Money en-us catherined at cosmopolitan dot co dot za Copyright 2009 Bean Real: How to Wean Yourself from Caffeine fall asleep at night. You can’t go a single coffee-free day without getting a debilitating headache.

You’re a cofee addict, and maybe you need help– but you’re not alone. These celebs are rarely snapped without Starbucks in hand.

Source: Scoopla

Out and about, Jessica Alba and Katie Holmes need their caffeine fix. 

Source: Scoopla/ The Fix

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale need the occasional coffee to keep up with their kids. But Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl (who will be gracing our shores very soon – excitement!) was once hospitalised for his coffee habit. Severe caffeine addiction can turn very ugly.

Related: Feed Yourself Fit

So you’re Dave-Grohl-level addicted. What now?

There are worse addictions out there, let’s be honest. But being so dependent on anything can be problematic, and cutting down on coffee definitely won’t hurt your health. Giving up caffeine has a number of benefits, from keeping your mood consistent to improving your sleeping patterns.

Here are a few tips for kicking the habit with as little drama as possible:

1. Give it up gradually.

Instead of going cold turkey and risking some serious crankiness, cut out coffee slowly. Reduce your consumption to once a day, then a few times a week, until you’ve replaced your coffee habit with something else (you can get minor doses of caffeine from dark chocolate, FYI).

2. Replace coffee with other drinks

You’d normally have a cup of coffee morning, noon and night. If you stop, you’re bound to feel a cup-shaped void in your life. Try some other caffeine-free hot drinks. Do some tea-search – there are loads of delicious herbal teas out there with amazing health benefits.

3. Become more physical

Exercise is even more of a stimulant than caffeine – it’s the perfect way to beat the irritability and fatigue that will likely ensue when you go caffeine-free. Exercise will help keep your energy levels up, and endorphins will blunt the pain of withdrawal symptoms.

Related: Surprising Exercise Benefits

Going Decaf

Sure, there’s a chance caffeine might be messing with your body, but coffee just tastes so damn good! If you can’t bear the thought of saying bye-bye to the bean… don’t! Decaf is an excellent alternative to its caffeinated cousin, without the added drama of those terrible withdrawal symptoms.

Related: Feed Yourself Fit

Know your decaf method:

You’ve probably heard that decaf is bad for your health because of the chemicals used in the decaffeination process. This is partly true – but very few South African brands use the outdated (and dangerous) chemical methods.

Ideally your coffee should be decaffeinated using a water-based method. A frequent complaint is that the decaffeination process makes the flavour of the coffee milder – it just doesn’t have that kick anymore. Aside from its health benefits, natural water-based decaf methods preserve the aroma and full flavour of the coffee.

Nescafé Decaf, Nespresso Decaffeinated Grands Crus and Jacob’s Decaf all use natural methods of decaffeination while retaining the richness. Drink away!

Read more about health
Read more about addiction
Read more about exercise

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:00 +0200
Looking To Juice Up Your Detox? Try These Juice Fast Recipes Green machine
2 cucumbers, 2 stalks celery, 3 romaine lettuce leaves, big handful kale, 2 apples. 

Fast juice
3 apples, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks

Grape of wrath
2 bunches grapes, 1 apple, half a red cabbage, half a fennel bulb. 

Beetle juice
Half a beetroot, half a cucumber, 5 carrots

Want more detox juices? Click here. 

Naughty but still nice (not so much for a detox, but, you know, because we’re COSMO…)

Bucks-go-further Fizz
Score retro-chic points and save ‘cause it’s loads cheaper than straight champagne for all your brunch guests. Orange juice + bubbly in proportions to suit your purse strings. (If it’s month-end, the OJ will hide the fact that you’ve used sparkling wine instead of MCC – at all other times of course we’d go for the real stuff.)

Something about Mary
170ml can tomato juice, 1.5 tblsp Worcestershire Sauce, 2 tblsp Tobasco, 1 tblsp lemon juice (optional), small pinch each salt and pinch pepper, celery stalk to stir. Vodka to taste. (Or not – up to you.)

More juicy joy? Try Woolies’ Honey and litchi mojitos and Mango and Chilli Margaritas.

Five Food Rules Models Live By
20 Great Tips for Staying Healthy: Part 1

Tue, 13 May 2014 12:00 +0200
The Good and the Bad of Online Diets
The proportion eating plan aims to strike the corrective balance between losing fat and bolstering muscle tone. This is done by eating the right nutrients in the correct qualities rather than by starving the body.

With this meal plan you should try to eat five to seven of portions of carbohydrates, three to five portions of vegetables, two to three portions of fruit and five to six portions of protein every day. Although the diet advises that you restrict dairy and fats, you can still have two to three portions of these daily.

Cape Town diatitian Kim Hofman calls this a sensible, regular way of eating. However, she says the portions may be too small. Remember that if you are exercising you need kilojoules.

The plusminus eating plan is more of a plan to assist you in adopting long-term healthy eating habits than a diet. It encourages you to change the way you think about food by eating more of what you should and less of what you shouldn’t.

Each week you’ll need to eat more good food on your diet (your ‘plus’ list) and less bad food (your ‘minus’ list). You will have to cut down on chocolates, eliminate pies and pizzas and you will have to increase the amount of time you spend exercising.

Hofman believes that it’s a good idea to try to strive for improvements week by week, but she’s against labelling any food as ‘good’ or as ‘bad’. Each food can play a part in a healthy eating plan.

This diet is built up on the argument that dark chocolate contains enough vitamins to make up for food that you cut out of your diet when you’re trying to restrict kilojoules.

You will have to eat more chocolate in the form of cocoa-powder capsules or shakes, but reduce your overall intake to compensate for this chocoloate overload. Only dark chocolate is permitted on this diet because milk and white chocolate don’t offer the same benefits.

Expert Claire Julsing says that this dieting plan has ‘fad’ written all over it. Not only does it limit the intake of nutritious food, it also encourages the use of cocoa pills. This is something that experts warm you against.

The advantage of this diet is that you get to eat a lot of favourite ‘cheat’ food like peanut butter. This means you probably won’t crave other high kilojoule treats.

The main focus of this plan is upping your intake of peanut butter. Women should consume more than 6 280 kJ a day and at the same time need to exercise a lot.

Julsing says that she wouldn’t recomment such huge quantities of peanut butter, but it is very important to include monounsaturated fats from sources such as avocados, olives and peanuts.

Much in the news of late: this diet has been around for many years in various guises. It is also known in South Africa as the Tim Noakes diet (after the Sports Science prof who re-popularised it). It involves cutting out almost all carbohydrates and upping your fat intake, the idea being that you will get your energy from fat rather than glucose. There are merits in restricting refined food and cutting out sugar, but this eating plan remains controversial in many medical circles. Discuss with your doctor before embarking on it.

Fri, 02 May 2014 12:00 +0200
Five Food Rules Models Live By

Eat clean and fresh foods
Ultimately, eating well and including fresh vegetables and fruits provide natural sugar and energy. Lily Aldridge admits, ‘I don’t really diet, I just eat a lot of clean food.’

Juice it up
Liquid refreshment is a model favourite and having the ability to juice fruit and vegetables with a quality juicer or blender, makes it so easy. For the best results, opt for a fresh press fruit juice or a vegetable mixer.
Don’t let them eat cake!
Stay away from any cake or confectionary treats, as they are filled with sugar and fats. Lay off as many sugary treats as you can if you want that super figure and a clear complexion.

Stay away from fried any and everything
Too much oil is never a good thing. Make sure to stay away from fried foods, as they are usually loaded with trans fats and unhealthy acids.

Drink water
This is the most crucial thing the body can’t do without, as 70 per cent of our body composition is water. Drink filtered water regularly and make sure to consume enough every day (approximately two litres). Water helps with cleansing and purifying the organs and keeping skin hydrated.

Article appeared originally on Marie Claire

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
Guilt-Free Treats Look no further. Unless you’re worried you’ll feel peckish or you need to stay near your screen (i.e. away from the kitchen) – in that case, rather bookmark and come back later

1+3 = Heaven
To one square of 90% Lindt chocolate add a few roasted almonds. Chomp. Yum!

Ole SA!!!
Get patriotic and pop a few slices of biltong or droewors.

DIY Drinks Nibblets
Fried almonds – we know: it sounds scary, but truly these are delish. Simply fry raw almonds in a little olive oil for just a minute. Sprinkle with salt and serve. You could also add some ground spice if you like. We could eat cumin with just about anything. We think we might add coconut flakes next time. Because, like Everest, they are there.

Sweet chips – thinly slice a coupla sweet potatoes, scatter over a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake till crispy (keep a close eye…). Crunch some sea salt over them and enjoy. Mmmmm.

Cruchy kale – these crispy leaves look intriguing and Prof Noakes says you can live on kale so they must be good for you. Lay washed, torn kale leaves on a baking tray (we used a rack, but it’s probably not essential). Sprinkle with coconut oil and bake for about 15 minutes at 180C. Scatter with sea salt. (You can also flavour these with parmesan, but we’d probably use olive oil then. Up to you.)

Good Pud
Chop up plums and apples – any variety, we don’t care. Add knobs of butter. Nothing wrong with a good knob. Sprinkle over a good handful or two of seeds and nuts. Bang in a 180C oven for 20 mins. Coooomffoort food. Yes: exactly what you need.

Eeezi peezi: ice-up your fave yoghurt. Mmmmm.

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
Focus Foods
Caffeine… but don’t overdo it or you’ll get the jitters

Sugar … it’s best to get your dose in a glass of fruit juice if you want a short-term memory boost without the weight gain

Fish… go for one that’s high in omega-3s, such as salmon, and try to eat two portions a week to keep your mind sharp

Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties which enhance focus… just don’t go overboard or you’ll undo its good work

Blueberries … studies suggest these little gems protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:00 +0200
Your Friday Apple Fix: Waldorf Salad They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so we’ve found seven drool-icious ways to eat apples – one for each day of the week!

Waldorf salad

Because on Fridays, it’s nice to add a little fancy to your food. Just ask our favourite Gossip Girl.

Tell 'em, Blair

- green lettuce leaves
- 1 apple, cored and cut into medium-sized pieces
- 2 stalks celery
- bunch of seedless grapes
- handful of walnuts, dry-roasted in a pan

- 1T full-fat mayonnaise (why not – it’s Friday!)
- 1T lemon juice
- salt, sugar and black pepper (to taste)

1. Toss all salad ingredients in a bowl (or arrange on a serving plate if you’re really channelling the spirit of Blair).

2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then toss with the salad (or spoon over).

You don’t have to stick to the amounts above – add as much of your favourite bits as you like!

Check out the other apple-a-day recipes:
Monday: Apple Turnovers
Tuesday: Apple Smoothies
Wednesday: Apple + Cheese Crackers
Thursday: Apple Sauce

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
Your Thursday Apple Fix: Apple Sauce They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so we’ve found seven drool-icious ways to eat apples – one for each day of the week!

Apple sauce

Because it’s so yummy and sweet – and when you’re trying to stay off the cream, it makes everything taste better!

- 3kg apples (any apples), peeled, cored and sliced 
- 1 cup apple juice
- Juice of one lemon
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1t cinnamon
- 1t nutmeg
- 1t allspice
- 1T maple or golden syrup
- 1T butter

1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.

2. Let cool, transfer to a blender and purée until smooth.

3. Store in the fridge until needed.

- Venison
- Duck
- Pork
- Pancakes
- Anything that could use a little bit of sweetness – and, by Thursday, we could all use a little bit of sweetness!

Check out the other apple-a-day recipes:
Monday: Apple Turnovers
Tuesday: Apple Smoothies
Wednesday: Apple + Cheese Crackers
Friday: Waldorf Salad

Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
Throw Out the Spinach We Have the Best News Ever! study which has frankly made our whole wide day could mean that weight loss, fun and Friday may now be synonymous. Tequila may offer health benefits to the overweight and diabetic. Well knock me down with a feather!

Imagine the possibilities!
If, like me, you are unconvinced by unicorns, free designer shoes and other mythical happenings that are too good to be true- here’s the sciencey stuff: The plant that is used to make tequila contains a natural sugar called agavins which have been shown to lower the blood glucose levels of mice and reduce their appetite.

The mice also showed higher levels of the hormone GLP-1 that keeps hunger at bay and produces insulin, which is great for diabetics.

The authors of the study are suggesting producing agavins-based sweeteners instead of the daily dose of fun juice that we had in mind- but its good to know that this Friday you wont be doing as much damage to your diet as you originally thought.

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
Your Tuesday Apple Fix: Apple Smoothies They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so we’ve found seven drool-icious ways to eat apples – one for each day of the week!

Apple Smoothies

Monday indulgence is completely understandable but Tuesday should mark the return of sanity – and healthy eating. You can actually make these yummy, vitamin-packed smoothies any day of the week.

We want one, NOW

- 1½ cups apple cider or apple juice
- 1 cup low-fat yoghurt (vanilla, plain or apple)
- ¼ cup almond milk (optional – skip this if you want a thicker smoothie, or use 1t almond-milk powder)
- 1 medium, ripe banana, sliced (previously frozen is great but not required)
- 1t cinnamon
- ½t vanilla extract
- pinch of nutmeg
- brown sugar or sweetener, to taste
- 2 cups ice (optional; add as necessary)

1. Combine all ingredients (except ice) in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If using sugar or sweetener, make sure it has dissolved and is well incorporated.

2. Pour smoothie into a large glass over ice. You can also blend ice into the smoothie – just remember that this will water it down a bit.

- Pour into sturdy cups and freeze for later. (30 seconds in the microwave brings it back to drinking form.)
- Pour into bowls and freeze – instant apple-pie-flavoured frozen yogurt!
- Pour into ice-lolly moulds, paper cups or ice-cube trays and freeze to make yummy frozen treats.

- Add a shot (or two) of rum, vodka or apple schnapps to each smoothie portion.
- Use caramel sauce in the mixture – or drizzle over the top before drinking.

Check out the other apple-a-day recipes:
Monday: Apple Turnovers
Wednesday: Apple + Cheese Crackers
Thursday: Apple Sauce
Friday: Waldorf Salad

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
Your Wednesday Apple Fix: Apple + Cheese Crackers They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so we’ve found seven drool-icious ways to eat apples – one for each day of the week!

Warm apples and shallots with blue cheese on crackers

Because here in COSMO-land, ‘hump day’ definitely calls for some fancy cheese. You can also combine goat’s cheese with crunchy, tart apples; blue cheese with apple preserves; and brie with soft, sweet apples. Warning: this recipe might make you a bit of a hit at parties.

And this is why… #YUM

- 1 Pink Lady apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
- 4t olive oil
- 2t balsamic vinegar
- ½t brown sugar
- 1t salt
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- 3T white wine (plus a glass for yourself, to lubricate the cooking process)
- 1t cracked black pepper
- Crackers, chunks of blue cheese and more wine, to serve

1. Place diced apple in a bowl, then add 2t olive oil, vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

2. Sauté shallot in a saucepan in the remaining olive oil until it turns golden brown.

3. Add wine, remaining salt and pepper to the shallots, and leave to simmer and reduce on medium heat.

4. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the apple mixture to the pan and warm through. Make sure the apples don’t actually cook, as they'll turn mushy.

5. Top crackers with blue cheese and warm apple mixture – then decide whether you want to share them or have them all to yourself!

Check out the other apple-a-day recipes:
Monday: Apple Turnovers
Tuesday: Apple Smoothies
Thursday: Apple Sauce
Friday: Waldorf Salad

Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
20 Great Tips for Staying Healthy: Part 2 the first part of this article and you said to yourself "Okay, this is great but I don't think I can do any of these" - don't worry because A) you are awesome and you can, and B) we love you enough to give you 10 more tips by Lisa Raleigh that you might feel more comfortable trying out. Like 

If you are keen to do a full body workout,
but you are short on time - don't worry. Do your strength training and your cardio at the same time! This is a better option than practising a full cardio workout before strength training, or vice versa. Integrating cardio and strength throughout your workout will keep your energy levels balanced, as well as your performance in each field - and just between us, you no longer have to be late for work and use the *cough* traffic *cough* excuse! 

Don't underestimate the importance of nutrition
Good training isn't just what you do with your body; it's also what you feed your body. We all know someone who works out like mad but their bodies just don't show the results you'd expect. This is usually because they lack the nutrients to get those results. General consensus of the experts is that the way you eat accounts for as much as 80 percent of how you look, so none of this..

Keep exercise interesting 
The same routine delivers the same results. Well doesn't that sound familiar? We've heard this so many times when it comes to the way we pick our potential significant others - so why not apply it to your excercise routine? You need to vary your programme often to challenge your body and prevent boredom, and also to stave off weight loss plateaus. So you know that thing you thought you should do but were maybe too scared, try it! Currently we are loving 

Natural light will regulate your sleeping
Skip the snooze button and sleep with your curtains open, as letting in the natural light will rid your system of the sleep-hormone melatonin. Also, spend valuable time outdoors. Two hours of sunshine a day is all it takes to regulate your body clock – energising you during the daytime, and helping you rest at night. 

We agree with you girl! 

Eat from a tree, not a factory
So you guys, not only are sugar and processed foods are the top offenders - we know this, but unhealthy salt is too! Limit your intake of wheat, alcohol, caffeine and dairy and you will love your body!  

Get your five a day
These are our vitamins and minerals. Veggies are a MUST, and make up more than half this quota. White fruits like apples and pears are excellent for heart health, brightly coloured foods like peppers, berries and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, and dark, leafy greens are rich in minerals. This is also great for when you are too lazy to cook (we have all been there) so eat raw wherever possible - cooking them will strip the nutirients you need. Also, juicing your raw fruit and veg is a great way to meet your daily quota. 

Adults need approximately 0.8g of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight. Great sources of this are lean white meats, eggs, low fat dairy sources, almonds, beans and soy. Whey protein powder is a particularly good choice as it is one of the few proteins that have a 100% absorption rate.

It’s important to get enough monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat.
Who even knew there were different kinds of fats, or better yet healthy fats? Good news though, because you don't always have to run away from "fatty" foods anymore, some are actually good for you! Avocados, raw nuts, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and trout, olives, hummus, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds - these improve your cholesterol, decrease your risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. When using oils, enjoy olive oil raw over salads and bread, and cook only with coconut oil.


Swap your regular vitamins for Foodstate ones
These contain specific peptide carriers for efficient delivery of nutrients in the body. With most vitamins, you will only absorb 5% of the nutrients and the rest will pass through your urine, but Foodstate vitamins mean your body recognizes the substance as a food source and so can send it to the relevant parts of the body.

Small healthy swaps can transform your eating habits
Replace table salt with Himalayan rock salt, cook with coconut oil over others, and use natural sugar replacements like xylitol, stevia and maple syrup. Skip refined carbs like white pasta and rather incorporate grains like quinoa, oats and barley. You can do it right? 

Are you excited to get your body healthy again? We are! 


GOOD NEWS! Trim is offering free outdoor fitness classes. That’s right - free!
You can now enjoy free work-out sessions to get into shape. Trim and fitness guru Lisa Raleigh will host free outdoor sessions in three incredible locations: Southern Sun Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town, Montecasino in Johannesburg and Suncoast in Durban. The sessions are held every week day from Monday to Friday 5.30pm and Saturdays at 8am and include cardio, kickboxing, yoga, Zumba and boot camp.

To register go to

Lisa Raleigh
TV personality, Author, Lifestyle and Wellness Expert - Facebook
@LisaRaleighSA – Twitter
LisaRaleighTV – Youtube

Mon, 17 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
20 Great Tips for Staying Healthy: Part 1

but alas. 

Even if you do find yourself overindulging on a sweet treat or two, there are some excercise tips you can follow that will keep you and your body on the right track. We asked Lisa Raleigh, exercise specialist for more than a decade, with her specialities including wellness, digestion, stress management and obesity to help shed some light. So you know these facts are legit! 

Choose quality over quantity 
When you go to the gym, make your time count by upping your intensity. Replace long, medium intensity workouts for short bursts of hard training. So instead of working out for an hour, you can get the same result in just 20-30 minutes and really change your body. There is only so much treadmill you can take anyway right? 

Push the weights
Ladies, weights aren't just for fellas. They will do wonders for your body too! Lift some weights to get those arms tight and that body right. Building lean muscle takes up far less space than fat, and keeps our metabolism burning much higher. The weights don't have to be too heavy, but when you feel yourself getting comfortable with a certain weight, challenge yourself to more heavier ones! 

Make your cardio count
We don't know about you, but when we hear cardio we think - "hey do you mind quickly running to the shops for me, forgot the milk for the cake" - if you are just like us, maybe we need to switch things up, because unfortunately for us they still haven't created that thing we need, to eat all we want and not gain weight. Till then, you could just go for a run or include your upper body in your workout, this and will boost your overall calorie expenditure. Try some aerobics classes or rowing this will help you achieve a full-body cardio workout. 


Try compound exercises
Compound excercises = best way to burn more calories in a shorter space of time. But be warned, they are brutal! But...


Consistency is Key
So you have this great workout, you are so sure it will make you lose the weight you want to lose, but you have a seriously difficult time getting your self to workout - we sypathise, but no matter how good your program is, it won't get you results if you don't perform it consistently. So, peel your self off the couch and get to exercising! If you keep doing it, and not just once a month, we promise you will succeed. No excuses!


If you’re on a budget, train at home
A few pairs of dumbbells, the right attitude and a yoga mat is all you really need for an effective home workout. If you feel you need supervision, invest in fitness DVDs. It is worth it. 


Don’t obsess over the scale
Some people place far too much importance on the number they see on the scale. What they forget is that it's not about losing or gaining weight; it's about burning fat. The number on the scale changes from day to day and even from hour to hour. Yes, you should weigh in regularly, but not obsessively. The mirror is a far better evaluator for measuring success.


Don’t judge your workout from muscle soreness
With any sort of strain on your body, your muscles will get sore, but remember what we said about consistency. If you keep to your program your muscles will become less painful. That doesn't mean your workouts are losing effectiveness. It simply means you're getting stronger.

Put supplements in their place
Supplements are not a replacement for good training, healthy eating, or mental focus.


They're simply an important addition to all of those other things - so while it may be easy to think all you have to do is take supplements, don't! They only benefit you once you have your goals and system in place 

Rest right
Repairing muscle is as important as exercising it, so always leave 48 hours between training the same muscle groups. Alternate your training days between cardio and strength workouts, and always allow yourself at least one day’s rest per week.


Find part two of this article here

GOOD NEWS! Trim is offering free outdoor fitness classes. That’s right - free!
You can now enjoy free work-out sessions to get into shape. Trim and fitness guru Lisa Raleigh will host free outdoor sessions in three incredible locations: Southern Sun Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town, Montecasino in Johannesburg and Suncoast in Durban. The sessions are held every week day from Monday to Friday 5.30pm and Saturdays at 8am and include cardio, kickboxing, yoga, Zumba and boot camp.

To register go to

Lisa Raleigh
TV personality, Author, Lifestyle and Wellness Expert - Facebook
@LisaRaleighSA – Twitter
LisaRaleighTV – Youtube
Mon, 17 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
Your Monday Apple Fix: Apple Turnovers They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so we’ve found seven drool-icious ways to eat apples – one for each day of the week!

Apple turnovers

Because we all need to eat our way through a mad Monday every once in a while.

- 2 firm Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
- 3T sugar
- 1t corn flour
- ½t cinnamon
- Puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Oil for deep-frying
- Icing sugar and vanilla ice cream (to serve)

1. Place diced apple, sugar, corn flour and cinnamon in a bowl, then toss the ingredients to coat the apple pieces. Cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge.

2. Roll puff pastry out to about 3mm in thickness, then cut into 14cm squares.

3. Fill each pastry square with 2 teaspoons of the chilled apple mixture.

4. Brush egg along the edges of each pie, fold pastry over and press together along the edges with a fork. Once all pies are done, place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. Fill a medium-sized pot with oil and heat. Test the temperature with a piece of puff pastry – once sizzling, start deep-frying pies in batches of two or three to ensure they cook evenly.

6. When pies are golden-brown, remove from oil and drain on a piece of paper towel. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with ice cream. Monday blues, sorted!

Check out the other apple-a-day recipes:
Tuesday: Apple Smoothies
Wednesday: Apple + Cheese Crackers
Thursday: Apple Sauce
Friday: Waldorf Salad

Mon, 17 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
10 Stress Reducing Foods You Will Be Thankful You Had


Instead of locking your jaw and grinding your teeth when you’re feeling stressed – snack on some almonds. These are a great source of magnesium and zinc and are high in unsaturated fat.

Wholegrain pasta

Carbohydrates boost serotonin levels and have a calming effect on the body. Try to avoid simple carbs, like white bread and pastries – these will only give your body a short boost followed by a devastating crash. Try to add more wholegrain pastas and grains to your diet, which will leave you satisfied for longer.


The seaweed in sushi has anti-stress properties – it’s filled with magnesium and vitamin B. If you’re feeling the tension after a long day at work, go for salmon maki instead of a cheese sandwich or stodgy foods.


Packed with Vitamin C, oranges are a great way to fight stress – and if you’re not into oranges, try any other Vitamin C-packed fruits like blueberries.


High in fibre and low in sugar – these are actually better for you than Vitamin C-rich fruits like oranges and grapefruit.


For a good dose of Vitamin B, proven to up your happy brain chemical, serotonin, should be enjoyed regularly in the form of tuna or salmon.


One of the few fruits with the magical ingredient potassium, bananas are another great stress-reliever. They’re also rich in the amino acid, tryptophan, which boosts serotonin and melatonin levels.

Spinach and broccoli

Both these green veggies are full of Vitamin B and folic acid. These vitamins are both good for relieving not only stress, but anxiety and panic as well.


