With thousands of South Africans preparing to embark on local and international travel this festive season, worries about how to keep their luggage and valuables safe during the trip won’t be far behind. But although this is a legitimate concern, the good news is twofold: Firstly, because of dramatically improved security, the vast majority of bags will rejoin their owners intact after the aircraft lands. Additionally, there are a number of steps travellers can take for further peace of mind. “The reputation of South African airports continues to improve following some years of criticism as a result of baggage theft and unprofessional ground services,” says Christian Faure, Vice President Commercial of Menzies Aviation, which is responsible for ground handling services of leading airlines locally and globally. “At the time, South African airports were notorious for baggage theft, baggage mishandling, poor on-time performance, poor safety and security and poor customer service. Some of this was as a result of outdated infrastructure or overcapacity, which was solved with ACSA’s 2010 World Cup building programme. However much of it was down to the poor management and discipline of previous licensees,” he says.
Faure says in the six years since Menzies entered the local market in 2008, there has been a complete mindset change in terms of instilling a zero-tolerance approach to safety, security, quality and discipline. In the wake of this sea change, Menzies OR Tambo was the first South African operation to be awarded the International Air Transport Association’s ISAGO quality accreditation, after passing an extensive and very stringent audit.
“Incidences of baggage mishandling and theft on airlines have become rare, as a result of ACSA’s investments in infrastructure and Menzies’ approach to staff recruitment and development.
And should incidents occur, they are investigated fully and in the majority of cases arrests made,” says Faure.
However he says passengers should be aware that different standards and processes across airports, baggage handlers and territories meant passengers should still do whatever they can to keep their valuables safe.
“Once you’ve checked in your luggage, it goes through quite a journey itself before boarding the aircraft. However the bags are monitored both electronically and manually at each stage of the process en route to-and-from the aircraft.”
Faure’s top five tips for ensuring your stuff returns home with you at the end of the journey are:

1) Make use of the baggage wrapping service. These services are readily available at most airports within South Africa. Some airlines, like SA Express, offer it as a value added service at no additional charge to the passenger.

2) Clearly label all your baggage, and customise your luggage so that it stands out. This will also help limit the accidental removal of your suitcase from the carousel by someone with similar-looking luggage. Lock your bags.

3) Keep valuable items with you. Cellular and electronic devices are the most vulnerable.

4) Check airline tags to ensure correct destination, and make sure of where your luggage will be when transiting. Get to the carousel as soon as possible after landing. When arriving in SA from an international destination, you will need to clear customs first before rechecking your bags to a further domestic destination.

5) If you have golf clubs, oversized or boxed items, these are normally delivered at a separate area for fragile goods near the carousels. Ensure you keep the tags for these items in a safe place and don’t forget to claim your items before leaving the airport.


With endless weeks of lazy days looming just around the corner following weeks of demanding examinations, this year’s matrics should consider giving themselves the gift of a lifetime – by using their downtime in a way that will push them ahead of their peers even before they enter tertiary studies.
Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of The Independent Institute of Education, says while school-leavers deserve to give themselves a solid break, they should not lose sight of the fact that in the grown-up world they are now entering, competition is tough and time lost is opportunity lost.
“It really is possible to both have a good time and get some rest while still doing something productive and lasting during this festive season,” she says.
“In fact, school leavers should consider giving themselves a gift that will stand them in good stead when they need to start preparing their CVs and have to demonstrate why they are different to the rest of the crowd applying for the same position,” she says. “Alternatively, they should focus on what they will need most when they start studying next year, and make sure they are ahead of the pack.
“The long holiday period provides the perfect opportunity to get your head in the right space, learn a new skill, or start something new,” says Coughlan.

Her TOP FIVE IDEAS for productively filling the summer hours are:
This may sound very strange in the modern age, but many young people type with only a few fingers and are not in fact proficient. Once they are studying or working, most of what they communicate in writing will come off a keyboard. Learning to touch type will add immeasurably to efficiency. There are free downloadable programmes that are game-based and students can compete against themselves or others.

The surge in social media usage in all walks of life means that recruiters and potential employers are able to find a lot more information about you, before you even walk through the door of an interview room. Make sure that what they find in a year or two when they start looking, presents you in the best possible light. Fix your privacy settings and look for photographs in which you have been tagged. Actively create an on-line presence that positions you as more than a wild child. If you are really dedicated, you could even set up a blog – an increasingly popular form of personal expression that can really help set you apart from future competition, by giving personality to your application. Easy to set up and free, this is your chance to get your name out there. Be careful though – this is only for the really committed, as you need something meaningful to say. And at all times remember that you are creating impressions… Make them count!

