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.

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

Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring is in the air! Can you feel it?

If Winter did some damage (it happens to the best of us), and your exercise regime is almost non-existent, give these 10 Spring tips a go. No juice cleanses, restrictions or fasts – just good, healthy eating to break those nasty Winter habits so you can get back to feeling energetic and happy.

 

  1. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier – if you managed to wake up at 5am throughout Winter to fit in your 30 minutes of activity for the day, we salute you. For those who woke up when the sun made an appearance, try setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier to get into a good routine.
  2. Give caffeine the boot – limit yourself to 2 cups of coffee daily and instead of the 3rd and 4th (and sometimes 5th) cup of coffee, drink a glass of water. If water seems like the most unappetizing drink to opt for, try herbal teas or add cucumber, rosemary and strawberries to your bottle of water for a bit of flavour.
  3. Spruce up your pantry – no need for heavy, hearty meals. Ensure your kitchen is stocked with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains such as oats, bulgar wheat, rice noodles and quinoa, fish, chicken, eggs and lean meat and all the herbs and flavours of spring. We love grapefruit, pineapple, coconut and alllll the greens.
  4. Say no to sugar – it’s time to break the habit of tea and rusks, sugar-laden cereals, pastries and the frequent chocolate. Get in healthy sugars from fruit instead – your gut will thank you.
  5. Put a spring in your step – aim to get in some form of exercise at least 4 times a week. Gym, walking, hiking, or yoga… just get active and moving.
  6. Greens, greens, greens – a change in season usually means a stubborn flu is making the rounds. Load up on all your greens to ensure you are getting in all the immune boosting vitamins and minerals. Spring is also the time to get sprouting. Sprouts (broccoli sprouts specifically) are fantastic in helping your body to naturally detox itself.
  7. Load up on anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods – fighting off infection, eliminating bloating, decreasing oxidative stress. There is no reason to not be getting in these superhero foods. Include in your spring diet: cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, olives, walnuts, almonds, avocados, herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, rosemary, cayenne pepper), garlic, spinach, kale, bok choy (all collard greens), tomatoes, beetroot, cacao, berries, prunes, raisins, apples, plums, oranges, red grapes, alfafa sprouts, red pepper and aubergine.
  8. Go meat-free Monday – start your week off right by opting for bean, peas, protein-rich grains or an egg-based lunch and dinner. This sets your week off right and gets you going for the week ahead. Try combining different beans, peas and grains to ensure you are getting in all the important amino acids that your body needs.
  9. Be mindful – listen to your body. Some days you need an extra green juice or a power nap. Be in tune with what your body is telling you. Rest when tired. Stop eating when you’re full.
  10. Take in your surroundings – be outside. Go for walks, hikes or picnics. Getting in a healthy dose of Vitamin D will work wonders for your energy levels.

August: A time to celebrate Women

There’s no denying that as a woman we have certain roles to fill, duties and responsibilities that are both unique and wonderful but can also be draining both physically and emotionally.

Knowing and accepting that you need an extra boost is what being human is all about. So take from the tips what you need and share with someone near and dear the tips they might need, after all, we are in this together.

Women’s Health Tips from girl-to-girl:

  1. Good, nutritious food – this is a no-brainer yet it happens to be the first thing that goes out the window. Women need a healthy balanced diet that suits the needs of its holder, whether that is more protein, no dairy, a block of dark chocolate after a bad day or a veggie juice because the greens are otherwise non-existent. Find what works for you and stick with it.
  2. Soulful company – a loyal pet, a trusty friend or a peaceful yoga group. Find your tribe, this is a must.
  3. Extra vitamins and minerals – iron, omega 3, a good B-vitamin, vitamin A, C and D, Calcium. Women need a little extra when it comes to these all-important nutrients. Make sure you are getting in enough through a healthy, balanced diet.
  4. Sleep – a luxury to most but I cannot stress the importance of getting in enough. Aim for 7-8 hours a day and if possible, sneak in that 15 minute shut eye in the afternoon.
  5. Time to yourself – possibly more of a luxury than sleep? Maybe. Put down the tab, iPhone or laptop. Try 10 minutes of meditation or a 30 minute walk outdoors. Breathe. Relax. Be grateful.

 

Need a little pick me up? Try our Royal Lattes

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

 

 

 

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)