All you need to know to keep up to date with nutrition

“Pregnancy Bites” – Nutrition tips for expectant moms

Being pregnant has been the most humbling, grounding, incredible experience. Yes, it bites (hard) sometimes, but it is equally as amazing. Pregnancy nutrition is such an important topic that we don’t emphasise enough.

To start, I found pregnancy a tough road, laced with morning sickness, fatigue, discomfort and, surprisingly, anxiety (paralysing anxiety) of the upcoming “challenge” that is motherhood. I also found it hard to hand over my body. Being an active person I battled with being tired and weak, constantly. I was growing a human and my body needed all the energy and fuel I could muster.

So I committed to giving my little boy everything I could during the amazing, scary, beautiful, overwhelming and all-encompassing time.

We know that your baby will take what it needs to grow and maybe leave you feeling drained. So even if you can’t eat optimally babs will still be okay. But my goal was to feed him up and get him super duper healthy. Also I needed to keep myself well.

Here are the most important tips on my loooong mom-to-be list:

  • Sleep, rest, sleep and rest some more. Listening to my body was one hell of a lesson and slowing down was the hardest part. But I soon learnt that it is one of the most important things to do to keep yourself well.
  • Keep moving. I know this may contradict the first point but this one is all about gently moving your body and keeping the muscles strong. I managed to jog until about 6 months but very lightly. Swimming is just the bomb, because you feel weightless. Keep doing what you were doing just gage your energy level. I found exercise extremely helpful for the morning sickness.
  • Supplement according to your needs. Do not follow blanket supplementation because you can easily over supplement and cause nausea or anxiety – which is exactly what you need to avoid! Folate (not folic acid!) should be taken at 400-800ug for example. Omega 3s, probiotics, and later on vitamin D, are all vital. I highly recommend you chat to a Dietitian about supplementing during pregnancy.
  • Eat what you can stomach but skip the marie biscuits and rusks! It’s an old wives tale – you don’t need the marie biscuits! You need dry starch yes but not sugar! Did you know that sugar crosses over the placenta directly effecting your baby. Yikes!
  • Juice daily to get your vitamins
  • Eat oily fish for omegas
  • If you are feeling flat have a beetroot juice for the nitrates
  • And last but not least, try to enjoy this amazing time.

Enjoy every fluttering kick and movement. And know that the upcoming time of meeting your baby will be the most incredible experience.

The answer is in our Methylation

We were recently fortunate enough to attend a conference given by international speaker Dr Kara Fitzgerald on the trending topic of Methylation. To many of our clients who have had their genes tested with us, this term should ring a bell. If not, read on, you won’t want to miss this.

Methylation

First things first, what is Methylation and why is it necessary?

Methylation is a biochemical process that happens in all our cells. The process is involved in DNA repair, detox, hormone balance, histamine balance, gene building and gene expression (it makes sure the right genes are ‘turned on’ and the bad genes are ‘switched off’) – so you can only imagine why it is so important!

Hyper and hypo-methylation:

Methylation needs to be BALANCED. Both hypo-methylation (not enough methylation taking place) and hyper-methylation (excessive methylation) can be detrimental to your health. This balance is dependent on many factors, the critical ones being: poor nutrient intake, inflammation, oxidative stress, environmental toxins, gut-health and your genetic variation. I hope you are starting to realise the importance of this process… cue flipping through your DNA health report now.

Conditions associated with insufficient Methylation

This list looks frighteningly endless… from ADD/ADHD to bipolar disorder, addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, cancer, chronic fatigue, dementia, diabetes, fertility issues, hypertension, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and thyroid disease  (to name a few, OK, to name many, but there are more).

How do we achieve balanced Methylation?

As mentioned before – methylation balance is what will ensure that all the right genes are turned on while all the bad genes are switched off, so the balance is what you must strive for. Taking high dose supplementation can often cause you to create an imbalance so the best way to achieve optimal methylation is to tackle your diet.