Milk is high in antioxidants, Vitamin B, protein and calcium – all of which combat stress.

Article originally appeared on Marie Claire

Sat, 15 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
4 WTF Vintage Weight Loss Tips
Check out these retro weight-loss tricks trialled over the years:

Wonder sauna hot pants

These hideous animal-like pants were meant to force you to sweat so that your body would rid itself of extra water weight.

Slenderizing salons

While all those springs and coils may look like a means of torture, this 1940s contraption was meant to massage your ‘problem areas’, stimulate muscles and help break down fat.

‘Fat-reducing’ soaps

Some companies produced fat-reducing soap claiming to ‘reduce any part of body desired without affecting other parts’. These miracle products didn’t say how fat was washed away, only that it ‘acts like magic’.

Thin music

Wallace Reducing Records is another weight-loss invention from days gone by. The ‘Get Thin to Music’ radio program promised participants that they could lose 20 kilograms in just three months. Thanks, Wallace, but we’ll stick to aerobics and zumba.

Article originally appeared on Marie Claire 

Fri, 14 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
Eat Chocolate, Ditch the Guilt! Scientific evidence to justify our cheat days? Yes, please!

Sometimes all we want is a sweet treat – so we found six reasons why there’s no need ever to feel bad about eating a bit of dark chocolate. You're welcome!

1 It calms us down
A small amount of dark chocolate two or three times a week can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke (especially in guys – so share your stash of 70% Lindt!).

2 It makes things flow
The flavonoids present in chocolate improve circulation and may help prevent the formation of blood clots.

3 It gives us butterflies
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), one of the neurochemicals that makes us feel like we’re falling in love. PEA also encourages the brain to release endorphins, which is why eating dark chocolate makes us happy.

That's right, Ron. Eat chocolate, be happy

4 It keeps things working
Chocolate helps to keep blood vessels healthy, and could help protect the body against Type 2 diabetes.

5 It keeps us young
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, which can slow the appearance of ageing. Added bonus: antioxidants are also really important in protecting the body from certain types of cancer.

6 It has what we need
Dark chocolate contains potassium, copper, magnesium and iron. No wonder it’s such a good PMS-buster!

Yup – we get it!

If you're on a pretty strict eating plan and craving chocolate, but you don’t want to cheat on the diet too often, snack on a handful of nuts and seeds. It’s possible that your body is simply lacking magnesium – and pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews and almonds all have high concentrations of the mineral.

Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:00 +0200
Put Your Cravings On Lockdown gym time.

Liquid power

Sometimes the brain confuses thirst with hunger, and has you reaching for the pretzels when what you really need is to rehydrate. Before you give in to pangs, pour yourself a tall glass of water with lemon and ice. Once you’ve drunk it, ask yourself if you’re still hungry or if you can wait till dinner. Chances are you’ll have quenched your thirst. But if you really were peckish

Grab an apple

Choose the biggest one you can find. They’re full of vitamins and fibre, which fools your tummy into feeling fuller than it is. If you’re hungrier than what an apple can fix, try slicing it up and eating it with a tablespoon of peanut butter. That will definitely ward off the pangs till it’s time for your next meal.

Sweet tooth cure

If you’re needing chocolate like it’s nobody’s business, this trick works a bomb: warm a mug of fat free milk in the microwave, add a few generous spoons of fat-free hot chocolate or cocoa, and add artificial sweetener. This delicious, warming drink will tick every chocolate spot with a fraction of the calories.

Needing a salty snack

Before you reach for the potato chips, remember – it’s the salt you’re really after, so (if you’re a meat eater) buy a small bag of game biltong instead which is naturally low in fat. The protein will fill you up while the salt will satisfy your cravings. If you must have a crunch, pop yourself a small (we said small) bowl of popcorn. It has all the nutrients of corn, and fewer calories than fried snacks.

Mid-afternoon slump

If you find yourself drooping in the afternoon and likely to reach for the rusks, try a handful of almonds and raisins instead. They’re nutritious, filling and will satisfy your sweet tooth. Likewise a bowl of plain yoghurt with banana – this fruit is packed with potassium, and the yoghurt will give you the calcium and protein you need to keep going a little while longer.

Read page133 for the March COSMO for the skinny on food and drink. 

Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
The Hungry Girls Guide to Dining Out Google is Your New BFF
If you know where you’re going out for dinner, find the restaurant’s menu online. Do a little research beforehand, so you’ll be more prepared when you get to dinner.

Menu Reading 101
Scan the menu for he best options, looking for words such as grilled, steamed or baked. Skip items with descriptions such as fried, crumbed and sautéed. Avoid sauces that sound sugary, creamy, cheesy or buttery.

Appy Days Are Here Again
No need to skip the appetizers. If there’s a light soup on the menu, go for it – it will fill you up before the mains. Another great starter is a salad with a light dressing, a splash of lemon or balsamic vinegar.

Bread Dread
We’re not sure how much more clearly we can put this. Skip the bread. Don’t look at it, don’t sniff it, don’t pick at it. The typical pre-meal bread-eater tends to gobble up about 2000 kilojoules worth of bread and butter before her meal even starts.

Just Desserts
We’re big believers in eating desserts but ordering them can be risky. A decent option is sorbet, and your best bet is always fresh fruit.

Sun, 23 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
The Good and the Bad of Online Dieting

The proportion eating plan aims to strike the corrective balance between losing fat and bolstering muscle tone. This done by eating the right nutrients in the correct qualities rather than by starving the body.

With this meal plan you should try to eat five to seven of portions of carbohydrates, three to five portions of vegetables, two to three portions of fruit and five to six portions of protein every day.

Although the diet advises that you restrict dairy and fats, you can still have two to three portions of these daily.
Cape Town dietitian Kim Hofman calls this a sensible, regular way of eating. However, she says the portions may be too small. Remember that if you are exercising, you need kilojoules.


The plusminus eating plan is more of a plan to assist you in adopting long-term healthy eating habits than a diet. It encourages you to change the way you think about food by eating more of what you should and less of what you shouldn’t.

Each week you’ll need to add more good food to your diet (your ‘plus’ list) and less bad food (your ‘minus’ list). You will have to cut down on chocolates, eliminate pies and pizzas and you will have to increase the amount of time you spend exercising.

Hofman believes that it’s a good idea to try to strive for improvements week by week, she’s against labelling any food as ‘good’ or as ‘bad’. Each food can play a part in a healthy eating plan.

Sat, 22 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
The Craziest Diets Celebrities Have Tried
1. The Placenta Diet (January Jones)
After the birth of Xander, Jones had her own placenta dried, crushed and then popped them in pill form – to which she credits for losing baby weight and avoiding post-partum depression. She says she’d recommend them to any expectant mother, but we’re not sure we’d go that far (although we’re sure that as a Scientology belief, devotee Tom Cruise would agree with this somewhat bizarre practice!)

2. The Bacteria Diet (Madonna)
Madonna’s latest tailored diet is raw, rich in fibre and filled with good bacteria to encourage helpful microbes to grow in her bowel. She claims that they’ve helped her to combat signs of ageing and that they might be useful to prevent several diseases. Good for her, but we’ll take the laugh lines over the bacteria anyday.

3. The Cookie Diet (Snookie)
New mom Snooki has reportedly lost her baby weight with the cookie diet (as well as fat burner Zantrex and exercise). By eating eight portion-controlled cookies throughout the day, Dr Siegal’s cookie diet means that you don’t get hungry – and you’re even allowed to have a ‘generous’ meal for dinner!

4. The Master Cleanse (Beyoncé)
This liquid diet consisting of only hot water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for ten days is drastically unhealthy and offers only short term results. It did help Queen Bey into her svelte Dreamgirls role – she reportedly lost about 10 kilograms for the role but we’re so happy she gained her curves back soon afterwards.

5. The Drunk Diet (Lady Gaga)
‘I am on the drunk diet… I like to drink whiskey and stuff while I’m working,’ says the crazy songstress. Publicity stunt, creative juice or addiction? We can safely say that a safe weight-loss strategy it is not! Gaga’s ex, Luc Carl, has written a book on the topic, sub-titled How I lost 40 Pounds… Wasted.

Original article on Marie Claire

Sat, 15 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
Why The Marie Antoinette Diet Might Actually Work lose weight.

Marie Antoinette the movie, depicts the former French queen’s diet as one that involved a lot pastries, macarons and sugary cakes. Regardless of the calorie-filled foods ate, she still managed to keep her trim waist of 58cm. But how did she do it?

We are led to believe that Marie Antoinette knew something that most women didn’t – it’s not what you eat but when you eat it.

Therefore, the ‘Marie Antoinette Diet’ or ‘MAD’ is mainly focused on meal timing. Some other factors in the diet include: indulging on sweet things with breakfast as it will curb your appetite for them later on in the day, portion control rather than food-control and the only thing that is totally off limits during this diet, is fried foods.

The author of the book Marie Antoinette: eat cake and still lose weight, Karen Wheeler best tip? ‘Only eat dessert if it’s amazing’. Mmm, most are.

The original article can be found on Marie Claire

Thu, 06 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
Unusual Reasons To Follow These Diet Tips Drink up!
Drinking a lot of water can help you make better decisions. A study led by Dutch scientist Mirjam Tuk found that the same self-control you use to cope with a full bladder helps you think things through more clearly. Perhaps you should glug a glass of water before you head out on that shopping spree.

Run on empty
We all know that exercise speeds up weight loss but Brazilian researchers at the State University of Campinas in Sao Paulo have discovered that it isn’t just because you’re using up energy pounding the pavements – exercise also restores the sensitivity of the neurons that make you feel full. So not only are you burning off your lunch on your evening jog, you’re also ensuring you won’t pig out at dinner. Bonus!

Eat ‘n’ glow
It turns out that your five a day can do more than keep ill health at bay. Scientists at the University Of St Andrews in Scotland have found that eating more brightly coloured fruit and veg, such as carrots and plums, could make you more attractive, too. This is because their pigments, called carotenoids, give skin a warmer, yellower hue, which is perceived as healthier.

For an instant glow, invest in a good, warm-toned foundation, add a little fake tan to your night cream a few times a week, and mix a pump of highlighting fluid or liquid bronzer into your moisturiser.

Thu, 06 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
Why These Simple Health Tips are Good for You
Drink up!
Drinking a lot of water can help you make better decisions. A study led by Dutch scientist Mirjam Tuk found that the same self-control you use to cope with a full bladder helps you think things through more clearly. Perhaps you should glug a glass of water before you head out on that shopping spree.

Run on empty
We all know that exercise speeds up weight loss but Brazilian researchers at the State University of Campinas in Sao Paulo have discovered that it isn’t just because you’re using up energy pounding the pavements – exercise also restores the sensitivity of the neurons that make you feel full. So not only are you burning off your lunch on your evening jog, you’re also ensuring you won’t pig out at dinner. Bonus!

Eat ‘n’ glow
It turns out that your five a day can do more than keep ill health at bay. Scientists at the University Of St Andrews in Scotland have found that eating more brightly coloured fruit and veg, such as carrots and plums, could make you more attractive, too. This is because their pigments, called carotenoids, give skin a warmer, yellower hue, which is perceived as healthier.

Tip: for an instant glow, invest in a good, warm-toned foundation, add a little fake tan to your night cream a few times a week, and mix a pump of highlighting fluid or liquid bronzer into your moisturiser.

Don't forget to have a look at our other Diet articles.

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 12:00 +0200
You Can Have Your Carb And Eat It
Decades of diets such as the Atkins and the Dukan has turned many of us off carbs for good, and it seems that cutting them out is the quickest way to drop kilograms. But it’s not the healthiest. Banning whole food groups is rarely sustainable and skipping complex carbohydrates can make us tired, depressed and edgy – they not only provide us with slow-released energy, but also raise the levels of mood-boosting serotonin and calming tryptophan. The key is to eat the right type of carbs at the right time.

‘Avoid potatoes and refined (simple) carbs such as white bread, croissants, sweets and biscuits,’ says Cape Town nutritional therapist Sally-Ann Creed. ‘Instead choose whole grains and sweet potatoes, early in the day. To lose weight or maintain a stable weight, it’s best to eat very few carbs at night.’ Try to steer clear of starchy carbs such as pasta and potatoes after 6pm, and always eat them with some sort of protein. Eating only carbs can destabilise blood sugar.

Also, manage your glycaemic load (GL). It can veer wildly depending on how food is cooked. Glycaemic load ranks food according to is carb content in a specific portion size , rather than how fat a 50g portion of carbohydrates will raise blood-sugar levels, as is the case with the glycaemic index (GI) of food. To keep both the GL and the GI stable, choose food that’s as close to its natural state as possible. Vegetables are better lightly steamed or boiled, while grains need to be whole (not refined) and without added sugar.

Make the switch
Trade white bread, croissants and bagels for wholemeal or whole-wheat bread. Swap high-GL mashed potatoes or ho chips for low-GL steamed new potatoes. Try whole-wheat pasta with a tomato-based sauce and a small steak instead of spaghetti carbonara, or chicken-and-lentil stir-fry instead of egg-fried rice.
Fri, 24 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
The Chocoholics Guide to Eating Chocolate Without the Guilt sweet tooth. You don’t have to ban chocolate altogether, but it’s important to distinguish between the good stuff (dark, bitter bars that snap crisply when breaking) and the soft, milk sort that’s packed with sugar. ‘You can have good chocolate in limited amounts,’ says Cape Town nutritional therapist Sally-Ann Creed.

‘Look for slabs that contain 75% to 85% cocoa, preferably organic.’ The darker the chocolate, the higher its percentage of cocoa and the more antioxidants it has. All chocolates are high in “bad” fats but any treat is fine in moderation. So don’t eat a packet of wine gums just because they’re fat free when you feel like having chocolate – they’re fat free when you feel like having chocolate – they’re fine if you love eating chewy sweets but they won’t satisfy a chocolate craving.’

Make the Switch
If you’re craving something sweet (not chocolate specifically), eat fruit such as berries, which are also low in carbs. But if you know that only chocolate will hit the spot, choose good-quality brands with high percentages of cocoa.
Thu, 23 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
How To Stick To Your Balanced Diet eat and drink, the food industry is not being entirely honest either. Always read labels and look out for hidden sugar in places you wouldn’t expect it, such as:

These can be packed with sugar to improve the taste. Rather eat unsalted almonds for the same energy kick.

Prepackaged tomato sauce is often stuffed with corn syrup to make it thicker.

Watch out for companies that add a dusting of sugar onto their dried fruit.

You know that full-cream milk is high in fat, but even skim (fat-free) milk contains sugar. Watch out when pairing it with a sugary cereal in the mornings.
Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Tips to Help You Prevent a Snack Attack
Here are a couple of tips to take the silly out of the silly season:
  • Never go grocery shopping alone or start cooking on an empty stomach
  • Never eat standing up
  • Always use cutlery and crockery – it helps slow you down and guides you on portion size
  • Plan activities to distract or relax you to make transition times – when we are most susceptible to bingeing – easier. For example, instead of heading straight home after work, go for a walk or stop at the gym
  • Never eat in the car, at your desk, in bed or in front of the TV. Eat your meal somewhere you can sit with your meal in front of you and focus all your attention on it.
Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
5 Food Rules to Halt Hunger
Get enough sleep
The pharmaceutical industry is racing to come up with a drug that suppresses ghrelin, the hormone that makes us hungry. But research has shown that getting enough sleep is a quick way to lower those levels.

Eat fish
Another hunger hormone, leptin, controls how much food you eat and affects your metabolism. Keeping leptin levels low is crucial, and the food that’s shown to have an effect is fish.

Control cortisol
While there may not be much we can do to eliminate things that make us stressed, we can learn food-free ways to deal with them. Help your body produce less cortisol - which makes us crave carbs when under pressure – by using relaxation and mediation techniques.

Ditch diet food
Psychologically, you’ll never feel that ‘diet’ chocolate or fat-free yoghurt is sufficient. Rather have a smaller portion of the full fat version and feel satisfied.

Think before you have seconds
Sometimes we know we’re not hungry when we eat. There are lots of emotional triggers, from boredom to loneliness. We can also carry learnt behaviours from childhood, such as clearing your plate because your parents told you to (there are kids starving in Asia, you know!) ]]>
Sat, 04 Jan 2014 12:00 +0200
Holiday Food Romance? Get help

It’s vital to learn to relate differently to your inner addict – the voice that says ‘more is never enough’, ‘you’re useless/unlovable’ or you can’t handle this’ – says addiction specialist Peter Powis. This requires developing the capacity for self-empathy, compassion, firmness, understanding and gentle limit-setting, can be achieved with:

a. Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.

b. Various mindfulness-based practices.

c. An eating plan from a registered dietician ‘to take the obsessing out of your eating’.

For more in on Diet click here.

Wed, 25 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
Drink Wine, Feel Awesome? We’ll sign up for that!

Lazy summer days = time spent by the pool, sipping on a glass of chilled white. But a high sulphite content can ruin the experience if you’re even mildly allergic to the chemical. Now your holiday season can be properly festive – Neil Patterson Wines is launching South Africa’s first sulphite-free wine range. Sulphites are traditionally used to purify and preserve wine (and give you the occasional blinding headache, should you overindulge in your favourite grape product), but the arrival of SurePure’s locally patented photopurification technology provides a ‘greener’ alternative by cleaning the liquid with UV light. The range, which will be available at wine boutiques around the country, is bound to have something you’ll love: it includes a crisp 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from the Helderberg region of Stellenbosch, a gentle 2009 Constantia Merlot, and a 2012 Chenin Blanc and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from the Franschhoek valley. Fewer chemicals … healthier wines? We’re all about getting that into a Christmas stocking!

COSMO does not suggest irresponsible drinking, underage drinking or drinking and driving. Please drink responsibly.

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
Follow a Balanced Diet.
David Kessler, author of ‘The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite’, introduces a ‘food rehab’ plan in his book: eating in a planned way, not in a chaotic way. He says snacking is just a response to the cues in the environment.

Plan your meals. It’s very important not to feel hungry or deprived because that will only increase the reward value of food and make it harder to stop.
Keep your eating patterns structured. ‘When trying not to overeat, it’s very important to have a plan,’ says Cape Town nutritionist Megan Perry. ‘If you have a problem with eating unhealthy food, plan in advance what you’re going to eat and the approximate time at which you eat it. This leaves little room for overeating.’

Tell yourself you won’t get a food reward. Change your eating habits so you stop craving the foods you shouldn’t eat. Don’t drive past the bakery if you know you’ll go inside.
Change your perception of food.

For more information on Diet click here.

Sat, 14 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
10 Foods to Eat for Beautiful Skin
Carriers of healthy fats and antioxidants, nuts (and especially almonds) charge your skin cells with skin-plumping vitamin E, which retains moisture and limits free-radical damage.

One of the highest antioxidant-containing foods, blueberries help your body to eliminate toxins caused by pollution, stress and consumed chemicals. They are also stuffed full of vitamin A and C, are high in fibre and can be eaten plain or in a variety of dishes – all of which make these tiny berries giant in the nutrition arena.


As your body does not naturally produce omega 3 fatty acids, it is important to consume foods rich in these vital nutrients. Omega 3 acids support the production of elastin and collagen, which naturally decrease as we age and which we need to maintain supple, youthful skin. The zinc found in seafood such as salmon helps to decrease your body’s production of sebum, a primary cause of acne.


Another superstar in the vitamin A and C stakes, tomatoes have the added benefits of helping to prevent acne (naturally acidic, they act as an astringent, preventing a build up of oil). The vitamin C, which is high in tomatoes and bell peppers, aids in the prevention of inflammation and aids in the production of collagen (keeping your skin from sagging). But tomatoes’ best claim to skin-saving fame is that they contain the phytochemical lycopene, which helps to protect against free-radicals, especially those from UV rays. Sun protection on a plate!


As well as containing lots of skin-repairing vitamin A, eggs also contain biotin (a B-complex vitamin that is thought to strengthen hair and nails), lecithin (an emollient which adds moisture and softens the skin) and a mixture of proteins called albumen (which have strengthening properties whether eaten or applied as a face mask).

Oatmeal and Whole Grains
Oatmeal soothes dry and irritated skin which is why it is often found in skin-care products. Also adding to the skin-care punch packed by oatmeal are the unsaturated fats that lubricate your skin, polysaccharides that eliminate flakes, polyphenols that act as anti-inflammatories and beta glucan which holds retains water in the skin cells.

Leafy Green Veggies

Popeye was on to a good thing – while green veggies such as spinach and kale might not cause your biceps to pop, they do protect against skin cancer. Folate-rich spinach maintains and repairs DNA (reducing likelihood of cancer-cell growth) and the vitamin K in green leaves prevents bloating and puffiness in both your stomach and your skin.


The yellow-orange pigments in mangoes (as well as papaya and apricots) are called carotenoids. Added to certain supplements, treat yourself by consuming them in their sweet and natural form to give your skin a healthy, rosy colour. Also rich in vitamins, they help to boost your collagen.

Antioxidants in cocoa power, such as flavonals, even out skin texture and protect your skin against UV rays. Happily, the same effects can be gained from small amounts of dark chocolate. Just make sure that the chocolate you eat is 70 per cent or above cocoa – the more cocoa (or cacao, as it often appears on packaging) the better for your skin.

We all know that sufficient water consumption is essential for clear, healthy skin and good general hydration. Hydration means that your skin cells don’t get a chance to dry out and that you sweat more efficiently, which rids your body of toxins and adds a natural glow.

This article was originally posted on

Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:00 +0200
The Healthy Girls Guide to Eating Out Google it!
Search for the restaurant online and have a look at their menu. You won’t get confused or overwhelmed when you get to the restaurant then.

Look closely at the menu for words like grilled, steamed or baked. Avoid anything friend, crumbed and sautéed.

An appetizer is always a good idea. It fills you up and you won’t end up overeating when the main course arrives. Order a nice soup or salad for an appetizer.

Skip the dough
Step away from the bread! We repeat, step away! The typical pre-meal bread-eater tends to eat 2000 kilojoules’ worth of bread before their meal starts.

This is one of our biggest weaknesses. Stay away from the chocolate brownie, no matter how good the description is. Rather have some sorbet or fresh fruit.

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Easy Ways To Help The Environment And Be A Better Human Being What can you do to help?

1. Don’t throw it away You can still use food that’s just past its prime. For example, blend fruit that’s going soft with a bit of yoghurt and voila! You have a tasty smoothie to start the day.

2. Buy what you need It might seem easier to buy a pre-packed carton rather than getting individual fruit and veggies weighed, but this way, you’ll buy the exact amount you need – so no wastage. The added bonus? You’ll pay less, too.

3. Start recycling It’s as easy as buying different bins and separating the glass, plastic and paper products from your rubbish so that they can be used again instead of taking up space in a land fill. While you’re going through the trash, throw the leftover food waste into a compost bin – your garden will thank you.

4. Practice FIFO That means ‘first in, first out’ – stack the older items nearer the front of your fridge or pantry so that you’ll grab them first. And be wary of throwing something out just because the sticker says it’s past its sell-by date. Expiry dates usually refer to the manufacturer’s suggestions for peak quality, rather than the date something will go off – so if it still looks, smells and tastes okay, you can still eat it.

5. Give it away If you know you’re not going to eat those apples, give them to someone who will.

Thu, 28 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Tips for a Flatter Tummy Mix Masala
Have something sweet and savoury. A great mixture is pretzels (broken into tiny pieces) with nuts and dried cranberries.

Vegetables and Salsa
Give your veggies some flavour with a little spicy salsa. Woolies stock a huge variety of flavours for you to choose from.

Yes, this one is expected but try and make a fruit salad with sweet melon, apples and green melon. They are loaded with water and keep you fuller for longer.

Well, sort of. Wrap up your grilled chicken with lettuce. It’s compact and yummy at the same time!

Pita Chips
Yeah pita chips sounds strange but they are delicious! Bake pita breads at 250 degrees until crispy. Once it has cooled, break it into pieces and drizzle with olive oil and garlic. Alternatively, dip it in some of that salsa we mentioned earlier.

Mon, 18 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Why You Are Not Losing Weight
“Healthy” Habit #1- Buying Low Fat Food
Don’t buy everything in the grocery shop that is labeled fat free. Those products are usually loaded with carbohydrates, which can make your blood pressure incredibly high.
Rather but full fat foods but eat them in smaller portions. The fat will take longer to digest and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

“Healthy” Habit #2- Having a Bottle of Water at Your Desk
While keeping hydrated is good for you, having a water bottle at your desk makes you less active.
You should keep a small water bottle that you can top up at the water cooler every time you run out. This way, you are keeping yourself hydrated while still getting a small workout.

“Healthy” Habit #3- Snacking on ‘Good’ Snacks

It is good to swap your chocolates and chips out for nuts and seeds but not when you tend to overeat.
Eat your snacks in moderation. Rather have a handful of nuts a day and opt for fresh fruit to snack on.

“Healthy” Habit #4- Eating Smaller Portions
Cutting your portions in half can be problematic. You are most likely to get hungry between meals.
Rather eat a balanced meal. As a guide, a standard portion of pasta should be the size of a tennis ball, a portion of cheese is the size of a matchbox and a portion of protein is the size of a credit card.

“Healthy Habit #5- A “Healthy” Breakfast

Having yogurt, fresh fruit juice and muesli all seem like the right choice for breakfast. Unfortunately, it raises your blood-sugar levels which results in mid morning sugar cravings.
A protein rich breakfast is a better option. It will keep you fuller for longer.

“Healthy” Habit #6- Saying No To Sweet Treats

Its human nature to want things you cannot have. Don’t torture your body by going on a total chocolate ban. Before you know it, you will be stuffing your face with everything you had stopped yourself from eating.
Rather limit yourself to the amount you can eat for the week. Or reward yourself with a treat when you have done well.

