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[dt-section-title title="THE EYES HAVE IT"][dt-space height="60"]

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Eye problems are sneaky, creeping up on our cherished orbs, gradually impacting on our lives until we realise – often too late – that there is a problem. By getting an eye test often, knowing what to look out for and having some basic eye-care tips, your eyes should perform optimally, as long as you do.

Adults should have their eyes tested annually to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease.

For children, annual eye exams can play an important role in normal development. Vision is closely linked to the learning process. Children who have trouble seeing or interpreting what they see will often struggle with their schoolwork. Children will often not complain of vision problems simply because they don’t know what “normal” vision looks like. If your child performs poorly at school or exhibits a reading or learning disability, be sure to have his or her eyes examined to rule out an underlying visual cause.

CVS
Dis-Chem’s resident optometrist, Rene Vrey, says CVS (computer vision syndrome) is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms caused by prolonged computer use.

“The eyes can easily focus on printed material and images with well-defined edges that are strongly contrasted against their backgrounds,” Vrey explains.

However, words and images on a computer screen do not have well-defined edges. The constant struggle to focus leads to fatigue and tired, burning eyes.

Many people try to compensate for uncomfortable vision symptoms by leaning forward or by tipping their head to peer through the bottom portion of their glasses. These actions can result in a sore neck, sore shoulders and a sore back.

You can experience CVS even if you have perfect distance vision and don’t need any glasses. And remember that having even a small uncorrected prescription or imbalance between your eyes will aggravate CVS.

The best way to treat it? Computer glasses. These prescription glasses are specially designed to allow patients to work comfortably on a computer. Computer work involves focusing the eyes at a close distance.

Contact lens wearers may even need to wear glasses over their contacts while using the computer.

Dry-eye syndrome
Vrey says, “Dry-eye syndrome is one of the most common problems treated. It is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes.”

The problem with dry-eye syndrome is it can be caused by many different factors. For starters, there’s plain-old ageing. Other factors such as hot, dry or windy climates, high altitudes, air-conditioning and cigarette smoke also cause dry eyes.

Vrey says, “Many people find their eyes become irritated when reading or working on a computer. Stopping periodically to rest and blink keeps the eyes more comfortable.
“Contact lens wearers may suffer from dryness because the contacts absorb the tear film, causing proteins to form on the surface of the lens.

Certain medications, thyroid conditions, vitamin A deficiency, and diseases such as Parkinson’s and Sjogren’s can also cause dryness.

Women frequently experience problems with dry eyes as they enter menopause because of hormonal changes.”

Dry-eye syndrome can have many different causes, so too are there various treatments, because different people respond differently.

“Many find relief simply from using artificial tears on a regular basis,” says Vrey. “Some of these products are watery and alleviate the symptoms temporarily; others are thicker and adhere to the eye longer. Closing the opening of the tear drain in the eyelid with punctal plugs is another option. This works like closing a sink drain with a stopper. These special plugs trap the tears on the eye, keeping it moist.”

Pterygium
Pterygium (pronounced te-ri-gi-um), is a triangular-shaped lump of fleshy tissue that grows from the conjunctiva (the thin membrane that covers the white of the eye) on to the cornea (the clear central part of the eye). A pterygium most commonly occurs on the inner corner of the eye but also may appear on the outer corner.

It doesn’t sound pleasant, but a pterygium is not a cancer. Pterygia are however often confused with cataracts, a clouding of the lens inside the eye that cannot be seen easily with the naked eye.

What causes them is not exactly known, but they are strongly associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation and hot, dry environments. Pterygia are more common among people who spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates. A dry eye may contribute to pterygia as well.

Vrey says, “In cases where the pterygium is not actively growing, wearing UV protective sunglasses and avoiding dry and dusty conditions will often stabilise its growth. In cases where the pterygium is actively growing on to the cornea and threatening vision, the only effective treatment is surgery.”