Let’s face it – far too many South Africans are still not proficient in our own languages. If you cannot speak more than your own mother tongue and perhaps one other local language, now is the time to tackle this. Language proficiency (particularly in the professions) is no longer only a ‘nice to have’. If you are already proficient in three or more SA languages it could be time to begin to tackle the basics of an international business language – like French or Mandarin or Portuguese.

At school you would probably have been required to play a sport – normally a team sport. Very few of us maintain that after school and certainly even fewer after tertiary study. This holiday is the holiday to start participating in a sport or other physical activity that you can carry with you in to the world of work – gym, running, cycling or yoga are only some possibilities. It is well understood that your future health and happiness are tied to your level of physical wellbeing, so the sooner you start the habit of participating in an activity you can do as an adult alongside your work, the better.

Register your name on a charity’s website and become a volunteer or fundraiser, or approach a local religious or community organisation directly. Making a difference to the lives of others is immensely satisfying, and will help you stay grounded and focused as you enter adulthood. It will also demonstrate to future employers that your world is about more than just yourself, and that you have applied your talents for the greater good. And it gives you an environment to practise work appropriate skills like planning and communication and teamwork. “At the end of the holidays, you will enter your new life with an added sense of purpose rather than just wondering where the time went. This is a great gift to yourself,” Coughlan says.
For further information or comment by Dr Coughlan, please contact:
Gwen at Lange 360: 021 448 7407 or
or visit

Dog Health and Your Responsibilities

There are many advantages to owning a dog. It gives you loyalty and love. Yet so many people neglect its health as a way to return that love and affection.

Preventative dog health care goes a long way to ensuring that your friend stays healthy for years to come. If you decide to get one, then do him a favor and become educated on how to protect his health.

Dog health begins the very minute you take ownership of your canine companion. Before you even think about beginning puppy training you must make sure that you know what type of medication it takes to ensure its health.

Shots such as Distemper, Rabies, and Parvo are absolutely essential to a long and healthy life for your pet. There are other medications such as heart worm medicine and flea medicines that are important as well.

If you are unsure as to what is involved in dog health, check out dog forums for answers on some common questions. The best advice before buying or getting a pet is to do a thorough research to determine if having one is right for you.

There are some questions to ask yourself before you commit to owning a dog or any animal. The first is how much time do you have to devote to the pet? Do you have enough space to accommodate one? Is its health absolutely important to you? Do you have the money to devote to puppy training and to making sure that he or she receives regular veterinarian visits to ensure its proper health?

A dog is a big responsibility. If you are unsure of any of the above questions then now is the time to carefully ponder whether or not you are ready for a pet. Dogs cost money and this responsibility lies with the pet owner.

The puppy or dog is dependent on you for everything they need. This includes their emotional well-being as well. Humans and dogs are alike in that they need love and support. You, as the owner, must be that network of love and support for them.

Dog health is important to having a fully functioning family. Dog’s can bring many things to their owner. They bring love and unfailing loyalty. They deserve to have that returned to them by an owner that truly wants what is best for them.


If you have a hip that audibly pops during exercise, you likely have snapping hip syndrome, which is caused by imbalances in muscle tension that result in tendons snapping over bony protrusions. The most common muscles involved are the tensor fascia lata or gluteus maximus flicking over the trochanter, or neck, of the thigh bone, and the Iliopsoas muscle flicking across the bone at the front of the pelvis. While not imminently harmful, if left untreated over time, snapping hip syndrome can lead to postural problems and back pain. Treatment involves stretching tight muscles and strengthening weaker muscles to restore muscular balance at the hip.

Step 1
Identify the cause. An athletic trainer or health professional who specializes in sports medicine will be able to evaluate the cause and severity of your condition, and may prescribe therapy. Since treatment for snapping hip syndrome involves exercise, you will not be totally sedentary during your recovery.
Step 2
Evaluate your program. Identify which exercises or activities you do regularly that may be promoting an imbalance. Sitting at a desk or driving a vehicle all day long can promote imbalanced muscles at the hip. If you are an athlete, there may be movement patterns inherent to your sport that are causing problems. While you may not be able to eliminate these activities, you can work to offset the damage by stretching and strengthening opposing muscles.
Step 3
Assess your technique. Ask your coach, trainer or therapist to work with you to evaluate your body mechanics during physical activity. Flaws in your execution of certain movements may be contributing to your condition.
Step 4
Change your routine. Add stretching and strengthening exercises that target the hip. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends stretching the quadriceps, hamstrings, piriformis and illiotibial band, and strengthening the gluteal and abductor muscles. Changing the type of cardio you do may also help. If you normally bike or row, try switching to an upright exercise that recruits the gluteal muscles to extend the hip, such as walking or running on an incline, using the elliptical trainer or swimming.
Step 5
Maintain upper-body strength. While your therapist may ask you to temporarily stop your routine and focus on therapeutic exercises, you should be able to safely do upper-body resistance training that does not involve hip action.