Sat, 16 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Who are Your Diet Enemies? Your Mother
She will always try to feed you. There’s no stopping her. Instead, make it clear that you don’t need that second helping.

Your Boyfriend
Research has shown that both men and women pick up weight when they get together. Women pick up weight because they tend to eat man sized portions. Don’t try and share portions equally or try to eat the same amount as him. Keep your eating habits the way they were when you were single.

Your Bestie
On a girls night out, you tend to over indulge and have a good time. This means you will definitely be having an evening with too much alcohol and some fatty chips after. Think hard before you say yes to that next glass of wine. 

Your Colleagues
If your office is the type to celebrate the end of the week with a cake, you need to have some will power. Have a small slice and drink water afterwards. You will satisfy your sweet tooth and feel full.

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
Eat Like a Man
Ditch the fad dieting
Women fall easily into the trap of trying any diet to lose weight, even if it sounds too good to be true – which it will be, says Jo’burg dietician Martie de Wet. ‘Men want all the facts and are more sceptical of or realistic about dietary information.’ Yo-yo dieting affects the metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight, and the more extreme the diet, the less likely the weight will stay off. Aim to achieve the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 55% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 30% fat over the week. ‘Stop worrying about one meal or one food type and have fun,’ says De Wet.

Eat regular meals
Research shows women tend to skip more meals, says De Wet. This can lead to hunger that’s out of control and careless eating. Eat three regular meals, or five smaller ones, a day. ‘Many men “graze” throughout the day, keeping up their energy levels,’ says nutrition consultant Megan Pentz-Kluyts, president of the Association for Diabetes SA. ‘Then when it’s home time, they still have energy to stop at gym for a workout or to walk the dog.’

Snack happily
Men have higher energy needs than women, and if they aren’t satisfied at meals, they snack. You too can snack without beating yourself up, to curb cravings and ward off binges. But choose sensibly – Pentz-Kluyts suggests whole-wheat toast with peanut butter instead of muffins, or just a handful of nuts and raisins to keep your blood-sugar level up.

Be flexible
‘Men are less likely to spoil the fun of eating with the words, ‘I can’t have that,’ says De Wet. You don’t have to stick to one eating plan. The energy from 100g fried steak and a medium helping of chips is the same as a meal of 20g grilled tuna, 150g new potatoes, 100g grilled tomatoes, 50g steamed broccoli, a large salad, a 15ml glass of wine and dessert of mixed berries and frozen yoghurt. The latter may be healthier (and to most women, probably nicer), but there’s no harm taking the man-style option occasionally if the craving arises.

Eat quality protein
Men are generally more carnivorous, but you too may benefit from including quality protein in your diet, says Pentz-Kluyts. Red meat is a major source of B12 and iron, and women who avoid it need to take care to eat enough dairy produce, eggs and pulses, or to take supplements.

Stuff society!
Researchers have shown that women are twice as likely as men to view themselves as being ‘too fat’, says De Wet. Even more disturbingly, a quarter of the women who consider themselves as the ‘right weight’ are still trying to lose weight. Negative body images feed into negative emotions in the same way men do – reach for your sports shoes rather than the fridge door.

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 12:00 +0200
4 Easy Healthy Food Swaps Swap this
A sugary cereal bar as you run out the door
For this
A muesli bar with ‘good’ ingredients, a glass of skim milk and a piece of fruit

Swap this
A bowl of salty potato chips with a glass of wine when the girls come over
For this
Raw, roasted, unsalted nuts seasoned with spices, and a spritzer

Swap this
A microwave dinner (most are high in sodium, fat and artificial additives)
For this
A 15-minute meal of grilled free-range chicken or meat, salad and one slice of wholegrain bread.

Swap this
Sweet biscuits in the afternoon with tea or coffee
For this
Fresh fruit, dried fruit or a yoghurt

Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:00 +0200
Zoe, ScarJo and Heidi's Secrets to Looking Amazing

‘My mother told me to wash my face before going to bed and it’s always worked. I don’t drink fizzy drinks or coffee and, as any dermatologist would advise, I avoid the sun.’ – Scarlett Johansson

‘I’m not obsessive, like I have to have the best butt or the best abs, but I like feeling strong and healthy. I don’t eat fried foods or refined sugar – only natural sugar in fruit and vegetables. And I don’t eat carbs a lot.’ – Halle Berry

‘I get bored really easily. If I didn’t have a trainer to push me, I’d go walk for about 15 minutes, but I love feeling in tune with my body and eating right. Sometimes I pig out on pasta, but that’s okay. The next day, I just eat healthily.’ – Zoe Saldana

‘I’m not a freak about working out or about food. I have pasta and profiteroles when I want them. But I do try to eat healthily. I’ll eat chicken and green beans with my family, but just leave out the potatoes and rice.’ – Heidi Klum

‘I hate working out, so when I’m in the gym, I’ll do anything that keeps me from wanting to kill myself – like listening to my music really loud. I watch TV, read a magazine, or I’ll chat to somebody next to me – anything to keep my mind off it. I’ll do five minutes here, five minutes there – and eventually, I’ve been there for half an hour and I can go!’ – Jessica Alba

Fri, 04 Oct 2013 12:00 +0200
The Love Diet: Part 1
When you’re happy in your relationship, you spend lots of time eating – going out for breakfast and dinner on the weekends, or getting takeaway so you can hug and watch a DVD. ‘You also consume 35% more food when you eat with someone you like,’ says Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating (Bantam).

As well as that, your desire to grow closer by sharing experiences with him accounts for why you agree to order food you’d usually pass on and split endless bottles of wine. ‘Unfortunately booze adds kilojoules, lowers your willpower, and makes you more prone to diet-wrecking late-night eating,’ says US nutritionist Martha McKittrick.

‘Before long, innocent slips pile on the kilos … and trouble for your budding relationship. ‘You think, I can put on a bit of weight because he loves me for who I am,’ says US psychologist Belisa Vranich. However, the danger is that, as you gain weight, you may become self-conscious about your body, which can lower your self-esteem and leave you feeling less enthusiastic in bed.

First, be aware of the difference between your body’s energy needs and your partner’s. ‘Men require 25 to 40% more kilojoules than women, so take a third less than his portion, advises McKittrick.

And Wansink adds, ‘Studies show that the more attention a woman pays to how much she consumes on a date, the less she’ll eat.

Also try to get busy together in the kitchen. ‘Couples eat better when they cook, because they’re more aware of portion size and ingredients,’ says Elisabetta Politi, another US nutritionist. When you snack together, try guy-friendly options like frozen yoghurt or pretzels, advises McKittrick.

You and your partner can also exercise together. Studies have shown that couples who work on their eating and exercise habits together lose weight and maintain that healthy lifestyle 16 months later.

Fri, 04 Oct 2013 12:00 +0200
5 Ways To Change Your Bad Habits Into Good Ones
1. Bad: Eating too much sugar. Eating sugar is about preserving your health. Too much sugar is unhealthy; rather tame it by eating fruits because sugars naturally occurring in fruit are not restricted.
So a good idea is to: eat a healthy breakfast. You are likely to make healthier choices throughout the day if you’ve started healthily. If you don’t you will be snacking on high-carb foods by mid-morning.

2 Bad: Watching TV while eating. The Journal of The American Medical Association showed in a study that the higher hours of screen time the greater the risk of mortality.
So it is good to: Move! Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

3 Bad: Not eating any snacks.
Instead, a good thing would be to: eat fruits and vegetables for snacks. At least four servings of vegetables and three fruits a day.

4.. Bad: Eating large portions.
Good: eat moderately sized portions of meat, low-fat dairy and healthy fats.

5. Bad: Eating unhealthy food at restaurants.
A good thing would be to go to restaurants that serve whole-grain foods. Grains are a source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and are low in fat.

For more diet tips click here

Tue, 10 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
The Competitors Diet Club health reasons not for vanity.’ Research has shown that people who diet within a positive group environment do psychologically better than those who go at it alone, but support can turn into something much more sinister among groups of women who do not need to lose weight for medical reasons. They can become preoccupied with the pursuit of thinness and encourage others to join them.

Group pressure
Groups such as this can be dangerous both psychologically and physically. Dr Graham Alexander, a clinical psychologist in Cape Town, says ‘unless a self-formed diet group is guided by a dietitian who promotes an overall healthy lifestyle, it can become obsessive and competitive, promoting extreme weight loss (see how extreme celebrities can get) among members who may not need to lose weight.’ Women can be very competitive when it comes to weight loss. Ann Capper, nutrition writer and editor of, a US website aimed at raising awareness of disordered eating, says, ‘When women compare notes and try to outdo one another, some risky patterns can develop. The may engage in purging behaviour, such as vomiting, laxatives, or excessive exercise.’

Every woman in a group will have different body shapes, metabolism and level of physical activity, so it’s hard to follow a one-size-fits-all diet. This may encourage women to take dangerous short cuts to keep up.

Are you at risk?
If you answer yes to three or more of the following questions, you could be in danger of getting sucked into a diet cult.

1. Do you get upset if someone criticises the diet you are following?
2. Do you think your friends would benefit from being on the same diet as you?
3. Do you read every article and book published about your diet?
4. Do you talk about your diet at least once a day?
5. Do you constantly seek out others who are following the same diet?
6. Have you ever been persuaded by somebody on the same diet as you to stick to it or adapt parts of it?

For more on diets, click here

Mon, 09 Sep 2013 12:00 +0200
9 Foods To Keep You Fit Coffee
Perk yourself up before a run or workout.

Whole-wheat pasta
Carbs are crucial for maintaining muscles and are the easiest to metabolise

Probiotic yoghurt
Good bacteria doesn’t just help digestion, they also boost immune system.

By incorporating plenty of omega-3 oils into your daily diet you reduce your oxygen demand when you workout.

The iron rich leaf boosts the body’s ability to convert protein into muscle. Eat with lean meat for great post-weights meal.

Drink cherry juice to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress when you are doing heavy training such as long runs.

Add some ginger to your stir-fry or steep it in hot water. Daily consumption of this anti-inflammatory reduces exercise induced muscle pain by 25%

A bowl of cornflakes (just add skimmed milk) will replenish the body’s energy stores after a workout just as effectively as a sports drink

This stamina booster can help you workout for 16% longer thanks to its high nitrate content. It is best juiced but it’s still beneficial in a salad.

For more on diet click here

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
7 Food Mistakes Women Make
Food Mistake 1: You Boycott Breakfast
It might seem that cutting out a meal would mean you’d take in fewer kilojoules and get lean quick, right? Wrong. After more than 10 hours without fuel, you become so hungry it’s almost impossible to resist overeating at lunch or dinner – so you ingest more kilojoules than you would have if you had eaten in the morning. Plus your metabolism slows down. Breakfast doesn’t only help you control your appetite it helps melt more flab.
Eat right rehab: within an hour of waking up eat a moderate-sized meal of mostly whole-grain carbs with some protein, fat and fibre – think eggs on toast, or porridge and milk sprinkled with nuts.

Food Mistake 2: You Fast To Fit Into Your Skinny Jeans
Denying yourself food isn’t going to make you thinner. Five hours of fasting is sometimes a good idea to give your liver a break, but not for slimming. It brings your metabolism to a halt, so any weight you have shed will boomerang right back on as soon as you start eating normally again.
Eat Right Rehab: Have five small meals, one every few hours, rather than a big breakfast and dinner or lunch. Because the portions aren’t large, your body will digest the food faster, so your stomach will feel flat.

Food Mistake 3: You Load Up on The Wrong Liquids
Pick up a latte in the morning, have a hot chocolate mid afternoon and then enjoy a martini before dinner. Total intake – 3 760kJ! Worse, these drinks do nothing to quell your cravings.
Eat Right Rehab: Water, tea and drinks aren’t your only options. Swap a full-fat latte for a skinny iced coffee, which clocks in 418kJ. Fruit juice mixed with soda has 209KJ. As for alcohol, a light beer or one shot of spirits has about 418kJ; creamy or fruity drinks can double that.

Food Mistake 4: You Jump On The Low Carb Bandwagon
With everyone touting high protein plans, you might think the road to losing those last few kilograms is paved with bun-less burgers. But ‘carbophobia’ isn’t the fat cure people think it is.
Eat Right Rehab: Cut carbs down but don’t cut them out. Eliminate junk starches such as white bread, cake and biscuits that don’t leave you full for long. Instead, eat slow burning carbs such as whole-wheat bread.

Food Mistake 5: You Get Stuck In Food Ruts
There is nothing wrong in being in the habit of eating the same meal for a few days, but becoming trapped in a food rut because of boredom or lack of time – or because you’re convinced a particular dish is the key to staying slender – can set you up for a dietary downfall.
Eat Right Rehab: Supplement your usual meal with side dishes or vegetables you can vary, so you work in more nutrients.

Food Mistake 6: You Always Order Salad
For some women, twirling a piece of lettuce on a fork while the guy across the table shovels steak and chips into his mouth is a kilojoule-control strategy.
Eat Right Rehab: Skimping on dinner only makes you raid the fridge later. You do not necessarily have to match him chip for chip, but consider stopping the no appetite act.

Food Mistake 7: You Pretend Some Kilojoules Don’t Count
A handful of office sweets, cheese samples from the deli, popcorn at the movies… because snacks aren’t part of a standard sit down meal, it’s easy to persuade yourself that they fall into a nutritional black hole.
Eat Right Rehab: Go ahead and have it – just don’t pretend you didn’t.

For more on diet, click here

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
Diet Derailers Biltong is good for you – it’s a high-protein snack that doesn’t raise your insulin levels.
Marshmallows (and many other sweets) contain absolutely no fat. They do, however, contain large amounts of energy-boosting sugar, which is great before or after a hectic workout at the gym – just watch how much you eat!
Eggs can be a great diet ally. People who start their day with two protein-rich boiled eggs can lose up to tow-thirds more weight than people who don’t, because they make you feel fuller for longer.
Coffee contains caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system and can kick your exercise routine into top gear by improving endurance – which results in a more efficient fat-burn.

Matzos are unleavened, water-cracker-like ‘bread’, so you might think they’d be a great low-fat alternative. But one large sheet of matzos contains the same amount of kilojoules as a muffin. Which would you rather eat?
Frozen yoghurt is often called low-fat – but many brands contain fattening carbohydrates and are low in calcium and protein. Rather opt for regular, live-culture yoghurt.
Rice cakes are loaded with high-glycaemic-index (GI) fats that can cause sugar levels to spike, stimulating unwanted fat storage and slowing the body’s rate of fat-burn.
Basil pesto may seem to be a healthy, summery treat but it’s not – pesto is made with high-fat ingredients such as olive oil, pine nuts and lashings of Parmesan cheese.

For more diet tips, click here 

Mon, 12 Aug 2013 12:00 +0200
6 Foods You Didn’t Know Contained Sugar
1 portion of two minute noodles with seasoning = 9 teaspoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of peanut butter = 5 teaspoons of sugar

1 small tub of low-fat fruit yoghurt = 6 teaspoons of sugar

1 tin of baked beans = 10 teaspoons of sugar

1 can (340ml) of fizzy cool drink = 7 teaspoons of sugar

1 glass (250 ml) of Rose or White Wine = 5 teaspoons of sugar.

For more on dieting, click here
For more on fitness, click here

Fri, 26 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
6 Habits to Curb Your Appetite 1. Keep a food diary rather than just guessing what and how much you eat.
2. Don’t listen to fast music or watch TV while eating. Fast beats will cause you to eat faster and the distraction of TV stops you from noticing when you’re full.
3. Put down your knife and fork between mouthfuls. Only pick them up once you’ve swallowed.
4. Serve food on a plate (rather than nibbling from platters) to avoid eating more than you need.
5. Don’t force yourself to finish your meal. Freeze the leftovers instead.
6. Buy small packets of sweets or chips to avoid overindulging on treats that should be occasional.

For more on diet, click here

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
Guilt Free Comfort Food

This contains good-quality protein, which stabilises blood sugar and therefore your mood. (Here's a delish chicken curry recipe)

A great source of vitamin B, which boots serotonin.

It increases the body’s production of endorphins, feel-good chemicals that also reduce pain. (Just make sure to indulge in dark chocolate with 70% cocoa)

They contain tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the brain’s good-mood chemicals.

Both sweet and regular potatoes contain folic acid and zinc, both of which have mood-boosting properties.

Read more diet articles here

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 12:00 +0200
12 Ways To Feed Your Sex Drive
Asparagus and avocados
The vitamin E in these greens helps your body churn out hormones like testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone, which then circulate in your bloodstream and stimulate sexual responses such as clitoral swelling and lubrication, for heightened pleasure.

Another reason to think about sex when you chow down on this phallus-shaped fruit: bananas deliver potassium, a nutrient key to muscle strength. So when you have an orgasm, the contractions will be even more intense.

We know, we know – oysters as an aphrodisiac sounds like a cliché, but these shellfish are brimming with zinc, a mineral that cranks up the production of testosterone, which has been linked to an increased sex drive. Next romantic dinner out, order oysters for entrees.

The pomegranate owes its passion power to antioxidants which protect the lining of blood vessels, in turn allowing more blood to course through the body. The upshot? Increased genital sensitivity.

Red Wine
Besides relaxing you faster than an aromatherapy back massage, red wine also contains reservatrol, and antioxidant that helps boost blood flow and improves circulation before and during intercourse. Try adding a splash to pasta sauce.

Salmon and walnuts
These nuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which keep sex-hormone production at its peak. Pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds also contain omega-3s, so enjoy a handful.

After your dinner, treat yourself to small scoop of ice-cream flavoured with the vanilla bean. This mildly stimulates the nerves, making your sexual sensations feel even better.

This juicy fruit contains the phytonutrient citruline which leads to an increase in the amount of nitric oxide in your body. That spike causes blood vessels to relax and speeds up circulation. As a result, you’ll become more aroused in less time.
Fri, 07 Jun 2013 12:00 +0200
Sexy Soups Societi Bistro’s Stefan Marais.

Perfect for autumn and winter, this deliciously creamy soup makes a great starter or week-night supper. Always make double the amount you need and freeze the extra in Ziploc bags for a quick snack or easy supper when you’ve had a mad day. Enjoy with crusty bread.

1kg Mixed button and brown mushrooms, wiped clean with paper towel and sliced
2 Onions – peeled and diced
1 Rib of celery – peeled and finely diced
4 Cloves of Garlic – minced
8 sprigs of thyme – leaves stripped from the stems and chopped
2 potatoes – peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
1.5l vegetable stock
1 glass (250ml) of Dry White Wine
250ml/1 cup of cream
50ml Olive Oil
30g Butter
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the Olive Oil and butter into a large thick based pot on a medium heat. Gently sweat the diced onion and celery off in the pot until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and sweat off for another three minutes.
Add the mushrooms and stir through thoroughly. It will seem that everything is going quite dry – just keep stirring until the mushrooms start releasing their moisture.
After about two minutes, add the potatoes and stir through. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Add the white wine and allow to come to a boil. Once the wine has evaporated almost completely, add the stock and bring to a light simmer. Allow everything to cook for about 20 minutes, then add the cream and bring back up to a simmer.

Remove from the heat and process the soup in a food processer – If you prefer a very smooth soup, leave it in the processor for quite a while. If you prefer a slightly more rustic and course version, just use a hand blender and pulse blend everything a couple of times. Taste your soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with Garlic Croutes.

Tue, 28 May 2013 12:00 +0200
Fab Food Swaps

Craving something cold and sweet? Keep a punnet of grapes in the freezer. The red ones are full of antioxidants, and they're sweet enough to satisfy your ice cream tooth.

Fri, 03 May 2013 12:00 +0200
All About Oil Greenleaf Olive Oil Company tells COSMO what's best if you're going to...

Use cold-extracted olive oil, avocado oil or sunflower oil. Typical Tuscan-style extra virgin olive oils are known for their intense pepper and green grass tones, which may overpower the flavour of some dressings. Avocado oil, by the same token, is often flavoured with garlic or lemon. If you're making a classic Caesar salad, for example, you want to choose oil with minimal flavour such as sunflower oil. But if you're only using oil and vinegar to dress your salad, Tuscan-style oils add an interesting flavour dimension.

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:00 +0200
The Dummy's Guide To Wine
While we all love our cardbordeaux, part of being a grown-up (and fabulous) is understanding just a little bit about wine. Here, wine-maker Sebastian Beaumont of award-winning Beaumont Wines gives us the COSMO girl's guide to knowing what's in your glass.

Chenin Blanc
Tastes like: Tropical fruit punch with a dominant flavour of guava, while the wooded versions are a complex combination of fruit and wooded characters.
Good with: Anything slightly spicy, especially Thai or Indian curries.
Try: Beaumont Chenin, Hope Marguerite (barrel-matured Chenin), Ken Forrester, Secateurs.

Sauvignon Blanc
Tastes like: Cut grass, asparagus and gooseberry - 90% of the time the taste is very crisp and dry.
Good with: Hot weather. This wine is best drunk on its own on a hot day when it is at its most refreshing.
Try: Cape Point Vineyards, Tokara, Iona.

Tastes like: Freshly buttered toast when the barrel is fermented and matured (this means the juice is put into oak barrels where the fermentation takes place and the wine soaks up some of the oak flavours and becomes soft and creamy). Complex and rich. Not for sipping (unless unwooded).
Good with: A lovely piece of fresh fish with lemon butter sauce.
Try: Ataraxia, Paul Cluver, Newton Johnson.

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 12:00 +0200
Top Five Healthy Foods

If you're not likely to get around to those blueberries, an ordinary old apple has loads of antioxidants that fight free radicals, ie the things that cause ageing and disease. Some studies have even found that apples could extend your lifespan, and cut your risk of heart disease by up to 22%.

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 12:00 +0200
Flu Fighters

Paws paws are a good source of vitamin C and beta-carotene (hence, their orange colour), a phytonutrient that gets converted to vitamin A in your body and keeps your eyes and skin in good nick. They're also known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Chop one onto your muesli for breakfast, whack it into a salad or slice it in half, scoop out the pips and eat it just like that.

Mon, 11 Mar 2013 12:00 +0200
The Shelf-life Of Your Condiments
Those things lurking in the back of your fridge that you can't bear to throw out? You'll be surprised how long some stuff keeps, even once it's been opened. So, before you throw out that perfectly good Maille Dijonnaise, read on.

Unopened: 2 years in the pantry.

Opened: 1 year in the fridge, one to two months in the pantry.

Even opened mustard lasts a really long time - up to a year when it's stored in the fridge. So, add it your sarmie without a qualm, but remember, sticking dirty utensils into it can cause bacteria to grow, so if it's gone a funny colour or has a strange smell, chuck it.

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 12:00 +0200
Six Pocket-Friendly Superfoods

Cheap as chips and great to munch on, carrots are packed with beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, two substances that help reduce your risk of cancer and heart attacks.

Thu, 24 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
What Love Does To Your Diet
When you're in the blissful throes of love, you spend lots of time staring at each other across the dinner table. 'You also consume 35% more food when you eat with someone you like,' says Dr Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating (Bantam). 'If you're into a guy, you end up ordering the crème brûlée to make the date last longer.'

Also, your desire to grow closer by sharing experiences with him accounts for you agreeing to order food that you'd usually pass on ('Fried calamari? Sure! Why not?'), and split endless bottles of wine. 'Unfortunately, the booze adds calories, lowers your willpower, and makes you more prone to diet-wrecking late-night eating,' says nutritionist, Martha McKittrick.

On top of that, skipping your 7am spin class when there's a cute guy next to you in bed seems reasonable. And what better way to relax after a long day than by snuggling up on the couch with your man… and a bag of chips? You indulge because it's there and because your brain plays a sneaky trick. 'After you've been in love for six months or so, the bonding hormone oxytocin takes over,' says psychologist Dr Belisa Vranich. 'It triggers cravings for comfort foods, so "guy snacks" you don't even like, seem appealing.' Before long, innocent slips pile on kilos… and trouble for your budding relationship. 'You think, I can pack on a few because he loves me for who I am,' says Vranich. 'But your guy's worrying that if he stays with you, you'll balloon even more.' (He's picturing your mom!) To make matters worse, as you gain, you may feel self-conscious about your body and be less provocative in bed.

First, learn the difference between your caloric needs and your man's. 'Men require 25% to 40% more calories than women do, so take a third less than his portion,' advises McKittrick.

Adds Wansink: 'Studies show that the more attention a woman pays to how much she consumes on a date, the less she'll eat.' The good news is that you can have drinks, mozzarella sticks, or dessert in addition to your entrée, when you eat out. 'Just choose only one of the three extras,' says registered dietician, Elisabetta Politi.

Next, heat things up at home. 'Couples eat better when they cook because they're more aware of portion size and ingredients,' says Politi. But you may need to take the reins, as guys 'tend to be heavy handed with butter,' warns McKittrick. Sneak in recipe substitutions, like non-fat sour cream instead of the full fat version, egg whites in lieu of whole eggs, and milk when the recipe calls for cream.

At snack time, stick to guy-friendly options that still have plenty of flavour but fewer calories, like light ice cream, baked tortilla chips and salsa, and pretzels, advises McKittrick. Other tricks: Buy small containers - you eat 20% less than you do from king-size packages - and ask your guy to keep his sinful treats at work or urge him to get them in flavours you don't like.

And not only should you stick with your favourite kickboxing class, but also suggest active dates with your man, like ice-skating, running, or biking. The tag-team effort will pay off: Couples who resolve to improve their eating and exercise habits together are shown to lose weight and maintain that healthy lifestyle 16 months later.

Mon, 07 Jan 2013 12:00 +0200
Don't Eat That, Eat This! amaaaazing on the beach. Here, five skinny swaps.