The Basics

Sanitation is your friend.
You were on a bus. You held a handrail. Before you did that, another hundred people held that handrail. Now what were those hundred hands up to before they got to the handrail? Like a sanitation/hygiene horror movie, right?

Without getting all Michael Jackson about life and wearing a mask and gloves at all times, it’s worth implementing a simple hand-washing rule prior to dealing with your contact lenses.

After all, you wouldn’t want a stranger’s hand in your eye, would you?

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Eat your carrots

No it’s not an old wives’ tale. Eating your carrots can actually make a difference, albeit a minor one, to your sight.

Along with a balanced diet, carrots contain beta-carotene, a substance your body converts into vitamin A, which is essential to your eyesight.
Even if it only makes a minor difference, it still seems worth your while to make like Bugs Bunny people.

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[dt-section-title title="MUM'S THE WORD" subtitle="While you have a brand spanking new little person to take care of, don’t forget that the next most important person to care for after giving birth is you."][dt-space height="60"]

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You’ve done nine months of heavy lifting, endured the morning sickness, the mood swings, the waves of hormones, the unexpectedly delightful weirdness of incubating another life form inside of you and finally, he or she is here. And you’re knackered and terrified and excited and proud all at once. What now? Well for starters, you’ve got to take care of yourself. The period after you’ve given birth is a vulnerable time both for you and your child.

Communicate
Bleeding, sweating, cramps, fatigue – your body can be pushed to the limit during childbirth so it’s understandable that after bringing another human being into the world, you will feel a little off. Whether you had a vaginal or Caesarean birth, it’s important to speak up if you don’t feel well afterwards. The time for pushing through the pain is over.

Get company
Hopefully there is a partner there to help you out, but if for some reason that person can’t be there, rope in your mum, your friends or whoever you would like to keep you company and help you in those first days of getting back on to your feet.

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Work the pelvic floor
After giving birth, your stomach is likely to feel loose and beat up as, for the last nine months, it stretched to contain the little darling now wailing somewhere in close proximity to you. More specifically, you might feel that you don’t have great control of your bladder. This is down to the stretching of the pelvic floor muscles, which control the flow of urine. Working to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles is one of the first things you can do to start getting your body back on track.

Give it time
Just as your pelvic floor and your uterus take time to recover from expanding to carry your child, if you had a vaginal birth both your vagina and perineum will probably be swollen and the latter might be torn. Give yourself enough time to heal and feel ready on both an emotional and physical level before you even start considering intimacy with your partner again.

Watch out for the blues
Postpartum or postnatal depression is a real threat to watch out for. It hits one in eight women and often sufferers struggle on, seemingly alone because they are

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ashamed to admit they are struggling with depression. What exactly causes it is not known, though it is assumed to incorporate a number of factors, from the hormonal to the psychological and genetic.

From the euphoria and relief of successfully giving birth, your sudden new status as a mother can seem like an unmanageable task. Everything is so new, and the responsibility of caring for a child is now a very sudden, real force in your life. First things first, if you are feeling depressed, tell your partner, family or friends so they can support you in every possible way – from caring for the baby, ticking off everyday tasks you wouldn’t have thought twice about before and allowing you to recover and conserve your energy.

Remember, spending a lot of time in bed with your little one is also okay – it gives you both a chance to bond and rest, which he or she is just as keen on at this stage. Eat healthily and stick to regularly structured meal times so your energy levels don’t experience any unexpected dips. Similarly, avoid food and drinks that give you a high (sugar) or a low. Get some light exercise with friends, giving yourself a moment to get outdoors and soak up fresh air and sunshine.


[dt-section-title title="Home is where the heart rate is" subtitle="Get fit for a fraction of the cost by training at home."][dt-space height="60"]

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Gyms – expensive sweat boxes where you pay to compare yourself to other people in tight-fitting clothing and get shouted at by irritating ex-athletes who effectively make a living off bullying people into losing weight. Sure, they’re a phenomenon of our time, but while a lot of people love gym – or at least claim to – just as many hate the places.

