Embarking on a 21-Day Fast? Here Are 3 Must-Know Facts According to a Registered Dietitian!

08 Jan 2024 no comments diettech

Fasting for a particular period during the day is common for many people at the beginning of the year. In this blog post, we will explore three key facts a registered wants you to be aware of before you begin a 21-day fast.

Fact 1: Understand Your Body’s Needs

Before you start any prolonged fast, it is important to understand your body’s nutritional requirements. How much protein, carbohydrates, and fat do you need to maintain optimal health and functioning? How do you meet these needs through your foods when you break your fast? These are great questions to review with a Dietitian based on your health status and needs.

Fact 2: Hydration is Non-Negotiable

During a 21-day fast, staying hydrated becomes even more critical. Your body is primarily made up of water so you need to drink plenty of it to prevent dehydration and support overall well-being. Choose water-rich foods and beverages after breaking your fast and be mindful of electrolyte balance. Some signs and symptoms that you may be dehydrated include lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches, and blurry vision. If you experience any of those, take some fluid immediately.

Fact 3: Gradual Entry and Exit is Key

Easing into and out of a prolonged fast is crucial for minimizing potential health risks. Abruptly starting or ending a 21-day fast can shock your system, so consider a gradual approach by incorporating smaller fasting periods initially. Also, when breaking your fast, reintroduce foods gradually to avoid digestive discomfort.

Conclusion

Embarking on a 21-day fast can be a transformative experience. Fasting can offer various health benefits, but it is crucial to approach it with knowledge, mindfulness, and professional guidance. Always prioritize your well-being and seek personalized advice to ensure a safe and effective fasting experience.

Speak to one of our registered dietitians for personalized advice tailored to your specific health needs. Let’s ensure you are fully equipped for a successful and healthy fasting journey!

Webinar

Chronic Diseases and Nutrition

17 Oct 2022 one comment diettech

Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are some chronic diseases. They are also called non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and are the leading cause of preventable death and disability worldwide. They all contribute to a massive problem in our society because they cause long-term health and economic challenges and are expensive to manage or treat. However, there’s something you can do about them! Continue reading to find out.

Uncontrollable and controllable factors can increase or reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. People with a family history are at a higher risk of developing a chronic disease. Meanwhile, a healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce the risk. The former is beyond our control while the latter is controllable. Some other steps towards chronic disease prevention include;

Know Your Roots

Where do you come from, and what runs in your family tree? This information will help to understand some unique needs and how to make the right lifestyle choices that will benefit you as an individual.

Strive For Balance

Eating a diet high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat can contribute to chronic diseases in your body. Likewise, eating healthy foods but living a sedentary lifestyle can double the risk of developing chronic diseases. Therefore, aim for a balance between what you eat, drink, and do.

Seek Expert Advice

Recommendations are for you to eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to prevent chronic diseases. Moreso, a Registered Dietitian can help diagnose, manage, and treat chronic diseases using individualized Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT).

Attend This Webinar

Diet Tech Africa is committed to taking action on NCDs. As a result, we are partnering with Access Bank to educate more women through the W community; an online community for women to share information, network and enjoy privileges that enhance their lifestyle. Our Registered Dietitian, Deborah Ayodeji RDN, LD will share practical tips for weight management, improving nutrition, and preventing chronic disease during this webinar. Link to register here.

Speak to one of our registered dietitians to learn more about healthy cooking, and eating methods that promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle!

Okra and Ogbono

African Diet & Chronic Diseases

07 Sep 2022 no comments diettech

Written by Temitope Alao-Sanni, RD

African diet and chronic diseases. We have all heard that the African diet is terrible for our health because it causes belly fat and promotes obesity, one of the prominent risk factors associated with chronic diseases. Is it true? This is a controversial subject, with plenty of experts on both sides of the argument.

Keep reading to find out where I stand as a Nigerian Registered Dietitian building a career in public health and NCD prevention.

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and The African Cuisine

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are chronic diseases often associated with lifestyle. They cannot be passed from one person to another, for example, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. The roots of African cuisine go back thousands of years to the Bronze Age in Northeast Africa when early civilizations began cultivating grains such as barley and wheat (Wikipedia).