Yes, they're yummy but they're packed with calories (as in, packed). And when they're smothered in sour cream and melted cheese… you don't even want to know.

Instead Eat… the bagel chips. They're low in calories, super-crunchy and taste just as good. Dip them in hummus, tsatziki or guacamole for a delicious, nutritious snack.

Fri, 30 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
Best Post-Workout Foods
There's a 'golden hour' after your workout where your body craves certain foods. By giving it what it needs you'll build muscle, replenish liquids and keep your energy levels sky high.

Sweat session over? Your body is craving a fresh supply of amino acids. These building blocks of protein are used to make muscles, hormones, bones and neurotransmitters, amongst other important things. So, give it what it needs by opting for a chicken or tuna salad, a boiled egg or an omelette.

Mon, 12 Nov 2012 12:00 +0200
Surprising Health Bites

Although it's considered junk food (due, no doubt, to its association with French fries), tomato sauce is actually rich in two powerful antioxidants, vitamin A (good for the eyes) and lycopene (good for the heart). It's also practically fat-free and low in calories. What it does contain, however, are sugar and salt in fairly high quantities, so scan the labels and buy a brand with the lowest amount of these less-healthy additives.

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
5 Habits That Give You Belly Flab

This tactic always backfires because you end up so hungry later on that you can't help but overeat. And when you do, more fat will inevitably find it's way to your midsection. Eating small-to-medium-size meals every three to four hours, however, fills you up without resulting in a layer of flab.

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
Easy Ways To Cut Calories
Instead of one croissant, eat two pieces of whole-wheat toast with a smidge of butter or cream cheese on each slice.

Use four tablespoons of hummus instead of two tablespoons of regular mayonnaise on your sandwich. Or go with mustard which is practically calorie-free.

Dress your salad with one tablespoon each of oil and vinegar in place of creamy dressing.

Opt for a one-cup serving of no-butter microwave popcorn rather than munching on a bag of potato chips.

Snack on a medium-sized cup of low-fat frozen yoghurt in lieu of a chocolate.

Skip the croutons on top of your Caesar salad.

Eat two part-skim string cheeses instead of a plate of three crackers with whole-milk cheese cubes.

Skip the cheese and sour cream that often come as toppings on a bowl of spicy minced meat or a baked potato.

Pass on the roll that arrives with your soup or salad.

Order your burger without cheese.

Nosh on a handful of pretzels at the bar during happy hour rather than the same amount of nuts.

Say no when your waiter offers freshly grated Parmesan cheese on your pasta.

Dunk 10 tortilla chips in salsa, not guacamole.

Share a small order of spicy wings on the bone instead of crumbed chicken wings.

When you cook at home, use a spray to coat the pan (spritz for one full second) instead of using a tablespoon of olive oil.

Fri, 05 Oct 2012 12:00 +0200
Fancy Fish

4 dried shiitake mushrooms
2-3 bunches baby bok choy (cleaned)
200g sliced Dorado that has been steamed
1 cup baby prawns, steamed, peeled & de-veined
1.5l chicken stock
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tsp of Worcester sauce
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs lime juice
1 tbs chopped coriander
Sliced red chilli, basil leaves, bean sprouts & lime wedges for garnish.

Place shiitake mushrooms in a ceramic bowl and add just enough boiling water to cover. Allow to soak for 15 minutes. Drain and remove stalks and slice thinly. Reserve the water. Cook the egg noodles according to instructions on the package. Drain and divide into four soup bowls. Top with the bok choy and coriander. Add and divide the fish and prawns. Bring stock to the boil, add mushroom water, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, Worcester sauce and fish sauce. Pour or ladle the broth into the bowls and garnish with basil, chilli, sprouts and lime wedges.

Fri, 21 Sep 2012 12:00 +0200
Spring-Clean Your Diet

Instead of lamb curry with roti, go for lentil curry with brown rice. Lentils are a great source of protein, iron, folate and manganese, and they're low in fat and cholesterol. Brown rice is an excellent source of fibre and selenium, and both dishes are easy for your body to digest, leaving you feeling lighter and helping to shed the excess kilos.

Thu, 13 Sep 2012 12:00 +0200
Fab Flatbreads Cognito Restaurant and enjoy, al fresco, with friends.

1 kg white bread flour
5 ml salt
2 x 10g sachets of dried yeast
20 ml sugar
60 ml olive oil
650 ml lukewarm water

Sift the flour and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using your hands, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in until you have a smooth, springy dough. Place the ball of dough in a large, stainless steel, oiled bowl and rub the top of the dough with olive oil to prevent it from sticking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size. Next, remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands. Divide the dough into six equally-sized balls and let it rest before rolling out the flatbread bases. Roll the dough out until it's about 1 cm thick. Place each base on top of a floured baking tray and generously cover with the topping of your choice. Bake for about 15 min at 200°C, or until crisp and bubbly.

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 12:00 +0200
Fun Ways To Burn Fat Fast
How? With little tricks that help your body burn calories faster, explains Dr Madelyn H Fernstrom, author of The Runner's Diet (Rodale Books). And nope, none of them involve weird diets or going hungry. Whether you're trying to lose a few kilograms or you want to maintain your current weight, yet be able to eat more, check out these research-backed tips. You can decide to adopt a few or all of them - either way, you'll see results.

Chilli pepper and mustard seed - two spices often found in Thai, Mexican, Chinese and Indian cuisines - can help your body burn extra calories, thanks to a compound in each called capsaicin, says Fernstrom. One study found that when people consumed nearly one teaspoon of mustard and almost one teaspoon of chilli sauce, their metabolism surged an average of 25%. Order spicy Thai chicken or an Indian Vindaloo curry, which contain these spices. Adding that spicy taste and sensation to your meal may help keep you from overeating, says registered dietitian, Dr Leslie Bonci.

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 12:00 +0200
Sexy Snacks

A recent study suggests that this herb, which is commonly used to spice up curries, increases the libido in both men and women. Don't know it? Never mind - just swap your Chinese takeaway for Indian food next Saturday, and watch the heat happen.

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Spice Up Your Winter

4 chicken fillets, cubed
2 limes
Half a handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh coriander
Tandoori spices
1 small tub of yoghurt
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
125ml milk
15ml olive oil
Salt to taste

1. Pour oil into a medium-sized cooking pot and set the stove on medium heat.
2. After a minute or so, add garlic, onions, ginger and tandoori spices.
3. Fry for a minute or two, then add chicken cubes and cook for about five minutes.
4. Reduce heat. Then add yoghurt, half a cup of milk, lime juice, half a handful of coriander and mint. Cook for 25 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
5. Serve with rice and garnish with the last handful of coriander.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Drop Two Kilograms In a Week
So choose at least four of the nutritionist and fitness expert-backed tips that follow, and vow to work them into your schedule for seven days straight. It you feel ambitious, tack on a few more. The more you pick the more weight you'll lose. If you start now, by this time next week you'll look and feel way lighter.

A sports or energy drink, fruit smoothie or light beer each contain about 100 calories. Yet these beverages don't satisfy you the way 100 calories of food does, so they're a waste. Other liquids may be high in sodium and carbohydrates, which trick your body into retaining water. Water, on the other hand, has zero calories and carbs and little to no sodium, making it the perfect slim-down drink. And strangely, it actually helps flush out excess water weight as well as jump-starting your metabolism. If it's just too boring, add lemon wedges or mint leaves.

Fri, 06 Jul 2012 12:00 +0200
Wonderful Winter Soups Cognito Restaurant shares a couple of their favourite recipes for you to try:

1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
500g white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
500g portabello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme (garnish)
5 cups vegetable stock or water
½ cup heavy cream
150 g gorgonzola cheese, broken into pieces
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Fry the mushrooms, garlic cloves and thyme in a pot until the mushrooms turn brown. Add vegetable stock or water and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Add cream and 100g gorgonzola and blend in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with remaining gorgonzola pieces and a sprig of thyme.


Fri, 15 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
Five Foods To Swap

This grain is high in protein so it keeps you fuller for longer, plus it's a low GI (slow-burning) source of energy. With a nutty flavour and a starchy texture that's similar to rice, the calorie content of rice and quinoa don't differ significantly, but the latter grain is much higher in nutrients and won't make your blood sugar levels spike and dip.

Fri, 25 May 2012 12:00 +0200
Foods That Melt Flab Away

One ingredient, caffeine, is a stimulant that raises your heart rate and compels your system to burn calories faster. Green tea also has catechins, which are substances that some experts believe help burn belly fat. Aim for two to three cups a day.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 12:00 +0200
Overcome Fat Phobia!

Before you reach for that fat-free salad dressing (which is probably full of sugar), drizzling your salad or veggies with olive, avocado or canola oil means that your body will absorb more of the nutrients in your food, such as beta-carotene.

If you're watching your weight, hold back on the bread-basket - those white rolls might taste good, but they're packed with empty calories. Have one wholewheat bun dipped in olive oil - then stop!

Tue, 08 May 2012 12:00 +0200
What To Eat When You’re Out

Start with a hearty escarole or vegetable soup, then order veal or chicken piccata. You can even have a side order of pasta with marinara sauce.

Always go for chicken, beef, or shrimp fajitas, but be sure to pass on the flour and corn tortillas. Add guacamole and plenty of salsa for extra flavour.

Stick to stir-fry (chicken, beef, and seafood), prepared without cornstarch, and ide of brown rice (many restaurants have it even if it’s not on the menu.)

Bouillabaisse (fish soup), chicken paillard, coq au vin (a chicken dish cooked with wine), and tuna nicoise salad (without the potatoes) are all safe bets.

Sashimi is a better choice than sushi (it’s not wrapped in white rice). Round out your meal with miso soup, a bowl of edamame, and a salad with ginger dressing.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
The Big Detox Hoax
Detox diets have been around for a while, and are still the number one way celebs choose to shed unwanted kgs. And, the most common 'baddie' foods are anything containing gluten, lactose, preservatives and sugar. But, the efficacy of these diets in health terms has never been scientifically proven, and medical professionals remain sceptical. 'Detoxing' is based on the concept that the body needs help in ridding itself of chemicals and waste products, but many doctors argue that the body is very well adapted to eliminate what it does not need.

Says Dr Frank Sacks, epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health in an article called 'The Truth About Detox Diets', 'Fasting to detoxify and lose weight is not necessary. There is no basis in biology that indicates we need fasting or any other detox formula to detoxify the body because we have our own internal organs and immune system that takes care of excreting toxins,' he explains. While it is true that the most common allergens and irritants are the gluten in wheat and the lactose in milk, thinking that by removing these foods from one's diet leads to the body 'cleansing' itself is oversimplified – and even dangerous.

Says Sally-Ann Creed, Cape Town Nutritional Therapist, 'The body is created and programmed to carry out detoxification continually, or nobody would live past a few days. Radical detox diets are not recommended unless under the strict supervision of an experienced and qualified integrated health practitioner. With the level of pollutants in our food, water and air today the toxic burden on the liver is greater than ever before. By detoxing too radically, the body dumps these toxins into the bloodstream. The kidneys and liver have to process all these toxins, and it can lead to extreme illness in some individuals.'

The human body is a complicated organism that is very well adapted to survival. A lot of people eliminate major food groups from their diet (dairy and wheat being the most common ones) in the erroneous belief that they are improving their health. Informing their decision is media hype about food intolerances and scary substances lurking in our bodies coupled with the (often unspoken) motivation to lose weight.

*Names have been changed

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 12:00 +0200
Stress Soothers
1. Almonds You're in the Seven Eleven and hungry - instead of those Pringles, grab a bag of almonds (salted is fine, but unsalted is better). These sweet and tasty wonder nuts help keep your heart from racing, lower blood pressure and keep oxygen flowing through the body. Perfect to keep in your desk at work for those days you'd like to staple your boss's head to the notice board.
2. Blueberries
3. Spinach
4. Tuna
5. Orange Juice
6. Bananas

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
Diet Don'ts Lisa Raleigh debunks these diet myths.

Myth: Follow a High Protein Diet BUSTED: The body needs glucose in the form of carbs and starches to function and provide energy. The body cannot change protein into glucose, so it goes into the fat and muscle stores and starts to break them down. Too much protein also leaves us acidic, causing our bodies to use precious calcium stores to neutralise itself.
Myth: Eating Late at Night Will Make You Store Fat
Myth: Olive Oil Is The Healthiest For Cooking

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 12:00 +0200
Fill-Up Foods
Eggs Instead of those two slices of toast with honey for breakfast (delish, but the quick-burn carbs and high sugar content will have you starving in an hour), scramble two eggs with ham and low-fat cheese, or whip up a mushroom omelette. The high protein content of eggs means your body has to work hard to break it down, leaving you feeling full for much longer. With a side of grilled tomato and some whole-wheat toast, you won't even remember your mid-morning snack.
Peanut Butter

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Taste The Love Cognito Restaurant recommends you try one of these aphrodisiac dishes.

Creamy Mozzarella, Roasted Olive and Rosa Tomato Flatbread (Serves 2) Ingredients:
2 mini Naan breads
80g Rosa tomatoes, halved
40g black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
150g mozzarella cheese, grated
50ml olive oil
Fresh basil, chopped

Place the Rosa tomatoes and olives in an oven-proof roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, sugar and pepper and roast at 180°C for about 10 minutes. The tomatoes must still be juicy and be able to hold their shape. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Turn the oven up to 200°C. Pack the Naan breads out on a lightly floured roasting tray. Spread thinly with olive oil and divide the mozzarella evenly between the two breads. Top with the tomato and olive mix and put in the oven until the cheese starts to bubble. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with freshly chopped basil. This is perfect for sharing as a starter with a glass of chilled sparkling wine.
180g Beef Fillet Served With Mushroom and Brandy Sauce and a Warm Vegetable Salad (Serves 2)
Oven-Baked Linefish Served With Crushed Baby Potatoes and a Chilli & Herb-Butter Sauce (Serves 2)

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 12:00 +0200
Low GI Goodies
Superfoods are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and contain some fantastically fresh flavours. According to nutritional expert, Patrick Holford, following a low glycaemic (GI) diet consisting primarily of superfoods, will not only keep you lean and healthy, but give you loads of energy to party all night long.

1. Nuts, like walnuts and almonds, contain magnesium and help to control blood pressure.
2. Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and goji berries act as fantastic antioxidants.
3. Artichokes detoxify the body.
4. Lentils are a great source of fibre, protein and magnesium.
5. Oats lower cholesterol.
6. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
7. Dried fruit provides a concentrated amount of vitamins and minerals.
8. Tomatoes boost your skin's defences against ultraviolet rays from the sun.
9. Mangoes are packed with vitamin C, vitamin E and iron.
10. Chickpeas are rich in folic acid and fibre.

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Fab Fruit Salads Cognito Restaurant's lead, and dazzle your taste buds with these refreshing, fruity treats.

Mojito-Scented Fruit Skewers (Serves 6) Ingredients:
1 sweet melon
1 winter melon
6 medium-sized strawberries
12 bamboo skewer sticks
3 sprigs fresh mint
10 ml castor sugar
15 ml fresh limejuice

Use a melon-baller to shape the two types of melon. Wash and halve the strawberries. Skewer the fruit, alternating between the two melons and ending with a strawberry. Use about four balls for each skewer and the strawberry half. Lay the skewers flat in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Crush the mint in the bottom of a cup to release the flavour. Add the sugar and the limejuice and stir to combine. Pour the dressing over the skewers and seal the lid. Store in the fridge for at least an hour.
Spicy Pineapple Salad (Serves 6)
Crunchy Yoghurt and Fresh Fruit Salad (Serves 6)

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Eat Yourself Fitter
1. Don't Skip Meals Eating inconsistently is a sure-fire way to annoy your body. Most people only see 'results' from skipping meals for so long before their body fights back and hoards fat, as it doesn't know when the next meal is coming. Starving yourself also makes you tired. 'People who come to the gym when they're running on empty usually find they can't muster the energy to train hard, so they don't lose weight,' says Alleaume. 'Eat one serving of carbohydrates two to four hours before your workout,' she says. 'Something like a wholegrain sandwich or bowl of muesli.'
2. Low-GI Carbs Are Good - Get Over It!
3. Monitor The Amount Of Protein You Eat
4. Understand GI
5. Leave Energy Bars For The Athletes
6. Forget Weight-Loss Pills

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 12:00 +0200
Christmas Snacks
The holiday season is too short for stressing in the kitchen. At the same time, you want to come up with something that'll impress your friends and do justice to that lovely, chilled bottle of bubbly. Stefan Marais, head chef at Societi Bistro (recently nominated one of the top ten restaurants in Cape Town), has come up with some simple, delicious and sexy snacks, which are perfect for summer evenings. And you won't break a nail preparing them...

Maple Roasted, Bacon-Wrapped Cherries Ingredients: (Makes approximately 20)
1 x small jar Maraschino cherries - stems removed (approximately 20 cherries)
100g streaky bacon - cut in half
2 x tablespoons real Canadian maple syrup
Approximately 20 toothpicks

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Wrap each cherry in the half slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place the cherries in a tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Once the bacon starts to crisp, remove from the oven and drizzle with the maple syrup. Return to the oven for another five minutes, tossing through syrup repeatedly. These can be prepared in advance and served hot or cold.
Watermelon and Feta Skewers With Sweet & Sour Mint Dressing
Easy Prawn 'Cocktail'
Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Want to eat out this festive season? Click here to find restaurants near you.

Thu, 22 Dec 2011 12:00 +0200
The Champagne Diet
No, don't get excited, it doesn't mean quaffing bubbly for breakfast, lunch and dinner (which is much more fun in theory, anyway) – it's a way of making healthier and smarter food choices, which keep your calorie content down, and allow you to indulge in two flutes of the good stuff per day - without ruining all those retro aerobics classes. The fact is, dry champagne only contains 65 calories per glass, which is much less than your average cocktail, beer or cooler.

And, since it's such a festive, happy drink, making it your tipple of choice during the silly season means that you'll never feel deprived. Plus, it contains more antioxidants than any other form of alcohol (like we needed an excuse...).

Let Them Eat Salmon While the Champagne Diet comprises a healthy daily menu of protein, carbohydrates, fruit and veg, it makes allowances for the fact that, over the holiday season, you're not going to be at home dry-frying a chicken breast, so it teaches you what foods to pick from the buffet table, and which ones you're better off avoiding. So, instead of the cheese samoosas and sausage rolls, go for 'classy' foods like smoked salmon, rare roast beef and crudités with hummous. While the former foods make you feel greasy and bloated, the protein in the 'classy' foods fills you up while giving you a boost of vitamins and minerals. Plus, limiting yourself to two drinks per day means you still get to have fun, but without taxing your liver and waking up with a hangover.

The Champagne Diet Breakfast consists of a high-fibre carbohydrate with some monounsaturated fats (e.g. wholewheat or low-GI bread with low-fat margarine or avocado) Mid-morning snack is one portion of fresh fruit, while lunch comprises fun food such as a pizza with goat’s cheese, roasted red peppers and mushrooms (alternatives would be low-GI bread with thin slices of Prosciutto and a green salad). Dinner includes grilled or smoked fish like salmon or lean, grilled meat with mixed vegetables or a salad. And the other daily snack is, of course, two flutes of dry champagne.
A Much Merrier Option
How To Use The Champagne Diet

Tue, 13 Dec 2011 12:00 +0200
Do You Know What You're Drinking?
1. A standard glass of red wine (448 kilojoules) = one piece of brie cheese (459 kilojoules)
Hangover Effect: 'Red wine and any kind of dark liquor have more fermentation by-products,' says dietitian Naras Lapsys. 'Your liver has to work hard to process these, so you'll get a nauseous hangover.'

2. A strawberry daquiri (670 kilojoules) = two servings of potato and gravy from KFC (658 kilojoules)
Hangover Effect: 'Cocktails contain a mix of toxins for your body to process and are dehydrating due to their alcohol levels.'

3. One standard glass of champagne (473 kilojoules) = one tablespoon of peanut butter (492 kilojoules)
Hangover Effect: 'Carbonated drinks speed up your body's absorption of alcohol, `
which is why bubbly can make you tipsy fast.'

4. A bottle of beer (563 kilojoules) = three McDonald's chicken nuggets (578 kilojoules)
Hangover Effect: Carbonated drinks make you absorb alcohol faster. Beer also contains carbs, which can cause bloating.'

5. A standard glass of white wine (420 kilojoules) = One ice sucker (417 kilojoules)
Hangover Effect: 'White wine has fewer impurities than red, so your stomach won't be as upset, but your hangover will be headachy due to dehydration.'

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 12:00 +0200
Beach Snacks Cognito Restaurant.

Mini Curried Chicken Mayo and Rocket Rolls (Serves 6) Ingredients:
12 soft cocktail rolls
1 whole chicken, roasted and de-boned
100 ml mayonnaise
25 ml fruit chutney
15 ml curry powder, medium strength
20 ml turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh rocket leaves

Mix the chicken, mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder and turmeric in a bowl until everything is combined. Season with salt and pepper. Cut each roll in half and spread generously with the chicken mayo mixture. Top with a fresh rocket leaf and close. Wrap each roll with wax paper or pack into a container to take on your picnic. Please note: the chicken mayo mix can be made the evening before and stored in the fridge until the next morning.
Pizza Tortilla Wraps (Serves 6)
Sardine Fish Cakes With Lemon Mayonnaise (Serves 6)
Parmesan and Paprika Pastry Sticks With Bacon, Sweet Chilli and Mushroom Cream Cheese Dip (Serves 6)
Fresh Fruit Skewers (Serves 6)

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
Good Fat Vs. Bad Fat
GOOD FAT Technical terms: Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, essential fatty acids (including omega-3 and omega-6).

Foods that contain good fats: Fish, peas, lentils, beans, walnuts, almonds, grains, macadamias, canola oil, sunflower oil, avocados, seeds, soybeans, olive oil.

Why they're good: The molecules in these fats are soft and flexible, so the body breaks them down easily. They're then used for a range of things, including cell building and tissue repair.

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 12:00 +0200
Just Juice Cognito Restaurant shows COSMO how to easily whip up a few non-alcoholic cocktails.

Very Berry Ingredients:
500 ml fresh mixed wild berry juice
500 ml fresh strawberry juice
1 punnet fresh strawberries

Cut the strawberries into blocks and put at the bottom of a glass jug. Pour the juice on top and gently stir to mix. Ice can be added just before serving, or just chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Minty Pine
Frozen Fruit Lollies

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
Celebrity Snack Attack
The Carb Addict: J Lo Snacks On: Chocolate-chip cookies and sour cream and onion chips.

Savena Says: 'Lucky J Lo: she can indulge in disastrous snacks and still look great. But you can only get away with eating a lot of these snacks if you have a full-on workout routine. If you don't, then choose chocolate flapjacks over cookies (and preferably only on occasion), so you get goodness from the oats and raisins. For a healthier savoury kick, try low-fat baked (not fried) chips.'

J Lo Says: 'If I'm trying to lose weight, I just cut out carbs from my diet.' The rest of the time she snacks like the rest of us.
The Super-Food Snacker: Dannii Minogue
The Saintly Snacker: Fergie

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 12:00 +0200
The Diet Dodge
While life coach Liz Wilde offers up sympathetic but practical advice, self-confessed 'life bitch' Steve Miller, author of Get Off Your Arse & Lose Weight, (Basic Health Publications) has a far more, um, straight-talking approach. See which works best for you...

Diet Dodge #1: 'I haven't got time for dieting.' Life Coach Says: 'Being healthy doesn't have to eat into your precious time. Shop for healthy food online to save you queuing for an hour on Saturday (and prevent impulse buying those naughty check-out treats).'

Life Bitch Says: 'Not having time is a silly excuse and if that's your attitude, then you're going to stay the size you are. Tell yourself to stop wasting so much time moaning about being fat and do something about it instead!'
Diet Dodge #2: 'The weight will just come back anyway.'
Diet Dodge #3: 'I can't resist those tasty snacks.'
Diet Dodge #4: 'I love food too much to give it up!'
Diet Dodge #5: 'There's never a good time to start.'

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 12:00 +0200
Wrap Attack Cognito Restaurant shows us how to whip up some yummy flavours packaged in an easy tortilla wrap.

Oven-roasted tomato, scrambled eggs, smoked bacon and mozzarella (Serves 4) Ingredients
4 flour tortilla wraps
6 Rosa tomatoes, quartered
20 g fresh herbs (coriander, basil, rocket, rosemary)
25 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 eggs
240 g smoked bacon, cooked and finely chopped
200 g mozzarella, grated
Fresh herbs for garnish

Place the Rosa tomatoes, herbs, 15 ml olive oil, salt and pepper in a roasting tin. Roast the tomatoes at 200°C for 20 min or until chargrilled and juicy. Cook the bacon in a lightly oiled pan until crispy and drain the excess oil on kitchen paper. Beat the eggs with a little seasoning in a mixing bowl until liquid and fluffy. Scramble in an oil-lined pan over medium heat until cooked. Make sure it's still creamy. Heat the wraps in the microwave for 20 seconds each and pack out on a kitchen counter.

Generously spread the soft, roasted tomatoes on the wraps. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bacon. Add the scrambled egg in the middle of the wrap. Garnish with fresh herbs and roll tightly. Secure the wrap with a toothpick and serve with fresh fruit juice of your choice.
Dukkah-flavoured chicken breast with minted yoghurt, feta, lettuce and avo (Serves 4)
Roasted veggies with caramelised onion, fresh coriander and tomato salsa (Serves 4)

Thu, 22 Sep 2011 12:00 +0200
Food Mistakes All Women Make
Food Mistake #1: You Get Stuck In Food Ruts After a string of late nights at work, you order in your usual pizza. Or while home alone for dinner, you heat up the same can of soup rather than take the time to whip up something new. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being a creature of food habit for a few days. But becoming trapped in a food rut due to boredom or lack of time, or because you're convinced one particular dish is the key to staying slender can set you up for dietary downfall. Says director of nutrition therapy, Cindy Moore: 'Even the healthiest dish can't provide every nutrient your body needs.'

