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.

 

 

 

Low Carb Breakfast Wrap to start off Diabetes Month

If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes or you are pre-diabetic and you need to make radical changes in your current diet – this low carb breakfast wrap is a filling, veggie-loaded option that promises to hit the spot without spiking your glucose levels.

Low Carb Breakfast Wrap (Serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, free-range
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh rocket leaves/watercress
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 red pepper,  julienned
  • 1/4 small zucchini, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons spring onion, chopped

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, combine eggs, almond milk and spices. Beat until well combined.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a small to medium non-stick pan over medium heat for a 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Evenly pour in the egg mixture. Cook covered over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until you can easily flip the omelette using a spatula. Flip halfway and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side.
  4. When ready, remove from heat and let cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  5.  Arrange rocket/watercress leaves on the cooled omelette. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top, then arrange the carrots, red pepper, and zucchini along the middle and sides.
  6.  Roll the omelette,  and then cut in half. Season with salt and pepper.

Filling variations:

  • Smoked salmon/trout
  • Curried butter beans
  • Hummus and avocado

 

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!

 

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.

 

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.