Wouldn’t it be nicer if you could train at home, in your garden or wherever else you like, with nobody but your snoring granny and a blind chihuahua to see your grimace and witness your pain? The truth is, there is nothing stopping you from training at home, saving some cash and getting fit in the process.

Training at home is infinitely doable; you just need to apply a modicum of self-discipline.
For starters, make a training time and stick to it as though you have an ultrasensitive gym partner you just can’t let down by not pitching up. Next up, ensure you train away from the couch and the bed. Couches and beds are glorious things, but if you’re already the lazy type you will find yourself magnetically drawn to them even if you are dressed up in your gym kit. Lastly, make sure you push yourself.

Visits to an actual gym generally take more time than home workouts. Why? Because we spend time cruising around, deciding what to work out on, changing channels on the treadmill, having a drink of water, etc. At home, there are fewer distractions, so you kill yourself for 20 minutes and then call it quits. Don’t.

Try to ensure you push yourself each time, as if you are at gym trying to impress that hot guy/girl on the rowing machine. It’s harder to motivate yourself at home, but it is possible to get results.

To raise your game from basic bodyweight exercises to some more challenging variants, we roped in Arthur Jones, a CrossFit nut, supremely fit human being and contributing editor to Men’s Health. The following are his five favourite body weight exercises you can do at home to take your fitness to the next level.

Strength building jumping lunges
Just like a normal lunge, except instead of doing it in slow motion, you bring your back foot forward and your front foot back in mid-air, switching positions around between each lunge.
This extra aerobic burst will build stamina while speeding up the exercise will force you to engage your stabiliser muscles giving you better balance … and a toned butt.

Squat broad jumps
If Kermit the Frog worked out at home, this is what he would do.
Go down into a squat, then jump as far forward as possible while still landing securely on two feet. Squat again and repeat.

If it feels easy, add a squat repetition between each jump. So squat once, jump. Squat twice, jump and so on to 10. Repeat until you start to croak like Kermit.

Press-ups (standard and handstand)
The classic chest and shoulder strength move when done correctly works out a whole bunch more muscles. Start from the plank position – your hands directly under your shoulders and your toes planted into the ground to secure the lower half of your body. Your abs and lower back should be engaged to form a flat line from your heels to the back of your head. By bending at your elbows (but keeping them close to your torso), lower your body, looking a few steps in front of you to keep your neck in neutral until your chest gets low, down towards the floor. Make sure your butt neither bends upwards nor slouches down throughout the movement. Now exhale and push upwards again. Now drop and give yourself 30! Too easy? Try a handstand press-up against a wall. Start by just holding a handstand to build up strength.

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Strength plus conditioning / cardio benefits/ Burpees
From a standing start, drop down into a squat with your hands on the ground in front of you. Kick your feet back together keeping your arms extended in front of you. Jump your feet back into the squat position and follow that with another jump as high as you can go. That’s one. Do 20 and if you’re not vaguely panting, ratchet it up to 40.

Mountain climbers
This exercise works your legs, shoulders and chest and gets your heart rate going. Start off in a sort of bent press-up position, hands flat on the floor, back arched with your butt in the air, one leg in a straight line down to your foot, the other bent up towards your chest as if you’re about to start sprinting. Begin the exercise by quickly shooting the bent knee backwards into the straight position and simultaneously bringing the straight knee up into the bent position. Keep alternating like that for 20 on each side, increasing your reps if you feel you can handle it.

Core move Hollow rock
An exercise where you get to impersonate a rock sounds fun, right? With the way this move shreds your abs, you may not be smiling – but at least you’ll be waving goodbye to your boep.

Lie on your back, face upwards, with your arms and legs extended outwards and about 30cm off the floor. The idea is then to rock back and forth. Simple enough? It’s a lot harder than it looks. The trick is to round your lower back out so that it pushes against the ground. There should be no arch for you to slip a hand under your back. Keep going, rocking back and forth with your legs raised and your lower abs working overtime. You will thank us by the time you start hitting the beach.

