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Health Hacks: Tips From Miss SA

Health Hacks: Tips From Miss SA

What is your definition of a healthy person?

Health is more than just the physical. If you are truly healthy, you are taking care of your mental and emotional well-being too. It’s about the journey of working towards holistic health on a constant basis.

What healthy habit/s do you follow daily, without fail?

This might not sound like a healthy habit, but I prioritise my sleep. I make sure to get anywhere between 7 and 9 hours every evening, as sleep heals and restores the body. It is the most important thing you can do for your body.

What does a week of exercise look like for you?

I combine running and weighted HIIT and boxing. I love mixing it up as it keeps me dedicated and interested in the exercises that I’m doing. 

What is your general nutrition outlook/strategy?

I’m a whole foods kind of girl. I make sure to fill up my plate with fresh salads and veggies as the focus. I don’t categorise foods as good or bad, as I feel that even a doughnut can be nourishing to the soul at the right moment. Rather find balance than restriction. 

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to living well?

I think we all feel challenged by how busy our lives can be, and the time constraints that it can place on exercise or healthy cooking, but I always plan well and prioritise my health as much as I can. 

What are your non-negotiable indulgences?

A block of dark chocolate after dinner with a cup of tea.

It's ten years from now: what do want your day, week or general life to look like, from a health perspective?

I focus on making healthy activities a habit, so that ten years from now moving my body daily and eating well will be a part of my lifestyle.

If an individual wanted to start living healthier, what is the FIRST recommendation you would give them?

Start small. Taking one step in the right direction is better than no steps at all. 

Health Hacks: Mishka's Wellness Philosophies

Health Hacks: Mishka's Wellness Philosophies

We chatted to SA's lovely Mishka Patel - read on to find out the one healthy habit she's been practising since 2014, and which dinner food she cannot go without!

What is your definition of a healthy person?

An individual living a full, active and balanced lifestyle

What healthy habit/s do you follow daily, without fail?

  1. Lemon water every single morning when I wake up (I've been doing that since 2014)
  2. A green juice every single day 
  3. A green tea (maximum 2) a day 
  4. A minimum of 10,000 steps a day (that’s apart from training)

What does a week of exercise look like for you?

It varies. My goal would always be five times a week, but if my schedule doesn’t allow it, a minimum of three! I love virgin Active grid classes, weight training and running.

What is your general nutrition outlook/strategy?

I try to eat what works for me. Plenty of greens, fruits and vegetables - whether it’s in a juice form or it’s natural form, and I always include a form of protein in my meals as well. 

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to living well?

I have a gigantic sweet tooth!

What are your non-negotiable indulgences?

Sushi! Oh my word, I love sushi!

It's ten years from now: what do want your day, week or general life to look like, from a health perspective?

Balanced. I want to be healthy but live a balanced lifestyle. 

If an individual wanted to start living healthier, what is the FIRST recommendation you would give them?

Just start with the basics: drink more water. 

Health Hacks: Chatting To Kelly About Lasting Wellness

Health Hacks: Chatting To Kelly About Lasting Wellness

We sat down with this SA mom of two to chat about wellness on every front. Here's what she had to share:

What is your definition of a healthy person?

Being healthy to me means not only being healthy physically but mentally as well. It's a holistic thing - body, mind and spirit. I hold all three necessary for optimal health. Often people transform on the outside but on the inside they still hate themselves and are at war with themselves - I find that sad. You have to make sure you learn to love yourself 10000000% through your journey to health - if you battle, listen to some Tony Robbins videos on youtube, he is amazing!  

What healthy habit/s do you follow daily, without fail? 

​I wake up every single morning and drink 500ml water with half a lemon squeezed in it. I do priming for 10 minutes (another Tony Robbins technique), this sets your mood and intention for the day. I never miss it! And I try to never skip a morning gym session. Gym is an appointment you schedule with yourself and you should never cancel, I truly believe that. It sets your tone for the day and just puts you in a good mood when you get those endorphins flowing!

What does a week of exercise look like for you?

I don't overtrain, I train 4-5 times a week, I do legs twice, shoulders twice and upper body on the 5th day. I plank a lot and love walking the dogs with my two girls in our estate - it is so beautiful here! If you are not a competitive athlete you do NOT need to train twice a day, six days a week. It will only raise your cortisol levels and put your body under a lot of strain. Life should be all about balance, not extremes.

What is your general nutrition outlook/strategy?

I follow intermittent fasting, something I have been doing for 2 years. Since I was insulin resistant, this way of life and pattern of eating truly works for me. I now also use it as a coaching method for my clients who are doing brilliantly on it too. I have lost 8kgs myself and never ever felt better! 

