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

Royal lattes

Gingerbread-goodness latte (serves 1)

Delicious almond milk infused with warm spices that sing gingerbread. Don’t be shy with the cinnamon, it is loaded with anti-oxidants, has an anti-inflammatory effect, can aid digestion and it is even believed to help maintain blood glucose levels.

Ingredients:

  • Single espresso
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (almondbreeze barista blend)

Method:

  1. In a mug, combine the espresso, agave, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Whisk together until well-combined.
  2. Heat the milk until just steaming in a small saucepan (or in a microwave). Froth using an electric or handheld frother (optional). Pour the milk gently into the mug over the back of a tablespoon. Spoon on the frothy milk on top and serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

 

Sunny Turmeric latte (serves 1)

Where to begin… much like cinnamon, turmeric has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. The reason for its health effects is the compound known as curcumin. Almost anyone can benefit from this Indian-hailed spice, especially because it can boost the immune system and act as an anticancer agent.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cm fresh turmeric, peeled (or 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder)
  • 1cm fresh ginger, peeled (or ½ teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Combine turmeric, ginger, honey, cinnamon, vanilla essence and a pinch of sea salt in a blender.
  2. Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat (or in microwave) until just simmering.
  3. Pour the hot milk into the blender and blitz everything until smooth and frothy.
  4. Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top.

 

Watch ‘yer Matcha (serves 1)

Matcha, is a very fine green powder made from the green leaves of tea bushes. It’s the only tea where the leaves are consumed as part of the drink rather than being infused in hot water. The anti-oxidant content of matcha is higher than other teas, and it’s a particularly rich source of L-theanine, an amino acid unique to tea.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (almondbreeze barista blend), soy milk or rice milk.
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder*
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup

Method:

  1. Bring 3/4 cup milk to a bare simmer in a small pot over medium-high heat (or in a microwave).
  2. Place 1 teaspoon matcha powder in a mug/cup. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup boiling water, then the milk, tipping the cup slightly to help create more foam. Sweeten with agave syrup.

*Matcha (green tea powder) is available at Wellness Warehouse.

 

Charry night latte (serves 1)

Activated charcoal has a strong affinity for absorbing impure and toxic gases in the body and drawing them out, like a magnet, and aiding your body’s natural detoxification process. Activated charcoal is not known to be toxic, but avoid taking it within two hours of vitamins or medications because it will keep the body from adsorbing them. A latte to be enjoyed if you are experiencing a nasty bout of the tummy bug but if not – tantalise your taste buds with another one of our Royal lattes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (almondbreeze barista blend)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ¾ – 1 teaspoon activated charcoal
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract
  • 1 teaspoon agave

Method:

  1. In small pot on medium heat, add all ingredients.
  2. Whisk vigorously until milk begins to froth.
  3. Add to mug and enjoy warm – remember that this latte should not be drunk within 2 hours of taking vitamins/medications.

*Activated charcoal is available at Dischem or health shops – look for Natures Choice Detoxinol.

 

Macalicious (serves 1)

Maca has recently found itself on the top of almost all superfood lists; and I’ll tell you why. Benefits of maca include: increased energy, enhanced libido, immune system support, improved memory and mental clarity, reduction of chronic fatigue and an enhanced mood. With benefits like that and the malty taste it has – there’s no reason to not add this superfood to smoothies, soups or your daily latte.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (almondbreeze barista blend)
  • 1-2 pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maca
  • 1 teaspoon carob powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Add the milk and dates to a saucepan and heat until steaming.
  2. Add the warm milk and remaining ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until smooth and frothy. Serve with a dusting of maca powder on top.

*Maca is available at most health shops including Wellness Warehouse – look for the Superfoods Organic Maca powder.

Dreamy peppermint and cacao latte (serves 1)

Besides the irresistible aroma of peppermint – the benefits are endless: digestion health, nausea, weight loss, stress management and even bad breath. Pair peppermint with cacao nibs which are potent anti-oxidants and you have yourself a winner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot espresso
  • 1 teaspoon of organic cacao powder *
  • 5-6 peppermint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (almondbreeze barista blend)

Method:

  1. Add the milk and peppermint to a saucepan and heat until steaming.
  2. Infuse the milk with the peppermint for 5-10 minutes or until desired strength is acquired.
  3. Stir in the cacao powder and agave.
  4. Gently pour the heated milk mixture over the espresso shot.
  5. Top with a sprinkling of cacao powder and enjoy.

*Superfoods to the rescue once again – try Superfoods organic cacao powder available at Wellness Warehouse.

Eating for the Winter Season

Winter is a time where your metabolism slows down, your immune system is put to the test and you tend to feel the effects of being tired, unmotivated and lethargic. Many are also driven to comfort foods which can cause weight gain and healthy eating can be put on hold.

