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

5 Tips to Kick the Flu this winter

While nothing can completely stop a cold in its tracks, a healthy immune system can help ward off the germs that cause colds and the flu. A healthy immune system can even minimize a cold’s duration

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can provide a challenge during the cold months. As the temperature drops, it’s tempting to abandon our healthy eating habits and exercise regimen for comfort food and huddling indoors.

However, keeping well-nourished is important in keeping our immune system firing and to ward off winter bugs. Following these tips can help you stay healthy through winter.

 

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which can boost your immune system. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are great to make hot stewed fruit or soups and casseroles – perfect warming foods for a cold winter’s day.

Watch your portion sizes.
To avoid a winter waistline try using a smaller plate, filling half your plate with vegetables, and avoiding distractions (like the TV) at meal times. Try to reduce ‘non-hungry eating’ by asking yourself whether you are actually hungry or whether instead you might be looking to food because you are bored or tired.

Keep hydrated.
Even when it’s cold out, you still need to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid each day. Remember that a warm cup of non-caffeinated tea counts!

Enjoy some sunshine.
The shorter days in winter mean we get less exposure to the sun, which can lead to a drop in vitamin D and serotonin. This drop can affect our mood and we may be more inclined to reach for high calorie comfort foods to make us feel better temporarily. This in turn impacts our immunity. Try spending some time outdoors during your lunch break or go for a quick walk before or after work.

Keep active.
Put your layers on and head outside for a walk or find an indoor sport or exercise class you enjoy. Increase your incidental exercise by taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking further away from your destination.

Black Bean Brownies

My family LOVES brownies, so I decided to make them a “healthier” version of a brownie that tastes as DELICIOUS. Don’t believe me? 😊

Then try these Black bean brownies, the trick is to serve them first and then reveal the secret ingredient 🤫

Ingredients

– 1/2 cups black beans (drained and rinsed well)
– 2 tbsp cocoa powder
– 1/2 cup quick oats
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/3 cup honey or agave
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 cup crushed almonds (more for presentation)
*you can add coconut, nuts, cacoa nibs etc.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180’C.
2. Combine all ingredients, except the nuts in a blender, I used my nutribullet.
3. Once blended and smooth, stir in the crushed nuts. Then pour into a greased 8×8 pan.
4. Cook the brownies for 15-18 and then let it cool for 10 minutes before trying to cut it.

ENJOY 😉

Success Story- Lihana – “Its not a diet, its a lifestyle”

Lihana has done amazing in her weight loss journey following her personalized meal plan, she has been so positive and determined from the start, to take charge of her health. Lihana shares her journey and what she has learnt through this amazing and inspiring transformation!

Kirby: How much weight have you lost in total?
Lihana: I weighed 79.9kg when I came to you, I now weigh 71.7kg. A total of around 8.2kg in 4 months.

Kirby: What was the most difficult part of the diet plan?
Lihana: I am a mom of a 3 year old and it is so easy to lose yourself in motherhood, work and being a wife. I have tried all types of diets and nothing was sustainable. In my mind I was quite healthy but I came to the realization that I actually don’t eat a lot, but when I do I eat all the wrong types of food. The biggest challenge was the mindset change and to realise that this will not be a quick fix but a LIFESTYLE. I had to decide to do this for me and in that way I can be an example to my daughter, of how to be healthy and it does not have to cost you a fortune to cook nutritious meals.

Kirby: What was the easiest part of this journey?
Lihana: The easiest part was the weigh in sessions with you as the anticipation of your results can be quite exciting.

Kirby: Can you share some tips and give advice to others in your shoes, just starting the diet plan?
Lihana: Do not see it as a diet, this must be a lifestyle change. You must do it for yourself and you will not lose the weight in one week, you definitely did not pick the up weight overnight. ALWAYS remember where you started and that will make the end result so worth it. Every kg, cm and body fat % I lost was like a brick off my shoulders.

