities within which we work, hence the decision to remove logos from our public-facing channels as this can influence public perception. Our sponsors are also not allowed to use the ADSA logo on their websites or with their products. We don’t hide our sponsors (https://nutritionconfidence.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/a-word-from-claire-julsing-strydom-adsas-president-on-sponsorships/) but don’t allow for endorsements of any kind and therefore have made these changes to our sponsorship policy. More info about our sponsors or their products are only available to our members through the Log In function on our website. It hasn’t always been like this, but we learn and evolve and make changes.

Our members are trained health professionals that are able to look at a variety of food products (that are used by the public) with the necessary knowledge to ascertain how and when various nutrients and food products would be beneficial for a client based on their individualised nutritional requirements.

We are currently working with corporates outside the food industry, to get them on board as sponsors, because we are unable to function as a not-for-profit organisation without financial support. The income from our membership fees only covers 66% of the budget we need to continue educating and supporting our dietitians, as well as promoting the nutritional well being of the community. Sponsorship funds are pooled and use for the administrative costs. All nutrition related matters or purchasing of functionalities like PEN will come from membership fees, which have increased dramatically in the last year to accommodate these changes.

We have various tiers of sponsorship, which are based on the level of financial contribution a company makes and offers different benefits to the sponsor. These benefits are all related to industry affairs and member communication, not public interaction or communication. Our sponsors have never influenced decisions made by ADSA and donate funds to the association to promote the dietetics profession in South Africa and ultimately improve nutrition education to the public through dietitians and we are grateful to our sponsors for their assistance.

Question 3: Please respond to why you promote sports cereal bars for kids and suggest sweetened low fat flavoured milk drinks for kids as per this article on your website: http://www.adsa.org.za/Portals/14/Documents/Nutrition%20Info/NutritionTipsForActiveChildrenByKarlienSmit.pdf

The @GrassAction tweet with regards to the article was taken out of context. We advocate evidence-based, individualised advice.  When choosing foods, context, portion and frequency are key considerations. This article specifically referred to active kids that take part in sports and is backed by relevant evidence.

As medical professionals we are bound by ethical codes and at all times ensure that our content is backed-up by evidence. The links are included in the article. Please have a read-through and let us know if there are specific questions you have about the evidence or flaws within that evidence.

We stand by this article, within the context of “An ideal training diet for active children”.

___________________________________________________________________________

We find that many South African’s blindly follow nutrition advice and fad diets without asking questions, digging deeper and really looking at the research. Without consumer groups like Grass Action some questions would never make it into the public space. Thank you for asking the tough questions.


A word from Claire Julsing-Strydom (ADSA’s President) on Sponsorships

“There has been a lot of conversation in the media and on social media channels, about ADSA’s sponsorship policy. This will probably be an ongoing conversation, but I would like to take this opportunity to share how we manage sponsorships.”

ADSA Sponsorships

I think it is important to talk about sponsorships for not-for-profit associations and am glad that consumers are asking important questions. I would like to give you a better understanding of how exactly sponsorship works for ADSA and also how it works when dietitians consult to food or pharmaceutical companies.

ADSA is an NGO and all the dietitians that work for ADSA do so on a voluntary basis and do not get paid for the work that they do to serve the dietetics profession and the public by informing them on nutrition related matters. Various companies sponsor ADSA and all the funds that we collect through sponsorship are pooled. This money is mostly used for administration costs associated with the day-to-day running of the association.  ADSA currently receives 34% of its funds from sponsors and the remaining 66% from the members.  Any nutrition-related content that is disseminated by ADSA is evidence based and ADSA is not allowed to endorse any food product.

We have previously been asked if we are influenced by ‘big food’, but because we follow a rigorous process when it comes to sponsorship, evidence-based information and never endorse product we can confidently say that we are not influenced by ‘big food’. Sponsors should never be allowed to dictate an organisation’s messaging and content, especially in the health sector where all information should be evidence based and ‘first do no harm’.

When it comes to dietitians in their capacity outside ADSA, they have to abide by certain ethical rules, practice evidence based nutrition therapy, provide full disclosures of conflicts of interest and are not allowed to endorse products. These are all part of the ethical rules compiled by the HPCSA.

Many people are asking ‘How does sponsorships affect a dietitian’s credibility?” If a dietitian is for example sponsored by the dairy association to do research on the milk intake in teenagers and their level of calcium then that dietitian should state that she was sponsored, but still follow the ethical rules of the profession and therefore produce factually correct information based on the results of the study and nothing more. Therefore a dietitian’s credibility will not be impacted by the latter considering that the ethical guidelines are always in place.