Here are 5 effective ways to increase energy in winter so you can strengthen your immune system, stop the cold and flu symptoms from appearing and continue with healthy eating:

Stick to routine

You’ve been waking up at 5 am and getting to the gym 4 times a week since January  – don’t break this habit now. However, it’s also really important to remember that quality sleep is vital for good health. Poor sleep can impact on everyday life affecting concentration, mood, stress levels and weight gain. Aim to get into bed early and enjoy around 8 hours of deep sleep.

Stay hydrated

Staying well hydrated will give you more energy, mental clarity and enhanced digestive function. If you are struggling to get in your 2l a day – opt for herbal teas to warm up from the inside.

Don’t be afraid of the outdoors 

A refreshing walk outdoors might be all you need to get that energy boost and a little dose of Vitamin D. Rainy? Do 30 minutes of yoga or stretching in the comfort of your own home.

Load up on goodness

Make sure that you are eating enough vegetables throughout the day. Aim for foods rich in the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene, such as citrus fruit, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, and spinach. To fight off infections,  increase your intake of zinc, which is found in fish, oysters, poultry, eggs, milk and unprocessed grains.

In addition, try include a healthy level of good bacteria.  Fermented dairy products such as kefir and yoghurt—and sauerkraut—provide live cultures.

Snack

Grab the right snacks – fruit, nuts, yoghurt or a warm cup of tea with a delicious homemade oats biscuit. Steer clear from baked goods or snacks high in sugar.

Try our delicious variations of healthy and super nutritious snacks:

  • Oat and fruit bars – http://alexroyaldiet.co.za/oat-and-fruit-bars
  • Cocoa coconut and date balls – http://alexroyaldiet.co.za/cocoa-coconut-and-date-balls
  • Superfood health nut mix – http://alexroyaldiet.co.za/superfood-health-nut-mix

 

 

 

The missing piece in YOUR puzzle – gene testing

To all my clients interested in DNA testing or those who have already done some testing –

We invite you and your family, friends, interested minds-alike to join us at the CTG talk on genes, entitled The missing piece in YOUR puzzle. This is being organised by CTG (the Center of Translational Genomics).

What to expect:

The missing piece in YOUR puzzle
When: 26 August 2017; 9am – 12pm
Where: Belmont Square, Rondebosch, Cape Town
Tickets: R100 via webtickets https://goo.gl/kfyN6a / R120 at the door

CTG Centre and DNAlysis will be hosting the very first event exploring how an individual’s genetic profile can help one achieve optimal health and manage body weight.

Find out more about your diet, your lifestyle and your genes at ‘The missing piece in YOUR puzzle’ on 26th August 2017 at Belmont Square, Rondebosch.

Learn from international speakers and experts in their field, including best-selling author, Kathie Swift (USA); nutrigenetics expert, Dr Yael Joffe and founder of DNAlysis, Dr Daniel Meyersfeld

Explore the first ever Culinary Genomics Experience which will display the fusion of nutrition science, genomic medicine and culinary arts. Interact with leading experts and products within the health, fitness, weight-loss and sport industry.

Further queries please contact Deandra or Anine – admin@ctgcentre.com / 021 461 2530

Soup up this Winter

Temperatures are dropping, and there is something so comforting about sipping on a warm bowl of goodness. Avoid the pre-made stuff and use up all those leftover veggies in the fridge by whipping up these quick and super easy, heart-warming soups. These recipes are rich in anti-oxidants and plenty of other nutritious, delicious superfoods. The best part is, they can be made in 60 minutes or less.

 

Sweet potato, butternut and kale soup (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 small butternut
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 300ml almond milk
  • 4 handfuls of chopped kale
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • Salt, pepper, curry (optional)
  • Roasted pine nuts for garnish
  • Small bunch coriander

Method:

  1. Start out with preparing the ingredients. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and the butternut. Wash and chop the kale, onion, and apples.
  2. Bring the coconut  and almond milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the sweet potato and butternut and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the sweet potato/butternut is soft.
  3. Add the kale, onion, and apples to the saucepan. Season with salt, pepper, and optionally curry according to taste. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, roast the pine nuts in a frying pan.
  5. Serve the soup hot with a good amount of the roasted pine nuts and fresh coriander.

 

Ginger and turmeric carrot soup (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 400g  carrots, chopped into rounds
  • 4 medium beets, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4cm of fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Coriander, chopped, for garnish

Method:

  1. Toss the carrots and beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread out onto a baking sheet, transfer to the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the veggies are tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, or until the onion begins to become soft. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for one minute more, or until the garlic/ginger becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the roasted beets, carrots and vegetable stock to the saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Stir in the vinegar, cayenne pepper and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer the beet stock mixture to a blender or blend in the pot using a blender stick. Blend until smooth.
  7. Serve with chopped coriander to garnish.