African Cuisine Today

African cuisine has barely changed over the years. It is a rich blend of diverse food groups, including whole grains, legumes, tubers, starchy vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, peppers, herbs, and spices. These are all healthy foods full of fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, and complex carbohydrates that leave you fuller for longer. Potentially, a traditional African diet can lower the risk of chronic diseases.

A plate of jollof rice (A popular West African dish)

Making The Link

How we prepare our food may transform its nutritional values and how it interacts with our body. For example, fried rice’s calorie and fat content are almost double in comparison with the same size as boiled rice and stew. Meanwhile, both dishes are prepared with rice and vegetables. Again, frying fatty fish has been shown to degrade its healthy fat (omega 3) content by up to 70–85%, while cooking in dry heat causes minimal losses.

What we eat matters, but how we cook it matters more.

Similarly, using saturated fats like blocks of butter as a base for making dishes like jollof rice, fried rice, and stir-fried vegetables can significantly increase the amount of unwanted fat in the served dish.

Until our ancestors say “enough”

Adding unquantified amounts of salt and palm/groundnut oil to create deeply flavoured sauces and soups is quite common in many African cuisines. Meanwhile, there is an inside joke when preparing African food; “we don’t need to measure the salt; pour until the ancestors whisper it’s enough.” That statement is what it should be; a joke!

Breaking The Link

African cultures have historically lived long lives without developing significant chronic diseases. Yet, there continues to be a substantial rise in chronic diseases in our region. Maybe there is something else going on here! Let’s stop highlighting our food as the problem until we find out and consider cooking methods.

What To Do!

Healthy food comes from a healthy pot and healthy ingredients. You can find both in every African country! Our foods are healthy too, enjoy them and seek counsel from a registered dietitian to make informed choices.

Contact one today!

Action Before A Diagnosis

ABAD; Reduce Preventable Deaths From NCDs

08 Aug 2022 no comments diettech

Non Communicable Diseases are also known as NCDs. They account for 73% of Global deaths, but you can take Action Before a Diagnosis —or ABAD! Lowering the modifiable risk factors of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and obesity can prevent 80% of NCD-related premature deaths.

Diet Tech Africa’s ABAD program is inspired by WHO’s “best buys” to reduce the burden of preventable deaths from NCDs in vulnerable populations. This program provides cost-effective, evidence-based, and nutrition-focused interventions to address risk factors that drive NCDs, such as nutrition, diet, physical inactivity, and lifestyle choices.

Action Before a Diagnosis

ABAD is divided into three projects where individuals are empowered with nutrition-focused strategies to stop NCDs before they start! The projects include;

  1. Project WABAD (Women Acting Before a Diagnosis)
  2. Project WAWI (Wellness at Work Initiative)
  3. Project MABAD (Men Acting Before a Diagnosis)

About Project WABAD

Project WABAD (Women Acting Before A Diagnosis) is set to hold in August and September 2022 to mark the Global week of action on NCDs. It is a free webinar series conducted in closed groups for all women, especially those at risk of developing gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and breast cancer.

Who Should Participate?

Women that identify with at least one of the following:

African descent

Older than 18years

Overweight

High Cholesterol

At risk of NCDS (assessment test for diabetes and cancer)

ABAD and Other Services

Diet Tech Africa offers nutritional intervention programs and services to address health issues. However, ABAD is a program created to reduce risk factors, prevent diseases or delay their onset. The ABAD program does not replace regular services that are found here.

We have organized Project WABAD to mobilize and protect more women against preventable NCDs and death. Click this link to learn more about the event and join the waiting list for the front-row seat.

Finally, if you would like to learn more about healthy cooking, or eating methods that promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, click here to Speak with one of our registered dietitians.

Puff Puff

Transformer oil; Transforming Street Fast Food

25 Jun 2022 no comments diettech

Street fast food is truly delicious, but when fried in “transformer oil” it may become a carcinogen (cancer-causing). Let me tell you about my experience in Lagos.

My friend and I once went to Lagos Island market without having breakfast. Hunger pangs drove us to buy puff puff, from a woman also selling Akara, and Plantain chips — common street fast food sold as snacks on street corners in Nigeria. This street food may be unhealthy but remain a favourite for many. Merely perceiving the aroma made me drool. Until I noticed two things:

  1. Separate kegs of oil under the table near me; each half full
  2. A transformer down the road.

I paused for a minute wondering why the vendor used both oils halfway. Were they mixed?