Eat-Right Rehab:
Supplement same-old fare with a different side dish or vegetable daily so that you work in more nutrients. Incorporating different textures and flavours will also surprise your taste buds, staving off mealtime monotony. And ditch the idea that because you're dining on your own, you're condemned to finishing off whatever happens to be in your fridge and calling that dinner. 'Putting together a sit-down meal for yourself - even if it's just a new type of microwave entrée and veggies - is physically and emotionally more gratifying,' says Moore.
Food Mistake #2: You Fast All Day To Fit Into Your Skinny Jeans
Food Mistake #3: You Load Up On Liquids
Food Mistake #4: You Jump On The Low-Carb Bandwagon
Food Mistake #5: You Convince Yourself That Some Foods Fall In The No-Calorie Zone

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 12:00 +0200
Scrumptious Salads Alida Ryder, these mouth-watering salads will make you forget all about your used-to-be-favourite winter warmer stews...

Watermelon, Rocket & Feta Salad Salad Ingredients:
Watermelon, cubed (Preferably the seedless variety)
Feta cheese, cubed (you want roughly the same amount of feta as watermelon)
Fresh rocket/arugula

Dressing Ingredients (Makes +- 250ml)
1 cup watermelon, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
Black pepper

Blend or process the watermelon. If you prefer a 'clear' dressing, you can strain the watermelon juice, but sometimes it's nice to have a bit of texture. While the blender/processor is running, add lemon juice, seasoning and oil - slowly. Pour over the salad ingredients and serve.
Summer Salad (Serves 4)
Warm Spring Vegetable & Feta Salad (Serves 4-6)
Thai Beef Salad (Serves 4)

Tue, 23 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Snacks That Slim You Down
1. Apple Slices Spread With Peanut Butter This combo is loaded with protein (from the peanut butter) and fibre (from the apples); both fill you up quickly and keep you that way for a long time. Slices from half an apple eaten with 1½ tablespoons of peanut butter translates to about 200 calories.
2. Popcorn
3. Greek Yoghurt
4. An Omelette
5. Dried Fruit

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 12:00 +0200
Girlie Grub

Baked Chips
Why Women Like Them: Because they're baked. A 28-gram serving has about 25% less fat than 28 grams of regular chips.
Hidden Danger: Surprise - 25% less fat only translated to 40 fewer calories than 20 regular chips.

Jelly Sweets
Why Women Like Them: A couple of handfuls give you a fun, fat-free sugar rush.
Hidden Danger: Who stops at a couple of handfuls? The typical tiny bag has three to four servings and tops out at 500 calories.

Fruity Yoghurts
Why Women Like Them: Calcium, fruit… how can you go wrong?
Hidden Danger: Some brands have as many as 280 calories and a whopping 55 grams of sugar per cup.

Reduced-Fat Biscuits
Why Women Like Them: Yum - three chocolate chip biscuits have only 150 calories.
Hidden Danger: Three regular chocolate chip biscuits have 160 calories… just 10 measly calories more.

Fat-Free Frozen Dessert
Why Women Like Them: It tastes like soft-serve ice cream, and has as low as 60 calories per small cup.
Hidden Danger: Labels can lie. Lab tests show that a small cup can actually have as many as 271 calories.

Artificial Sweeteners
Why Women Like Them: These sugar impostors turn sin food into guilt-free eats.
Hidden Danger: After downing fake sweeteners, many people develop cravings for real sugar, leading them to overeat.

Energy Bars
Why Women Like Them: They are fortified with vitamins and contain extra calcium and folic acid.
Hidden Danger: Many are packed with sugar, providing a quick fix - not lasting energy - that leaves you wanting more.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
Just Add Brown Rice
1. Leafy Greens

The nutty texture of the rice complements salad greens (also aged cheeses, such as parmesan, almonds, walnuts and pears).

2. Grilled Chicken and Broccoli

Brown rice makes a healthy side dish for this nutritious and tasty meal.

3. Tinned Tuna Or Salmon

Combine your favourite omega 3-rich fish with a cup of cooked brown rice for an ultra nutritious snack.

4. Cooked Apple and Cinnamon

Create a dessert by adding these delicious ingredients to your brown rice.

5. Tomato

For a yummy salad, add tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint, green onion, olive oil and lemon juice to chilled brown rice.

6. Sesame Seeds

Throw sesame seeds into brown rice; add sultanas, lime juice and cracked pepper - it makes a great side dish.

7. Chicken Stock

Cook rice in stock, rather than water, for an extra flavour hit.

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 12:00 +0200
The Best Winter Warmers
Guilt-Free Butter Chicken (Serves 2-3)

10 ml oil
100 ml boiled water
1 chopped onion
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 pack of chicken fillets (4 fillets), cubed
1 clove of garlic
10g of ginger
10g tumeric
20g curry powder
5g nutmeg
5g cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A handful of fresh coriander

Turn stove on medium heat. Heat oil, onions, ginger, garlic and all spices. Add some water as the ingredients cook – this should leave you with a paste. After about five minutes, add the chicken fillets. Stir and cook for about five minutes. Add peeled tomatoes and the rest of the water. Cook for about half and hour. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with plain yoghurt and basmati rice.
Light Potato Soup
Stunning Steak Stew

Thu, 30 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
The Big Weight Loss Lie Nutrition Journal, the link between poor health and carrying a few extra kilos has led to an oversimplification of the truth - contrary to popular belief, losing weight does not automatically translate to improved health. Linda Bacon, professor of nutrition at City College, San Francisco and Lucy Aphramor, specialist dietitian with England's National Health Service, analysed almost 200 scientific studies on the correlation between weight loss and health and their findings were surprising: rather than improving patient well-being, weight-loss advice more often leads to weight gain, feelings of failure and diminished overall health.

The Bacon-Aphramor study raises the question of whether weight should be used as a marker at all, and highlights some of the erroneous beliefs that have many people (young women, in particular) chasing an unrealistic goal - and one which, in fact, does not benefit them at all. Says Bacon in an article posted on Medical News Today, 'The weight-focused approach does not, in the long run, produce thinner, healthier bodies.' While it is commonly believed that anyone can lose weight and keep it off through diet and exercise, the truth is that almost all 'lost' weight returns within five years, according to a National Institute of Health expert panel. Not only that, failed weight loss efforts more often lead to yo-yo dieting and feelings of failure than to slimming, both of which are implicated in increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Says Dr Kevin Lentin, Cape Town chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, 'The emotional stress of being a "slave to the scale" can lead to scale addiction, a disorder no different from other addictions. The global infatuation with weight loss often results in inappropriate calorie restriction, poor self image, eating disorders and poor vitamin, mineral and phyto-nutrient status which, ultimately, leads to conditions such as fatigue, acne, poor digestive function, mood swings, difficulty concentrating and menstrual disorders. Our focus should be on achieving a normal body mass index, not a number on a scale.'


While there are undoubtedly links between obesity and poor health, the assumption that losing weight is the only way of improving health is incorrect, particularly when it comes to people who are only slightly overweight. Focusing on lifestyle factors, instead - getting enough exercise, eating nutritious foods, keeping a handle on stress - is a much better way of achieving health than trying to be thin - even if eating more nuts, avos and healthy oils leads to slight weight gain. As Lentin explains, 'It is not about how much fat one is carrying, but rather about the ratio of the fat weight to the lean (muscle) weight that is important. If your fat-to-lean ratio is within normal limits then the fat you are carrying is actually good for you because an appropriate amount of fat provides numerous health benefits.'

While health care professionals mean well when they put their patients on restricted-calorie diets, these are seldom successful and usually lead to guilt, an unhealthy preoccupation with food, reduced self-esteem and eating disorders. When an American Journal of Public Health study compared how often subjects 'felt sick', those with poor body image fared worse than their counterparts who carried the same amount of weight - proving that the way we feel about our bodies plays a much bigger role in our overall health than is commonly understood. Happily, the trend towards being skinny is slowly being replaced by a goal of self-care and a movement towards accepting that the human body comes in many shapes and sizes. Says Lentin, 'Rather than striving to be your thinnest weight ever and beating yourself up over a few "extra" kilos, focus all that misguided energy on improving your lifestyle. In an evolutionary sense our bodies are designed to hold onto a bit of fat and, for most women, Kate Moss's dimensions are a completely unrealistic goal. Rather than setting yourself up for failure, change your focus from "skinny" to "healthy" - you'll be much more likely to succeed.'

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 12:00 +0200
Eat Your Way To a Better Orgasm The Orgasmic Diet (Crown Archetype), and one of the key parts of The OD is doing your your Kegel exercises. Which, in less polite-sounding terms, means that my vagina has been going to the gym on a daily basis for the last month. The Orgasmic Diet is the brainchild of an American woman called Marrena Lindberg, who promises vaginal and G-spot orgasms as well as better clitoral ones. It's like the Holy Grail for women. 'If you've never had a vaginal orgasm, this diet will change that,' she promises. 'If you're already having them, you'll have them faster and stronger.'

Sign Me Up! I couldn't wait to get started. But first, full disclosure: I have a good sex life; I am lucky enough to be happily orgasmic, but I've never had a vaginal orgasm and I only know two people who have. Could a diet of chocolate and fish oil, plus a weird-looking gadget, fix it for me? At first glance, The OD didn't sound that difficult to follow: high in protein to help build muscle and which, in turn, raises healthy testosterone levels that Marrena says will make you 'feel sexier', and carbs for extra energy. I have to take fish oil supplements, and some other vitamins and minerals, plus cut down on caffeine (damn) and eat dark chocolate every day (yay!). 'Italian researchers,' Marrena says, 'have shown that women who eat a small quantity of dark chocolate every day have better sex. I couldn't see any downside - except, perhaps, giving up caffeine. I tried, but after three days I was a gibbering wreck who crawled back to my mini cappuccino machine with the desperation of Pete Doherty reaching for his crack pipe. Still, I did manage to reduce my coffee intake to just one cup first thing in the morning. This was a good thing, as it left more space in my tummy for the huge number of supplements Marrena recommends.

And there's the catch: you have to take a lot of fish oil. I mean a lot. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, according to Marrena, raise dopamine levels in the brain, and dopamine is the neurotransmitter that makes you feel 'hot, horny and ready'. And no, you can't just cheat and eat loads of tuna instead because, according to Marrena, to get the same amount of omega-3 you'd have to eat fatty fish every single day, and our oceans are so polluted that it wouldn't be safe. Fish oil is OK because it's refined and purified. (Also, be warned that you can't make do with codliver oil, which has so much vitamin A and D in it that it's dangerous to take in the quantities recommended.) She did warn it might be pricey, but I still wasn't prepared for the cost. For a month's supply I had to buy five bottles of omega-3 oil, two bottles of a combined calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement and one multivitamin. All in all, it came to around R1000. And then there was the cost of good dark chocolate (not that I'm complaining about that). Apparently, like the fish oil, chocolate raises those crucial dopamine levels. Men have naturally higher levels of dopamine and, of course, they have more testosterone, too - which, Marrena explains, is why men generally have higher sex drives than women.

When I lined up my first day's worth of pills on the kitchen counter - nine large capsules that looked more like horse tranquillisers than dietary supplements - Greg looked amazed. 'Do you really have to take all that?' he asked dubiously. 'Won't it give you the runs? And what it your breath smells of fish?' Both good points, but not a good start. Dutifully, I split the day's ration of pills and downed them in three separate batches, each time with food so I wouldn't get the runs (thank you, Greg). After the first day I felt a bit nauseous. I persisted, but was still feeling sick. Nothing major, but enough to completely put me off having sex. Hmm. This wasn't supposed to happen. To be honest, in the three weeks I took the chocolate and fish oils, I didn't feel any sexier. In fact, the sick feeling persisted and I had the occasional fishy burp too, which naturally made me feel even less like getting jiggy with it. In total, the amount of sex we had in those three weeks actually declined. Marrena quotes a ton of women who responded really well to this change in their diet, so I may just be in the unlucky minority. The trouble is, the supplements cost so much money that you'd really have to feel them making a difference to be willing to cough up that much dosh.
Coming To The Crunch!

Tue, 31 May 2011 12:00 +0200
A Slimmer You
What To Cook In 5 Minutes: Diet Delight #1 Salmon Pasta from The Good Mood Diet (Springboard Press) by Judith J. Wurtman and Nina Frusztajer Marquis.

You Need: 200g fast-cook pasta, knob of butter, 75g shredded cabbage, 50ml water, 75g frozen peas, 60g smoked salmon, 2 tbsp fat-free sour cream.

Method: While boiling pasta, sauté cabbage in butter for four minutes. Simmer, add water and peas, then stir cream and salmon into pasta. Serves two and contains 228 calories per portion.
What To Cook In 7 Minutes: Diet Delight #2
What To Cook In 10 Minutes: Diet Delight #3

Thu, 19 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Always Hungry?
Eggs While egg yolk is high in fat, it is also the highest form of protein of any whole food product - and protein, as we know, plays an important role in contributing to the feeling of satiety that tells us we've had enough to eat. So, rather than skipping the yolks (which also cause the brain to release happy hormones), research suggests that eating two scrambled eggs for breakfast results in people consuming fewer calories over the next 36 hours.

Tue, 17 May 2011 12:00 +0200
Are Your Hormones Making You Fat? Fat Around The Middle. She shows you how...

Balanced Hormone Goal #1: Store Less Fat • If you go longer than three hours without eating when you're awake, cortisol is released, which encourages the body to store fat. So have breakfast, lunch and dinner plus an 11 am and 4pm snack, such as fruit, nuts, yoghurt or carrot sticks.

• Caffeine stimulates cortisol production, so switch to decaf coffee and herbal teas.
Balanced Hormone Goal #2: Curb Cravings
Balanced Hormone Goal #3: Beat The Bloat

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
Make Your Lunch Work
1. Feel Full Without Needing Snacks You've grabbed a sandwich or sushi, but instead of satisfying your hunger, it leaves you wanting something sweet. Why? 'The key is breakfast,' says Gillian Riley, author of Eating Less.

'If you don't want to indulge at lunch, eat some wholegrain carbs in the morning to fill you up. Soak a handful of organic, raw jumbo oats in water overnight, then add fresh berries, nuts, seeds and live yoghurt, with rice or almond milk.'
2. Fix Post-Lunch Bloating
3. Have Energy To Exercise After Work
4. Kill Afternoon Chocolate Cravings

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 12:00 +0200
The Dumb Dukan Diet
But just because celebs like it doesn't mean it's okay. In fact, France's National Agency for Food, Environmental and Work Health Safety have labelled it unbalanced and potentially risky, while the British Dietetic Association listed it as one of the five worst diets of 2011. The diet has four phases: 'attack', 'cruise', 'consolidation' and 'stabilisation,' depending on how rigorously one excludes entire food groups. Essentially, the diet kicks off with an unlimited menu of lean protein in the form of chicken breasts, fat-free meat (excluding pork and lamb), eggs and soy, but without a carb in sight. And in order to avoid becoming completely constipated and physically ill, one is allowed 1,5 tablespoons of oat bran and 1,5 litres of water daily. Erm... yum?

During the second phase, dieters may enjoy an unlimited amount of non-starchy vegetables to accompany their meat fest. By phase three, proponents are also allowed one piece of low-sugar fruit, two slices of wholegrain bread and one portion of hard cheese. During the final phase (if anyone has actually made it this far) you can eat whatever you like as long as you do one protein-only day per week and exercise 20 minutes per day. So, what is wrong with this diet? A lot. Says Per Rehn, chiropractor and nutritional adviser, 'By eliminating key foods from your diet you can create a nutritional deficiency, and well as raise your cholesterol. Eating huge amounts of protein puts strain on the kidneys, while an embargo on vegetables, grains and fruit deprives your body of essential fibre, vitamins and minerals.'

As Rehn explains, this diet is protein-centric and highly restrictive in the initial stages without much research to back it up. It is a modified version of the Atkins diet, and is not based on scientific data. While followers will lose weight initially in the form of water, this is simply the result of eliminating carbohydrates, and does not reflect real weight-loss. Plus, eating this way is impractical and unsustainable. Like the Atkins, this is just a diet which will phase itself out as quickly as it came in.

While the diet points to thin French women to support its claims, in truth, French women were thin long before Dukan came up with his plan, and we don't really know why, except that they probably don't eat very much. 'The appeal of this diet – like all others – lies in its claims, and the fact that the locus of control is external,' explains dietitian, Renee Strauss. In other words, you don't have to think and make choices for yourself. Pierre Dukan has done that for you. But, how long can anyone tolerate endless plates of lean beef and chicken without so much as a tiny head of broccoli to make it less, well, yucky? 'Yes, cutting down on carbs can lead to weight-loss, but they should never be eliminated completely,' says Strauss. When you cut out all carbs, you deprive your brain of the sugars it needs to function properly. Your energy levels will dip, you'll feel sluggish and irritable, and chances are, you won't be able to muster even the 20 minutes of exercise the diet demands.'

So, what's the solution? There isn't one. When it comes to slimming down, sadly there are no tricks. And following mad eating plans is definitely not the answer. If you need to lose weight, eat more salad, fewer Lunch Bars and run faster on the treadmill. Or, a better solution yet: learn to love your muffin-tops. Remember who invented the French fry? We think that French guy was much more fun.

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
Lose Weight While You Eat
Yes, it's very hard not to envy those eat-what-you-want girls, especially, when it comes to their bodies' metabolisms - the all-important biochemical process that converts food into calories and then burns them off as energy. Some people's metabolisms are fast and efficient while other peoples are slow. The slower your metabolism, the more likely you are to carry extra energy around with you, which might then turn into fat.

But don't give up on your body just yet. New research suggests that with a few tweaks to our daily diet, we can boost our metabolisms and burn calories faster - no effort required.

Slim-Down Secret #1: Drink Water Apart from making you thirsty and sluggish, dehydration slows down all your bodily functions, including metabolism, says sports medicine and nutrition expert, Leslie Bonci. 'So keep it steady with at least eight glasses of water each day and make them icy: drinking cold water is believed to help you burn calories, as your body uses extra energy to heat it.'
Slim-Down Secret #2: Spice Things Up
Slim-Down Secret #3: Eat Good Protein
Slim-Down Secret #4: Fill Up On Apples
Slim-Down Secret #5: Try Beetroot
Slim-Down Secret #6: Eat Broccoli
Slim-Down Secret #7: Go Green
Slim-Down Secret #8: Get Kelp

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:00 +0200
Is Your Breakfast Making You Cranky?
You Fill Up On 'Low-Fat' Options Low-fat muffins and pastries often contain unhealthy oils, sugar and bad fats that leave you feeling moody.

Fix It: Choose alternatives rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You'll find them in walnuts and flax seeds which you can sprinkle over your fruit salad, yoghurt or wholegrain cereal.
You're a Pancake Freak
It's Toast All The Way For You
You Eat Fruit By Itself

Fri, 25 Feb 2011 12:00 +0200
'Healthy' Diet Danger
Low-Carb Craze Bet you didn't know that by ordering the steamed veggies with your steak and opting for an omelette without toast because 'carbs make you fat', you're actually doing your body more harm than good. Diet trends come and go, and the low-carb craze was a backlash of the low-fat trend. Suddenly (thanks, Mr Atkins - not) it was okay to eat bacon and enormous wedges of brie – as long as you forewent the cracker. But, as many who jumped on that band-wagon discovered, a diet of fat and protein makes you feel sluggish, lethargic and nauseated – not to mention playing havoc with your digestive system – and your health.

'By eradicating carbs, you're depriving your body of some essential vitamins and nutrients,' explains nutritionist, Carli Swanepoel. 'Not only that – a diet which contains too much protein puts stress on the kidneys and may be high is saturated fat and cholesterol, a major contributor to heart disease.' Healthy carbs have essential protective value in reducing risks for heart disease, diabetes and cancer, while brown rice and high-grain cereals are an excellent source of B-vitamins (good for stress) and micronutrients.

With low-carb diets most people don't consume enough fibre, which puts them at a higher risk for colon cancer and gastro-intestinal problems. In addition, our brain requires the glucose from carbohydrates in order to function properly. 'Cut out carbs and you will soon feel light-headed and experience decreased energy levels, coupled with headaches and moodiness,' explains Swanepoel. The answer if you want to cut calories? Exchange the croissant for a slice of nutty, whole-grain bread; opt for half a baked potato or keep your portion of wholewheat pasta small.
Ditching Dairy
Eliminating Meat
Fat-Free Everything?

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 12:00 +0200
Sexy Salads
We asked Robyn Astl, founder of Faithful To Nature, to share her top summer salad recipes with you. Get ready to dig in!

Bitter Greens, Mung Sprouts, Avocado and Orange Salad Ingredients
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
1 cup mixed bitter greens (i.e. salad leaves or watercress)
1 cup fresh mung beans
1 cup orange sections, de-seeded
1/2 cup diced avocado
1 tablespoon soaked walnut bits (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin organic olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
Himalayan salt to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Boil the beans until soft. Heat one tablespoon of extra-virgin organic olive oil in a pan. Toss in the spinach leaves and mung beans and stir briefly till the spinach leaves wilt. Remove to a bowl and cool. Add the mixed bitter greens, orange and avocado. In another bowl, briskly whisk together the lemon juice, the rest of the olive oil, lemon zest, salt, pepper, ginger and tahini. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish with the chopped walnuts and serve immediately.

Why It's Good For You
Not only is this salad packed with healthy greens, leaves and organic produce, mung beans are particularly beneficial to our health. They are highly nutritious and deliver sustenance while being easy on the digestive system, explains Astl. Mung beans offer protein and dietary fibre, are a source of phyto-oestrogens, vitamins A, C and E, folacin, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium, she adds, while tahini, a sesame seed paste, is also a source of calcium, protein, vitamin B and essential fatty acids which help to maintain healthy skin.
Dried Pomegranate Arils and Organic Chickpea Salad
Tabbouleh with Quinoa

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 12:00 +0200
Summer Superfoods
1. Dairy Calcium keeps bones and teeth healthy, and one of its best sources is dairy. Aim to consume two or three servings a day, and remember that low-fat options contain as much calcium as full-fat. One serving equals a 200ml glass of milk, a small (150g) tub of yoghurt or a small (30g) piece of cheese.
2. Lemons
3. Red Grapes
4. Chicken
5. Almonds

Mon, 20 Dec 2010 12:00 +0200
Healthy Desserts
Well, we might have found a solution to your sweet cravings. Here, Robyn Astl, founder of Faithful To Nature, gives us her favourite organic dessert recipes, which not only taste delicious, but are beneficial to your health too.

Rustic Pumpkin Breads Preparation Time: 60 minutes, serves 12

1 3/4 cup mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup brown sugar or rice syrup
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
3-4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups chopped walnuts or chocolate chips

• Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, butter and eggs and mix until creamy.
• In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients except the walnuts or chocolate chips.
• Mix three cups of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and add as much of the fourth cup as necessary to achieve the following consistency: moist, but thick enough to stand a spoon in. Add the nuts or chocolate chips and stir.
• Pour or spoon the batter into greased muffin tins or bread pans. Bake on the centre rack until a toothpick poked into the centre comes out dry.
NOTE: At sea level, muffins should take between 20 and 25 minutes to bake, small loaves between 25 and 30 minutes and full-sized loaves between 50 minutes and an hour.

This dessert is healthy because…
Brown sugar or rice syrup is used instead of refined white sugar. Brown rice syrup is actually considered to be one of the healthiest sweeteners in the natural food industry, since it is produced from a whole food source and is made up of simple sugars. Furthermore, the pumpkin and walnuts used in the muffins are far healthier than synthetic chocolate or icing. Walnuts are really good for you because they cut down the damage from any fatty foods you may have eaten and tend to be rich in compounds known to reduce the hardening of arteries. This helps to keep your arteries flexible. It's actually recommended that you eat eight walnuts a day in order to have the maximum benefits.
Laddu (Chickpea Flour Fudge)
Organic Honey & Oats Granola Bars

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 12:00 +0200
Pig-Out Prevention Plan The Little Black Dress Diet. Follow these tips and those last five kilograms could go the same way as your KitKat habit.

In a 'dinner's not ready but I'm starving' moment, squeeze lemon juice into a glass of water and sip. It'll take the edge off your hunger and stop you picking, while the lemon will stimulate your digestive juices to help process the meal quicker, helping you lose more weight.

Make Over Your Fridge
Avoid post-night-out bingeing by de-junk-fooding your fridge when you start a diet and stocking up on healthy treats instead. Check your weight-loss plan to see what's allowed.

Tue, 02 Nov 2010 12:00 +0200
Shelve Your Diet specific way. But, if you take the time to rearrange your kitchen cupboards and even your fridge, you might shed those unwanted kilos faster than you thought.

Clean out your cupboards on days when your hormones are really low, usually just before your period starts, suggests Dr Larrian Gillespie, nutrition expert and author of The Goddess Diet (Healthy Life Publications).

'Changes in serotonin cause an obsessive cleaning nature in women at this time, so take advantage of the situation and remove temptation.'

This means getting rid of all those high glycaemic carbohydrates, sugars and MSG-ridden products from your shelves, she says.