 

Chicken zucchini noodle soup (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • ½  cup diced red onion
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 3 teaspoons fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • Avocado for topping (optional)

Method:

  1. Place a large soup pot over medium heat and add in the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  2. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables “sweat” and onions are translucent. Add in the thyme and oregano and cook for another 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  3. Place in the chicken thighs and bay leaf and pour in the chicken broth and water.
  4. Cover and let the mixture come to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a steady simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken and peel off the skin and discard. Then, shred the chicken off the bone and set aside, with any juices. Place the bones back into the soup pot and simmer for 10 more minutes, uncovered.
  6. While the bones simmer, slice the zucchinis halfway lengthwise. Then, spiralize/grate the zucchini. Set aside.
  7. Remove the bones and bay leaves and discard. Add the reserved shredded chicken back to the pot along with the zucchini noodles.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes or until zucchini is al dente. Season to taste.
  9. Top with sliced avocado (optional)

 

Eliminate. Detox. Boost.

Improve your health, body, work productivity, mood, and energy levels this winter by joining our 4 Week Health Program. Each week marks a different stage that is important for your health:

The 4 Week Health Program includes:

  • A healthy eating program divided into 4 stages.
  • We will see you each week at the start of a new stage
    • An initial consult (body composition assessment and diet explanation)
    • 3 follow up consults
  • Our ‘Dietitian’s Guide to Clean Eating’ e-book for FREE
  • An exercise regime specifically designed for the program incorporating high intensity training, conditioning and yoga*
*The 4 Week Health Program is R1440 (excl supplements and exercise regime)

Mother’s Day Giveaway

WIN a ‘Dietitians Guide to Clean Eating’ for mum this Mother’s Day, the 14th May.

Follow these easy instructions below and you will be one step closer to winning your mum a fabulous guide to clean eating.

  1. Like and share this post on Facebook
  2. Tell us what you’re going to make mum to eat on Mother’s day
  3. Make everyone jealous by sharing your great meal ideas for Mother’s day

The winner will be announced on Friday the 12th May.

Need some ideas?

We were thinking delicious banana pancakes with honey-nut yoghurt for breakfast in bed, and perhaps a chicken and blood orange tabbouleh salad for lunch, not forgetting a late afternoon nibble of brie and pomegranate bruschetta.

                                                             

Sound good to you? We are certain mum’s all over will love you for these recipes!

 

 

5 Quick Fixes for those Nasty Tummy Issues

It’s that time of year where everyone seems to either be run down with the “Summer-is-over-Winter-is-approaching-flu” or a bedridden tummy bug. A healthy diet and bed rest can do wonders but if you have been victim to the dreaded tummy bug then try these ‘quick’ fixes to give your gut the boost it needs. The gut is after all the most important aspect when it comes to our immune defense system.

  1. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a unique form of charcoal (different to the ashes that remain after a braai), that binds to toxins in the gut alleviating symptoms of gas, bloating or other IBS related complications such as cramping and diarrhoea. Activated charcoal comes in a fine powder, granules, tablets and capsules.

Whichever form you choose, always take it with a big glass of water and at least two hours away from food and more importantly, medications and other supplements. Find activated charcoal at any Wellness Warehouse or health shop. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage instructions on the product.

  1. Glutamine and zinc

Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. Zinc can alter your gut bacteria and low levels of zinc can contribute to poor zinc absorption, which is in itself a problem. Both glutamine and zinc act as a powerful tummy healing remedy.

  1. Omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which can reduce some of the symptoms related to acute and chronic digestive problems. Omega 3 can be found in salmon and sardines. These two provide us with most of the health benefits attributed to omega-3 fatty acids.

Other sources include seeds and nut oils such as flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and soybeans.

  1. Probiotics (and prebiotics)

Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and helps get rid of bad bacteria. Probiotic rich foods include fermented vegetables (see below), yoghurt, buttermilk and kefir.

  1. Bone broth and Fermented foods

Bone broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. Fermented foods contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh are excellent sources.

Also remember that bacteria feed off sugar so try to cut our refined carbohydrates and sugar altogether. Your tummy will thank you.

Spice things up with a Deconstructed Vegetarian Mexican Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice or quinoa
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup fresh corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno, diced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 cups cabbage (purple and white)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1-2 tsp agave nectar

Method:

  1. Begin by making the rice/quinoa according to package’s directions.
  2. To make the Avocado Corn Salsa: Combine avocado, corn, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes, red onion, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup minced coriander and the juice from 1 lime in a medium size bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. To make the Mexican Coleslaw: Shred the cabbage, carrots, and bell pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 1/4 cup minced coriander, juice from 1 lime and the agave nectar. Mix together to combine, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. To make the Black Beans: Coat the beans in a 1/2 tsp cumin and place in a pot over medium heat. Cook until heated all the way through, stirring as necessary. Season to taste.