But I do not believe its the be-all and end-all; I believe that there are many different ways of getting from A-B - you need to find what works for you and your lifestyle. Whatever you choose, though, do it properly and stick to it!

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to living well?

My biggest challenge is socialising. I have a huge, social family and we often get together. Then there is a lot of food and drinks. I am usually pretty good. It is also tough having kids, and having a snack cupboard, because I like to dig in there! (Although 99% of the snacks I keep are healthy.) 

What are your non-negotiable indulgences?

A cappuccino on the weekend, nobody must keep that away from me. I am obsessed with peanuts too, I could eat a whole big bag of them daily - the salted ones!

It's ten years from now: what do want your day, week or general life to look like, from a health perspective?

I want to just feel happy and comfortable in my own skin. I want to be healthy with an amazing immune system and peak health.

If an individual wanted to start living healthier, what is the FIRST recommendation you would give them?

Find ONE thing and stick to it - a rolling stone gathers no moss!

Buying Organic: This Year's Dirty Dozen And Clean 15

Buying Organic: This Year's Dirty Dozen And Clean 15

Fruit and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet, as we know. But these days, they're sadly often riddled with toxic pesticides. Many of these pesticides have been linked to a variety of serious health problems, including brain and central nervous system toxicity, cancer and hormone imbalances. So, the more fruit and veggies you take in to be healthier - the more at risk you are of pesticide toxicity.

So, what's our strategy, since we obviously don't want to restrict our intake of fresh produce? Well, first things first: The biggest risk to your health is not eating fruits and vegetables at all. Toxins or not, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables far outweighs the risk of pesticide residues on produce. And, as we'll outline below, there are ways to avoid your exposure to pesticides too.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has written a Guide to Pesticides, which is designed to help you reduce your pesticide exposure as much as possible. Every year, they publish their "Dirty Dozen," a list of the fruits and vegetables they claim have the highest amount of pesticides. 

(According to EWG’s analysis of test data from the US Department of Agriculture, each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.) 

These are the fruits and veggies that you should try to buy organically, to avoid the pesticide residues altogether.

EWG's Dirty Dozen for 2019

  1. Strawberries*
  2. Spinach*
  3. Kale*
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples*
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches*
  8. Cherries*
  9. Pears*
  10. Tomatoes*
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

The EWG also publishes a list of the "Clean 15" – the produce that generally had less pesticide residue. Since it's difficult to eat a fully organic diet, the "Clean 15" are those fruit and veggies you're less at risk of pesticides from, and therefore may not feel you need to buy organic.

    EWG's Clean Fifteen for 2019

    1. Avocados
    2. Sweet corn
    3. Pineapples*
    4. Frozen sweet peas
    5. Onions
    6. Papayas*
    7. Eggplants
    8. Asparagus
    9. Kiwis
    10. Cabbages*
    11. Cauliflower
    12. Cantaloupes
    13. Broccoli*
    14. Mushrooms*
    15. Honeydew melons

    *USDA organic extracts of these fruit and veggies can be found in all Nature’s Nutrition products.

    Meet Erin, Local Swimming Champ

    Meet Erin, Local Swimming Champ

    We sat down with our local legend Erin Gallagher, who rocked it while representing the recent Commonwealth Games. After competing in 7 finals, Erin placed 5th and 6th in the 50m and 100m freestyle respectively. 

    Your results are out of this world! How did you feel once you realised you'd broken two records?

    Honestly, the feeling was out of this world. Going into the competition I didn’t think it would be possible, having recently overcome a whole bunch of health issues. I think breaking those records after everything I went through really magnified that feeling of gratitude. The feeling was and still is indescribable. The closest I can get is comparing it to one of your biggest dreams coming true on Christmas - it doesn’t get any better than that. 

    What is your training schedule like? Any cross-training?

    Because I’m a sprinter, I only train 6 swimming sessions a week, as well as 2 gym sessions and 1 session either consisting of strength training, rehab or metabolic conditioning, depending on what I feel up for. All in all, I train 9 times a week. 

    What does a day on your plate look like? I.e. What is your average daily diet?

     

    The first thing on my plate in the morning is Natures Nutrition. I mix it in with a bit of yoghurt before I head off to training. Afterwards, I have a huge bowl of oats or eggs on toast with crispy bacon. For lunch its pretty much chicken, veggies and either cous cous or basmati rice. Dinner is pretty much whatever mom cooks me, which is always tasty and always healthy! Whenever I get hungry during the day I snack on nuts, fruit, biltong and.... maybe one or two chocolates here and there ;). I try my best to be as healthy as possible; it doesn’t always work out though, because I definitely inherited my sweet tooth from both my parents. 