Remember to do a proper warm-up: five to 10 minutes of skipping is always a winner (a skipping rope is a brilliant portable fitness tool), then a cool-down session of 10 minutes filled with stretching as a reward.

Helpful equipment

Transform that spare room into a bit of a minigym with some carefully selected products from Dis-Chem

Sportmate Dumbbell 1.38kg 2pc R99.95
For toning muscles and adding extra difficulty to body weight exercise.

Sportmate Foam Roller Blue R199.95

When it comes to recovery, rollers are your friend. Use them immediately after a workout to iron out the stiffness creeping into your muscles. Do it again before you get into bed at night for best results.

Sportmate Gym Ball 55, 65 or 75cm from R69-95

Gym balls offer you many extra options when it comes to strength exercises like press-ups (try doing your press-ups with your hands directly on a gym ball and alternate that with your hands on the ground and your feet up on the ball).


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[dt-section-title title="The truth about vitamins" subtitle="Are vitamins a marketing scam or essential additions to our nutrition? You be the judge."][dt-space height="60"]

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Most of us take vitamins because we aren’t – or at least we think we aren’t – getting what we need from our diets. According to Andrea du Plessis, a registered dietician with Vital Health Foods: “It is said that we are what we eat, and it’s a well-known fact that optimal nourishment is vital for maintaining good health. Micronutrient supplementation in the form of multivitamin and mineral supplements is being promoted as an important strategy to optimise nutritional intake to reduce the risk of various minor ailments and debilitating diseases.”

Du Plessis says dietary surveys indicate that vitamin intakes below recommendations are common in representative Western countries, despite the availability of diverse and nutritious foods.

She makes the point that if this is the case in countries where food security is not compromised, what can be expected of developing countries such as ours?
“Ideally, optimal nutritional intake should be achieved through eating a healthy, balanced diet of unprocessed fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and many other wholesome foods that are rich in vitamins and other essential nutrients,” she says.

“It seems that a healthy balanced diet may contribute to adequate, but not optimal, nutritional intake. Even people who eat five daily servings of fruit and vegetables may not get enough of certain vitamins for optimum health. In fact, latest guidelines suggest seven to 10 daily portions of fresh fruit and/or vegetables – not only to help optimise nutritional intake but also to help in the prevention of chronic disease.”

Unless you are still a hardcore meat-and-potatoes type, most of us have come around to fruit and vegetables in a big way and the diverse range of tasty dishes you can make with them – but seven to 10 portions a day is still a lot. You’ve got to wonder why we need to eat so many portions of fruit and vegetables just to stay healthy?

According to Du Plessis, the following factors are at play:

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Reduced nutrient density
Reviews of the nutritional composition of fruit and vegetables indicate a decline in the nutrient density, which represents the relative concentration of nutrients per mass of raw food.

“Progress” seems to be the main problem with our food, with contributing factors including food processing, the depletion of soil nutrients as well as prolonged storage of fruit and vegetables manipulated via temperature and hormonal control. Keeping fruit under cold storage for long duration can result in an 80% reduction in antioxidant levels and a 20% reduction in vitamin levels.

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Restricted dietary intake
A reduction in nutrient intake is found with sedentary people or the elderly, who need less energy from their diets to maintain a healthy body weight, as they are less active. The more active we are, the more food we need to ingest to maintain energy levels, and the more likely we are to consume a variety of nutrients.

The “dieting” population, deliberately restricting food intake, represent a group of people who are particularly at risk of nutritional deficiencies. According to the US department of health and human services (2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report), with a daily dietary intake restricted to less than 6 720 kilojoules (1 600 calories), it is not realistic or probable to get adequate vitamins and minerals solely from food.