Assemble the bowls by placing the brown rice/quinoa on the bottom. Top with avocado corn salsa, coleslaw and beans.

Serves 3-4

Hello Easter 2017

Have yourself a guilt-free Easter by trying these sneaky (and smart) eating tips:

  • Start your day off healthy: Go for your walk (or find your inner child and partake in the Easter egg hunt) and drink your green smoothie. Nothing sets you off more positively for the day.
  • Be drink-wise: Remember that alcohol is an empty calorie so try limit yourself to 1-2 units (for females) and 2-3 units (for males). Drink plenty of water throughout the day too.
  • Get in those veggies: Aim to fill up at least half your plate with salad and vegetables, that way there isn’t much space for the potato bake and pumpkin fritters.
  • Choose your indulgence: Avoid going overboard and stick to one treat. It’s either a second helping of roast, pudding after lunch or hot cross buns and a sneaky Easter egg, but not everything.
  • Start off the new week fresh: Easter break and school holidays are over, get back into routine with regular, healthy meals, lots of water and exercise. Try our Dietitians Guide to Clean Eating to kickstart your healthy eating regime. E-book now on sale for R199.00

 

The low-down on Depression and Diet

April is here and the month of April features not only Easter, but also World Health Day. The theme this year for World Health Day, which falls on Friday the 7th, is Depression. So without dampening the mood of Easter and the hype of long weekends, quality family time and delicious foods, I thought it best to give you the low down on diet and depression.

Depression is a topic most people shy away from but knowing the cold, hard facts can only be beneficial. The more you know, the easier it becomes to understand and once you’ve mastered the skills of understanding depression, you’ll realise in actual fact, it cannot be understood but there are actions we can take to lessen the risk of suffering from depression.

The World Health Organisation has a wonderful factsheet that gives information on the types of depression, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Worth a read.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/

I am no expert in the field of depression itself, so I am going to stay within my area of expertise and speak about the relationship between diet and depression. A diet rich in the following nutrients has been proven to decrease the risk of depression.

Anti-oxidants: A good balance between oxidative stress and antioxidants is very important. Inflammation and oxidative stress are major contributors in the pathogenesis of depression. When I refer to anti-oxidants I mean vitamin E, vitamin C, Beta carotene and selenium (amongst others). Foods high in these antioxidants include: Pumpkin, apricots, mangoes, carrots, spinach, parsley, seafood, lean meat, whole grains, oranges, berries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, peppers, vegetable oils, nuts, avocados and seeds.

Folate (also called 5-MTHF): Folate is crucial to synthesise the neurotransmitters—dopamine, noradrenalin, and serotonin—all of which have antidepressant effects. So, without enough of the 5-MTHF form of folate, serotonin levels decrease in the brain, contributing to depression. Folate-rich foods include: eggs and leafy green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, swiss chard.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D modulates the part of the brain which regulates adrenalin, noradrenaline and dopamine production. Vitamin D protects against the depletion of dopamine and serotonin centrally. Simply speaking, low vitamin D levels can be a contributing factor to depression. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, liver and egg yolks (not forgetting sun exposure).

Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which is then converted into serotonin. So, tryptophan and 5-HTP both act as precursors to the production of serotonin in the brain. As you can already tell, it is very important to include this amino acid in your diet. Foods containing tryptophan are: turkey, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Omega 3: People with depression may have low blood levels of brain chemicals called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which play an important role in brain function. Food sources of Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) are: sardines, salmon, herring, trout and tuna.

5 Eating tips to brighten your day

  1. Include folate rich foods daily: foods containing folate are amongst others eggs and leafy green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, swiss chard etc
  2. Get your dose of vitamin D: monitoring the amount of time you spend outdoors is important, but also make sure to get in enough eggs and fatty fish.
  3. Protein, protein, protein: we already mentioned the very important tryptophan. Aim to have protein at every meal and remember to incorporate plant-based proteins (lentils, beans, quinoa, soya) into your diet too.
  4. Variety is key: eating a variety of foods ensures you are getting in all the very important micronutrients, amino acids and trace minerals.
  5. Enjoy your food: eating can boost your mood, not in the obvious physiological response, but in the enjoyment of taking 30 minutes down time, or enjoying the company of a friend or family member so sit, chew, relax and be grateful for all the positives in your life.

Not quite food related, but advice none-the-less. Remember how important it is to get 7-8 hours of sleep every day, to rest and recuperate on weekends, to spend quality time with loved ones and last but not least, to take some “me-time”.