Current ADSA sponsors include:

Sea Harvest, EquiSweet, Kellogg’s, Pick n Pay, DSM, Woolworths, Nativa, Unilever, Parmalat, Pronutro, Health Connection

If you have any questions please send us a mail at info@adsa.org.za

ADSA Sponsorship Policy February 2015

All potential ADSA sponsors are to be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with ADSA’s evidence-based approach to nutrition.

ADSA adheres to and enforces the following principles in its relationships with sponsors:

  1. Scientific Accuracy

All sponsor materials, presentations and information shared with members are internally reviewed for scientific accuracy, adherence with ADSA’s positions and policies and for appropriateness for ADSA members. This review is done by the ADSA Executive Committee Sponsorship Portfolio holder and by the ADSA President.

  1. Non-endorsement

ADSA does not endorse any brand, company product or service.

  1. Non-influence
  • ADSA’s programs, leadership, decisions, policies and positions are not influenced by sponsors.
  • ADSA’s procedures and formal agreements with external organizations are designed to prevent any undue corporate influence.

General Requirements for Acceptance of ADSA Sponsors:

  • Fit with ADSA strategic goals
  • Scientific accuracy
  • Conformance with ADSA positions, policies and philosophies
  • ADSA has editorial control of all content in materials bearing the ADSA name
  • Clear separation of ADSA messages and content from brand information or promotion
  • No endorsement by ADSA of any particular brand or company product
  • The inclusion of relevant facts and important information where their omission would present an unbalanced view of a controversial issue in which the sponsor has a stake

Disclaimer:

  • Sponsorship enables ADSA—as it does for most non-profit organizations and associations across the country —to build awareness of ADSA and our members, and to share science-based information and new research with our members. ADSA is not influenced by our corporate sponsors, nor does ADSA endorse any of the sponsors’ products or services.
  • ADSA communication and messages are based on evidence-based reviews of the latest and most authoritative science.
  • ADSA builds and maintains its reputation by scrupulous attention to facts, science and honesty. It is at the discretion of ADSA whether to take on a sponsor. ADSA reserves the right to remove a sponsor at any given time at the discretion at the ADSA Executive Committee
  • All communication sent out to ADSA members by sponsors must be evidence-based. The ADSA Executive Portfolio Holder and ADSA President review all communication sent out by sponsors to ADSA members.
  • ADSA reserves the right to ask for substantiation of any claims made by sponsors’ products. Any products that are unable to substantiate their nutrition or health claims will not be communicated
  • Any form of endorsement by ADSA is prohibited
  • Sponsors are not allowed to have the ADSA logo on their communication to the public or on any promotional material. Similarly, sponsors are prohibited from publicising that they are an ADSA sponsor on the said communication.
  • National sponsorship does not include interest group sponsorship and vice versa. The same criteria used to assess national sponsorship will be applied to interest group sponsorship

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

ADSA_Ostrich Recipe Card


Spinach, Beetroot & Pomegranate Salad

Just in time for the festive season a brand new NutritionConfidence recipe! A delicious Spinach, Beetroot & Pomegranate Salad from Vanessa Marx (Head Chef at Dear Me)!

We love it because the colourful salad contains a powerhouse of nutrients. ‘Good for you’ fats from the seeds and oil; phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fibre from the deep coloured veg; paired with a creamy, lower fat alternative to regular hard (previously known as) Greek style feta. And we love it because it looks so festive!

Good For You!

Deep coloured vegetables like beets and spinach contain many “non-nutrient” compounds called phytochemicals. These are biologically active, natural occurring chemical compounds which also provide the colour, taste and aroma to fruits and vegetables. In relation to cancer, phytochemicals help metabolise drugs, toxins, carcinogens and mutagens.

Also, beetroot juice may improve the performance for some athletes in some situations due to its high nitrate content.

 

Ingredients

100 g baby spinach

1 medium beetroot

50 g Danish feta cheese (lower in fat than Greek)

1 Pomegranate, or 100 g fresh pomegranate arils

50 g radishes

30 g baby spring onions

30 ml olive oil

10 ml raspberry or red wine vinegar (or other of your choice) – optional

 

How to make it

– Boil the whole beetroot, with the skin on, until soft (you should be able to pierce the beetroot with a knife effortlessly).