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Drug-induced nutrient depletion
A factor that may cause or contribute to nutrient depletion in our bodies is the use of medicines or pharmaceutical drugs, ranging from pain killers to prescription medication.
Medicines that are known to induce nutrient losses or that interfere with the absorption or metabolism of certain nutrients include pain killers, antibiotics, laxatives, diuretics, anti-inflammatory medicines, oral contraceptives, cholesterol-lowering medicines, antidepressants and medication for high blood pressure, asthma, epilepsy, TB and Aids.

Do you need vitamins?
Vitamins are not a fix-all. You still need to try to eat healthily as much as you can. Du Plessis says: “Multivitamins aim to supplement or ‘top up’ our dietary intakes, as they contain small amounts of a variety of essential nutrients naturally found in our foods. Unprocessed, natural foods contain many nutrients that are not found in sufficient quantities in multivitamins, namely dietary fibre, protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other components that may not even have been identified yet.”

Du Plessis says, “When considering the latest recommendations, all adults should take a multivitamin daily, to help optimise nutritional intake to help maintain general health and wellbeing. However, certain groups of people are particularly vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies as they may have increased requirements or restricted dietary intakes.”

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How to take your multivitamin

Time of day
Multivitamins should be taken in the morning, after breakfast. The B Complex Vitamins, representing the majority of nutrients in a typical multivitamin, are required for energy metabolism and physical activity during the course of the day.

With/without food
Multivitamin supplements should ideally be taken with food. If taken on an empty stomach, the rapidly digested supplement would release high concentrations of nutrients that may not be optimally absorbed and stored by your body. Taken with meals, multivitamins are digested along with the food, delaying the time over which nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

With beverages
Supplements should ideally be taken with water. However, be careful not to take supplements on an empty stomach with large quantities (more than two glasses) of water, as the water-soluble vitamins may be “washed out” of your system via your urine.

Temperature
Supplements should ideally be taken with cold or room temperature water. Hot beverages, such as herbal teas, are not ideal to take your multivitamin with, as certain nutrients such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B Complex are heat sensitive.

Tea and coffee
Apart from the heat factor, as discussed above, tea and coffee respectively contain tannins and caffeine, known to interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, especially minerals such as calcium and iron.

Frequency
Multivitamins are designed to be taken daily, to ensure regular intake of essential nutrients to help prevent nutritional deficiencies from developing.


[dt-section-title title="Sugar-free living" subtitle="You’re a sugar addict, you just don’t know it. But fear not, help is at hand. With some help from the experts, you can wean yourself off the sweet stuff and take control of your health."][dt-space height="60"]

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From Rodriguez’s Sugar Man to the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar and many others, there’s a reason sugar is referenced so often in music. Not only can you compare someone you love to the sweetness of sugar, but sugar, when referenced as Brown Sugar means heroin – and while it might seem like a stretch to liken a highly addictive hard drug with the product of those lush green sugarcane fields all over Kwazulu-Natal, the truth of the matter is not far off. Sugar is hugely addictive. It might not be an overnight addiction like heroin, but in time, sugar gets its claws into us, making us fat and unhealthy, sometimes fatally so, as with diabetics.

According to Jessica Byrne, Registered Dietitian at the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, sugar is found naturally in some foods, such as fruits and milk. The problem seems to be when humans get involved with the food-making process. During manufacturing, extra sugar can be added to many foods, such as sweets, sweetened cold drinks, cakes and biscuits, chocolates, some dairy products and also many breakfast cereals.

Companies know that sugar, when combined with salt, starch and flavourants will hook consumers on a product and keep them coming back for more. Just wander down any supermarket aisle picking up products at random – even the ones that aren’t meant to be sweet will in all likelihood contain sugar in some way, shape or form. The consequences of all this sugar are not good.

Byrne says, “Our bodies don’t need sugar and too much can be unhealthy.