    What made you say "Yes" to being a NN ambassador? (We're thrilled that you did!)

    It was one of the easiest things to decide. The fact that everything is 100% natural and organic was the number one seller for me. There are so many products out there that you  have no idea what is in them or what you are putting in your body. But when it comes to Nature's Nutrition I know I’m getting the real good stuff! I’ve always had to force myself to eat veggies, but this way, veggies taste so much better. Plus it is SO convenient, all my veggies, fruit, antioxidants, amino acids, fibre and digestive enzymes in two scoops? YES PLEASE! 

    What is the toughest part about being a professional swimmer?

    The fact that in order to be a professional you kind of have to go “all in”. I’ve put all my eggs into one basket. As of now, swimming is my soul focus. I’m 2 years out of school and I’m planning on having a “4 year gap year” as my friends call it. I don’t plan on studying until I’ve reached the Olympics. A lot of people don’t understand my commitment to swimming and I’m constantly being told that I am “ludicrous”. Ludicrous or not, it’s still completely and utterly terrifying knowing that I’ve put my eggs in one basket - the fear of failure is always going to be there but I still have to look past it everyday and work as hard as I possibly can to achieve what I’ve set out to do.

    And the best part?

    Achieving something you have worked so hard for. It can be very emotional at times, but knowing your blood, sweat and tears have paid off is probably one of the most incredible and rewarding feelings, EVER! Being a professional swimmer allows me to push myself to the absolute limit. Swimming has taught me so many life lessons as well as building character, and I will be forever indebted to this sport and everything it has done for me.  

    What are your goals for the near future?

    Most recently, I just qualified for World Short Course Champs, which will be held in December 2018 and I’m really hoping to make finals for the events I will be swimming in (50 Free and Fly, 100 Free and Individual Medley). After that I’m just going to put my head down and train until the 2020 Olympics, as well as the 2024 Olympics. Once I’m there, I will do whatever it takes to become a champion; whether it will be an Olympic Champion or my own version of the word “champion” - only time will tell!

    3 Questions For Dietitian, Alex Royal

    3 Questions For Dietitian, Alex Royal

    So many of us would love to pick the brains of a dietitian, but we don't always have the resources or the means to do so. Luckily for us (and therefore you), we got to ask resident dietitian, Alex Royal, three burning questions.

    What is your NUMBER ONE priority when it comes to diet?
    "Free range, organic, from the source." 

    Which leading health myth would you like to put to rest once and for all?
    "This applies generally, but it is important to know that not one diet fits all. Everyone is different and we can see that on a genetic level. You need to forget the fads and listen to your body. This applies to low/high fat diets, low-carb diets, fasting etc. Some people do incredibly well on these but they are not for everyone." 

    What's your favourite way to enjoy Nature’s Nutrition?
    "I love it in my daily Green Smoothie, made with: 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop Nature's Nutrition Raw Vanilla, 2 tablespoons protein powder, 2 teaspoons almond butter, spinach, chia seeds and cocoa nibs. Yum!"  

    What burning questions would you ask a dietitian? Who knows - maybe we can get them answered for you!

    A Day On The Plate Of A Dietitian

    A Day On The Plate Of A Dietitian

    So, the experts are pretty great at telling us what we need to be our best, but do they take their own advice? We sat down with our resident dietitian, Alex Royal, to find out what a day on her plate looks like... 

    First thing in the morning:
    "Rooibos tea in bed :) Then one or two glasses of water on the go while chasing my son, Nate, around."

    Breakfast: 
    "At about 10am I make a green smoothie with every nutrient I can find. It includes 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa nibs as my caffeine kick and about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil for concentration."

    Lunch:
    "I normally eat around 1-2pm, depending on clients. This includes either another smoothie if I am rushing around, or 2 eggs on 1 slice of gluten-free bread and a salad. Or a gluten-free falafel wrap with hummus and Israeli salad." 

    Snacks: 
    "These are typically almonds and a pear. Then, when I feed Nate at 5pm I always munch on carrots and hummus or rice cakes and avo."

    Dinner: 
    "I try to have fish most nights (our favourite is sardines or salmon) with steamed vegetables and quinoa or rice. When I have time to cook, my ultimate is a beetroot and goat's cheese salad or, on colder days, my chickpea, carrot and courgette tagine served with flaked almonds and quinoa."