I feel great and I cant wait to cook myself healthy real food! I actually eat a lot these days but I love every meal. Stay true to yourself and don’t overthink it JUST DO IT! 🙂

I am so glad I got to meet Kirby from Alex Royal Dietetics. She has guided me and supported me all the way.

New You Program

2019 – Your Year to Thrive

This is going to be a detox, challenge and health program all in one.

🌿 Our aim is to help you identify your health goals and support you along that path with a diet plan, motivational tips, recipes and a support group

🌿It can be quite tough to make the right choices and to say no to temptation so we are here to hold your hand every step of the way

🌿 We want you to start this year as the best version of yourself, the “New You”.

You will need to commit to giving up dairy, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and meat for 5 days.

You will get a 5 day diet plan which you need to stick to. We will send this to you once you sign up.

We will add you to the WhatsApp group once you have signed up. This is a great support and will also include specialists in the field who can guide you. You will also get daily meditations on self love and daily recipes, tips and motivation.

Start date: 4 Feb

Cost: R390

🌿 HOW DO I SIGN UP?

Email info@alexroyaldiet.co.za your POP and cell number by Saturday 2 Feb. You will be sent your starter pack and whatsApp group link.

Success Story- Ismail shares his journey to weight loss

One of my most determined and motivated clients, Ismail, has done exceptionally in his weight loss journey following his meal plan, losing 47kg. He shares his journey and what he has learnt through this amazing and inspiring transformation!

 

Kirby: How much weight have you lost in total?

Ismail: I was at 164kg, my heaviest just before I came to see you. I am currently around 117kg and my aim is to get into the double figures soon.

Kirby: What was the most difficult part of the diet plan?

Ismail: When I came to you I was in the process of doing some soul searching and trying to understand where I wanted to be in terms of my weight. The difficult part was realizing what my bad habits were and sometimes still are, and to understand what the food does for me and to me. With the help of the consultations and knowledgeable advice you gave me – I started to understand the situation I was in and I could then reflect seriously on what I wanted from my life. The difficult parts were removing the years of bad eating habits and changing it into a healthier way of eating, this is still a learning curve for me. The discipline in learning how to cook nutritious meals for myself was key in breaking those old bad habits. I always remind myself to have more veggies and salad and to start filling my plate with those first! I found it difficult in the beginning to get into a regular routine of exercise and to maintain the momentum of working on my weight, staying on a good eating plan, and working on my emotional self in order to attain my goals.

Kirby: What was the easiest?

Ismail: The easiest part was coming to my consultations and feeling relaxed and knowing that this is my journey to many little goals during my weight loss.

Kirby: Can you share some tips and give advice to others in your shoes, just starting the diet plan?

Ismail: Sometimes the road ahead seems like a mountain, but by taking it one day and one meal at a time, is the first healing steps. Get to know yourself and to love yourself and make little changes to improve your health and weight.

Keep it up Ismail !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All About the Whale Trail

I was fortunate enough to do one of the best hiking trails South Africa has to offer!

If you love hiking and appreciate the outdoors, then the Whale trail is a MUST. It is a five day, 56km slack-packing trail through the De Hoop Nature Reserve that introduces you to some of the most beautiful scenery along the Western Cape coastline. The route from Potberg mountain to Koppie Alleen includes five overnight stops. The distance to each overnight cabin differs each day from easy to strenuous and takes approximately 4-8 hours of hiking per day.

What added to the atmosphere was the fact that this hike could cater for up to 12 people sharing. I met some amazing people who joined me on this incredible experience. Knowing this, I would suggest if you planning on going, you need to book in advanced because of the space limitation.

In order to enjoy the full extend of this amazing adventure, one needs to take the true sense of mother nature into consideration! In saying that, you should not be squeamish when it comes to mice or crickets or other bugs, as you would expect being out in the wild! Being in the nature reserve, we had to adhere to letting them roam as free as they like without harming them, and leave the food pyramid to its own devices. Snakes were pretty common too, as we saw the infamous Cape Cobra as well as the Berg Adder which was both scary and amazing at the same time! At one point, I had a meeting with the one Cape Cobra as it decided it wanted to introduce itself across my path. Bird life is incredible, having had an opportunity to see the Fish eagle and our countries National bird. Overall, you can expect to be greeted with a vast range of wild life. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales, as whale season ended in August/October.

