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.

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

Fasting Mimicking Diet… to fast or not to fast?

Fasting has been on everyone’s ‘to try’ list, probably just below Banting. But how healthy is fasting really? Before hitting you with the good stuff, it is important to be aware that there are many different ways in which one can fast.

The various fasting types:

  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: <3 consecutive days
  4. Prolonged term fasting (also referred to as the Fasting Mimicking Diet): fasting with food for 4-7 days

Each type of fast has its benefits but only the prolonged fasting causes changes on a cellular level.

Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)

The FMD, designed by Professor Valter Longo at the Longevity Institute of the University of Southern California is a controlled fast (this is important to note!) that lasts anywhere from 4-7 days. The FMD is a calorie restricted (ranging from about 1100kCal to 750kCal as the fast goes on), plant-based diet.

FMD improves levels of:

  • Fasting glucose
  • C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation
  • Insulin-like growth factor 1, a marker associated with increased mortality and DNA damage in cells
  • Stem cells and regenerative markers

And has been proven to promote longevity, overall health, and reduce excess fat. Sounds good right? This type of fasting is fairly new but so far has seen amazing outcomes. Research has shown that doing a FMD once monthly will reprogram the body into a regenerating and rejuvenating mode, resulting in long-term reduction of IGF-1, glucose and markers of inflammation and aging (only in subjects with high levels of these markers).

If your goal is purely weight loss, this might not be the diet for you but in terms of the benefits, it is worth looking into.

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

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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)