    Is that what you'd expect from a dietitian? What does a day on your plate look like?

    Why You Should Focus on Fibre

    Why You Should Focus on Fibre

    For many of us, fibre is one of those elusive health terms we can’t quite put our fingers on. What exactly is it, do its powers extend beyond fighting constipation (which we’re not denying is a worthy cause), and does it come in anything other than All Bran Flakes?

    We’ve got the skinny for you.

    In a nutshell, fibre (also known as roughage or bulk) has an important role to play in your body. It has a widespread range of benefits, fending off chronic diseases like heart attacks and diabetes, while supporting gut health and regulating your weight. It’s pretty easy to eat enough of it too, since it’s in a variety of everyday foods.

    So, what is it?

    Fibre is the part of certain foods – predominantly plants – that your body can’t digest or absorb. It passes through your body relatively intact. Generally, there are two classified kinds of fibre – soluble and insoluble.

    Soluble vs. insoluble fibre

    Soluble fibre dissolves – but doesn’t disappear – in water, forming a gel-like material. You’ll find it in foods like oats, peas, legumes, citrus fruits, barley and psyllium husk.

    Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve, and is probably the type that first comes to your mind. That is, it adds bulk to your diet and speeds up movement through the bowel. It’s found in plenty of veggies (cauliflower, green beans and potatoes are good sources), beans, nuts, whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.

    Many plant-based foods, like oats and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.

    The benefits of fibre

    • Insoluble fibre normalises bowel movements, adding bulk and softening stools, making them easier to pass.
    • It therefore helps keep your bowel healthy, lowering your risk of haemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
    • Soluble fibre in particular can help lower unhealthy cholesterol, and possibly reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
    • It can also slow the absorption of sugar to help regulate sugar levels, possibly reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
    • Higher fibre foods in general tend to be more filling, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied for longer. They also tend to take longer to eat while being lower in calories I.e. they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

    Acacia fibre

    Since our superfoods powders are made from whole plants, you get a ton of fibre from the variety of plants included. We’ve also added specific high-fibre elements, like apple pectin (the high-fibre carbohydrate part of a fruit). Since most plants have more insoluble fibre than soluble, you need to make a little extra effort to include more soluble fibre in your diet. That’s why we’ve added in acacia soluble fibre to our Superfoods Blend with Fibre. In addition to the regular benefits of soluble fibre, acacia fibre is said to be a prebiotic (a non-digestible food that can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines). We also chose it because it isn’t gritty when stirred into water and it’s mild in taste too.

    Your Daily Do’s For Vibrant Health

    Your Daily Do’s For Vibrant Health

    Sometimes we dive so deeply into the details of wellness that the simple stuff flies over our heads. You might find yourself thinking your daily schedule is flawed if it doesn’t include aerial yoga and kale at every meal. What happened to the good old days, when being healthy meant eating your veggies and getting some fresh air?

    Let’s just take a deep breath out for a sec.

    Being healthy can be simple. It can be ordinary. It can be easy to maintain. Or not. It can be wild, inventive and full of endless experimentation too. The choice, though, is yours.

    Getting the fundamental principles of healthy living down is all you really need to thrive. Having them all on one page makes life a little easier too. Once you’ve got your grip on the essentials, you can choose to keep it simple or expand as you please.

    We thought we’d help bring some calm amidst the swarm of never-ending health knowledge thrown at you. Here are our top daily do’s – in no particular order – that we believe create healthier lives:

    Police those portions

    Although your total caloric needs depend on your activity level, gender, age, and weight etc., a general good measure to go by is your plate. Fill half of your plate with veggies and fruit, one-quarter with protein and the other quarter with grains. If you want seconds, try (we know it’s hard!) to stick to this same ratio.

    Be carb-smart

    Refined carbs and added sugar sneak their way into meals on the regular. A conscious effort to limit these and rather take in a healthy balance of complex, low GI whole carbs – think starchy veggies, brown rice and oats – will remove a lot of the dead weight in your diet that typically ends up being stored as fat.

    Get moving

    Your body was made to move! There is simply no alternative to exercising, and you generally feel wonderful when you do. In our opinion, doing things you love adds hugely to the enjoyment factor. Do you adore being around people, moving outdoors or trying out novel stuff? Tailor your workouts accordingly.

    Try HIIT for quick results

    High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most efficient way to blast fat and tone up – and who doesn’t want that? This means shorter workouts including challenging, explosive sets of resistance or cardiovascular training back-to-back, with short – sometimes active – rests. If you like your exercise quick and to the point, this is the way to do it.