What to eat

What made this hike even more enjoyable was that your food and clothes were transported to each hut which made exploring nature just that much easier and exciting as you only carry your day pack. When it comes to food, avoid things that needs refrigeration, so preparation is key, as only the first hut had a fridge available.

Make sure you carefully plan your meals and snacks, these are essential for keeping your energy levels up while hiking.

Snacks

I wanted quick and easy snacks to keep me going throughout the hike which included:

  • A energy bar e.g. fututrelife lite – make sure that the sugar content is low
  • Nut butter/ nuts/ trail mix
  • 1-2 fruits (I always had fruit in my bag, I love my fruit and would always start off with a fruit)
  • Handful of mints
  • Biltong

Breakfast

  • Keep breakfast simple, you could have eggs, however I preferred a bowl of cooked oats topped with dried cranberries. This breakfast was quick, easy and kept me going for a couple hours.

Lunch/Dinner

  • I decided that the easiest thing to do was braai and have leftovers for lunch, which worked out quite well and saved a lot of time, this included:
    • Boiled baby potatoes and corn on the cob
    • Salad that was easy to travel with e.g. cucumber, cherry tomatoes, gherkins and onion etc.
    • And a variation of protein e.g. mostly chicken and some red meat, I prepacked the protein into vacuum sealed bags (this is key as your meat can go off by day 4-5) and kept it frozen in a mini cooler box that fitted in our portage.

I love my beans and fish, so it was a bit of a struggle having chicken and red meat everyday, so I quickly started craving fish. I promised myself to enjoy some lovely sashimi after and I have been eating fish everyday since!

What to pack

I found a check list to be quite helpful, as space is limited and you don’t want to forget your most important items:

  • Bed sheet
  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking shoes
  • Water
  • Binoculars
  • Mask and snorkel
  • Matches
  • Torch
  • Hats
  • Sandals
  • Washing liquid and dish clothes + cutlery (it was provided
    but I packed in just in case)
  • Mosquito repellent or cream
  • Towel
  • Toilet paper (this was provided)
  • Small medical kit
  • Water boots
  • Clothes
  • Sunscreen (preferably higher than SPF 20)

MORE TIPS…

1.Use Ziplock bags

Pack dry food, like oats or trail mix, into ziplock bags. Ziplock bags work well and can double up as trash bags afterwards.2. Wear a hat

2. Wear a hat

It is important to bring a hat to keep your ears and face protected from the sun. The tops of your ears and back of your neck are highly susceptible to getting burned while on the trail, so either get some sunscreen and or wear a hat that keeps them covered, I used both.

3. Sunscreen

If it’s sunny outside and you’re hiking up a mountain with a cool breeze in your face, you probably won’t be able to tell that your ears and face are getting absolutely burned.  Get yourself some waterproof sunscreen (I recommend SPF 50) to cover up those ears, cheeks, and back of your neck.

4. Sunglasses

Sunglasses is a MUST, I used polarized sunglasses.

5. Cellphone

I would suggest you pack your phone away and enjoy nature, there is limited reception throughout the trail, so all we used our phones for was taking beautiful pictures of the scenery, also there is limited space to charge your phone at each hut depending on your group size. I would suggest bringing along a power bank if you have one.

6. Keep hydrated

Always make sure you are keeping well hydrated, we went through 2-3L water while hiking, we were lucky to have great sunny weather but you sweat a lot in this warm weather. Its a good idea to add re-hydrate to one of your water bottles to replenish your electrolytes.

7-Day Detox to get the SPRING in your step

Happy Spring everybody. The sun is up for longer, the days are getting warmer, and flowers are beginning to bloom, we don’t know about you, but this got us at Alex Royal Dietetics feeling all inspired and motivated. So we decided to develop a 7 day detox program, following on from the incredible success of our 10-Day Thrive Detox we ran in August.  The 7-Day detox is just what you need to kick start the new season and get that spring in your step. 