Start reaching for…

  • Animal protein such as eggs, salmon and liver
  • Bright fruit and vegetables, think beetroot, spinach and broccoli kind-of-bright
  • Omega 3-rich nuts and seeds
  • Herbs and spices
  • Good, healthy fats (trans fats and refined oils are a big no!)
  • Legumes and grains
  • Dairy, as tolerated

Steer clear from…

  • Charred foods
  • Added sugars
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Alcohol
  • Folic acid fortified foods

As you can see the list of foods to eat is far longer than the list of ‘banned’ foods. If you think a ‘Methylation promoting diet’ is bland, think again. Have a look at some of the amazing food we were treated to at the seminar.

Do you have any queries? Is gene testing of interest to you? Book your appointment now.

 

 

 

Breast Cancer, our Genes and Diet

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and there is no doubt that you have seen a parade of lovely women wearing a little pink ribbon at some point throughout the past 4 weeks. According to the latest research, breast cancer has the highest incidence in South African women. Knowing it can affect you, your mom, your sister or your friend makes it vastly important to be aware of what can increase your risk of developing breast cancer and knowing how to screen yourself properly.

Do our genes impact our risk of developing breast cancer?

Up to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. Most inherited cases of breast cancer are associated with two abnormal genes: BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene one) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene two). Everyone has these genes and their function is to repair cell damage and keep breast and ovarian cells growing normally. If these genes have mutations or abnormalities, your risk of developing breast cancer increases.

It is important to note that having an abnormal BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 doesn’t mean you WILL develop breast cancer. There are many other genes that come into play as well as diet, lifestyle, environmental toxins, stress and previous trauma. If you are thinking of having your genes tested, it is highly recommended to see a genetic counselor before.

Can our diet protect us from developing breast cancer?

A diet rich in vitamin D, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods can have a protective effect. The avoidance of saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and sugars will also impact your overall health. There is more to it than the types of food you are choosing to eat; it is also important to avoid processed foods, pesticides, braai’d or barbecued meats and anything cured or smoked.

Fruits, vegetables, grains, eggs, fish, chicken, lean meats and healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds will ensure you are getting in a variety of nutrients allowing your immune system to function on all cylinders.

Do environmental factors play a role?

The reality is, women tend to be more overweight than ever before, oral contraceptives are seen to be the norm, we live a sedentary lifestyle indoors getting minimal sun exposure (and thus, too little Vitamin D), smoking is a go-to for teens, stress levels are soaring while sleep is non-existent, and the food we are eating has become even more processed and sugar-laden. All these factors increase our chances of developing not only breast cancer, but a host of different diseases.

These problems sound easy to fix yet health is still not a priority for many. Download the Breast Cancer Organisation’s Think Pink, Live Green document on 31 risk-reducing steps you can put it action today.

How to do a breast self-exam:

Click here to learn how to examine your own breasts. Early detection is vital. If you want to know more about gene testing – read our Gene Testing FAQ blog.

Book your appointment for gene testing now

 

 

Skinny Legs café – yes please!

I’m sure by now you have noticed that we have been on some what of a hunt to find delicious (and healthy) spots in the City Bowl area. Well… delicious we have found. Skinny Legs cafe – a luxury cafe and we know why. This gem in lower Loop Street opens at 7 am making it the perfect pit stop on the way to work. What had us coming back for more you ask?

Make everyday great with one of these dishes:

  • Coconut Quinoa – there is already a dish called ‘Porridge of the Gods’ but this one has to be a close second. Vegan and gluten free!
  • Buckwheat pancakes – another gluten free treasure with minted pea puree, creamed feta and rose harisa.
  • Gluten Free Lentil Salad with smoked trout, a poached egg and saffron aioli. A high protein and omega 3 powerhouse.

The sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere makes you want to linger just a little longer every time. Boost your breakfast or lunch by adding a freshly squeezed juice or green smoothie. View their menu here or have a look at their magnificent Instagram page: skinnylegscafe

 

Gene Testing FAQ

Gene testing is making the rounds, whether it is on Facebook, the Longevity magazine or your friend who heard about it in yoga last week. Many of our clients are also becoming curious and there seems to be some confusion around the new concept of gene testing. There are four different DNA tests: DNA Health, DNA diet, DNA oestrogen and DNA Sport.

