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.

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

Hello New Year!

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to 2016!

Last year was an absolute whirlwind. One of amazing work opportunities and growth. One of enormous change and developments in my life and many others. We’ve seen new love blossom, old love dissolve and families expand. For those of you who know me, you know that I confidently and happily accept the “cat lady” title. Well I now have a family of THREE cats and two dogs and last but definitely not least, an amazing fiance. So, I am very blessed to say, that 2015 was a very special year in my books.

My little family

My little family

Many of us enter the new year with an obsessively long list of “to do’s” and “to change’s”. Mine is a full page (and growing)! This is all good and well if this develops from a well balanced life, but often it becomes a chore or a stress, which to be honest is most people’s number one to avoid, right?

So after seeing friends and family experiencing many ups and downs this year I was really grounded and jolted into reality. I think also after working in a hospital where you witness patients fighting for health and just that small feeling of “fine-ness” my views have really changed.

My wish for you this year is to settle into yourself. Let’s accept our bodies, our minds, our emotions. Know that “fine is fantastic”. Wake up each day and be so incredibly grateful for every healthy cell in your beautiful body. Be grateful for your health and beautiful life that you have been so blessed with. Remember that beauty comes from a place of self confidence. Radiance comes from self love. Let that beauty radiate through your gorgeous smile. I have been so moved and inspired by people fighting battles over the past year. You are all heros!

Now obviously being a Dietitian I aim to bring about positive change in people’s lives through nutrition (and yes weight loss), so all this self love might seem counter-intuitive if your healthy cells consist of mainly fat cells. But it is completely parallelled. If you can focus on nourishing your body with clean and fresh nutrients, challenging your body with exercise and treating your mind to yoga and meditation then you are motoring along the correct path to longevity and health.

So let this year be your year of happiness. Simple, self indulgent joy.

Love and respect your body, mind and spirit. Yes, make the changes to achieve health goals, but focus on doing it in a balanced way.

Sending lots of luck and love to you all as we start this year!

buddha

 

How to stay trim over Christmas

Prepare yourself for the holiday season! The run-up to Christmas is often a time for endless party nibbles, alcohol and lack of exercise…

The sooner you try out these tips, the more prepared you will be for the holiday foods.

1.   Exercise 
Give yourself the gift of 30 minutes of exercise a day. In addition to burning calories, exercise also helps to relieve tension – so you are less likely to eat to control holiday stress.

2.    Stay hydrated! 
A little water goes a long way – small sips throughout the day is a smart way to keep well hydrated. Even better, water has no fat, no calories and no cholesterol 🙂

3.   Portion Alert! 
Try to keep your portions small and make only one visit to the table. Choose the smallest plate possible. Pile greens and other tasty veggies on your plate first, leaving just a little room for those high-calorie treats like sweets and cheeses. Eat small, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can enjoy a special treat later – just make sure you do not starve yourself for the party and overeat later.

4.    Step away from the table 
If you don’t put your choices on a plate, you have no idea how much you are really eating. The worst thing you can do at a party is stand around the table dipping into the bowl.

5.   
 Drink smart 
Alcohol is a double whammy during the holidays.  It tends to weaken your resistance when it comes to eating, and the calories in drinks add up quickly.

6.    Zen Yourself
Holidays can be stressful. Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Organise your time and make a list and prioritise the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. And don’t forget to schedule some down time to relax.

7.    Slip, don’t slide
If you eat three helpings of mashed potatoes and half a pie, all is not lost.  Rather than polishing off the rest, learn from your slip-up. Next time, eat a salad first, start a conversation, and park yourself far from the danger zone. The next time starts today.

 

Remember to avoid missing meals in the busy period running up to Christmas. This easily leads to overeating, when you’re faced with temptation.

 

ENJOY THE FESTIVE SEASON 🙂

Sugar Addiction

Let’s talk about sugar and find out what you can do to kick your sugar habit and get your life back on track. Sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in many foods from lactose in milk to the fructose in fruit and honey. In fact, we need some sugar in our diets to supply energy to fuel our muscles and keep our brains active.

The problem comes in where children and adults are consuming TOO MUCH sugar. Many processed foods have added sugar which supplies energy in the form of calories and very little else.  A high intake of sugar causes our blood sugar levels to shoot up, giving us that feel-good ‘high’ followed by a crashing which leaves us tired, irritable and craving more sugary foods. It’s a vicious cycle that may be contributing to our weight problems as well as health concerns like diabetes and heart disease.

 

Foods high in added sugar: cakes, biscuits, sweets, frozen desserts, fruit drinks, fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, chocolates, savoury foods.

sugar cycle

Making a few adjustments to your diet can help you cut down on unnecessary sugar consumption:

  • Reduce the sugar you add to hot drinks. Do this gradually to give your taste buds time to adjust. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to cappuccino or hot chocolate, cinnamon adds flavour without the sweetness.
  • Be wary of ‘sugar-free’ foods. These often contain synthetic sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin and aspartame. Although these taste sweet, they don’t help curb a sweet tooth so they tend to send confusing messages to the brain, which can lead to over-eating.
  • Balance your carb intake with lean protein like fish and chicken- protein foods slow stomach emptying, which helps manage cravings.
  • Swap white bread, rice and pasta for wholegrain versions like oats, whole-wheat breads, brown rice, quinoa and pasta.
  • Reduce the sugar in recipes and add spices to boost flavour and taste.
  • For a pick me up, have a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or a small tub of plain yogurt.

Health and Wellness in the workplace

Health and wellness in the workplace

Healthy and empowered employees are happier and more productive.

Healthy employees are efficient, take fewer sick days and are more productive in your company. The reverse is also true – it is recognized that the workplace itself has a powerful effect on people’s health. When people are satisfied with their job, they are more productive and tend to be healthier. When employees feel that the environment at work is , which has a large impact on employee mental and physical health, and in turn, on productivity.

We have done various health and wellness days including:

  • Presentations at Parliament and Transnet
  • Assessments and consultations at Mr Price, Milady’s, Mr Price Financial Services, Swiss Re, Shelll and OMD.

We have seen that a good workplace wellness program has an impact on employees’ mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being, and of course productivity. It’s time to empower your employees with life-changing nutrition information.

benefits of wellness