Woman frying Akara

Street Transformer; Street Food

Transformer oil or Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are industrially made chemicals manufactured from 1929 until 1979. They were banned in the United States due to their toxicity and exposure-related health effects. However, PCBs are still being used in transformers and electrical equipment found in many African countries. It has no smell/taste, similar viscosity, and physical attributes to common vegetable oils.

Transformer and street food

Toxic but Free

Since 2011, some food vendors in Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, and other African countries have been using transformer oil for cooking. It is inexpensive and occasionally even free if they can vandalize transformers and cause the oil used as a coolant or lubricant to leak. Many sellers mix transformer oil with vegetable oil to increase profits due to inflation and other economic pressures.

Carcinogen; Transforming Health

Unfortunately, PCBs are extremely harmful and can cause non-communicable diseases like cancer. It also negatively affects the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. Moreover, because it can be passed from mother to child through the placenta or breast milk and cause birth abnormalities, development impairment, damage to the developing brain, and increased susceptibility to diseases, pregnant women and nursing mothers are particularly vulnerable.

Help sign

What You Can Do

Finally, street food is readily available and might be difficult to ignore, but before buying, make sure the vendor is trustworthy, or, like me (after my experience at Lagos Island Market) avoid it altogether. You can have snacks handy or make your own fried snack at home.

Speak to one of our registered dietitians to learn more about healthy cooking, and eating methods that promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle!

pregnant woman

Gift Ideas Your Mum Will Love on Mother’s Day and After

24 Mar 2022 no comments diettech

What do you usually go for when picking out a Mothers Day gift? A box of chocolates? A card? Some flowers? These are all nice, but your mum will love gifts that keep giving, even after mother’s day. Keep reading to explore five gifts that promote health and wellbeing for your mum on mother’s day and after.

A healthy lifestyle is essential for long and happy life. By helping your mum, wife, sister, girlfriend, or mum-to-be, maintain that lifestyle; you are not only making her healthier; you are making future Mother’s days much more special.

These are ideas for some excellent health-friendly Mothers Day gifts that are relevant on mother’s day and beyond:

Mother

1. Take a walk to enjoy nature’s gift

Take her out for a walk in nature. The benefits of being outside, in nature, and exercising for mental and physical wellness are well-documented. Quality time with loved ones has also been scientifically proven to lessen stress levels, an extra Mothers Day advantage! So go for a walk in your estate or neighbourhood with your mum—it will be good for you too!

2. A month’s supply of healthy snacks

Buy her some healthy snacks and tea (a month’s supply) to keep at work or home. It can be hard to maintain a healthy eating habit when temptation lurks around every corner—and it might be double hard if there are unhealthy snacks within reach. Help your mum by buying her some tasty (but healthy) treats she can eat or drink. Ask our dietitian for recommendations.

3. Fitness Box

Pack a smartwatch, yoga mat, water bottle, and workout clothing box. This is the extra inspiration your mum needs to get up to her feet and start getting active, feeling better, and living healthier.

4. Smart devices

Buy health devices or appliances, for example, a digital Blood Pressure monitor, blood glucose monitor kit, and air-fryer. This improves the way she manages her health and cooks meals.

5. Consultation session with a Dietitian

Book a consultation with a Dietitian. Diet Tech Africa has a special program for women, Women Acting Before a Diagnosis “WABAD™️”, that provides health risk assessment and behavioural strategies for health promotion and disease prevention. Women are disproportionately affected by diseases and taking action early prevents complications.

Mothers are the reason we are all here today. It takes two to make one baby, but the mother is the one who brought you and me forth into life.

No matter how little, please do something for a mum (and future mum) because really, it’s the little things in life that matter the most.

Speak to one of our registered dietitians to find out more about healthy cooking, and eating methods that promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle!

3 Recipes Worth Trying For The Actual Detox Process

18 Mar 2022 no comments diettech

Written by Omolade Abu and Temitope Alao-Sanni, RD.

