What does the word organic mean to you?
To me it means nourishment, vibrance and nutrients without the load of environmental toxins. But is organic all it is meant to be. Over the last weekend I was fortunate enough to meet with Tyrone who is part owner of CT Organics. Tyrone graciously took me on a tour of his farm in Midlands (KZN) and talked me through some important aspects of Organic farming. CT Organics have a fantastic closed loop farming system whereby they use the nutrients from fish farming and free range chickens to fertilize and provide nutrients to the plants. He opened my eyes to the fact that plants need nutrients like potassium, calcium and boron to make them more resilient (much like humans do). It is about providing nutrients rather than pesticides to aid plant defense and growth.
At present nothing is truly organic in a pure sense of the word (you would have to farm on an island to achieve this) but CT Organics aims to get there in the future. CT organics is doing an amazing job to bring organic vegetables to your table.
The therapeutic use of probiotics is advancing at a rapid pace. And this should be no surprise to us because we consistent of more bacteria than actual cells. Bacteria are vital to gut health and proper immune function.
The link between gut health and many other conditions including depression, autoimmune disease, arthritis, eczema, chronic fatigue (just to name a few) is starting to be addressed in main stream medicine. So getting back to probiotics. Gut health can be dramatically improved with the use of probiotics, however, few people understand how to use probiotics effectively.
You see there are thousands of species of probiotics and within each species there are various strains. The different strains of the probiotics have different therapeutic effects. Some strains are good to help prevent diarrhea while others help to reduce bloating of the gut. So next time someone suggest “probiotics” your response should be: “What species and which strain”.
I recently attended a seminar on Sexual and Hormonal Health for Men and Women. The presenter was a Dr Briggs, medical Doctor who practices in the USA. Although a medical doctor, her first line of treatment is always diet, lifestyle and natural supplementation when dealing with hormonal health.
Being a dietitian I nearly burst with enthusiasm when she stated how important a the dietitian is to her medical practice and how important diet it to thyroid, adrenal and sex hormone stability. For many of her patients complaining of fatigue, low mood, low libido, PMS and gut issues she will start by cleaning up there eating with a 28 day medical detox and then move on to more specific advice regarding supplementation and/or medication.
Of special interest to me was how she runs genetic panels for a lot of her patients and tailors her advice depending on the results. It seems that in the USA doing genetic panels for patients is gaining momentum and a real place in clinical practice.
At this time of year, it’s natural to think about – and struggle to achieve – your wellness goals for 2015. Have you decided to lose weight (yet again) in 2015? Do you find that come end of January all your good intentions are a distant memory, swallowed up in the stress and distraction of everyday life. My encouragement for you is to make 2015 a year of sustainable success rather than failure. It is beneficial to look at some of the reasons why people fail so you can avoid these pit falls and be successful.
1. Set Clear Goals:
There are likely many things you could work on, but what are the specific things you are willing to do that can improve your long- term health? Are you being reasonable and setting yourself up with the best chances for success?
Many people have a weight loss goal in their mind that needs to be readjusted to be more in line with reality. In my practice I am amazed at how people want to lose large amounts of weight, quickly and with minimal effort. Unrealistically large weight loss goals can lead to disappointment or prevent a person from even starting the weight loss process. It is well documented that a 5 – 10% weight loss can result in significant improvement in health outcomes.
It should not always be about your weight. Apart from weight loss as a goal, use other positive health outcomes to establish goals, for example, improved energy, becoming more active, improved blood sugar levels, or a reduction in cholesterol or hypertension.
It is far better to have a series of short term goals. This allows you to reach your long term goals in bite size chunks. You are far likely to succeed if you focus on the process and not the end result.
2. Be Accountable:
Have you noticed few people are good at being their own motivators? How about you? You may be more likely to accomplish your goals when you have accountability tools in place to help you monitor your progress and stay on course.
These could be things like keeping a food diary, arranging an exercise date with a friend or consulting with a Dietitian. When the going gets tough, or your life gets crazy, accountability tools can help you stay on track.
It is so important that once you have had your initial nutritional appointment you book follow up sessions. The initial session will be helpful in providing you with knowledge about how to implement your nutritional program. But knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things! Follow up meeting are vital to keep you motivated and accountable. They are ideal opportunities to fine tune goals and bring you back on course when you have lost your way. They are also very motivating, especially when short term goals are achieved. Tracking your progress can be hugely inspiring and spur you on the future successes.
3. Have a plan:
Accept that willpower will always let you down. When under stress it is very difficult to keep focus. We have a limited ability to resist temptation when we are faced with obstacles, life stressors and distractions. This is especially true when we are making a change to our nutrition and lifestyle that has not yet become a habit. It is far more effective to have a solid plan in place than to rely on willpower.
Whatever your New Year’s Resolution is this year, be sure to have clarity, accountability and a specific plan that doesn’t rely on willpower for the best chance of success.
Where you carry your weight may gives us practitioners clues as to how to approach your diet and lifestyle programs. Those people who tend to carry weight around their mid section have a increased waist circumference, may have insulin resistance, raised blood pressue, raised cholesterol, raised triglyceride cholesterol and blood glucose issue.
Those of you who carry their weight in the hip and thigh region tend to have more hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, water retention, intestinal distress and possible food intolerance. Different dietary approaches are required for different shapes!