The DNA Health tests for variations in your genes that have a significant effect on chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. DNA Diet tests genes that have an association to weight loss and body mass index (BMI). The DNA Oestrogen test determines how well your body detoxes oestrogen; this test can also give an indication of your risk for developing Breast Cancer. DNA Sport is a popular test among avid sportsmen or sportswomen, but this test is also invaluable in determining your susceptibility to injury. Each test provides tremendous insight on an individualized level.

Gene Testing FAQ:

1. Do I have to go for a blood test?

To do the gene test, all we require is a cheek swab. A simple, painless procedure that will take two minutes.

2. What is the best time of day to do the cheek swab?

There is no ‘ideal time’. The most important thing is that you avoid eating and drinking for 2 hours before your swab is done. If you have an appointment in the early morning, it is best to not brush your teeth until after the swab is taken.

3. How long do I have to wait for my results?

Once payment is made for the DNA test, it is sent to the DNAlysis labs in Johannesburg. It takes anywhere between 2-4 weeks to get the report.

4. Will medical aid cover the DNA testing?

Medical aid will not reimburse you for the DNA tests, however, depending on your medical aid plan, the expense of your referring practitioner will be covered.

5. Do I need genetic counselling before doing the tests?

All the genes tested are what we call ‘low penetrance genes’. What this means is that our diet, stress levels, exercise, medication and environment (all the epigenetic factors) affect the way in which these genes express themselves. There are genes tested in the DNA Health and in the DNA Oestrogen that are strongly linked to certain Cancers but you can opt to leave these genes out of the report if you’d prefer.

6. Do I need to have another test in 6 months or a year?

Your genes never change and so you will never have to go for another gene test. Nutrigenomics is a rapidly growing field and new research is being published everyday. It is always good to keep up to date with new information.

If you are still unsure about something – you can contact us on kvalexroyaldiet@gmail.com or k.alexroyaldiet@gmail.com.

Click here to book your appointment now!

 

Breakfast Banana Bread

Start your morning with this delicious banana bread packed with fibre

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams oat
  • 2 banana’s
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon backing powder
  • 215 grams low fat plain yoghurt

Variations:

  • 1 handful of nuts
  • 175 grams blueberries
  • 1 apple (good combination with a little bit cinnamon)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C.
2. In a blender add the oatmeal and blend.
3. Then add the bananas, eggs, backing powder and low fat yoghurt and mix until combined.
4. Pour mixture into a bread tin or muffin tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Enjoy for 2-3 days and store it in the freezer.

 

Nutrition Week 2017 #RethinkYourDrink

The theme for Nutrition Week 2017 is # Rethinkyourdrink – choose water! Sounds so simple, so easy. It is. Water is a crucial part of overall health and most people don’t get in enough on a daily basis. Instead, everyone is opting for ice teas, carbonated drinks, alcohol or warm delights like tea and coffee.

The concept for this years theme is to make you more aware of what you are actually drinking. So not to scare you off, but I have listed a couple of facts that might make you #Rethinkyourdrink now!

The number of teaspoons of sugar in 500ml of:

  • Carbonated drinks – 15 teaspoons (58.8g)
  • Energy drinks – 14 teaspoons (56g)
  • Fruit juice – 13 teaspoons (53.8g)
  • Sweetened flavoured milk drinks – 10 teaspoons (41.8g)
  • Sweetened ice tea – 9 teaspoons (37.8g)
  • Sports drinks – 7 teaspoons (27.1g)
  • Flavoured water – 6 teaspoons (24g)

The high sugar content is something to fear. Studies have shown that adults who drink two or more sugary drinks a day increased the risk of developing diabetes by at least 24%.