In a previous article, we established detoxification and what it truly means. You should check it out first if you have not. Afterwards, you will understand why these gut-friendly recipes, full of antioxidants that fight free radicals are worth trying for the real detox. However, you do not need to eat or drink these on a specific day, week, or month. Rather, include them in your regular meals. In fact, I recommend you add the ingredients to your grocery list.

Recipe 1; Carrot Escapade

You’ll need

  • 4 medium carrot fingers
  • 1cm fresh ginger
  • 1 red apple

Blend all these together and serve with ice. Meanwhile, Carrots stand out for their high content of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A (an antioxidant) when ingested. You can also eat raw carrots, or steam them with your rice.

Recipe 2; Beet-it-Up

You’ll need

  • 1/2 beetroot
  • 1/2 lemon squeeze
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/4 small pineapple

If you desire the antioxidant advantages of beets but not the strong flavour, this version provides the same nutritional benefits with a milder beet flavour. Beets, like other vegetables, contain the nutrients your body requires to make antioxidants.

Recipe 3; Cucu-nach

You’ll need

  • 1 cucumber
  • A handful parsley
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 2 green apples

Cucumber is 95% water, a vital component that helps the liver and kidneys work properly. This recipe is high in nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin K). It is a nutritious powerhouse!

Blending (and not just extracting the juice) will provide even more nutritional benefits and increased fibre. Bright coloured fruits (orange, papaya, red berries), cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli), dark coloured leafy greens (Spinach, Waterleaf, Pumpkin leaves) and herbs with a pungent smell (Garlic, Fennel, etc.) also have phytonutrients to help support the effects of oxidative stress

Exercise Ball

Other lifestyle choices will help prevent or reduce oxidative stress. They include:

  • A regular, moderate exercise routine.
  • Avoid smoking (tobacco and second-hand smoke).
  • Limit or avoid alcohol.
  • Use caution with chemicals.
  • Be environmentally conscious.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Rest.

Speak to one of our registered dietitians to learn more about these other lifestyle choices here.

Food and gut

Two Important Food Blends in Detoxification

18 Mar 2022 no comments diettech

Written by Temitope Alao-Sanni, RD and Omolade Abu

I also used to think that detox magic smoothies would “cleanse” the body after indulging in certain foods but apparently, there are many myths surrounding detoxification (see the detox truth here).
In this article, I will share two important food sources that can promote the optimal functioning of our detoxification organs.

Although you cannot detox yourself, your body wants you to eat healthy foods that support the detoxification process. Let us explore two of them

Gut Health and Detoxification

Some people call the gut our “second brain. It is where we digest, absorb, and process everything in what we eat or drink. Additionally, communication between the immune system and the brain happens in the gut.

Meanwhile, the extent to which toxins like carcinogens or environmental pollutants are neutralized in the body may be largely dependent on gut health according to this study. Therefore eating foods that support gut health is a priority if we want to get the best detox.

Foods That Support Gut Health

Probiotics, found in fermented foods are great for gut health. Some African fermented foods include;

Also, some other probiotics food include; sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh, and yoghurt.

Equally, prebiotics are important for gut health. They are substances that feed probiotics. Some foods that contain prebiotics are onions, beans and legumes, garlic, banana, watermelon, pear, and other fibre rich.

Free Radicals and Detoxification

On the other hand, free radicals are produced naturally in everyone’s body. They react quickly with other molecules and can cause large chain chemical reactions called oxidation.

However, when the body’s free radicals are out of balance, oxidative stress occurs. Consequently, high levels of oxidative stress can impair the organs of detoxification and their ability to work optimally. That is where antioxidants come in; the compounds that prevent oxidative stress and cell damage.

Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and they are also found in foods. Some food sources of antioxidants include;

  • Brightly coloured (especially red) fruits and vegetables
  • Cocoa (Dark chocolate)
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • Purple cabbage
  • Beetroots
  • Berries
  • Nuts

Finally, eating a blend of gut-friendly foods and foods high in antioxidants can support the body’s detoxification process.

Here are some recipes that are worth checking out.

Detox

Detox; When and Why Everybody Needs it According to a Registered Dietitian

17 Mar 2022 no comments diettech

Written by Temitope Alao-Sanni, RD and Omolade Abu

Buzzwords like “detox diet,” and “detox cleanse” have promoted the concept of detox in a way that leaves most people with unrealistic expectations of what detox really is, but in this article, you will find out what detox is, when you need it, and what to expect. Keep reading.