 

What does the 7-Day Detox Entail?

The 7-day detox is done on an on-line platform. You will be assigned to a small Whatsapp group, of +/- 4-6 participants. One of our dietitians Aimee or Kirby, will also be part of the group, and will be your go to dietitian for the duration of the program. You will get the 7-Day Detox guide, as well as daily support, motivation, recipe’s and meal ideas. The Whatsapp group will also enable you to lean on each other for support and motivation, as well as allow you to share recipe’s, ideas and tips. The cost of the program is R400.

             

 

Feedback from our last detox…

“I modified my detox a bit, but what I will say is that it was fantastic to have a group and daily prompts from your team to remind us to stay on track and share ideas and inspiration. I have done many detoxes on my own and it is waaaay harder without this support.” TK

“I wanted to say WELL DONE! You guys did that so well! I loved the mindful aspect, the holistic approach.” J

“Just thought I would let you know how wonderful I think you all are. I am done with my 10 day. I did a 4 day juice cleanse in-between and have lost 5kg in the 10 days. Pretty happy here. 1.5kg to go & I will be at my target weight.” TG

“Feeling fantastic, and so happy to have done this” T

 

Interested?

Email info@alexroyaldiet.co.za and one of our dietitians will be in contact with you to sign up for our next enrollment. Enrollment opens on the 6’th September, and start date is 12’th September.

The Ketogenic Diet: What its all about…

In case you missed Kirby’s interview on Heart Radio Station, see Q&A below…

What is a keto diet?

The keto diet is a very high fat (70-80% of total calories), extremely low carb (less than 80g but can be reduced to 20-30g per day), moderate protein diet.

What is ketosis?

The idea is that when you deprive your body especially your brain of its primary fuel source (carbohydrates -starchy veg, all grains, all sources of sugar or fruit) it forces the body to use an alternative fuel source, fat for energy instead. This causes the body to produce something called ketones. These are chemicals made by the liver that can be used by cells for energy. When you are in this state, it’s called being in ketosis.

Is a keto diet safe?

A ketogenic diet could be an interesting alternative to treat certain conditions, and may accelerate weight loss. But it is hard to follow and it can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy. We also do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to stick with that people can’t eat this way for a long time, so we need more evidence to fully understand long term effects.

How do you know when your body is in ketosis?

Once ketone levels in the blood rise to a certain point, which you can test with a urine dipstick. This also depends on how strict you limit your carbs as well as other factors: genetics, medical history, body composition, energy needs.

What foods can you eat on a keto diet?

A few examples include:

Fats- olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, lard, some nuts and seeds, avo.

Veg- cruciferous, leafy greens, asparagus, cucumber, zucchini etc.

Protein- grass fed meat, poultry, eggs, bone broth, wild caught fish, organ meats, some full fat dairy.

Is a keto diet safe for the kidneys? -do you have an answer to this one?

It should be, if done correctly as you are not increasing your protein at all. The concern is more the liver, heart and arteries.

Is ketosis safe for diabetics?

Ketosis has been shown to improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes at least in the short term. *no long term studies have concluded this, more research is required.

What can you drink on the keto diet?

  • Water
  • Unsweetened coffee+tea
  • Bone broth
  • Bullet proof coffee
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir

FASTING

IS THE WAIT WORTH THE WEIGHT?

First thing’s first, let’s explain what fasting is, as it is important to note the difference between fasting and starvation.

The definition of fasting is ‘the voluntary abstinence from food intake for a specified period of time’. Fasting is not starvation, but merely an altered meal frequency and or pattern.

Fasting basically adjusts your “feeding window”, and in doing so, it gives your digestive system time to rest and kicks off a number of benefits in the body.

TYPES OF FASTING? 