When too many sugary foods and drinks are eaten often, it adds unnecessary kilojoules (energy) to the diet, which can lead to weight gain. Over time this can lead to becoming overweight or obese, increasing the risk for many chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

“Sugary foods are something that should only be eaten as treats in small amounts and not regularly. If someone is already overweight or has diabetes, they should keep their intake of sugar as low as possible. Sugary foods and drinks should not replace other nutritious foods that should be eaten regularly in the diet, like fruits and dairy.”

  • Byrne’s tips for wresting control of your life from sugar include the following:
  • Cut back on sugary drinks and add less sugar to hot drinks, cereals and vegetables
  • Save sugary treats for special occasions – but remember to keep the portion size small
  • Sugar-free drinks (eg diet drinks) can be used in moderation instead of sugary options
  • Use fresh or dried fruit to add natural sweetness to foods, instead of adding sugar
  • Read food labels to help you choose foods that contain less sugar when shopping for groceries.
  • Natural sweeteners like Xylitol and Stevia are great low calorie sugar substitutes

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Read the fine print

Today, food companies hide that they are using sugar in a product by giving it a different scientific name. Decipher the code with these food-label reading tips:

Read the ingredients list – the first three ingredients listed on a label make up the largest portion of the food.

Sugar comes in many shapes and forms, so look out for the following words to indicate added sugar: sucrose, honey, maltose, isomaltose, dextrose, cane sugar, corn syrup or fructose. If these words appear in the first three or so ingredients, this product is likely to be high in sugar.

Use the nutritional information table on the packaging – this can be used to read the amount of sugar in the product. Look at the number for sugars in the per 100g column in the nutritional information table, and compare the value for similar products to help identify the one with the lowest amount of sugar.

Choose foods with the Heart Mark – these products have less sugar compared with other products, and helps identify healthier choices for the heart. These products are also lower in saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol and salt, and higher in fibre (where applicable).

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No sugar, no fun?

While sugar is undeniably tasty in a chocolate cake or other indulgent sweet stuff, you can make sweet-tasting food without adding extra sugar. Check out these recipes from the Heart & Stroke Foundation SA.

Pancakes with fruit

Makes about 20 pancakes

  • 1½ cups (375 ml) cake flour
  • ½ cup (125 ml) wholewheat flour
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) white grape vinegar
  • 3 cups (750 ml) water
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) sunflower oil for frying
  1. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix all liquids together, except the oil for frying.
  2. Gradually add liquid to the dry ingredients and beat well to form a smooth batter.
  3. Heat some of the oil in a frying pan. Pour in just enough batter to form a thin pancake.
  4. Fry until set on top, turn over and fry for another minute. Keep warm and continue with remaining batter and a thin layer of oil where necessary. Serve with fresh fruit such as apples, naartjies or banana or a sprinkling of cinnamon and lemon juice.

For more information, call the Heart and Stroke Health Line on 0860 1 HEART (43278) or email heart@heartfoundation.co.za

Recipes from Cooking From The Heart, a joint initiative by the
Heart and Stroke Foundation SA and Pharma Dynamics


[dt-section-title title="A well-rounded approach" subtitle="Being fit and healthy is not just about training or nutrition. To achieve your goals, you need to take a holistic approach, incorporating the whole kit and caboodle of healthy living. Media personality, lifestyle and wellness expert Lisa Raleigh gives us the skinny on how a holistic approach to health and wellness works for her and can make all the difference in your life too."][dt-space height="60"]

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Can you tell us a little bit about the ‘well I am’ Wellness Revolution and your move into TV?

The ‘well i am’ challenge launched in February 2013, where corporates and consumers enter an online holistic 13-week wellness transformation challenge with all the luxuries thrown in, with the tools and skills to create lifelong change and an online community of resources to keep you motivated. We’re now on our third challenge and are in the throes of 100 healthy days. Our focus is on national accessibility, personalisation and plenty of incentives.