If you are an athlete, the muscular imbalances that caused your hip to pop will return if you don’t take measures to offset them. Once you have finished your rehab program, incorporating some of the strengthening and stretching exercises prescribed by your therapist will help keep snapping hip syndrome from recurring.
If you are under the care of an orthopedic therapist for snapping hip syndrome, consult your therapist before engaging in physical activities that fall outside the scope of your rehab protocol. The physicians at Washington Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine advise that you complete your therapy to the point of full recovery before returning to your sport. Length of treatment varies but usually averages two to six weeks.
Physiotherapy-Treatment: Snapping Hip Syndrome
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Snapping Hip Syndrome
Washington Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine: Snapping Hip Syndrome


Monday 24th November 2014
– The Queen’s Palaces : ( Part 3 of 3 )
The Palace of Holyroodhouse
The least-known of the Queen Elizabeth II’s palaces
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Angela Embleton 044-533-1437

Monday 24th November 2014
– The U3A Film Club : The Last of the Blonde Bombshells
This British-American television film describes the efforts of
Elizabeth, a recently widowed woman ( played by Dame Judy Dench)
to reunite the members of the World War II – era swing band
18H15 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Brian Hardy 044-533-5489

Tuesday 25th November 2014
– Italian Conversation
09H45 at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator: Brenda Hardy 044-533-5489

Wednesday 26th November 2014
– The Star of Bethlehem
Case Rijsdijk will discuss the Star of Bethlehem and
other legends and traditions behind the Christmas story
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Michael Lond 044-533-0018

Wednesday 26th November 2014
– U3A Plett Social Bridge Club
Supervised bridge in a friendly atmosphere
with tips for improving your play.
13H30 at the Angling Club
Co-ordinator: Michael Webb 082-226-7280

Friday 28th November 2014
– French Conversation
10H00 at 7 Gleninifer Street
Co-ordinator: Merle Decot 044-533-5879

Friday 28th November 2014
– Mah Jong
Learn and play this ancient and fascinating game.
13H30 at Formosa Garden Village Small Dining Room
Co-ordinator: Amelia White 044-533-0113

How To Take Care of Your New Kitten

The first step toward having a good pet cat is choosing a healthy kitten. Visit a litter of kittens about two weeks before they are ready to leave their mother. They will be six weeks old. Ask permission to pick up the kittens and be very gentle when to do so. Make sure that a kitten has clear, bright eyes and a shiny, full coat. Check the skin under the fur for any problems such as sores, rashes or bald spots. You want to choose a kitten that has healthy skin.

Next, make sure that the kitten is neither too thin nor too fat. A kitten that is either all skin and bones or has a bloated belly is likely to have an infection. Do not select such a kitten. Also check the kitten’s nose and ears for any sign of discharge or infection.

While you are checking for signs of physical health, take note of the kitten’s temperament. Carry the kitten to another part of the room and watch how it behaves. Is it nervous or scared? Does it respond to gentle petting by growing calmer? You want a kitten that adjusts quickly to you. This is a sign it has been handled by the owners of the litter, which is important in preparing the kitten for living with people.

It is extremely important to start out with a friendly cat. A scratching, hissing or terribly frightened kitten will grow up to be a difficult cat at best. At worst, the kitten will never become a friendly, loving pet.

After you have chosen a kitten that you like, make arrangements to pick it up when it is ready to leave its mother (when it is about eight weeks old). A day or two after you get your new kitten, take it to a veterinarian (an animal doctor). The vet will give it the first in a series of shots to protect it against common cat diseases. Tell the vet if you intend to let the cat outdoors. If you do intend to let it out, the kitten may need a shot to protect it against rabies.

The vet will also examine the kitten for signs of disease. Bring along sample of the kitten’s dropping so that the doctor can check for worms.