5 Tips to increase water intake:

  1. Always keep a water bottle with you
  2. Drink a glass of water before you brush your teeth in the morning and evening
  3. Create habits, for example, drink a glass of water with every meal
  4. Flavour your water with mint, lemon, rosemary, strawberries or cucumber
  5. Set reminders on your phone to drink water every 2 hours throughout the day

Equip yourself with knowledge. Read food labels to identify the amount of sugar in your drinks. Look for various forms of added sugars like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar and sucrose.

A good goal heading into the Summer months: #Rethinkyourdrink and remember that water is a scarce resource, be careful not to waste.

 

World Egg Day calls for celebratory Shakshuka

Yes it’s Friday the 13th but this recipe is foolproof! No broken egg yolks here (we hope!). It makes me so happy that we have a whole day dedicated to the humble egg – so versatile, affordable and nutritious. Eggs often get a bad rep for being too high in fat or cholesterol and yes, the egg yolk does contain cholesterol but recent research shows that having 1-2 eggs/day is healthy and in fact, we should be aiming to get in atleast 1 egg/day. Treat yourself to this vibrant and fresh Shakshuka that shows off the egg in all it’s glory!

Foolproof Shakshuka (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onions, green peppers, garlic, spices, pinch salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, and honey. Simmer until the tomato mixture begins to reduce, about 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, make 6 “wells,” in the tomato mixture (make sure the indentations are spaced out). Gently crack an egg into each well.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and cook on low until the egg whites are set.
  5. Uncover and add the fresh parsley and mint. You can add more black pepper or crushed red pepper, if you like.

The dirty deets on the glorious egg – here we are:

Nutritional composition per egg (roughly 50g):

  • Energy (kJ): 308
  • Protein (g): 6.29
  • Carbohydrates (g): 0.39
  • Fat (g): 4.97
  • of which Saturated fat (g): 1.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 212
  • Sodium (mg): 70

Fill up at Hungry Herbivore

Vegetarian? Vegan? Super health conscious?

We are well aware that around every street corner there is a new cafe or restaurant flaunting their freshly baked sourdough and croissants. It can be enticing and simply turning in the opposite direction isn’t always the easiest. To all our hungry clients in and around the Bree street area, we’d like to introduce you to – if you haven’t already heard of them – Hungry Herbivore.

We decided to give it a try and let’s just say that smashed avo on toast has never tasted so good! The menu offers everything from all-day breakie (always a plus in my books) to protein deluxe bowls and an array of nutritious smoothies.

Our personal favourites?

  • The Zesty Green smoothie – spinach, banana, spirulina, dates, lemon and soy milk (with the option to substitute for almond milk)
  • The Protein Deluxe Bowl – tofu, quinoa, corn, broccoli, beans and avo (uhhm yummy!)
  • Oh -sweet- Kim Burger – sweet potato, quinoa, kimchi and lentil patty

Yes to fermented foods and green smoothie goodness! They also have a secret menu so don’t forget to ask your waitron. Located in Orphan Street, City Centre. Have a look at the menu (beware: salivating may occur)

 

Going nuts for Wild Sprout

Invested in a Genes to Plate recipe book yet? If you have, you would have seen some of the most spectacular recipes done by Wild Sprout. A new eatery to hit the Loop Street mayhem. A farm to plate concept with a different harvest table everyday and homemade almond milks – what’s not to love? We couldn’t wait to give this one a go.

Definite must try’s:

  • The daily harvest tables are a hit – wholesome, fresh salads with different protein options – focusing on plant-based proteins (WINNER!)
  • Smoothie bowls named after the geniuses themselves – Berry B-Rad or Coo Cacao
  • Superfood juices and smoothies with combinations that will blow your mind! Seriously, the ginger has a real punch. Tummy issues? Have one of the brews that contain kombucha.

That’s not even the best part. Wild Sprout sells a range of their freshly made ginger balls, grain-free rusks, biscotti and so many other tantalizing treats that you just can’t resist buying. All their products are in line with our concept of holistic living. Do yourself a favour and head on over to their Facebook page @wildsproutcpt and pop in for a healthy lunch or mid-morning treat.