A dietician has a recognised qualification by way of a Bachelor’s or Masters degree or a post graduate diploma in nutrition and dietetics. All dieticians need to complete internships in both hospital and community settings. Dieticians are a reliable source of nutrition information and capable at devising diet plans
A nutritionist is a person who advises on matters of food and nutritional impacts on health. Some nutritionists have undergone postsecondary educational programs in the sciences and have studied nutrients and other components of food in depth. In other contexts, the title “nutritionist” is not subject to professional regulation therefore any person may call themselves a nutrition expert even if they are wholly self-taught.
Please could you explain the concept of an eco-diet? How does this approach work and how does it differ from a traditional eating plan?
Our bodies are dynamic environments which are not only affected by external factors, but also internal dynamics. Toxic emotions (hate, resentment, negativity), toxic food, chemicals, hormones in food, pollution are all detrimental to our health and our internal environment. The eco diet is aimed at a holistic approach to nutrition and lifestyle; I am a strong believer that a healthy body and mind is naturally slim!
For background purposes, when it comes to dieting, the law of thermodynamics always applies. The aim is to reduce the overall calorie intake and the result is to reduce your overall body mass by way of losing water, fat, muscle or a combination of all three. So, conventional diets work for weight loss IF you follow them correctly. Symptoms of a bad diet include water retention, uncontrollable cravings, feeling lethargic and depressed, developing allergies and intolerances to food, you could also be lacking zest for life or in need of stimulants and sugar to get you through the day. These are all clear signs that the body is out of balance and not functioning at its peak.
Processed food is loaded with chemicals, hormones, food additives and multiple process methods that not only alter our body chemistry, but also our sense of taste. This results in overeating. Some products, like sugar, are also highly addictive, which then affects our endocrine system, brain and body chemistry and floods the body with excess chemicals.
The Eco Diet starts by identifying toxic chemicals present in the body and in the foods you consume daily, which inhibit your desired results. The first step is cleansing the body of these toxins through healthy nutrition, supplementation and exercise regime.
The more natural, fresh and whole your food is the better, not only for your waistline, but your overall health and wellness. The cleaner you eat the leaner and healthier you’ll be. This includes eating organic, hormone-free food.
When we eat food in its natural state, or whole foods, you will automatically eat less as they are less calorie dense. Think, lean proteins, fruit, an abundance of vegetables, some whole grains and essential fats. You can’t go wrong. We always build health first so if you’re body is healthy you will naturally look and feel better.
So the idea is to eat organic food as much as possible, if this isn’t possible make sure all your animal products, including chicken, meat and dairy are all hormone free. Make sure at least half your diet consists of raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, the rest coming from lean, hormone free protein sources and some wholegrain.
Remember: natural, unprocessed food is nutrient dense – processed food is calorie dense
Your body looks for nutrients and not calories, so make sure you feed it correctly!
Finally, 90% of your weight loss success is due to your diet, so there is no need to do endless hours of exercise. Your nutrition is the key to fat loss and exercise then sculpts your body, the most effective being well performed resistance training. Make no mistake, cardio plays a crucial role in health and your cardiovascular system, but in terms of fat loss, cardio plays a secondary role, unless you are an athlete, most of us sit at our desk all day, so diet is really what we need to focus on.
In terms of supplements and whole foods, I am a huge fan Spirulina, as long as it is a good quality brand and backed by research.
For full details of my eco diet, see www.ecodiet.co.za
Why an eco diet? Is it just a label aimed at tagging on to the green movement? (sorry, don’t mean to be cynical, but I have to ask!) And what benefits are there to eating in an eco-friendly way — both for oneself and for the world at large?
Being eco friendly is about the choices you make in relation to your body and your environment. In other words, eating in a way that is natural or eating foods that we were designed to assimilate and digest, free of man-made addictive substances.
Through personal experience and working with some of the best minds in nutrition, I have witnessed what a clean nutritional and emotional experience can achieve in addressing eating disorders, anxiety and destructive behaviour.
I am careful not to advise people to go to the vegan or vegetarian route, even if it is more sustainable to the environment. I am merely suggesting a healthy diet based on what people can handle realistically and which can make a huge impact in their lives without being radical.
The reality is that people are not well informed or educated on how to follow a healthy diet correctly. Let’s not neglect the fact that people are highly addicted to foods containing chemicals, preservatives, hormones, and so many other man made substances that ANY transition away from this modern diet is great! My goal is to assist the transition, to make people aware of what they are putting in their bodies and empower them with simple information and principles that they can apply daily.
Why is the integration of emotional and spiritual well-being so important?
The reality is that most people don’t eat out of hunger, some of us are addicted to our food through chemicals, others addicted to the feeling that food gives us. We celebrate over food; we cry with food, we even punish ourselves with food!
Sugary foods, chocolate, breads, chips, biscuits, cup cakes are simply too delicious and make us feel good and often loved. They mask our stress or emotional discomfort, and later make us feel worse, guilty and listless.
The craving for food, the preoccupation with eating and the resultant loss of control over food intake, are the natural consequence of the food we are eating which lacks nutrients and affects our brain chemistry resulting in major imbalances and food cravings.
In contrast, the holistic approach is all about freedom and choice. There is no diet to get on and no diet to get off. No guilt, no shame; no right, no wrong. Just simple food and good education and awareness.
Knowledge about nutrition provides the most effective and powerful tool for change.
Don’t focus too much on your weight; your weight will drop off naturally as a result of eating intelligently, exercising moderately and adopting healthy lifestyle changes consistently.
Choosing to live a healthful or unhealthful lifestyle is a personal decision, but this is not an all or nothing plan. It is my responsibility to encourage people to protect their health and empower them to make the choices that are right for them.
We can’t buy good health, we must work towards it and attain it, and it is an ongoing journey. We are only given one body in this lifetime and I encourage you to take care of it, love and respect it.
Any other comments you’d like to make?
I am a strong believer in the link between what we put in our body our overall health and state of mind, and how we end up looking. There is scientific evidence that the food we eat alters our body and brain chemistry, our mood and even our addictions, especially these days where food is laced with chemicals, sugars and hormones.
Beware of “scientific” health claims on packaging. It was this type of “science” that told us margarine (made from Tran’s fats) is better for us than butter made from cow’s milk. Consider that the healthiest foods in the supermarket – fresh produce – are the ones that don’t make FDA-approved health claims. Shop at the farmers’ market – there are loads of them popping up everywhere. You’ll begin to eat foods in season, when they are at the peak of their nutritional value and flavour, and you’ll cook, because you won’t find anything processed or microwavable. You’ll also be supporting farmers in your community,
How you eat is as important as what you eat. People these days are fixated on carbs, fats, protein, how much and how many times a day. Take the Italians or French for example, they focus on the whole eating experience. Eat moderate portions, don’t go for seconds or snacks between meals, never eat alone. But perhaps most important, eat with pleasure.