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Food as a Mode of Vitality

“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” 

Nutritionists and Doctors alike advocate for healthy eating as a way to not only become healthier but also as a way to make a person feel more alive and vibrant. 99FM’s MYD Heart sat down with  Samantha du Toit the founder of Eat Clean Namibia to talk about healthy eating as a mode of vibrancy in life.

99FM’s MYD Heart asked :

How does eating the correct food makes a person feel more alive?

“Feeling alive, I would say, means being free of disease or injury and being in a state of optimal physical, mental and emotional health. It means feeling energetic, positive, motivated and productive in your daily life.  To feel this way, our body needs to be taken care of in many ways.  One of the ways is to ensure a good diet.  We certainly need energy (Kilojoules) from our diet as this is the fuel that the body runs on.  We also need a good balance of a variety of nutrients (the building blocks of foods) as these are the organic compounds that support every bodily function and organ system.”

“If we regularly “re-fuel” with a majority of modern-day instant, highly processed or junk foods, then the body only receives “empty kilojoules”.  These foods are excessively high in energy but stripped of the essential nutrients our bodies require, for example fibre, vitamins and minerals.  So these foods will sustain life, but will not meet your body’s requirements to make you feel alive.  If we continue to miss out on these essential nutrients, with time, the body cannot be function optimally and your physical, mental or emotional health may be affected.”

What does it mean to eat clean?

“Eating clean is actually no secret diet, potion or quick fix.  It’s simply a positive, motivating buzz phrase for eating a healthy balanced diet!  Now, more than ever before, we need to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies.  Our modern-day lifestyle has unfortunately become a toxic one for many.  We experience more stress, exercise and move less, breathe in more polluted air and consume food in a form that is very different to its original form.  Technology has helped to evolve our food to be massed produced, to increase its shelf-life and to be in a more instant or convenient version.  However, all this comes with a price:  food is stripped of much of its nutritional quality.”

“So, eating clean is striving to eat food in its original form as far as possible.  It means eating oats instead of energy oat bars.  It means eating a piece of meat rather than a patty or sausage.  It means swapping your fruit juice for real fresh fruit.  It means drinking water instead of sodas.”

“It all sounds simple and logical, but unfortunately the processed form of foods have become a norm for many people.  The media and advertising can be blamed for this, but it’s also because the processed forms of foods are laden with sugar and fat.  Our taste buds are wired to want more of this and eating these foods releases chemicals in your brain similar to the chemicals released when taking recreational drugs.  Of course this is not a good thing, as it elicits addictive behaviour to these processed foods.  Sometimes it can feel as if we as dieticians are fighting a losing battle, but fortunately everyone that has made long-term positive changes report that they are indeed feeling more alive.”

What is the number 1 reason a person should consider eating clean?

“Chronic diseases of lifestyle (such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes) have now become the top causes of death worldwide and also have debilitating effects on a country’s population.  Not only in high-income countries, but mostly in middle- or low income countries too.  They are no longer a disease of the elderly, as increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with them. Fortunately they are largely preventable by following a healthy lifestyle.
Eating clean can significantly reduce our risk for these diseases!”

What are the health benefits?

“If we can manage to eat clean the majority of the time, the health benefit is that our bodies will perform optimally in all ways, not only from a day to day basis, but in the long-term.  For example, we can be more productive in our work, have better mental health and focus, have fewer aches and pains, have a healthy, radiant skin and even age better.”

Here are Eat Clean Namibia’s 5 tips that anyone could include today that would improve their eating habits :

  1. ENJOY a variety of foods.  Be creative and make your clean food tasty.  Share it with your family or friends instead of in front of the television or your smartphone.
  2. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.  We need at least 5-9 fist-size portions a day.
  3. Eat beans, split peas, lentils and soya regularly.  They are packed in fibre, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant nutrients.
  4. Use fats sparingly.  Choose vegetable fats instead of animal fats.
  5. Use foods and drinks containing sugar sparingly.

Eat Clean

Eat Clean Namibia was established in January 2015 by Samantha du Toit.  She had been practicing as a registered dietician in Namibia for 7 years and felt the need to carry out her profession differently.  Annalien Turner, also a registered dietician, joined Eat Clean Namibia in April 2015 and added her valuable expertise and academic background to the practice.
Samantha and Annalien feel passionate about educating the public on all topics related to healthy eating.  They take a therapeutic approach of coaching people to make positive dietary changes according to their individual needs.
They mostly consult on an individual basis (in practice and in hospitals), but also do group sessions at their practice and at workplaces.  They have also recently been accredited with a very reputable company in South Africa to be able to do genetic testing in order to tailor individual dietary recommendations for optimal health and disease prevention.
Furthermore they consult to institutions to professionally plan menus and assist with all aspects of food service management.

You can get in touch with Eat Clean Namibia here : Eat Clean Namibia