If the vet gives you medicine for the kitten, make sure that you or one of your parents understands how to give medicine. Ask the vet or the vet’s assistant to show the proper method. Give the medicine to the kitten exactly as directed by the vet. Twice a day is not good enough if the kitten is supposed to get medicine three times a day.

Young kittens like to eat every few hours, about four times a day. At each meal, serve a saucer of fresh milk alongside a small dish of dry cat food. For one or two of the meals, mix in canned food (meat or fish). If the kitten gets diarrhea, switch to powdered milk. If the diarrhea continues, reduce the amount of milk and the number of meals at which it is served.

Kittens love occasional treats, such as fresh liver, kidney or cottage cheese. But dry cat food is the best thing for a steady diet. Keep treats to once or twice a week.

As the kitten grows older, you can gradually reduce the number of meals. At six months, two meals each day are adequate. At one year, one meal a day is all that is needed. If your cat pesters you for a second meal, give a little more than half of the one-meal portion twice a day. The size of portions is usually recommended on the cat food box.

For your new kitten, and later your adult cat, keep a bowl filled with fresh water all times.
Although your kitten will decide for itself where it will sleep, it might enjoy a soft, snug spot you prepare for it. A fluffy, clean hand towel folded and placed in a shoe box that sits on its side, could make an attractive bed for your kitten. But the kitten may just decide to perch itself on a chair instead.

You will have to help your kitten get used to using a litter box to go to the bathroom. Getting your cat used to a litter box is usually easy, because cats are naturally clean and like to bury their droppings. A litter box is nothing more than a shallow rectangular container. The easiest kind to use is made of soft plastic. Into this you pour cat litter, which is sold in stores. Cover the bottom of the litter box with about two inches of cat litter.

Take your kitten to its litter box as soon you bring it home. Sometimes that first visit is all is needed. But until you are sure that the kitten understands, take it there after each feeding.
Sometimes cats will not use a litter box if something about the particular brand of litter is not to their liking. Occasionally they will avoid the box if its location is not private enough. Try to solve these problems if the kitten does not use the litter box from the start.

About the only unpleasant task involved in owning a cat is cleaning the litter box every two or three days. If you do not clean it, the box will begin to smell.

Empty all the used litter into a paper or plastic bag and take it outside to the garbage. Then wash the litter box with soap and water. Put the newly filled box back in the same place, so that you do not upset your cat’s routine.

If you plan on allowing your cat to go to outside, you may decide to let it go to bathroom outdoors. In this case, do not provide a litter box. Instead, take your new kitten outdoors to a spot where there is a patch of dirt in which it can dig and burry. After a few days, the kitten will wait by the door to be let out. Some people even install little cat doors so that their pets can come and go as they please.

An outdoor cat should wear a collar with an identification tag on it. The tag should give that cat’s name as well as your name and address.

7 Essential Strength-Training Exercises to Master

If you’ve been spending any time at the gym, you’ve probably seen (or done) more than a few sets of these strength-training moves. These exercises are trainer and fitness buff favorites for balancing and strengthening the body; they are also effective when it comes to shaping, toning, and whittling. Learn how to do these seven essential exercises in time to add them to your Summer shape-up routine!
The classic bridge targets the abs and butt while opening up the chest, which can need a stretch if you spend a lot of time at a desk.
• Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor hip-distance apart.
• As you contract your ab and butt muscles, push your pelvis upward, away from the floor. Keep your ribs aligned with your pelvis, and make sure your knees are directly above your heels.
• Lower your hips and pelvis to just above the floor and pause.
• This completes one rep. Raise your hips back to the high position and repeat. Do three sets of 10.

Use lunges to increase flexibility and balance while strengthening lower-body muscles.
• Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core.
• Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor.
• Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.
The plank can do it all — besides sculpting arms, the move challenges your balance and engages the core muscles for an extremely effective (and deceptively difficult) gym basic.
• Start facing the floor, resting on your knees.
• Plant your palms on the mat by your head, shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be flat; spread your fingers out wide to help support your weight and take the strain out of your wrists. Step your legs out behind you one at a time, and rest on your toes.
• Contract your abs to prevent your butt from sticking up or sinking. Your spine should be parallel to the floor, with your abs pulling toward the ceiling.
• Hold for 30-60 seconds.