The Fridge: General As we've said before, your fridge can be deadly in your mission to lose weight, so it's important to arrange it in such a way that your eyes are immediately met with healthy food choices.
The Fridge: Top Shelf
The Fridge: Second Shelf
The Fridge: Third Shelf
The Freezer
Your Cupboards

Thu, 14 Oct 2010 12:00 +0200
Sweet Tooth
There are several ways you can beat sugar cravings, says clinical nutritionist, Sally-Ann Creed. Firstly, she suggests you eat more protein. Many people don't realise their desire for simple carbohydrates like sugar are actually due to a protein deficiency, she explains. Make sure you are eating a proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats and loads of vegetables, she adds; this way, you won't experience any more intense sugar cravings. Healthy fats are very important, adds Creed, as it doesn't form fat, so you can enjoy it in measured amounts. She recommends olive, macadamia or fish oil, nuts, avocado and seeds (not seed oils!).

Nutritional therapist, Andrea Jenkins agrees. 'Both fat and protein will balance blood sugar levels.' To keep these levels constant, she recommends eating five small meals per day. 'Eat regularly and don't skip meals, otherwise you'll be running for the nearest chocolate bar in no time,' says Creed.

Make sure to stick to complex carbohydrates too, such as oats, rye bread and brown rice, says Jenkins, as these will release sugar slowly. This is unlike refined carbohydrates, like white rice, pasta and flour, which have no nutrients and will have a similar affect on your body as sugar does. Like refined carbohydrates, diet drinks and sweeteners have artificial chemicals that not only won't satisfy your sugar cravings, but won't help keep your blood sugar levels balanced either, she explains. The same applies to coffee, she adds.

'Never use fructose, agave (liquid fructose) or artificial sweeteners, agrees Creed, as they are all highly toxic.


Finding replacements for your sweet tooth might sound difficult, but here are some sugar substitutes to get you started.

Creed suggests stevia powder (not the pills), pure A-grade xylitol, SweetPea and SuperSweet as safe and healthy substitutes for sugar. They all have no calories, help to balance blood sugar levels and won't cause rebound hunger, she explains. Honey is another healthy alternative, she adds, as long as you don't go overboard.

Jenkins agrees and recommends trying xylitol, honey, maple syrup or dates as a replacement for sugar.

Try hummus with raw vegetables, plain yoghurt, fruit, nuts and seeds, dried dates, sugar-free muesli bars or goji berries, suggests Jenkins.

Often, a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts or biltong can satisfy a sweet tooth, says Creed. Make sure the fruit has protein in it and never eat fruit on an empty stomach, as this causes cravings to loom very quickly, she adds. A healthy sandwich with a real meat, fish, chicken or egg filling, along with a healthy fat, like butter, should leave you feeling satisfied, she says. She recommends avoiding hydrogenated margarine, as it fuels hunger. If you want to add a little bit of chutney to your sandwich, that's fine, says Creed, but don't overdo it.

Now, before you become depressed and think your love affair with a certain slab of sweetness is over, hold on for a second. After a protein-filled meal, says Creed, have a square of dark chocolate. 'You have to live a little…'

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
Shake It Up! Faithful To Nature online organic shop, to give us her best (and healthiest) smoothie recipes.

As the sun slowly starts to shine again, now is the perfect time to make these smoothies yourself. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about packing on any undesirable kilos.

Natural Chocolate Smoothie Ingredients:
1 x banana
1 x tsp organic honey
1 x tsp cacao butter
3 x tsp of cacao powder
2 scoops of hemp powder (optional)
1 x tbsp organic raisins
1 x tbsp organic pecan nuts (for added nutrition and taste)
1 x tsp organic cinnamon

Once you’ve combined all of the above ingredients, add your desired amount of milk and yoghurt (preferably organic) and blend into a delicious chocolate smoothie.

This smoothie is healthy because…
• The humble banana balances PH levels and regulates the digestive system. It is also filling and great for focus and concentration.
• Unprocessed and unheated honey will boost your immune system naturally. Eating honey from the area in which you live also builds your defences against hay fever – one of the reasons why it is good to eat unblended honey.
• Cacao butter isn’t only delicious; it contains the good fats and oils of the cacao bean. Raw cacao also contains magnesium, which helps to prevent heart problems and lower your blood pressure, antioxidants and anti-depressant helpers, serotonin, dopamine and vitamin B.
• Hemp powder provides a solid protein boost.
• Raisins contain reasonable amounts of potassium, iron, fibre and energy.
Coconut Pina Colada Smoothie
Super Food Banana Protein Shake
Frulata Smoothie

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 12:00 +0200
Time To Eat
This is what they had to say…


Eat According To A Schedule

Eat When You’re Hungry
‘When you were a baby, you were often fed on demand, as your parents presumed you were hungry earlier than expected. Some parents, on the other hand, stuck to the accepted four-hourly feeding interval. Feeding infants is different for every single mother and child, so what happens by the time we’ve grown up? Why should we eat according to a schedule? Let’s look at what happens if we don’t eat according to a schedule:

Goodbye, Energy
Nowadays, life is stressful and many people skip meals without even noticing. This is because cortisol and adrenaline are produced when we are stressed and they interfere with natural hunger. Digestion uses energy and when you’re in flight-or-fight mode, you need all of your energy for the tasks at hand.

Junk In Your Trunk
While we’re at work, we often get hungry and tired by 11am. So, the first thing you do is head down to the vending machine or cafeteria and buy a fizzy drink and a chocolate bar. Or you fool yourself into believing a bran muffin is a healthy choice. This only sends your sugar levels soaring – and you’re still under-nourished. The modern diet contains far too much sugar in many different guises – fructose in fizzy drinks being the biggest culprit. All these sugars make us feel briefly satisfied, without giving us any nutrients at all.

Super Structure
Here are three reasons why you should eat according to a schedule:
• Eating five times a day (a healthy snack twice a day and three main meals) will help balance your sugar levels.
• Your body will learn how to be hungry naturally.
• By eating good fat and protein with every meal and snack on a regular basis, you’re more likely to lose weight.’
‘Eating when you are hungry can work well with those who don’t have blood sugar problems, who eat well to begin with and who don’t have very high metabolic rates. If you decide to follow this method, you need to train your body to eat only when you feel hungry.

Breakfast Power
Make sure that you eat a high-protein breakfast, with at least one complex carbohydrate and some fat. This will prevent a sugar rush and keep you full for hours. It will also provide adequate nutrition and satiety, so that you can in fact wait until you are hungry again before you eat.

Drink Up
Make sure you are well hydrated and always drink a glass of water with your meals. Drinking a lot of caffeine during the day will prevent you wanting to eat, but it will also dehydrate you and impair your health. Plenty of water is a good idea, and this in turn, has a way of staving off fake hunger.

Brain Train
People who only eat when they are hungry can train themselves to either eat two good meals a day, or multiple smaller meals. The best method is two good meals, and if there is hunger in between, it’s generally because you haven’t eaten a good enough breakfast that’s high in protein, or you’ve eaten sugary junk along the way.

Keep It Balanced
A high protein intake together with complex carbohydrates and healthy fat (such as olive oil instead sunflower or canola oil and butter instead of margarine) is the best way to ward off fake hunger. Eat a decent amount of food, but be careful not to over-eat. When you eat your second meal, it should also be balanced, but this time, add plenty of vegetables and/or salads to the protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Not only will this balance your blood sugar, but you’ll be able to go several hours without feeling hungry.’

Fri, 20 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
Vitamin Questions
‘Can taking vitamin C really stop me from getting sick?’ Nope! A recent study found that taking a vitamin C tablet is ineffective in combating the sniffles, unless you’re exposed to extreme cold weather or physical stress, like marathon runners, skiers and soldiers. ‘You need other nutrients to stay healthy, like carbohydrates for energy, protein to maintain body cells and good fats for brain and eye function,’ Natoli says.
‘I heard I should take vitamin C and iron together. True?’
‘I lead a busy lifestyle. What vitamins should I be taking?
‘What if I’m on the Pill?’

Wed, 11 Aug 2010 12:00 +0200
Winter Greens
Winter Green #1: Pomegranates Pomegranates are high in antioxidants, says clinical nutritionist, Sally-Ann Creed, particularly flavonoids, which are packed with vitamin C, folate and vitamin E. They are excellent in mopping up free radicals, which are responsible for disease in the first place.


Ingredients (Makes 12 muffins)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white or oat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 c chopped raw walnuts (roasting them first will intensify their flavour)
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
4 egg whites and 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 agave nectar
120 ml pomegranate juice
2 tbsp canola oil
1 pomegranate, seeded

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees and prepare a muffin pan with non-stick spray or muffin liners.
2. Stir dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Whip egg whites until stiff white peaks form in a separate bowl.
4. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, agave, vanilla extract, egg yolk, pomegranate juice and oil. Fold in egg whites until just blended.
5. Mix dry and wet ingredients until just blended. Add pomegranate seeds and mix until combined. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are browned and bounce pack when touched.
6. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks for five minutes. Remove from muffin pan and allow to cool on the wire rack.

Recipe courtesy of Danica's Daily
Winter Green #2: Pears
Winter Green #3: Kiwi
Winter Green #4: Spinach
Winter Green #5: Sweet Potato
Winter Green #6: Apples
Winter Green #7: Cauliflower

Fri, 30 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
Fridge Fat Traps
Buying In Bulk Those family value packs may save you money, but they can also lead to overeating. ‘Large bags of chips, nuts, sweet biscuits and juices are the worst,’ says Burrell. ‘Repack sensible portions into small tubs or bottles, or keep these treats for special occasions and buy small servings on the day you need them.’
Lazy Foods

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 12:00 +0200
Beat Your Diet Saboteurs Thin Secrets (Bubbly Publishing Ltd). ‘Usually, it’s not deliberate but it’s still frustrating. Here are some ways to win them over.’

Diet Saboteur #1 Your mother, who feeds you up with home cooking.
What to say: ‘Can we try out some recipes from my new cookery book?’
What to do: Buy the WeightWatchers Book of Recipes (Simon & Schuster Ltd) or Steam Cuisine (Random House) by Marina Filippelli.
Diet Saboteur #2
Diet Saboteur #3
Diet Saboteur #4

Wed, 23 Jun 2010 12:00 +0200
The Flu Diet
When you're sick, says clinical nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed, you need to avoid thick and sticky mucous production and inflammation. 'If you put inflammation in the picture, you have the perfect environment for a virus, bacterial or fungal infection to thrive.'

Here, find a list of foods you need to avoid when you're feeling under the weather this winter.

Eating any mucous-forming foods will make you feel worse when you're sick, advises Creed. Within minutes of eating or drinking a dairy product, she says, you'll find yourself having to clear your throat. 'Dairy traps bacteria in the mucous, giving it a fantastic medium to multiply quickly.'

Nutritional therapist, Lynne Brown, agrees. 'Dairy, whether pasteurised or raw, is the leader in forming sticky mucous. Make sure to avoid milk, skim milk, butter, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, yoghurt and ice cream.'

Bread, pasta and rusks, for example, should be avoided when sick, says Creed. Refined foods are like dairy in that they encourage mucous production as well as cause allergies.

Avoid any gluten-based foods, agrees Brown. This includes wheat, barley and rye. Gluten in wheat has large protein molecules, which are difficult to digest, she says.

Stop eating sugar and any foods containing sugar, as it will further impair your immune system, warns Brown. 'There are plenty of studies that show even a teaspoon of sugar will reduce the immune system's killer cell activity in your body for a few hours after you've eaten it.'

She suggests you avoid fizzy drinks, concentrated cooldrinks, chocolate, pastries and cakes. 'The minerals needed to digest sugar – chromium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc and magnesium – have been stripped from the sugar during the refining process,' says Brown. This forces the body to deplete its own mineral reserves to process the sugar, further compromising your health, she explains.

Fruit juice, as well as too much fruit, is also a big no-no, says Creed. Because fruit can cause an unnecessary sugar spike, it is considered to be far too sweet to eat when you're fighting a virus or infection, she adds.

'All acid-forming foods should be avoided when ill,' advises Brown. 'These include wheat, dairy, red meat, poultry, eggs, rice, grains, margarine, sugar, soya, caffeine, black tea and alcohol.' With a negative effect on your body's pH level, she says, these foods produce not only too much acid, but a lot of mucous. 'Acid-forming foods suppress antibody production, making it hard for the immune system to function.' Too much acid decreases your body's ability to absorb minerals and nutrients, she adds, making your body more susceptible to sickness and hampering your recovery.

Meat and animal products use too much energy and trap pathogens inside your body instead of expelling them out of your system, says nutritional therapist Andrea Jenkins.

Fried, convenience or processed food high in fat reduces circulation and increases inflammation, says Jenkins.

'Avoid all processed foods containing common allergens like MSG, sulphites, preservatives, artificial colourants and flavourants,' says Brown. Metabolising these non-foods will place a huge burden on an already weakened immune system, she says. For example, she adds, sulphites will significantly affect your breathing when you're sick.

'You need soups and vegetable juices,' advises Creed.

A liquid and hydrated diet not only flushes out toxins and unwanted compounds in the blood, it keeps food easy to digest, light and nutritious, agrees Jenkins. Opt for cinnamon, ginger or lemon teas and choose leak, cabbage, parsley, celery, broccoli or garlic soups, she says.

And, adds Brown, a low-fat diet will speed up the healing process.

Mon, 24 May 2010 12:00 +0200
FATorexia FATorexia: What Do You See When You Look In The Mirror? (Sara Bird). 'I have been fat and thin all of my life,' she says. 'My wakeup call came when the doctor told me I was obese. I really had no clue. I thought I might be a little overweight, but certainly not obese.'

Bird came to the conclusion that she was suffering from anorexia's evil twin, describing her condition as life-threatening. 'The best way I could explain it to myself was that I had the opposite of anorexia, only in this case, I didn't see the fat.

'You can't see the fat, so you just get bigger and bigger. From clipping labels from your clothes to pretend you're smaller and eating secret meals to using small mirrors so only your face is visible, these are just some of the embarrassing things we do to hide the fact that we are getting bigger by the day.'

Bird is convinced that FATorexia is a bona fide condition and believes it should be medically recognised as such. 'FATorexia can help because it highlights a problem and gives it a name and a reason.'

Our experts disagree.

Johannesburg-based psychologist, Dr Janne Dannerup thinks 'FATorexia is not a disorder, merely a new lay-man's term used to describe an incongruence between the physical size and weight of a person and how the person perceives herself.

'The word FATorexic actually doesn't make sense at all,' she adds. 'The term anorexic denotes an eating disorder marked by an extreme fear of becoming overweight. If FATorexic is the exact opposite, as the author of the book suggests, then the sufferer should have an extreme fear of becoming thin, which is clearly not what is indicated.'

Clinical nutritionist, Jill Fraser Halkett agrees. 'It seems someone has decided to make money out of overweight people, by putting a trademark on FATorexia and encouraging people to focus on some kind of disease. Eating disorders are a complex subject and there are no quick fixes.'

Bird believes her book helps you take the small steps towards recovering from FATorexia, including looking at your body and seeing what it really looks like, understanding what and when you eat and working hard to keep your weight stable. 'My book aims at finding the trigger not to get bigger,' she says. 'FATorexia is here to stay. It will not go away and I will not let it.'

While Bird has received a lot of press coverage since releasing her book and is convinced that FATorexia is the real deal, Fraser Halkett believes it is only with the guidance of a fully trained nutritional therapist with experience in helping overweight people through their problems, that one will be able to see any progress.

'This is where you should begin, not with a fad carrying a trademark. Like anyone else with a health problem they are trying to overcome, overweight people need assurance.'

Tue, 18 May 2010 12:00 +0200
Is Your Job Making You Fat?
'You're more likely to grab whatever's around than worry about diet-friendly options,' says Dr Stephen Gullo, author of The Thin Commandments (Rodale Press). If you work in an office that has food easily at hand, it's even worse. Whatever your weakness, he suggests these no-fail tricks:

SNACK ATTACK #1 Crisps in the sandwich man's tray destroy your healthy packed-lunch plans.

Put R5 into a pot on your desk every time you resist those extra calories and save for something you really want, like that must-have bag.

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Sexy Things To Do With Food
• E-mail him a picture of a jar of chocolate fudge with the message 'Dessert at my place, 8 p.m.'
• Swipe honey across your lips, and give your guy a sweet kiss that'll make him want to devour you.
• Have a picnic in your living room with finger foods like olives, berries, and chocolate. Take turns blindfolding and hand-feeding each other.
• Sip sparkling water, hold it in your mouth, and head down south to treat his member to a fizzy blast of pleasure.
• For instant chills, have him spoon sorbet onto your abs and lick it off.
• Soak in the tub together, each armed with a frozen fruit pop. Trail the pops over each other, circling your nipples and belly, and slide them along the sides of your torso.
• Spray whipped cream on your guy's lower abs and upper thighs in a swirling pattern, with his member as the bull's eye. Nearing the target will turn him on like crazy.
• Have him coat your nipples with caramel sauce, then undress you using his mouth.
• Gently blow sparkling ice shavings onto his chest through a straw, then lick them off with your warm tongue.
• Loosely bind his hands with a black licorice string for kinky-lite play.
• Have him dot a trail of frozen chocolate chips along your spine (your backbone has tons of nerve endings) and kiss each spot as he removes the chips with his lips.
• Put cucumber slices over his closed eyes, and give him oral action. The cool sensation on his lids plus your hot mouth below will make his toes curl.
• Smooth hazelnut-chocolate spread across his intensely sensitive inner wrists and arms, and run your tongue over his sugary skin.
• Keep a cup of cold water and a cup of lukewarm peppermint tea near the bed. Have your man take a sip, swish the tea around in his mouth, then give you oral attention, switching to cool water after 30 seconds. The temperature tease is electrifying.
• Paint a part of your body with vanilla icing – your collarbone, in between your breasts – and have him lick it off. Bonus: It's a great way to show him sexy new places he can touch you. ]]>
Wed, 14 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Cleansing Realities
'Cleansing diets can be very helpful in certain circumstances,' says clinical nutritionist, Jill Fraser Halkett. If you're suffering from digestive, liver, kidney or gallstone problems, she says, certain cleansing diets can be beneficial.

If done carefully and under the supervision of a trained professional, says nutritional therapist, Carol Murrell, cleansing diets have the capacity to rid the body of damaging toxins and help support the major detox organs.

The problem is, many women are attempting the wrong and more risky options, which is even evident on own fun and fearless forum. 'Unsupervised, or fad cleansing diets can result in the uncontrolled release of toxins from fat cells,' says Murrell. 'If the body is not being adequately supported nutritionally, it can cause significant organ damage.' So, what's the best way to find out if your diet is legit?

If it's not backed by a trained dietitian or nutritional therapist, don't even go there, says Fraser Halkett. Because fad diets can deprive your body of nutrition, you could suffer long-term damage to your entire digestive system if you take the wrong route.

Here are three examples of cleansing diets you should look out for.

The Diet: Eliminate all red meat, animal fat, dairy, all processed food and anything that contains artificial chemicals and additives.
The Verdict: While Fraser Halkett agrees that you should cut out processed foods, she doesn't believe it is healthy to exclude red meat, animal fat and dairy products. '[Our bodies] were made to eat meat and consume fat,' she says. 'If you eliminate a whole food group from your diet, such as animal products, you're depriving your body of essential nutrition it cannot live without, which will cause problems in the long-term,' she warns. Murrell agrees. While this diet is possible, it needs to be done properly without eliminating whole food groups. 'Consult a health professional before starting, so they can make sure you have a balanced intake of macro nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals).'

The Diet: Five bites of food for breakfast, five bites of food for lunch and five bites of food for supper. Yes, it's that literal.
The Verdict: Anyone who would follow this diet is foolish, warns Fraser Halkett. Murrell agrees that it's unsustainable, adding that it may even have the potential to trigger or exacerbate an eating disorder.

The Diet: All you're allowed is water and lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, laxative tea and salt water. No solid foods are allowed.
The Verdict: While lemonade might be a rich source of nourishment as a part of a balanced eating plan, when it becomes the sole source of sustenance it is not, says Murrell. Not only does this diet not include any protein or essential fats, she adds, it doesn't supply any nutrients needed to support the liver. Once again, Murrell believes following a diet so sparse, could aggravate disordered eating.

So, you want to detox but don't want to follow a dubious diet blindly? 'Cutting down on your body's toxic load does have significant benefits,' says Murrell. Make sure to eat fresh, natural foods and minimise or avoid refined sugar and hydrogenated fats, she explains. 'And read the labels!'

'Eat real food and stop eating man-made foods,' warns Fraser Halkett. 'Our bodies are fully capable of cleansing themselves everyday when given the correct food.' ]]>
Wed, 07 Apr 2010 12:00 +0200
Low-fat muffins and pastries often contain safflower oils, as well as bad fats that leave you feeling moody.
Fix It: Choose alternatives rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You'll find them in walnuts and flax seeds, which you can sprinkle over your fruit salad, yoghurt or wholegrain cereals.

'Refined carbohydrates in pancakes cause blood-sugar levels to rise, then crash 90 minutes later,' says nutritionist Susie Burrell.
Fix It: The occasional pancake is fine, but add protein like peanut butter or yoghurt, which will make you feel less sluggish. Eating fibre will help sustain that energy. 'Eat small amounts of fibre every three hours,' Burrell advises. 'Big gaps between meals can make you feel cranky.'

Most bread won't give you enough B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid), which produce the feel-good hormone serotonin.
Fix It: 'Wholegrain breads and cereals, which contain fruit and nuts, and are high in vitamin B,' Burrell says.

Fruit gives us fibre and vitamins, but leaves us short on magnesium, which eases depression, and zinc.
Fix It: Add almonds, soy milk or wholegrain cereals – all rich in magnesium. 'People underestimate the importance of zinc, which helps the immune system work at its optimum level, and can be absorbed from baked beans,' Burrell says. ]]>
Wed, 10 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
Smart Snacking Skinny Snacks: Eat More, Weigh Less! (Struik), and then asked our experts for their advice on how to snack the right way when you're having a good time with friends; without chomping down on high calorie mini pies and creamy dip.

Decanting sour cream and cheese flavouring over your large box of popcorn might seem like a great idea, but there are healthier and equally tasty ways of enjoying your popcorn. 'Leave off the flavourant and just use a little bit of salt,' says nutritional therapist, Andrea Jenkins. She also recommends sharing your popcorn instead of munching through an entire box yourself.

Alternatively, clinical nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed suggests taking along a few pieces of dried fruit, a handful of nuts or some protein-rich biltong.

'Slide by the fizzy drinks,' adds clinical nutritionist Jill Fraser Halkett, 'as they will leach calcium from your bones, send your sugar levels into overdrive and skew your brain.'

Just because there are chips and saucy dips on the table doesn't mean you have to go there. Take your own raw vegetables and cottage cheese, suggests Jenkins. Fraser Halkett recommends making your own oatcakes with rolled oats and topping them with hummus or a tapenade made with fresh ingredients.

Or, adds Jenkins, take corn-on-the-cob, butternut or potato wedges with you and simply ask the braai-man to add them to his grill. Just because you're eating healthier doesn't mean you can't benefit from the grill like everyone else. And, instead of cracking open a beer or cider, drink a wine spritzer or sparkling water.

It's easy to get carried away by the Super 14 spirit. Try to avoid the canteen's slaptjips and draughts. Snack on biltong – Fraser Halkett, Jenkins and Creed all agree biltong has healthy levels of protein. You could also take apples, pears, raw almonds, seeds, or vegetable chips along with you, adds Jenkins.

'Give the cocktail viennas and sausage rolls a miss,' advises Fraser Halkett, 'as they're full of preservatives and usually contain MSG. And go easy on the dips.' She suggests sticking to avocado and hard-boiled eggs instead of heading straight for the mini samoosas and deep-fried calamari rings.

Jenkins agrees and thinks looking out for sushi rolls or raw vegetables with hummus or guacamole is a healthy choice. Alternatively, she says, simply eat supper before you go out to avoid being tempted by the crackers.

Of all the hangover cures, greasy food seems to be the most popular. But it doesn't have to be. 'Drink as much water as you can and stick to protein,' says Fraser Halkett. While you might feel like pasta and other sugar-laden foods, your body doesn't need it. 'Go back to biltong, a piece of chicken and some raw vegetables, and stay away from fruit.'

Creed agrees and recommends tuna or a chicken breast wrapped in a salad leaf with a little mayo. Jenkins suggests hard-boiled eggs on wholegrain bread and downing a glass of fresh vegetable juice. ]]>
Wed, 03 Mar 2010 12:00 +0200
Stay-Sexy Diet Secrets Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet (Penguin Books). 'At least until you've been together a while.'

Here's how...

You're on a first date and green salad is the only diet-friendly option on the menu.
What's HOT: Treat yourself to any main course but then say you're stuffed and have a coffee instead of a fattening pudding. Try to be extra good the next day.
What's NOT: Ordering a salad and then pinching half of his chips.

Your new lover produces a bottle of squirty cream when you're in bed.
What's HOT: Smother yourself in the cream and get him to lick it off; when it's his turn, get some (zero-calories) ice cubes and use your imagination.
What's NOT: Saying, 'Oh my God – that stuff's got a million calories in it!'

A boyfriend treats you to his favourite signature dish: spaghetti carbonara with garlic bread.
What's HOT: Saying he's the best cook ever and buying him the latest Jamie Oliver book, marking out low-calorie recipes you like with Post-its.
What's NOT: Eating only half of what he serves you (he'll feel offended).

Your man starts eating chocolate while you watch TV.
What's HOT: Chopping some exotic fruits (papaya, mango and litchi) into chunks and feeding each other.
What's NOT: Hiding his chocolate (he'll only buy more!). ]]>
Fri, 19 Feb 2010 12:00 +0200
Meat-Free Mondays
‘Having one designated meat free day a week is actually a meaningful change that everyone can make that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once,’ says Sir Paul McCartney. ‘For instance, it not only addresses pollution, but better health, the ethical treatment of animals, global hunger and community and political activism.’