– Wash the baby spinach and pat off the excess water with some paper towel, or spin in a salad spinner if you have one.

– Wash the radishes and thinly slice them.

– Once your beetroot is cooked, leave it to cool slightly. While it’s still a bit warm, use your hands to rub the skin off the beetroot. Give the beetroot a rinse to remove the excess skin. Cut into small cubes.

– If you have a whole pomegranate, cut it in half. Hold the pomegranate half in your hand with the cut side toward your hand, leaving a gap between the pomegranate and the palm of your hand, by gripping the edges of the pomegranate with your fingertips. Hold the pomegranate over a large bowl, and using a large spoon, whack the back end of the pomegranate and the seeds will release from the shell. Repeat this until you have retrieved all of the jewels.

– On a plate or serving platter, arrange the baby spinach.

– Assemble your salad by adding the chopped beetroot, crumble over the feta, add the slices radishes, sprinkle over the pomegranate jewels and baby spring onions. Drizzle the salad with olive oil & vinegar & serve

Serves 2

Add this NutritionConfidence recipe card to your collection!

ADSA-recipes-spinach,beetroot,pom copy 2


Rooibos, Pomegranate & Cinnamon Iced Tea

With temperatures soaring across the country Summer is definitely in full swing. Our latest NutritionConfidence recipe is a refreshing, delicious Rooibos, Pomegranate & Cinnamon Iced Tea. We love it because it’s packed with flavour and the perfect alternative to sugar-sweetened ice tea!

Cinnamon, the spice hero:

Cinnamon provides a natural sweet taste to food and beverages, without adding calories and research suggests that cinnamon may have a beneficial effect on short term blood glucose control in type 2 diabetics. In traditional herbal medicine cinnamon is considered a remedy for respiratory, digestive and gynaecological ailments.

Ingredients

(Makes 2 L)

4 rooibos teabags

2 L water

1 cinnamon stick (+/- 5g)

1 orange, sliced with skin on

1 pomegranate, pitted

Honey, xylitol or sugar to taste (optional)

Ice to serve

How to make it

– Boil 2L of water.

– Put the tea bags into a large jug or bowl (min 2L), and add the boiling water.

– Add the cinnamon stick and orange slices.

– Leave the tea to cool to room temperature, or even better, leave to steep over night.

– Strain the tea to remove the teabags, cinnamon and orange

– Stir in honey, xylitol or sugar adding little bits at a time until the desired sweetness is reached. Diabetics, remember to use xylitol for a sugar-free option.

– Add the fresh pomegranate jewels and top up with ice to serve.

– Serve in large jars for a vintage feel and add some fresh herbs or edible flowers for a fresh summery touch.

 


Launch of NutritionConfidence Recipes

We have partnered with award-winning chef, Vanessa Marx (from Dear Me), to develop the NutritionConfidence series of recipes.

The series, which launched in November, with three diabetic-friendly recipes, aims to showcase that delicious food can also be healthy, making it easier to eat the right food more often for a healthy body and mind.

“As part of our daily work we spend a lot of time looking at the scientific side of what we eat and how it affects our bodies, sometimes forgetting that eating food for most people is about so much more than just putting fuel in the body”, says Claire Julsing-Strydom, ADSA President. “In celebration of delicious food that inspires us to make our own meals and is also good for us, we created the NutritionConfidence recipes.”

Each recipe encourages local, close-to-home ingredients; offers alternative flavour tips; and highlights the ‘good-for-you’ hero ingredients. The three diabetic-friendly recipes include:

  • Veggie Burgers – made with butternut, sweet potato, lentils and almonds, wrapped in iceberg lettuce and served with guacamole and salsa
  • Rooibos, Pomegranate and Cinnamon Ice Tea – an everyday cold drink solution with all the flavour, but not all the sugar!
  • Orange & Almond Torte – made with eggs, xylitol, ground almonds, baking powder and orange zest this is a great sugar and wheat free torte that will be loved not only by diabetics.

“Being a diabetic and a chef, I’ve always looked at ways to create food that is fresh, innovative, delicious and on trend, but also caters for different lifestyles”, says Vanessa. With a focus on using fresh, local ingredients and working with spices and herbs to create flavours, Vanessa’s style is the perfect combination for the NutritionConfidence recipes.

ADSA will roll out NutritionConfidence recipes every month, so pop onto the website www.adsa.org.za to find recipes to suit every occasion with a focus on light meals in January, Valentine’s Day in February, the outdoors in March and chocolate in April.