    Eat those veggies

    If this is the one change you make to your diet, it may be the only one you need. That old veggie quota of roughly 4-5 helpings is almost never met. Focus less on what to take out your diet, and more on reaching this quota. You’ll be surprised how little space is left once you cram all those veggies in! Try adding a fruit and veggie (or two) to every meal.  

    Plant-based is better

    You’ll find that this is the foundation of most research-backed, sustainable healthy diets advised by dietitians. Plants are rich sources of so many nutrients we need, like unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein; it makes sense to eat a lot of them. If you’re a meat-eater, think more veggies and small amounts of lean meats and reduced-fat dairy products.

    Sleep is essential

    Sleep regulates every process in the body – dieting and exercising simply can’t be maximised without it! Make sure you’re getting over 7 hours of sleep each night – experts say following a bedtime routine is a powerful way to increase your sleep quality.

    Supplement, sensibly

    Supplements are so named because that should be their purpose – to supplement, not replace. You can add real nutritional clout to a normal diet with a high quality multivitamin, an Omega 3, calcium for the ladies and a superfood powder (yes, we’re biased, but ours is made from whole fruits and veggies, which makes them a powder version of the real thing).  

    Identify your excess

    Most times, the things we do repeatedly or in excess are to blame for dieting downfalls. Do you have several cups of tea daily with a few sugars in each cup? Are you getting dramatically less than the weekly recommended minutes of exercise? Do most weekends include a big night out with handfuls of drinks? Take some time to identify any routine offenders bringing you down.

    Be persistent (and consistent)

    Forget the all-or-nothing approach! Go 80/20 instead. Generally sticking to a sensible training and eating schedule will serve you far better than going flat out for a few weeks then throwing in the towel for long stretches in between. Healthy habits are built slowly and steadily – deprivation is always short-lived. 

    Keep it interesting

    That body of yours adapts quickly. It’s essential to keep it guessing by varying your workouts and eating as much as possible. This breaks through fitness and weight-loss plateaus – and keeps you interested and motivated as well.

    Think before you drink

    We’re the only creatures that drink liquids other than water and milk at birth – so stick to water where possible. Low-fat, unsweetened dairy and preservative-free fruit and veggie juices can cover some of the recommended food categories, but it’s far easier to take in excess sugar and calories this way. Sugary juice, fizzy drinks, caffeinated drinks and alcohol all need to be drank in strict moderation.

    Have we left anything out? What are your favourite daily habits to build a vibrantly healthy life?

    Powerful Superfoods For Every Diet

    Powerful Superfoods For Every Diet

    Have you ever wondered why there is such a hype around superfoods? What’s the big attraction? Is it truth or fallacy? With so many conflicting health messages out there, we decided to get our resident dietitian, Alex Royal to weigh in....

    What's the big deal about superfoods?
    ‘Superfoods’ are nutrient-dense powerhouses. They are excellent sources of fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these have the ability to: reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancers; aid heart health; and help with blood sugar stabilization.

    Which popular foods earn the title of being "super"?
    Kale
    Kale is probably the most popular superfood around. It is packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercetin. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are unstable chemicals produced in your body that can contribute to diseases like cancer and diabetes. Just remember not to have too much raw kale as it can attack the
    thyroid - steam it lightly instead.

    Pomegranates
    These beautiful pink seeds are not only gorgeous decorations in smoothie bowls and salads, they're also potent antioxidants. Per serving, they are richer and more powerful antioxidants than red wine or green tea, and they're a great source of both fibre and potassium too.

    Spirulina
    From the sea, spirulina is a cyanobacteria that provides life to the core of the ecosystem. It is high in B Vitamins, which boost energy and mood. It has also been linked to fighting cancer, weight-loss and lowering cholesterol.

    Alfalfa
    We love this little flower. It is super high in saponin, which can reduce cholesterol. Secondly, (and very importantly) it contains eight digestive enzymes which can alleviate stomach pains, gastritis, nausea, indigestion, constipation, and appetite stimulation.

    Wheatgrass
    Wheatgrass is another green superfood that has been making a name for itself. It is used to detox the organs, blood, and lymph system. It can help neutralize acid in the body, stimulate the thyroid, and has anti-ageing properties.

    *For the record, our superfood powders contain all of the above superfoods.

    Something to chew on
    While these foods may be packed to the brim with nutrients, staying vibrantly healthy and maintaining a healthy weight requires a balanced and healthy diet above all else. So, as much as superfoods supplement and add enormous value to a balanced diet, they can't replace it. Good old oats, sardines, spinach and broccoli offer you superfood benefits as well!