Have you always been fit and healthy or did you have an epiphany one day to transform yourself?
As a young girl, my dolls spent their days in the hospital ward, where I nursed them back to health from their various illnesses – the passion definitely gripped me from an early age! Growing up I was a South African gymnast and my long and erratic hours meant I couldn’t stay in the school’s boarding establishment. I was therefore fortunate enough to
stay with more than five different families during my high school years as a private border. Although fitness, nutrition and self-discipline had always been on my radar, I was exposed to how different people lived and what made them ‘tick’. It was then that my passion for people began.

What’s more important, nutrition or exercise?
Nutrition. We can burn
calories in a number of different ways, incidentally, throughout our busy days, but there’s no substitute for good nutrition. Nutritious food is powerful
fuel for the body, which means
all bodily functions depend on it to perform optimally.
Poor food choices equals poor health – period!

What are the biggest hurdles your clients face when trying to turn over a new leaf (or a new tree in some cases)?
Removing an emotional tie to food is a big hurdle. Those who struggle with weight usually have an unhealthy relationship with food that needs to be rebuilt. It is often an addiction just as real as those struggling with something like alcohol or gambling abuse. Food is not the enemy and meals shouldn’t be shrouded with guilt. Then, motivation and discipline can also be tough. If you’re not used to clean eating and intense exercise, it’s hard to stick to a strict schedule in those first weeks when the scale and mirror haven’t changed just yet.

What are the most common misconceptions about holistic, healthy living that you find people get wrong time and again?
Some people still think that health and fitness is a hobby or a niche market. It is and should be a universal interest for everyone. After all, we’re nothing without our health! The notion of ‘healthy’ as restrictive, boring or unvaried is more of an outdated perception that comes from the older generations, where dieters were eating for skinniness versus eating for health, strength and vibrancy, as we do today.
We are creatures of habit and often see tradition as right, and anything that deviates from that as alien or wrong. We need to accept that nutritional health is something we should be constantly updating our knowledge on, and it’s something that the individual is responsible for. Marketers aren’t truth tellers. It’s not low fat or sugar free that’s going to make you healthier. It’s fresher, less processed and nutrient-dense produce, together with sound nutritional knowledge.

How important is holistic health to the mind?
Our body functions as a whole, and our brain and emotions are a part of that whole. Having those parts function at their optimum is absolutely dependent on the fuel we feed them – which is food. You couldn’t swap the petrol out of your car for vinegar and still expect it to run smoothly! Our bodies are no different. Nutritional foods and exercises that are good for your body are usually good for the mind as well. B vitamins improve our mood and energy levels, vitamin D and exercise help us release more ‘happy’ hormones. Endorphins and omega 3 fatty acids are important for cognitive brain functions, such as improving memory and concentration. I love to read as well as write, and these two things help me to balance my brain, keep the mind active and in essence never stop learning!

If you could give the public a few tips to focus on in their weight-loss mission, what would they be?
No one’s perfect, so opt for the 80/20 rule with your eating and training. The all-or-nothing approach is dangerous when it comes to dieting: many people can lose sight of their original goal and strive towards unrealistic aspirations, or feel they have failed after not following a strict regime to the tee and fall right off the bandwagon.
Set your non-negotiables. Whether this is five portions of fruit and veg daily, a minimum of seven hours’ sleep or an hour of exercise three times a week, decide what you’re flexible on and what you’re not. Then stick to it.
Be disciplined and strong. You’re just not going to get results if you cave in to every temptation or don’t make an effort to work out enough each week. There is no quick way around it.
Remember, small, consistent effort beats the odd big burst every time. Getting straight back on the bandwagon after a cheat meal or doubling up your efforts in the gym after a relaxed week are more valuable than the odd drastic measure.

Is your approach to holistic, healthy living now automatic or do you still have to focus on making conscious decisions to be healthy each day?
Being healthy is ongoing – there are always daily choices to be made. Being educated makes those decisions easier though, whether it’s factoring a cheat meal into my day without overloading on calories or finding a healthier option on a restaurant menu. Some elements are automatic; I have my non-negotiables that almost never change – good quality food (even if a treat), at least 20 minutes of intense exercise and six to seven hours of sleep.