The push-up is an old favorite for strengthening the upper body, but improper form can do more harm than good. Be aware of these four things as you execute a push-up: body alignment, hands, abs, and breath.
• To start, get into a plank position (see above), making sure your shoulders are aligned over your wrists and your fingers and palms are spread wide, with pressure focused in your fingertips.
• Keep your belly button pulled in as you lower down, and keep your spine straight so your body is in a straight line. Bend your elbows outward to the sides.
• Make sure to connect your breath with your movements — inhale as you bend your elbows and lower yourself to the ground, and exhale as you raise back up into a plank.
• Aim for 10 or as many as you can do, and add reps as you become stronger.
Russian twists target the abs, especially obliques, and help with circulation and digestion .
• Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt.
• Lean slightly back without rounding your spine. It is really important, and difficult, to keep your back straight, so don’t let it curve.
• Place your arms straight out in front of you with one hand on top of the other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your rib cage.
• Pull your navel to your spine and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating, not from your arms swinging. Inhale through your center and rotate to the right. This completes one rep. Lift your feet off the ground or hold a medicine ball for a more advanced variation.
• Do 15-20 full rotations.

The squat is one of the best functional fitness moves you can master. From picking up a load of laundry to stabilizing yourself when you lose your balance, you’ll use the squat in many areas of your life.
• Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out.
• Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance.
• Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend.
• Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels.
• Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
• Do three sets of 10-15.

SUPERMAN The Superman targets your posterior muscles to correct body imbalances by strengthening often-neglected areas of your body.
• Lie facedown on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Keep your neck in a neutral position by looking at the ground in front of you without straining.
• Keeping your arms and legs straight (but not locked) and torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form an elongated “u” shape with your body, with your back arched and arms and legs several inches off the floor.
• Hold for two to five seconds and lower back down to complete one rep.
• Do three sets of 12.
RESEARCHED BY : KÁTIA C. ROWLANDS – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256


Monday 10th November 2014
– The Queen’s Palaces : ( Part 1 of 3 )
Buckingham Palace
The Monarch’s London residence where she is said
‘to live above the shop’
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Angela Embleton 044-533-1437

Tuesday 11th November 2014
– Italian Conversation
09H45 at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator: Brenda Hardy 044-533-5489

Wednesday 12th November 2014
– Conservation on Cousine
Dr. Mark Brown, Program Director of the Nature’s Valley Trust,
will talk about his recent conservation work in the Seychelles
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Michael Lond 044-533-0018

Wednesday 12th November 2014
– U3A Plett Social Bridge Club
Supervised bridge in a friendly atmosphere
with tips for improving your play.
13H30 at the Angling Club
Co-ordinator: Michael Webb 082-226-7280

Thursday 13th November 2014
– U3A Plett Out and About
Birding at Bella Manga, Uplands starts at 08H30
Our local expert, Gareth Robbins, leads a gentle walk
to spot the birds of our neighbourhood. Booking essential!
Co-ordinator: Michael Lond 044-533-0018

Friday 14th November 2014
– French Conversation
10H00 at 7 Gleninifer Street
Co-ordinator: Merle Decot 044-533-5879

Friday 14th November 2014
– Mah Jong
Learn and play this ancient and fascinating game.
13H30 at Formosa Garden Village Small Dining Room
Co-ordinator: Amelia White 044-533-0113

Everything You Need To Know About Dog Allergies

Dogs have always been considered a human’s best friend ever since they were domesticated several years ago. They are intelligent and if well-trained, dogs can do almost anything. Over the years, reports of dogs saving people, especially children, have been all over the news. For their good nature therefore, dogs should be well-bred. However, one grave challenge that dog owners face is dog allergies.

Dogs are not like human beings who can easily identify what they are allergic to and find the necessary medication for the allergy. For dogs, it is up to the owner to figure out what the dog is allergic to and the symptoms for its allergy. There are four common dog allergies. These are categorized as food, flea, contact and atopic allergies.

For each, a dog will exhibit certain symptoms which a good owner can understand and interpret easily. Dog allergy symptoms include itching, raw paws, sneezing and diarrhea.

Itching is the most profound symptom of dog allergies. The most common areas you will find your dog itching are the abdomen, the paws, face, ears, hindquarters, groin and back. Almost each part that the dog tries to scratch or lick always points to a distinct allergy. If the itching does not stop, the pet could have sores on its body which will eventually be filled with pus and that could be fatal.

Flea allergy usually results in the dog licking or trying to scratch the hindquarters and the back. These allergic reactions are usually triggered by the flea’s saliva. Contact allergy on the other hand will be exhibited by the dog excessively itching in areas with less hair cover like the armpits and the abdomen. Atopic allergy, also known as inhalant-related allergy, will also result in the pet trying to scratch its face, feet and even chest.