There are a few different types of fasting and because this is a relatively new concept, their definitions often overlap, but these are the main four:

1. Time Restricted Feeding (TRF): TRF is when food is ingested in a certain period of time during the day and the person refrains from eating for the other part of the day.

2. Intermittent fasting/Alternate day fasting: Fasting on less than 500 calories for women or less than 600 calories for men for two non-consecutive days a week.

3. Short term fasting: less than three consecutive days

4. Prolonged term fasting: also referred to as the Fasting Mimicking Diet, this is fasting with food for 4-7 days

 

SO WHY THE CRAZE NOW?

So even though the concept of fasting and the health benefits associated with it have been around for hundreds of years, it’s popularity has definitely increased more recently.  There are numerous studies (albeit mostly animal studies) that have now been done, which are able to identify as well as quantify these benefits during periods of fasting. The increase in this evidence is revolutionizing the way we look at dietary intake and patterns.

THE BENEFITS OF FASTING

Studies have shown that fasting could potentially:
– Improve blood lipid (fat) control
– Improve blood glycaemic (sugar) control
– Reduce blood pressure
– Reduce insulin levles
– Decrease inflammatory markers
– Decrease fat mass
– Improve lean muscle mass

THE SCIENCE BEHIND FASTING

So how exactly does fasting induce these claimed remarkable benefits?  It is achieved through changes in key metabolic pathways and cellular processes, some of the main ones include:
– Autophagy
– Stress resistance
– Lipolysis

 

A BIT MORE ON AUTOPHAGY

The word ‘autophagy’ is of Greek origin, and directly translates to “auto” (meaning self) and “phagy” (meaning eating). It is basically your body’s way of carrying out cellular renewal processes. It clears damaged cells from the body; these damaged cells serve no function but tend to linger inside tissues and organs, which can be potentially harmful. Autophagy is present in all cells, but is substantially increased during periods of fasting. By ridding your body of these damaged cells, it results in a number of benefits, beyond just weight control, but also improved longevity as well as improved daily bodily function.

SO HOW CAN YOU IMPLEMENT FASTING?

As discussed, there are numerous different types of fasting, however two of the most popular and relatively easiest to implement are the 16/8 and 5/2 methods.

These two methods are explained in a bit more detail below, however if you are interested in implementing fasting into your routine, enquire with one of the dietitians at Alex Royal Dietetics, to ensure you are able to implement this correctly and safely.

16/8
All calories for the day are consumed within an 8 hour period, followed by 16 hours of fasting.
For example: eat dinner by 6pm, then only have your first meal the following day after 10am to ensure a full 16 hours of fasting.
NB: don’t break your fast prior to this with any food or drink that contains calories.  You can have water or black tea/black coffee (with no milk, sugar, or honey).

5/2
5 days of the week consists of normal caloric intake, and 2 days of the week consist of restricted caloric intake.
With this method, more so than 16/8 method, it is very important to consult with a registered dietitian to ensure the correct calorie intake is achieved.

NOTE: Fasting is a controlled diet method and shouldn’t be attempted without the guidance of a health care practitioner.

Summer Health Program – get the boost you need!

Take charge of December and better yet, get a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions! Our Health Program has been so successful, we just want to shout it at the top of our voices!

The program is 4 weeks long and focuses on getting you off sugar, alcohol, caffeine, dairy and gluten to give your body a much needed boost. Each week targets a new goal making the program manageable and super easy to follow.

What’s more?? To help get those resolutions on the way – if you buy the Health Program in the months of December and January, we’ll give you 15% off. Interested? Click here to view the program.

See what our very happy clients had to say about the program:

“It was so easy to follow, and has definitely resulted in me changing some long-term eating habits. Before I was living on caffeine as a busy working mom and using coffee as short-term fix. Now I’m more conscious of how much I’m having and feel much better for it.” ~ Robyn Talbot

“This program worked for me. It is a bit of a ‘vasbyt’ for the first couple of weeks but you won’t go hungry, ultimately you will lose weight and even if you don’t, you will feel a lot better for trying it out.” ~ Johan de Waal