With celebrity supporters including Kate Bosworth, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Chris Martin, we thought it was worth an investigation. We spoke to the experts to find out the pros and cons to excluding meat from our diets for just one day.

According to the Worldwatch Institute and, approximately 56 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food each year, and of this figure, 67% are grown on factory farms.

‘Factory-farmed animals are fed on growth hormones, antiseptics and pesticides, and are raised under inhumane conditions,’ says clinical nutritionist, Jill Fraser-Halkett. So when you do eat meat, try and make sure you’re eating grass-fed, responsibly-farmed meat, she recommends. Not only are the animals treated humanely, but there won’t be any risks to your health.

‘Farmed meats are usually pumped with antibiotics and include large amounts of nitrogen,’ says nutritional therapist, Andrea Jenkins. Nitrogen breaks down into uric acid, which is then deposited within the tissue, she explains. ‘A build up of acidity in the body is the major cause of degenerative diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, and cancer, as well as milder symptoms like painful joints, indigestion, irritability and anger, a sluggish metabolism, bad breath and fatigue.’

‘Meat is a high quality protein that contains iron, easily absorbable phosphorous, vitamin B, and all the essential amino acids not found in a vegetarian diet,’ says Fraser-Halkett. Vitamin B is essential to our diets, she says, and it’s not available in plant proteins, such as nuts and seeds.

While protein does form an integral part of a nutritious diet, you don’t have to eat meat every day, says Fraser-Halkett. ‘Fish is a very good form of protein and is recommended as part of a healthy diet, so not eating red meat for one day a week could be a simple practice to follow.’ However, she warns that if you focus on eating less meat, and replace it with a different type of animal protein, like fish, this could deplete our seas.

Jenkins agrees that a source of protein is necessary. However, she believes vegetarian options can be equally effective protein sources. ‘Green vegetables, like spinach, as well as spirulina, seeds, nuts, beans and sprouts are rich in antioxidants, lower in fat, and don’t have the toxic by-products that meat has on the body.’

Use your meat-free Monday as a ‘cleansing’ day to focus on vegetables, says Jenkins, especially greens and antioxidant- and colourful-rich salads and fruit.

‘One meat free day a week is a good way of transitioning to a vegetarian diet, breaking patterns and preconceptions, and getting used to incorporating a greater range of other, less toxic sources of protein into your diet.’

COSMO’s resident street style guru, Robyn Cooke, recently took up the trend after chatting with a friend, The Dirty Skirts’ front man Jeremy De Tolly.

‘Jeremy has become an eco-warrior, and after hearing about Meat-Free Mondays and the impact the meat industry is having on the environment, he converted to vegetarianism. I decided to try a meat-free Monday because not only is it good for the environment, it’s fashionable too!’

Cutting meat from your diet for one day a week is just such a simple thing to do, says Cooke. ]]>
Mon, 18 Jan 2010 12:00 +0200
Water World
Be honest, though. Drinking the recommended two litres a day is a chore. Yet you feel guilty when the bottle remains untouched. Why? Because we’ve had the message drummed into us that water is nature’s ultimate health and beauty aid – the best way to prevent dry skin, aid weight loss and keep our bodies in good health. And we listen – a recent survey in the UK showed that young women drink twice as much water as anyone else. But although water has health benefits, how much should we really drink to hydrate ourselves and should we only stick to straight H20? Read on to find out the truth behind the great water myths.

Other Drinks Don’t Count
The Truth: It’s generally thought caffeinated drinks make us go to the toilet too much, so we lose more water than we’re actually taking in. But the latest research shows that tea, coffee and colas only make you go to the toilet slightly more than normal and should be counted towards your daily fluid intake. So if you need two litres a day and you drink a 300ml latte in the morning, you will only need 1,7 litres of fluid for the rest of the day. ‘You’d have to drink about eight to 10 cups of coffee a day to lose water,’ says Ron Maughan, professor of sports nutrition at Loughborough University in the UK. ‘If you drink fewer than five cups, the amount of fluid in the drink will make up for needing the toilet more.’ The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently set the dietary intake for water. Professor Lawrence Appel, who headed the panel of scientists for this report, says, ‘We don’t stipulate how many glasses of water people should drink because our hydration needs can be met through a variety of sources, including juice, milk, coffee, tea and soft drinks.’

Everyone Should Drink the Same Amount
The Truth: ‘We might be told that we should drink two litres but it’s a myth that one size fits all,’ says UK dietitian Lynne Garton. ‘How much you should drink depends on many factors, including activity levels, metabolism, age and even your sex. Men need about a litre more fluid a day than women, as they have greater muscle mass and can lose more through sweat.’ Check your urine colour during the day to see whether you are getting enough fluid. Light-yellow urine means you are well hydrated, whereas a darker colour means you probably need to drink more. Or simply multiply your weight in kilos by 35mI and you will see how much fluid you need to drink.

You Need To Drink In Order To Get Water
The Truth: You know that when you bite into a succulent peach, juice oozes out. But did you know that the fluid provided by food adds up to three or four glasses of your daily need? A breakfast of cereal with milk and a slice of toast, a chicken-salad sandwich for lunch and a dinner of baked salmon, brown rice, tossed salad and a brown bread roll will provide nearly three-quarters of a litre of water – before you’ve even drunk a drop. ‘If we need about two litres of fluid daily, and about three-quarters of a litre comes from food, then we actually only need to drink about a litre,’ says Maughan. Boost your intake of water-rich foods such as apples, pears, melon, oranges, tomatoes and green vegetables. But there are less obvious foods that also contain plenty of water, for example a grilled, organic chicken breast contains 66% water and a baked potato has an amazing 75%. Even a slice of bread and cheddar cheese each contain nearly 40% water.

If Your Throat and Mouth are Dry, You’re Already Dehydrated
The Truth: It is often said that by the time you are really thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. The effects of dehydration include headaches, tiredness and lack of concentration. But, in fact, this is your body’s early-warning system that you are just one percent dehydrated. If you listen to your body and have a drink, you will nip dehydration in the bud. The harmful effects of dehydration only occur when you’ve lost at least five percent of body water – that’s likely to take days without eating or drinking anything. ‘Even when we’re thirsty, most adults are able to live with it until it’s convenient to drink – and it won’t cause any harm,’ says Maughan. So make sure you drink when you’re thirsty – this is still the best guide – and you’ll get enough fluid to meet your daily needs, according to the NAS report.

Drinking Plenty of Water Will Improve Dull, Dry Skin
The Truth: ‘Water purists argue that if you don’t drink enough water, your skin will look dry,’ says Dr Andrew Griffiths of the St Thomas’ Hospital in the UK. ‘But the effects on the skin of drinking a lot of water are exaggerated. It is only when you are critically dehydrated and then replace that water, that you can expect your skin to look better.’ Do a quick skin-pinch test. Pinch a fold of skin on your lower arm between two fingers. Hold for a few seconds, then release the skin. It should snap straight back to where it was but if it sags slowly, this could be a sign you are dehydrated. Trap water in the skin with a moisturiser and replenish regularly to keep it soft.

You Should Drink Water Before, After and During Exercise
The Truth: You may see women at the gym going to the water cooler between each exercise but experts argue that unless you can literally wring the sweat from your gym kit after a work-out, you won’t need much extra water. ‘You don’t need to drink before or during exercise for the occasional half-hour workout or aerobics session,’ says Maughan. ‘Afterwards, you can make up water loss with anything that’s convenient, such as juice or a cup of tea.’ If you are on a serious training programme, weigh yourself before and after exercise. A loss of one kilogram means you have sweated out one litre of fluid, which needs replacing quickly. Drink fruity energy drinks that replace the salt lost as you sweat and eat carbohydrates to boost energy levels and aid recovery.

Drinking Lots of Water Helps With Weight Loss
The Truth: It’s been billed as an appetite suppressant, as water fills up your stomach quickly and gives you the feeling of being full. But you’ll be just as hungry after the water has passed through your system, says Amanda Wynne of the British Dietetic Association. ‘The advantage is that water has no kilojoules but it doesn’t have much nutritional value either. Replace a fizzy drink with water and you’ll reduce your kilojoule intake but that’s about the only effect,’ she says. If you want to benefit from the feeling of being full, opt for soup as the perfect combination of food and water. Research by US nutritionist Barbara Rolls found that women who ate chicken soup at lunch consumed 418 fewer kilojoules than those who opted for chicken and rice, without feeling hungry. ]]>
Wed, 06 Jan 2010 12:00 +0200
Bounce Back From Party Blowout
Your boss opened champagne at 5pm and then took you all for drinks. You drank your body weight in alcohol, only ate chips and stumbled home late. You’re seeing double and have the worst hangover ever.
SOS Recovery: Revive

You’ve been to five parties in the past week alone but you’re in overload at work too, which means still have to get up at the crack of dawn. Now you’re so tired you want to cry. In fact, you do cry.
SOS Recovery: Energise

You went to a party and, though you normally have one or two cigarettes on a night out, you smoked at least 25. Your mouth feels dry, you feel toxic and you’re sure tar is oozing from your pores.
SOS Recovery: Detox

It was your boyfriend’s work do last night (read a stomach-stripping Indian food and vat of beer.) Now you have indigestion, a bloated stomach and you fear you’ll never leave the bathroom.
SOS Recovery: Soothe

Last night you ate three trays of canapés, a huge roast, apple crumble and after-dinner mints. Not only do you feel like a complete pig, you’re also worried you won’t fit into your LBD for tonight’s do.
SOS Recovery: Slim

Hangover symptoms strike because your body is dehydrated and your liver is working overtime to get rid of alcohol toxins. Eating chips alone means low blood-sugar levels and, in turn, slumping energy levels.
Best breakfast
‘Alcohol depletes vitamin C and the bacteria in your intestines, so a glass of orange juice and a probiotic drink, such as Yakult, will top up levels,’ says naturopath Michael van Straten. Then have poached eggs, which are rich in the amino acid cysteine, to counteract the toxic effects of alcohol, and wholegrain toast to stabilise blood-sugar levels. If you’re too ill to cook, a breakfast-style baguette from a coffee shop is a good alternative.
Body boosters
Sip water throughout the day to rehydrate. After breakfast, take a milk thistle supplement, then again after lunch to support the liver. Eat every three hours to keep blood sugar on an even level and opt for a light lunch, such as tuna salad. Include celery, as it helps cancel out the fermentation process of alcohol still in your system, and tomatoes, to help reduce liver inflammation.

It’s estimated that you need eight hours of sleep a night and for every hour of sleep you miss, you feel 8% less positive about your day. Plus, a lack of sleep results in dull skin, puffy eyes and sunken cheeks, and no one wants to look like Edwina Scissorhands this long after Halloween.
Best breakfast
Nutritionist Patrick Holford recommends lifting low energy levels with a nutrient-packed smoothie made with berries and low-fat natural live yoghurt. Simply throw the ingredients into a blender and whiz until smooth. Protein in the yoghurt provides slow-releasing energy and antioxidants in the berries boost vitality. Don’t drink endless cups of coffee, though, as caffeine disrupts blood-sugar balance, disturbs sleep patterns and will have you in the bathroom all day.
Body boosters
Exercise can greatly improve energy levels by oxygenating the tissues, so aim to squeeze in a 15-minute walk before work. This is doubly mood-lifting because sunlight helps increase the amount of serotonin, known as the happy hormone, produced in the brain. Again, sip water throughout the day, or try Vitamin Water.

Cigarette smoke contains 4 000 chemicals, many of which are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Binge-smoking wreaks havoc on the body, depleting levels of vitamin C, carotenoids and collagen, the clever substances that help keep skin smooth and, most importantly, wrinkle-free.
Best breakfast
Nutritionist Ian Marber, co-author of The Food Doctor (Collins & Brown), suggests a nutrient-packed fruit salad to replace nutrients. Try mango, melon, cherries or berries. Add a handful of nuts and seeds to slow down the absorption of the fruit’s sugar, fructose, into the bloodstream and keep blood sugar stable.
Body boosters
Start the day with half a lemon squeezed in a cup of warm water and drink lots of water throughout the day to help flush toxins out of your system. For an extra boost of vitamin C, try a sachet of Emergen-C, a water-soluble antioxidant blend to counteract the ill effects of toxins. If the nicotine rush has got to you and you’re tempted to smoke a lot again, try a nicotine-replacement gum.

Spicy foods and alcohol are acid-forming, which can bloat the gut and cause a burning pain behind the breastbone, as well as giving you wind, constipation and diarrhoea.
Best breakfast

To soothe your stomach, Marber suggests fresh pineapple. It neutralises acid build-up and is rich in bromelain, which speeds up digestion and reduces swelling. Also, papaya contains a protein-digesting enzyme, papain, to help eliminate last night’s excesses, and cranberry juice helps reduce inflammation.
Body boosters
If your stomach is still unsettled, try sipping water laced with the herbal remedy, gentian angelica bitters tincture. ‘Ginger root is widely used as a digestive aid for mild stomach upsets,’ says holistic GP Dr Deborah McManners, so drink herbal tea with ginger. For lunch, tuck into carbohydrate-loaded root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, turnips and parsnips – all stomach soothers.

Recent research from the Glasgow Weight Management Service shows we gain, on average, 2.5kg over the Christmas period and a blowout can notch up a whopping 6 000 calories in one go – the equivalent of walking for 24 hours, or 12 hours on a stair climber.
Best breakfast
Don’t be tempted to go nil by mouth as your body will go into starvation mode, your digestion will slow down and you could end up bingeing again. Instead, have a fresh grapefruit as it contains only 84 calories as well as a fat-burning enzyme. Sprinkle it with cinnamon, which improve the body’s ability to utilise its blood sugar.
Body boosters
Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice in warm water and drink throughout the day to help speed up the digestion process. Take a pill to aid digestion after each meal. Dandelion root, kelp and boldo herbs help reduce water retention and shrink a bloated tummy. Have a light, low-calorie lunch with carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread or brown rice, and a little protein (lean meat, eggs, fish, pulses, avocado, low-fat dairy products or nuts) and you should be slipping into that dress, no problem. ]]>
Fri, 18 Dec 2009 12:00 +0200
Cocktail Calorie Calculator that?

What’s in it: Vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice.
Healthy? Like magazine, like drink: cosmopolitan comes out as the best. ‘It’s low in calories and contains health-boosting cranberry juice,’ explains nutritionist Juliette Kellow from If you’re really set on those high-waister jeans, though, switch to vodka and tonic water or straight vodka and cranberry (60 cals).

: 99
What’s in it: Vodka or gin, plus vermouth.
Healthy? It’s low in calories and made with white spirits, which are less likely to give you a hangover (the additives in darker spirits like rum can trigger killer headaches). But go for a litchie or pomegranate martini if you want to give your immune system a boost. ‘They’re both high in antioxidant vitamin C, which will help skin look good through the Christmas party period,’ says Kellow.

What’s in it: Light rum with crushed ice, fresh mint, sugar and lime juice.
Healthy? This low-calorie cocktail is full of vitamin C, perfect for keeping winter bugs at bay, while the fresh mint can help ease your overworked digestive system. Just make sure the barman doesn’t overload the sugar.

What’s in it: Double vodka, tomato juice, lemon, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
Healthy? Double vodka isn’t too LBD friendly but a Bloody Mary does provide 30% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C in one glass. ‘Eat the celery – it acts as a natural diuretic, so it helps reduce bloating,’ says Kellow. (Three sticks a day count as one vegetable portion.)

What’s in it: Chilled dry champagne, peach schnapps and peach nectar.
Healthy? It looks pretty but the sugary schnapps and peach nectar are no-nos. ‘There’s a reason the professionally skinny drink straight champagne – at 100 calories a glass, it’s less fattening than other drinks,’ says Kellow. So ditch the peach – and choose untampered bubbly or dry white wine (175ml white wine is approximately 150 calories).

What’s in it: Vodka, gin, light rum, tequila, Cointreau and cola.
Healthy? Five alcohols in one glass, plus sugary cola, equals a hangover for your head and waist. ‘It’s hard for the body to process several alcohols in one go,’ says Hollywood trainer Michael George, who’s worked with Meg Ryan. Ask diet cola or switch to fruit-based cocktails. ]]>
Wed, 09 Dec 2009 12:00 +0200
Metabolism Boosters
This metabolism booster is high in pectin and vitamin C and produces a slow and steady rise in blood glucose levels, says Johannesburg-based dietitian Ashleigh Caradas. 'Grapefruit also contains naringin, a chemical substance famous for its fat-busting properties.'

Grapefruit assists in detoxifying your liver, says Andrea Jenkins, a nutritionist based in Cape Town. 'When the liver is able to metabolise efficiently, symptoms such as fatigue, water retention, hypoglycaemia and obesity are avoided.'

>> Next ]]>
Mon, 30 Nov 2009 12:00 +0200
Tweet What You Eat Tweet What You Eat is one of the latest Twitter trends; an application that counts your calories, helps you track your eating habits as well as what other people are eating. Food diaries are often thought to be beneficial, but whether online and communal food diaries work, is an entirely different question.

'I have been using food diaries with patients for many years,' says clinical nutritionist, Jill Fraser Halkett. 'They form an integral part in showing the root cause of diet-related weight gain, as well as where people need to make simple changes.'

Clinical nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed agrees: 'Food diaries definitely work. I have been using them for years with my patients and more than anything, it shows the person what they are doing wrong even when they wouldn't have believed it before.'

While both Creed and Fraser Halkett believe food diaries contribute to maintaining a healthy diet, neither thinks online food diaries will actually work.

'The only way a communal food diary would help is in the form of a chat room,' says Fraser Halkett. 'At first inspection [Tweet What You Eat] doesn't seem to have a qualified health professional to guide people into healthy eating and subsequent weight loss.' The application does nothing to help people, she adds. 'All they're getting is a community diary where everyone gets to see what others are eating, which is fun to do for a short time, but has no substance from a health or weight-loss point of view.'

Cape Town-based nutritional therapist Carol Murrell goes one step further saying a digital approach to dieting with online applications such as Tweet What You Eat has the potential to trigger disordered eating in susceptible individuals.

'Tracking calories and comparing progress with fellow tweeters does not in itself encourage the consumption of nutritious food,' says Murrell. She says tweeting what you're eating may simply foster an obsessive attitude to food and calorie counting, especially if access is open-ended and not controlled.

Many of us scan the nutritional information on a packet of chips or 330ml can to see how many calories we're taking in. And Tweet What You Eat simply appears to make it easier by automatically counting them for you. But, according to the experts, counting calories is an ineffective and useless trend. Counting calories in order to lose weight is an outdated fad, says Fraser Halkett.

'Calorie counting has never worked in the long term, apart from an immediate, unhealthy and sudden weight-loss that cannot be sustained,' she says.

So, yes, we might be tempted to count calories the week before a party to slide into that LBD, but try and look past the party and focus on the long-term effects. 'Starving oneself of calories puts the body into shock,' continues Fraser Halkett. 'This calorie counting, low-fat fad has sparked obesity and diabetes around the world.'


Murrell and Creed both agree that if you want to see change, you or a trained professional need to be held accountable for monitoring your eating habits while educating and informing you about healthy eating practices – neither of which is offered by the Twitter application.

'People need practical help in order to lose weight,' agrees Fraser Halkett, who maintains that finding the cause of the weight gain in combination with education and coaching is the best way to shred the excess kilos.

Besides the entertainment factor, Tweet What You Eat doesn't seem to hold many nutritional benefits, unless seeing that someone else is eating celery sticks and carrots instead of a cheeseburger is in some way inspiring.

'No doubt it will be a nine-day-wonder,' concludes Fraser Halkett, 'Until people realise it's not helping them lose weight.' ]]>
Sat, 07 Nov 2009 12:00 +0200
Munch Time
'If you want to feel fantastic all day,' says clinical nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed, 'it is very important that you eat enough healthy fat and quality protein, and cut down on carbohydrates, stimulants and sugar.'

Don't eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast (like a quick-and-easy bowl of muesli), rather start your day with protein and you will feel far more energetic, says clinical nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed. Creed suggests an egg, a tomato, a thin slice of toast with butter, a small portion of fruit, and a cup of tea. If you're looking to prepare a protein-filled dinner, stock up on fish and lean organic meats such as beef, chicken, and lamb.


Refined carbohydrates like white pasta, bread and rice, as well as potatoes are a big no-no on the energy front. Complex carbohydrates such as rye bread, brown rice, oatcakes, oats and sweet potato release energy slowly, says nutritional therapist Andrea Jenkins.

Refined carbohydrates may be easy to digest and give you a sugar high, but the brain needs slow-releasing carbs, says nutritional therapist Lynne Brown. The sugar high will soon be followed by a sugar slump.

Fat is a three-letter word most of us would like to avoid, but including healthy fats in your diet is integral to keeping alert. 'Mixing protein with complex carbs and some healthy fat allows you to avoid the sugar spike and maintain stable blood sugar levels,' says Creed. 'This is the secret to boundless energy, weight loss and feeling good.' Creed suggests organic extra virgin olive oil, real butter and a good fish oil supplement as healthy forms of fat.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are incredibly beneficial in keeping us awake. Raw vegetable salads with lots of greens will keep you alert and ready for action, says Brown. According to Jenkins, it's quick and easy to prepare fresh vegetables, whether you eat them in a wholesome salad or steam them before dinner. Jenkins suggests steamed broccoli, peppers, celery, tomato, olives, avocado and lots of leafy greens to keep you going throughout the day.

A small slice of fruit will do no harm with your breakfast, but avoid large portions of fruit on an empty stomach, warns Creed. 'This is fatal for the rest of the day, as it will make you very sleepy after the initial sugar spike has waned.'

Dried fruit makes a great snack, especially when eaten in conjunction with a mixture of nuts and seeds, says Brown. But don't try not to overindulge. 'Dried fruits have a very high glycaemic index, which will quickly lead to fatigue,' says Jenkins. ]]>
Thu, 22 Oct 2009 12:00 +0200
Crazy Celebrity Diets
We've updated our list of the most extreme celebrity diets, and asked Cape Town-based dietitian Cecily Fuller for her opinion...

Socialite Kim Kardashian has joined the ranks of celebrities who have embraced the Dr. Siegal Cookie Diet – which consists of substituting two daily meals with cookies (eg. two cookies for breakfast, two cookies for lunch, a high-protein dinner and two cookies as a snack). The weight-loss physician's cookies come in a range of flavours and are made from low GI ingredients such as whole-wheat flour, bran and oats. The cookies, each containing 90 calories, are meant to reduce hunger pangs and in turn control the number of calories you ingest.

Fuller says that even though the cookies have low GI levels and contains a few carbohydrates (together with the recommended protein dinner and vegetables), the diet doesn't allow for any fruit, which is essential. Eating a cookie instead of a meal is not a long term solution and also teaches you nothing about food choices.

Attempted by many celebrities (including Liz Hurley and Sarah Michelle Gellar) the week before the Oscars, this rigid seven-day plan kick-starts your body's metabolism causing you to drop five kilograms instantaneously. The recipe includes a variety of low-calorie vegetables such as cabbage, onions and tomatoes flavoured with bouillon, onion soup mix and tomato juice. You're allowed to eat as much of the soup as you want, and additionally, certain foods like potatoes, fruit juice, vegetables, milk, bananas and beef should be eaten on specific days of the diet.

Fuller says 'this diet gives the impression that these foods have special weight loss properties, but in fact the weight loss is purely the result of controlling the total number of calories eaten in the day.'

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon have both found themselves wondering down the baby isle at grocery stores to pick up jars of baby food. Yes, baby food. Credited to New York fashion guru Hedi Slimane, the diet requires the substitution of one or two meals for a jar of liquidised baby food and two litres of water daily.

Fuller says the baby food diet is not healthy at all because you're only allowed to consume less than 600 calories per day, and the average adult needs more than that to sustain a healthy lifestyle. A baby of six months weighs six kilograms and an adult much more, so protein dietary requirements are much higher.

Gwyneth Paltrow recently followed a three-week detox juice diet created by Dr. Alejandro Junger, a New York City-based MD. Meant to ease digestion, the diet consists of two liquid meals a day and a solid one in between, which aims to eliminate allergenic and mucus-forming food, freeing up more energy.

Fuller says the juice diet doesn't have any nutritional value because there are no proteins, carbohydrates, dairy or fibre included in the programme. 'One's body can't function properly without these nutrients.'


Fuller feels that none of the above diets have the good nutritional balance any healthy diet should have. Diary, which is excluded from each, is essential as a source of calcium and protein to prevent osteoporosis, especially in women. Fuller says recent evidence also shows that diary actually helps facilitate weight loss.

'I guess everyone is after a quick fix and if it works for the celebs then we automatically assume it should work for us too,' Fuller explains. 'All of these diets constitute a very low calorie diet and is certainly not recommended for long term weight management as it will result in compromising your metabolism, which in turn will result in weight gain – perpetuating the cycle of yo-yo dieting.'

Before beginning any diet, Fuller says you need to ask these three questions:
Can I sustain this pattern in the long term?
Do I need to buy supplements?
Does it promote healthy eating habits?

Wed, 02 Sep 2009 12:00 +0200
The Winter Comfort-Eating Trap
About to slipper-shuffle to the kitchen for hot chocolate and a snackwich before burrowing back under the duvet? Stop! Winter can do strange things to a woman's psyche and body, encouraging comfort eating and exercise avoidance. And this despite knowing the price you could pay when summer arrives. Just the thought of it can have you reaching for another chocolate... But not this winter!

Comfort eating is about consuming specific foods in specific situations – such as the onset of colder weather – for psychological comfort. It has various causes, but a survey by marketing professor Brian Wansink of the University of Illinois in the US found it stems mostly from past associations between different foods and certain people ('Dad loved mash and gravy') or events in your life ('Mom always made malva pudding on winter weekends').