Do you still have vices (wine, chocolate etc) or are you as pure as the driven snow?
My passion for cake is not going anywhere! I’m never going to turn down a good red velvet cake, cupcake or vanilla sponge. I also love fries with salt and mayonnaise and fresh bread with butter. I am a member of the quality police though. If it’s not beautiful, fresh and tasty I simply will not eat it. It’s just not worth the 10km run I need to do afterwards!

What’s your favourite go-to recipe at the moment?
I’m currently loving my easy lunch/dinner veggie, egg and fried-rice recipe.

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Method

Fry up some fresh garlic in coconut oil, add to that a tablespoon of sunflower seeds and fry these until golden brown. Pop an egg into the same frying pan, slicing it up as it cooks. Add in cooked brown basmati rice and fry further, then add your selection of steamed veg – I load up on broccoli/baby corn/green beans/carrots and cauliflower and a teaspoon of basil pesto. Season with Himalayan rock salt, chilli flakes and ground pepper and serve – delicious!

For more on Lisa, contact lisa@lisaraleigh.co.za or find her on Facebook (facebook.com/LisaRaleighSA) and Twitter (@LisaRaleighSA).


[dt-section-title title="Keeping it clean" subtitle="With its new supplement quality-assurance programme, Dis-Chem has taken steps to better educate young sportsmen and women and supply them with the right supplements to improve performance without harming their health. "][dt-space height="60"]

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What exactly is a supplement?

Whether it’s to bulk up, slim down, burn longer or absorb nutrients better, taking a supplement can transform the way you train and aid you in getting bigger (or smaller), stronger, fitter and cut like a cover model.

Here’s the rub. The world of supplements is contentious and loosely regulated. This exposes athletes / users to the possibility of not getting what they pay for and at worst a positive test result for a banned substance.

Think about the size of your average matric rugby player today when compared with a boy of the same age in the seventies or eighties. They are huge. The fact that school sport is getting more and more professional means school kids are emulating their heroes in the professional leagues by working out and taking supplements to keep up with their peers and competition. And if there is doping among the pros, it’s not uncommon any more for it to exist among school kids.

For parents, the onus on who to trust falls to the schools, the coaches and the dieticians and doctors who advise them.

Fortunately, with Dis-Chem’s quality verified retailer programme, keeping tabs on which supplements are available for either yourself as an athlete or for your child as a parent is easier than ever. Dis-Chem has adopted a three-prong strategy

Banned substance testing
Dis-Chem is the only South African retailer with quality verification from LGC, the world’s leading independent forensic dope-testing laboratory. This means all supplements on Dis-Chem’s shelves have been tested or screened.

Product-label verification

Does the bottle of pills or powder in your hand really contain what it says it contains? Dis-Chem is able to verify each supplement’s nutritional claims and deny dodgy operators access to their shelves and your bodies.

Auditing of suppliers’ manufacturing credentials
Through the quality-assurance programme, Dis-Chem does check manufacturers to ensure they have the requisite skills and procedures in place to make top-notch and healthy supplements. If it doesn’t pass muster with Dis-Chem, it doesn’t pass your lips as an athlete.
Dis-Chem has chosen to partner with several professional sports teams to assist them in making the right supplementation choices.

Dis-Chem is partnering with the Bonitas Pro Cycling team as well as the Sharks rugby team as a public endorsement of safe and responsible supplementation in sport.

Dis-Chem’s commitment to safe supplementation is also intended to raise awareness of appropriate supplement use (which outlaws steroids) in local schools and rugby clubs.
An important aspect of The Sharks brand is the renowned Sharksmart programme, an initiative that not only encourages the spirit of the game but also tackles vital wellbeing issues among rugby-playing school boys.

The collaboration between Dis-Chem, Biogen and The Sharks bears the hallmark of an ethical, responsible and cohesive approach to sport supplementation.

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All articles by: Tudor Caradoc-Davies.

All images courtesy of Thinkstock