Raw paws also symbolize that the pet is allergic to something. Usually, when the dog scratches and bites its feet a lot, the paws turns reddish brown. Sometimes the paws could even be bloody.
Of all the symptoms, sneezing is the clearest symptom of atopic allergy. However, on rare cases, this could mean that your dog is suffering from contact allergy. When the dog sneezes, there is usually a clear discharge from the eyes or the nose.

Diarrhea is often a symptom for many dog diseases. However, it also shows that your dog is suffering from food allergies. If you suspect the dog is suffering from this allergy, you should the change its diet and check whether it will improve. Feeding your dog food rich in minerals, vitamins and fatty acids will definitely help in fighting this allergy.

To prevent contact and flea allergies you should wash your dog occasionally with cool water and shampoo with Aloe Vera and eucalyptus to relieve the itching. Grooming and brushing your dog regularly, changing its toys and the sleeping area will also be effective in fighting the flea allergy. If the symptoms persist, you should contact a veterinarian because it could be more than just dog allergy.

Detox Diets: Do They Work?


It seems everyone has tried a detox diet these days. Although regimens vary, they generally entail a juice fast lasting days or weeks and often include a “cleanse” with limited food and/or “detoxifying” supplements. Serving up a small allotment of calories can produce dramatic weight loss, which makes detoxing tempting to typical dieters.
But what’s unique about this trend is that it’s also attracting people not trying to lose weight. That’s because these fasts are billed as a way to improve health by removing impurities from the body. Many of the juice regimens purport to cure chronic health conditions and diseases. All this gives detox diets more street cred than the typical fad diet—but is that warranted?
Are These Diets as Scientific as They Sound?
“Extreme detox diets are not nutritionally balanced,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, MPH, RD, a Maryland-based medical doctor and registered dietitian. Even diets that incorporate a meal or smoothie can have too few calories, especially if you exercise while on them. The risks are considerable.
“When you’re not getting enough protein or calories, you can lose muscle mass and experience dangerously low blood sugar, which can cause you to pass out and create electrolyte imbalances that, in extreme cases, can lead to a heart attack,” says Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who has a private nutrition-consulting practice in New York City.
Of course, some detox diets take a more sensible route, providing juices or supplemented shakes with adequate calories (around 1,200 per day) and protein. “As long as you’re healthy and only follow [a diet like this] for a few days, you will probably lose a few pounds, [but] it’s doubtful that you are going to cure a disease,” says Cohn.
In other words, it’s true that these exercises in portion control can produce weight loss. But the bigger question is whether a detox diet truly “de-toxes.” These diets are said to be able to cleanse the liver and flush the body of toxins, but do they?
Detoxing the Liver of Thousands of Toxins . . . ?
The most common claim is that a cleanse regimen detoxifies the liver, the body’s own self-detoxification organ. It’s assumed the liver gets clogged like an air conditioning filter and must be cleaned so it can continue detoxifying.
“But there is no evidence showing that a normal liver gets clogged with toxins,” says hepatologist Nancy Reau, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago who treats patients who have liver cancer. “The liver is a sophisticated filter. Everything you inhale, put on your skin or eat enters the bloodstream and is brought to the liver. It then generates specific enzymes to help remove things that are unhealthy or change them to a healthier form. The liver is self-cleaning; you just have to give it good fuel in the form of healthy food.”
Pros and Cons of Detoxing
The upside of a detox regimen is that cutting out bad eating habits and helping the body eliminate waste more easily make good sense. Eating less processed food and more plant foods means more fiber, more nutrients and fewer chemical additives. Detox diets may even have a valid detox effect if people forgoalcohol that they might otherwise drink.
Some people think that a regimented, strict plan helps them mentally prepare to embark on a healthier way of eating. However, people often return to their former eating vices when their cleanses are over.
The belief that it can kick-start a healthier life may only be a fantasy. In fact, the deprivation during fasting may result in a backlash—an impulsive return to junk-food eating.
If your routine consists of alternating an occasional detox week to fix a chronic pattern of poor eating habits, what’s the point? “A lifetime of good, healthy eating is going to be more effective than a sometime, short-term cleanse.
Easy Ways To Eat Healthfully All the Time
Drink more water.
Eat more organic plant foods.
Exercise vigorously.
Get more fiber by eating more plant foods.
Omit or eat fewer animal foods (and choose only free-range, organic, etc., if you do).
Don’t smoke.
Don’t drink alcoholic beverages.
Avoid processed foods.
Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256