Comfort foods tend to be high in simple carbohydrates regardless of the season, but these can be especially appealing in colder weather. 'Eating a high-carbohydrate meal increases the release of serotonin (the feel-good chemical) in the brain and leads to a feeling of fullness,' says Cape Town psychologist Janet Earl, who treats eating disorders. 'This helps you deal with emotional emptiness.'

Comfort foods also tend to have smooth, creamy textures and sweeter tastes, associated with baby foods and a time when you felt secure and loved. But individual preferences can differ widely, as a whip around a gathering of Durban students confirms. 'When I'm cold and miserable, I just want samp, beans and sweet tea like gran made it,' says 22-year-old Miriam Cele, while her friend Layla Pillay, 21, turns to bean roti and chips, and Karen Woodley, 20, craves 'buttered muffins – and chocolate, of course!'

It seems winter may trigger our need for comfort foods because of the mild depression some people experience from shorter, greyer days. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and its milder variation, 'winter blues', are associated with northern winters, but can also occasionally occur in the southern parts of Australia, South America and SA. These moods are more common in younger people and women, says Heather McAlpine, training manager for the SA Depression and Anxiety Group. They're caused by lack of sunlight, and symptoms include changed eating patterns, increased appetite, lethargy and weight gain. 'Carbohydrate craving has been experienced by women with SAD, particularly around 4pm and 9pm,' says Earl. 'Research has shown there can be a decrease in subjective depression after having a carbohydrate-rich meal – that is, after comfort eating.'

There are other physiological reasons for comfort eating in winter. Cool weather once signalled our ancestors to eat more so as to gain weight for extra warmth and protection against the elements – a survival instinct that McAlpine says seems to persist. And in winter your social activity often revolves more around food, says Earl, so the temptation to eat is greater. In summer you might go to the beach with friends instead of drinking red wine around a fireplace.

1. Fix your thinking

If you're eating because colder, darker days are feeding an underlying depression, find the causes, says Petrene Soames, author of The Essence Of Self-Healing (Fleetstreet Publications). These generally involve poor feelings about yourself. Trace their roots, she says. 'Then choose not to see things in those negative ways again.' If you battle to do this, get psychological help – otherwise weight gain and diminishing self-esteem can drag you deeper into depression. 'It's all about recognising the psychological role food is playing for you and doing something to address that,' says Earl.

Soames recommends that you think of something 'amazing or sweet' that you have done or that's happened to you. 'Allow yourself to feel all the good feelings this brings you – breathe them all through your body.' Evoke that memory whenever you're tempted to comfort-eat.

2. Address your eating
Rather than avoiding winter comfort foods, which can just make you crave them more, try to change to healthier alternatives, says Durban dietitian Carol Browne. Make a routine of planning meals in advance, so when you're cold and low and tempted to indulge, you've got a wholesome meal on hand. 'If you still want that comfort food afterwards, a small portion is more likely to satisfy you,' she says.

Make stews and casseroles with vegetables and legumes instead of red meat, suggests Durban dietitian Priya Lalla. Control portion size by cooking these in bulk and freezing modest helpings. Retain the thick, creamy texture in sauces and soups by using evaporated non-fat milk or pureed potatoes instead of cream, and use apple sauce to replace some of the butter or oil in cakes and puddings for occasional treats with hot, fat-free milk custard. And if you feel like pizza, Lalla suggests ordering vegetarian or chicken with less cheese.

Eating a little four or five times a day can help you control the urge to eat, says visiting British nutrition guru Patrick Holford, author of The New Optimum Nutrition Bible (Piatkus) – and don't skip breakfast. Oats, sweet potatoes, brown basmati rice and rye or whole-grain breads have a low glycaemic-index load, he says, which helps keep blood sugar and mood stable.

For all this, dietitians say that when you crave comfort foods such as chocolate or a snackwich, you're unlikely to be satisfied with healthier alternatives such as rye bread and sugar-free jam. 'If you want something,' says Browne, 'the best way to stop thinking about it is to eat it. But set rules. Don't eat comfort food instead of meals, and concentrate when you eat it – don't just wolf it down in the car on the way home from the shop. Be reasonable when you're deciding how much you'll have.' Your brain apparently reaches its optimum level of savouring food after four bites, which should satisfy the craving. 'Chew slowly,' says Browne, 'and relish the food in your mouth.'

3. Get exercising
Excess kilos creep on when you take on more energy than you expend but it's not easy braving the cold and dark to exercise in winter. It's also not safe to jog alone, so join a group for motivation and security or get an exercise buddy and power-walk in a shopping mall, says Browne. 'Your exercise time will also be a time to chat and let off steam. If you walk just before shops open in the morning, lights are on, security is present, climate is controlled and there are no shoppers in your way. Find a flight of stairs to go up and down. Just be sure not to turn it into a shopping or eating extravaganza!'

'Gym membership drops in winter and soars in spring but it takes six months to get into shape for summer, so now's when you should be working out,' says Durban fitness and lifestyle coach Noeleen Bridle of Strength & Mind. 'Besides, exercise not only burns kilojoules – it also releases endorphins that help control appetite and elevate mood, helping you keep winter blues at bay and control the urge to comfort-eat.'
Wed, 15 Jul 2009 12:00 +0200
Bite Into Beauty
Clinical nutritionist, Sally-Ann Creed, says eggs are packed with protein, omega-3 fats and choline, all of which are essential to healthy skin. 'Omega-3 fats are a prerequisite for skin health. Protein builds and repairs, while choline forms an important component of many fat-containing structures in cell membranes.' Eggs are also rich in Vitamin A and selenium, both of which will help you get beautiful skin.

It's time to drizzle extra olive oil on your daily salad. 'Olive oil is known as one of the natural moisturisers for healthy skin – both in externally-applied lotions, and taken daily on salads and on food,' says Creed. 'It's rich in antioxidants like Vitamin E and can inhibit oxidative stress on the skin.' Just a note: It's important that you use only extra-virgin or organic olive oil to avoid the sprays and pesticides used in ordinary olive oil, which can affect your skin's health.

According to nutritional therapist, Lynne Brown, adding nourishing green vegetables into your daily meals will help repair and protect your skin. 'Green, leafy vegetables, particularly spinach, are all rich in anti-oxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene, Vitamin E and Vitamin C, which help to protect the skin against free radical damage caused by the elements and pollutants. These anti-oxidants support the skins natural repair systems and slow down the ageing process.'

'Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help improve blood flow to the skin, decrease inflammation and keep skin nourished, hydrated and radiant,' says Brown. Don't be put off by the word fatty because omega-3 plays an important role in the maintenance of beautiful skin. Tip: Opt for salmon if you don't know which fish to choose. According to Brown, salmon also contains dimethylethanolamine (DMAE), which, by increasing muscle tone, subsequently decreases the appearance of sagging, causing the skin to look plump, younger and firmer.


According to nutritional therapist, Carol Murrell, nuts and seeds can help keep skin supple and glowing. 'They are rich sources of zinc and amino acids, which are vital for the production of collagen, the protein that "plumps-up" skin and helps to keep it youthful.' Nuts and seeds also contain the powerful anti-oxidant properties of Vitamin E, as well as the waterproof protection barrier offered in omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids, says Murrell. Go ahead and grab a handful.

Add a splash of red, orange, and yellow to your diet, as colourful fruits and vegetables can benefit your skin's health. Jenkins suggests fruits such as papaya, which not only contain collagen-promoting Vitamins A and C, but Vitamin A's precursor, beta-carotene, a compound essential to maintaining healthy and beautiful skin. Watermelon, butternut, squash, carrots, mangoes, apricots, berries and sweet potatoes are all packed with beta-carotene, while oranges and tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C.

There is nothing your skin enjoys more than a glass of water. According to clinical nutritionist, Jill Fraser Halkett, don't hold back when it comes to your H20 intake. 'Drink eight glasses of distilled water every day. This is the most important "skin food" that passes your lips.'

Avoid white, refined grains in foods like white bread or white rice and opt for whole, unrefined grains found in whole grain bread, pasta, cereals or brown rice. 'Choose unrefined grains, and if it all possible, go organic to protect your skin from accumulating high levels of unwanted chemicals,' advises Fraser Halkett.

Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 and 6, which above keeping toxins at bay and nutrients within the skin cells, protects the skin against sun damage. So before you head off to perfect your tan, increase your flaxseed intake. For more of those essential fatty acids, add some flaxseed oil to your mid-afternoon salad or sandwich. ]]>
Fri, 12 Jun 2009 12:00 +0200
Plastic? Not Fantastic
So how worried should you be? ‘There’s no concrete evidence that plastic wrap is a health threat,’ says René Smalberger, president of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA). ‘The chemicals present in clingfilm exist in tiny quantities, so the health risks are minimal, even if you use it every day.’ The exception, however, is if you are allergic to ingredients within the plastic, such as latex – then a reaction is inevitable. If you’re still concerned, Smalberger advises you to choose an alternative. ‘Wrap your food in foil or store it in glass containers,’ she says. ]]>
Tue, 08 Jan 2008 12:00 +0200
Power Snacking
Snacking can leave us feeling guilty. The choc-chip biscuits, salt and vinegar chips and crunchy chocolates that materialise when we hit a low can leave you wondering whether your lunchtime fat-free yoghurt was actually worth it. While there’s nothing wrong with a few blocks of chocolate every now and then, there are healthier ways to snack your way through the day; and best of all, it’s entirely guilt-free.

According to dietician and health journalist, Ashleigh Caradas, power snacking involves thinking ahead. ‘Well-planned snacks throughout the day help balance blood sugar and can stimulate the metabolism. Snacking is also a good opportunity to eat more fruit. As a general rule, try and eat something small every three hours to keep energy levels up and balanced.’

Nutritional therapist, Carol Murrell agrees: ‘Snacks are as important as main meals in helping to balance blood sugar, particularly for busy individuals who are on the go all day.’

Fizzy drinks or drinks laced with sugar shouldn’t be substituted for a mid-afternoon snack. Clinical nutritionist, Jill Fraser Halkett, believes it’s best to drink water. ‘Water can never be beaten. Your body understands water and becomes totally confused by the onslaught of any fizzy drinks. Fizzy drinks are packed with phosphoric acid, which leaches calcium from your bones.’ If you’re looking for something a bit more interesting, try flavoured water that’s low on calories or simply add a dash of lemon juice to your H2O.

Protein-powered snacks will leave you feeling fuller for longer, curbing your need to nibble unnecessarily throughout the day. Nutritional therapist, Heidi du Preez, says, ‘Make sure at least 20% of your snack consists of protein. For example, when you enjoy a fresh fruit as a snack, also grab a handful of nuts, such as almonds.’

Lynne Brown, nutritional therapist at The Orchards Nutrition Centre, says, ‘Salty snacks are usually highly processed and deep-fried in fattening and unhealthy trans-fats and flavoured with MSG (monosodium glutamate). Ever noticed how difficult it is to stop eating those crisps until they are finished? That’s the MSG, which for most of us is "addictive" and makes us crave more.’

When looking at a snack’s nutritional information, we immediately check how much fat we’re about to consume. Whether it’s saturated fat or trans-fat, both are as harmful to our bodies. Saturated fats increase the risk of breast cancer, while both saturated and trans-fats are major contributors to heart disease. Beware of sneaky treats such as granola bars; you may think it’s a healthy choice, but they are loaded with trans-fat. According to Dr. Mary Gavin, medical editor for KidsHealth in the USA, ‘about 35% of the calories in a regular granola bar come from fat’.

Before buying your much-loved snack, have another look at the label. If you see any ingredients such as glucose, sucrose, maltose or fructose, see red. Halkett says, ‘When looking for healthy snacks keep away from processed foods and avoid foods containing fructose, an ingredient found everywhere in the snack food industry. Fructose will create havoc in your body.’

Empty calories are everywhere: in a scrumptious plate of French fries, your glass of wine at the end of the day and a delectable biscuit from the cookie jar. Empty calories are high in calories, but low in nutrients. Murrell says, ‘Make snacks as nutrient-dense as possible and avoid the trap of empty calories.’ To make sure you’re capitalising on your nutrients, she suggests a palmful of raw nuts or a couple of carrot sticks as a healthier alternative to an unwholesome biscuit.

Mon, 20 Apr 2009 12:00 +0200
Which Wine?
Fancy label, fancy wine
Generally, the look of the label needs to be on a par with the quality of the wine – or at least the cost of the marketing. David Donde, who has 20 years experience in the hospitality industry and co-owns Origin Coffee Roasting, says, 'If the label is ugly and cheap looking, so is the wine.' But there is an exception – German Rieslings. Look for a garish label, gold is often good if you need to impress with Sauerkraut Riesling.

A specific winemaker can make all the difference
Paul Kruger, PR wine advisor at Simonsig, suggests you stick to names of reputable, established wine producers you know and have enjoyed in the past. Donde explains that the more illustrious wineries are well regarded for good reasons. 'Meerlust is not likely to sell cheap plonk to up profits and flush their reputation.' Kruger also adds that more established wineries offer good, value-for-money wines alongside their more premium wines. Think Simonsig, Mooiplaas, Hillcrest, Hartenberg, Jordan, Bon Courage, Kanu and Villieria.

Check for a second label
Often the same estates that make the brilliant, weighty premium wines release their more casual quaffers under a second label. The name on the bottle will not be the same as that of the estate, but you can generally be assured of quality and accessibility. For example, Rustenberg is widely considered to be one of the top red wine producers in the country, which flights their sometimes excellent casual sippers under the Brampton range. Moreson has Pinehurst as a second label, while Yonder Hill's second label, simply termed 'Y', produce a fruity Merlot and Shiraz.

Get to know the hidden secrets
Donde is not circumspect on looks. 'If it looks cheap, it is. But cheap can be good. Cheap works when you know the only way to make the conversation scintillating is with another few bottles. More seriously, if the label gives an indication of origin or estate, and not just country you are off to a better start.'

Kruger points out that it is good to look out for Best Value – a red sticker for wines who have been published in Wine Magazine's annual 'Best Value Wine Guide'. Other medals by wine competitions like Veritas or Michealangelo are trustworthy indicators of a good wine.

Learn to work with co-operatives
Co-operative cellars generally produce wine in large quantities, but often offer very good value. A few of Kruger's favourites are Du Toitskloof Cellar (great Sauvignon Blancs); Darling Cellars (whose Onyx and DC ranges offer some pretty outstanding reds); Koelenhof (rated best value co-op by Wine Magazine for 2009); Durbanville Hills (a well established brand with a reputation for good wines); and also Riebeek Cellars, Simonsvlei and Rooiberg Wineries (simple, honest wines at absolute bargain prices). These can be a hit-and-miss affair, but often you come across lovely wines at lovely prices.

Be brave with blends
'France is famous for its blends, but you need to know your stuff,' says Donde. 'It's probably best to start off learning a few varietals: Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and white, Chenin Blanc is slightly more fragrant white blends, while wooded Chardonnay evokes the idea that you are pretentious. As for the reds, Shiraz is always a good way to go, while Cabernet Sauvignon makes some of the world's best bottles, and of course Pinot Noir shows that you leave your expensive car keys on the restaurant table.'

You're how old?
In contrast to popular wisdoms, wine and time do not always go well together. Donde points out that some old whites can be amazing but some reds will never improve with age. 'Some wines are designed to be enjoyed fresh, but you can call a friend on this one.'

If the price is right
Price, too, is relative. 'If you are lying on a beach in Greece or are just trying to convince yourself Kurt Darren is worth a quickie, go cheap,' jokes Donde. 'Otherwise you generally get what you pay for; bargains usually take a little insider knowledge.'

Price versus quality
Kruger is realistic about price and quality. 'A good way to save money on wine without compromising too much on quality is to buy two different kinds: Your easy-drinking, everyday quaffers and your more serious expensive wines for a special meal or other occasion. You can get lovely fruity, easy-drinking, juicy wines for around R30 a bottle, while your more premium wines should have more body, structure, complexity and nuanced flavours. These are likely to cost around three times the price, sometimes more.'

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 12:00 +0200
The Morning Banana Diet
Whoever thought a funny-shaped fruit could make waves the world over? The humble banana has done just that. The Morning Banana Diet started in Japan and has made its way to New York. The phenomenon has been gaining weight worldwide for its solutions to losing weight, but the real question is: Does it really work? And what is it all about?

According to its official website, the diet originated on the popular Japanese social networking site, Mixia, from community discussions. It was dubbed the 'Asa' or Morning Banana Diet. Other nutrition websites claim that it is the brainchild of Osaka pharmacist Sumiko Watanabe, who created it to increase her husband, Hitoshi's, metabolism. He apparently lost 16.7kg. But regardless of the debate around its roots, the diet attracted mainstream Japanese media, resulting in three books and many magazine articles published on the topic.

Japanese opera singer Kumiko Mori tested the diet on a celebrity reality TV show in September, which lead to a nationwide shortage of bananas.

1. Eat one or more fresh, raw bananas for breakfast, but not to the point of feeling full. If you're still hungry 15 to 30 minutes later, then other food is allowed.
2. Eat your regular lunch.
3. An afternoon snack optional.
4. Eat your regular dinner by 8pm (no dessert).
5. Go to sleep before midnight.
6. Restrict liquid intake at meals to room temperature water.
7. Drinks that contain calories (tea, coffee) are not allowed. Milk drinks are frowned upon.
8. Go to bed four hours after eating.
9. Exercise is optional.

The obvious red flag is that the diet is indifferent to exercise. Exercise is proven to be essential to health and ideal weight.

Retha Visser, a preventative healthcare practitioner specialising in body/mind analytics, says: 'It will be different for different people depending on mindset, genetics, gender, age, metabolic rate, breathing and hormonal health.'

Visser sees no harm in the food fad if you stick to the rules and says it is certainly not harmful when compared to certain diet practises like skipping breakfast, eating refined, sugar-coated, high-sodium cereals, food with zero nutritional value, chewing incorrectly and consuming one to five cups of coffee a day.

'Like all fruit, bananas are healthy, especially when picked ripe from fertile soil and eaten soon afterwards. But nutritional value varies and is affected by storage and age,' continues Visser. 'Bananas supposedly contain high levels of potassium. However, consider that most bananas are picked green, and it is in the ripening process that minerals are extracted from the soil.'

Visser says the potassium and magnesium found in bananas encourage the secretion of a hormone by the adrenals for cellular water regulation. It regulates heartbeat and is better than processed sweets. Bananas also contain fibre and other trace elements that our bodies need to sustain healthy cells.

As a warning, Visser says: 'If you are markedly overweight, see your doctor first. Do not expect to get slimmer if you indulge frequently in food that is so chemically changed your body cannot use it. Overweight people are usually undernourished.'

Any habit can lend itself to imbalance. When you try to lose weight mind that you don't become malnourished or moody, or you'll have to rename it the mourning banana diet. ]]>
Mon, 05 Jan 2009 12:00 +0200
Cutting Down On Soy
The 'Say It Ain't Soy' article reveals that too much soy may lead to a decreased sperm count and even possibly cancer. But it might not be that easy to cut down on how much you ingest.

'Soy has been over promoted, overused and over-evaluated over the last two decades,' says Heidi du Preez, nutritional therapist and co-author of Naturally Nutritious (Aardvark Press). 'Global soybean productions have increased from 30 million tons in 1965 to 270 million tons in 2005, according to the Chicago Board of Trade.'

Because soy is used foods such as breakfast cereals, biscuits, cheeses, dairy desserts, gravies, noodles, soups, and sandwich spreads, it is very difficult to avoid soy in all its forms. But you can limit your intake.

In their book Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Food and Food Additives (Blackwell Science), authors Dean Metcalfe, Hugh Sampson and Ronald Simon say on food labels words such as 'soy', 'soy protein', 'soy flour', 'shoyo (or shoyu) sauce', 'tofu' and 'miso' indicate the presence of soy protein and should be avoided.

According to du Preez, you would do well to select whole food products and avoid processed ones. Here are her recommendations:

Dairy alternatives
– oat milk; rice milk; nut milk e.g. almond milk

Meat alternatives
– organic beef, venison, lamb or ostrich; free-range chicken

Pulse alternatives – aduki beans; chickpeas; mung beans; lupin

Seeds and nut alternatives – alfalfa, flaxseeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; almonds, cashew nuts and pine kernels

– amaranth; quinoa
Mon, 15 Dec 2008 12:00 +0200
Fab-Ab Eats
Satisfy sweet and salty cravings with this healthy mix: break pretzels into bite-sized pieces and toss into a bowl with nuts and dried cranberries.

Give carrots, cucumbers, broccoli and other greens a spicy kick with a salsa dip. Deliciously healthy, veggies contain almost no kilojoules.

Whip up a midday fruit salad with spanspek, green melon and apples. These are packed with water that helps keep you hydrated and feeling fuller for longer.

In lettuce, that is. Lose the bread and wrap grilled chicken in lettuce for a high-protein, healthy snack. Add hummus for flavour.

Make delicious, virtually greaseless chips by baking pita breads at 250°C until crisp. Leave to cool, then break into bite-sized pieces before drizzling with olive oil and garlic to taste – or serve with a low-fat dip.

From Tara Delloiacono Thies, a US nutritionist from California. ]]>
Tue, 03 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
Manage Your Mood
3 ways to banish bad moods:

MORNING Sprinkle walnuts over your muesli to start your day energised and stress-free.
THE SCIENCE BIT The omega-3 essential oils in walnuts has been found to help prevent irregular heart rhythms, while muesli releases energy slowly throughout the day to keep you feeling your best.

Prevent an energy slump by drinking a glass of fresh grapefruit juice after lunch.
THE SCIENCE BIT Rich in natural sugars, grapefruit juice helps to balance out the rise and subsequent drop in glucose levels following lunch.

Regulate your sleep by drinking a glass of milk before bedtime.
THE SCIENCE BIT The calcium found in milk is necessary to help the body manufacture melatonin, the hormone which regulates your sleeping pattern.
Sun, 01 Jun 2008 12:00 +0200
Through Thick and Thin
  • Don’t fight with her about food. Often anorexics or bulimics feel that the only thing they have control over is their bodies and their food intake. When you get into a power struggle about food, your friend may feel threatened.
  • Don’t pull a guilt trip. It will never motivate an anorexic or bulimic into recovery.
  • Learn about eating disorders. Education is key to understanding how someone with an eating disorder feels.
  • Talk about issues other than food. People with eating disorders constantly think about food. Changing the subject may help a little.
  • Encourage them to get professional help – especially if she is in immediate physical danger.

Self-check list

Signs that you could have an eating disorder:
  • You are obsessed with dieting and constantly count kilojoules
  • You have lost a drastic amount of weight
  • You exercise excessively
  • You think about food all the time
  • You truly fear putting on weight
  • You are secretive about what and how much you eat
  • You force yourself to vomit after a meal
  • No matter how thin you become, you still consider yourself fat
  • You weigh yourself all the time
  • You feel guilty when you eat
If you are seeking help for an eating disorder, contact Crescent Clinic on 021 762 7666 or TARA Rehabilitation Centre 011 535 3043.

Anorexia can affect people of all ages, races and gender but is most common in women between the ages of 15 and 25. It usually develops as a means of coping with a complex combination of physical, emotional and mental issues.

The most obvious sign of anorexia is extreme weight loss, usually accompanied by an obsessive preoccupation with food and being fat, but other symptoms include dizzy spells, swollen ankles, fine body hair, stomach pains, and a disrupted menstrual cycle in women. ]]>
Sat, 31 May 2008 12:00 +0200
A Fat-Finding Mission ‘The BMI shouldn’t be utterly disregarded, but it does need to be interpreted correctly,’ says René Smalberger, president of the Association of Dietetics of South Africa (ADSA). ‘In the medical field, we have other tools that can help us determine if a person is overweight. It’s also important to look at the person being assessed – in some cases, for example, body builders and athletes, the test won’t be correct because of their abnormally high muscle mass.’ But these challenges will soon become a thing of the past, thanks to a new test called the Body Volume Index (BVI), which may replace the BMI altogether.
The BVI is a far more comprehensive measure, as it considers factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, medical history and genetic risks. And the BVI scanner can also identify the parts of the body where fat is actually stored, as well as the effects this might have on your health. According to Smalberger, the BVI measure is still very new and not being used in SA yet. ‘The concept is good, as it will provide much more detailed, accurate information about a person’s weight,’ she says.
Fri, 30 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Pizza Please
It may be a while before the technique reaches South Africa but in the meanwhile, there are ways to enjoy your favourite Italian import without feeling too guilty, says Johannesburg dietitian Tammy Flint. ‘Pizza is generally healthier than other fast food because it isn’t fried,’ she says. ‘But the extra kilojoules sneak in when you add meat toppings such as ham and salami – these are generally of the processed variety, so the fat tends to be saturated, and they’re high in salt.’

A plain margharita is best if you’re watching your waist but you can always add interest – and antioxidants – with vegetable toppings such as mushrooms, green pepper and garlic. ‘Portion size also makes a big difference,’ says Flint, ‘so share your pizza with your man or save some for tomorrow.’
Thu, 29 May 2008 12:00 +0200
Diet Pills: The Truth
These ingredients are found in a number of diet drugs on the market in South Africa and can cause the following reactions in the body:
EPHEDRINE AND EPINEPHRINE Can cause nausea and vomiting, irregular heartbeat, palpitations and insomnia.
BITTER ORANGE EXTRACT OR ZHI SHI This is marketed as an alternative to epinephrine, but may cause similar health problems and the long-term effects are not known.
COUNTRY MALLOW (HEARTLEAF) contains ephedra or Ma Huang; this is the plant that produces the herbal equivalent of ephedrine, which was banned by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
GREEN TEA EXTRACT may contain large amounts of caffeine and can cause bloating and indigestion.
Wed, 30 Apr 2008 12:00 +0200