What is Detox?

In science, detoxification is referred to as biotransformation. Naturally, the liver, kidneys, skin, and lungs expel waste products or toxins acquired intracellularly (inside the body) or externally as urine, sweat, or faeces.

Main point: Detox is simply the process of eliminating materials from your body when it identifies them as useless, harmful, or poisonous.

Why everybody needs to detox

The reason everybody needs to detox is our society. Practically everyone is exposed to potentially dangerous “environmental toxins”. They are in our food, food wrappers, plastic containers and food packaging, pesticides, insecticides, and in fact, throughout our whole food system!

Main point: Toxins will enter the body system and the body will find out how to get them out. The only way is detox.

When to detox

Like our heart helps pump blood around the body through the circulatory system without having to help it; our  Lungs, Skin, Lymphatic System, Liver, Kidneys, GI Tract (microbiome) are key organs that also help the body detox. Toxins will build up in th body only if these organs fail to function properly.

Main point: There are organs that know when to rid the body of toxins. Just like the heart aids the circulation of blood. If these organs fail, toxins can build up and have negative consequences.

How to detox

Again, we all need to detox because of our environment, and our body is aware of this. Rather than attempting to detox ourselves through a specific diet, we should consider the big picture and eat foods that support our organs to stay healthy.

Main point: Engage in activities that do not impair the performance of your organs of detoxification including kidney, liver, lungs, and skin.

What is more important in the subject of detox is supporting the organs responsible for detoxification through a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Bottom line: Just as you cannot help your heart pump blood, you cannot help your kidneys take out toxins. However, a healthy lifestyle and nutrition can help these organs perform optimally.

To learn more about the treatment and management of Non Communicable Diseases as well as the specialists required, click here.

Your Kidneys; Small Like a Fist, Strong Like a Beast! Healthy Kidney 101

17 Mar 2022 no comments diettech

Written by Temitope Alao-Sanni, RD. September 2021

Your kidneys are two fist-sized powerful organs. that play a vital role in the body and must remain healthy and strong to function optimally. Each one has a bean shape and is located below your rib cage, on either side of your spine. Your kidneys are always working. In this article, I will tell you what kidneys do and how to keep them healthy. So, keep reading.

Some functions of the kidneys include;

  • Filter waste (detox) out of the blood and flush them out in the urine
  • Synthesize red blood cells, vitamin D, and hormones
  • Regulate fluid levels in the body
  • Maintain pH balance
  • Balance electrolytes

You already know our secret to having healthy kidneys is if you D.A.N.C.E.D:

Drink a lot of fluids your kidneys love

Your kidneys love water best. I understand that “a lot” can be confusing, but your body is about 60% water, so the goal is to stay hydrated. Fluid intake recommendation is:

  • 13 cups per day for men above 18 years
  • 9 cups per day for women above 18 years
  • 10 cups for pregnant women
  • 13 cups for breastfeeding women

However, factors like physical activity, weather, and overall health may require you to drink more or less.

Add fruits and Vegetables to food regularly

Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that keep the body healthy and prevent diseases. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Never take concoction or herbal drinks sold on the street

These mixtures are quite popular in Nigeria. They do more harm than good. The ingredients are usually unknown, and there are no standards to measure the quantity you consume. Neatness and water safety are also other issues of concern.

Herbal concoction by the street

Consult a Dietitian for kidney health

A Dietitian will help you make informed food choices to prevent diseases and promote health, even when living with a diagnosed condition.

Exercise regularly to keep kidneys strong

Regular exercise benefits your health in more ways than just weight loss. Staying fit can reduce the risk of diseases, lower blood pressure and improve heart health, which is crucial in preventing kidney diseases.

Exercise Ball

Discover abnormalities in the kidneys early

A routine kidney function test is a great way to spot any changes in your kidneys early. Identifying abnormalities can improve health outcomes and delay or prevent future complications.

Other ways to keep your kidneys healthy include; avoiding over-the-counter medications without an appropriate prescription, not smoking, cutting back on salt, and managing stress through meditation and breathing exercises.

Nutrition is a key determinant of your health and wellbeing.

Speak to one of our registered dietitians to discuss more.