MOSSEL BAY NEWS - With winter showing its teeth, bringing with it the flu, atop the Covid-19 pandemic, staying healthy is of paramount importance.
Mental health is also under fire, given the economic crunch due to Covid-19, therefore general wellness is an all-round concern.
Elenia Kolokotronis, whose hometown is Mossel Bay, has been a clinical nutritionist for ten years and is making a name for herself.
She heads up her own company, focused on spherical health and wellness that includes consulting, patient treatment, a charity foundation, as well as organic retail ranges. And as if she is not busy enough, she is completing her doctoral studies and does consultations worldwide.
Elenia found some time in her busy schedule to chat to the Mossel Bay Advertiser.
She specialises in female fertility. She says there is a major link in infertility that is often overlooked, being sound nutrition. Mental and emotional wellness is a very strong focus for Elenia. “We need the amalgamation of both emotional and physical health to reach success. One cannot reach full potential without the other.”
What drew you to this field of study?
I was diagnosed with infertility due to my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome condition. As I was already practising clinical nutrition. I was at a great place at the right time in order to document my very own journey. This makes me relatable as I have been through the emotional and physical challenges experienced.
Tell us about your journey?
My journey enabled me to understand and relate first hand to the emotional rollercoaster that one experiences with a fertility condition. Being able look at things with the perspective of the glass half full rather than half empty, allows me to share, educate and inform others with what is needed to get their body functioning optimally. Most likely the biggest and most compromising issue is almost always hormonal imbalances that are thrown completely off because of damaging nutrition.
I often see a huge positive change in hormonal disruptions, insulin levels, weight structure and so forth two to three weeks after a person has commenced eating a realistic, balanced and nutritionally sound meal plan.
My findings with food show both physical and emotional aspects. Remember that your relationship with food is going to be the most important relationship you will ever have. It will either damage or nourish you. Choose wisely. Be realistic. Understand that the occasional chocolate, burger or packet of crisps is not going to kill you, but understand that these foods must be a rarity rather than a necessity. Be mindful of what you are eating, when and why you are eating.
Start to understand your thought processes relating to the foods you are eating and educate yourself about what happens to you metabolically, physically and mentally when you are eating.
What are the biggest misconceptions about living and eating healthy?
Ghandi said that real wealth is health, not pieces of gold and silver. There have been no truer words said. We are kept largely in the dark about how healing food is, having the ability to not only aid certain chronic conditions, but actually heal them. Unfortunately we live in an age of instant gratification and popping a pill for any and everything seems the norm. We do need to keep in mind that for every pill swallowed whilst it is aiding something it is at the same time compromising something else.
A huge misconception is that food is not as powerful as chemical medication. I have seen scores of women undergo invasive and expensive fertility treatment with no success only to fall pregnant naturally some time later because of changing their diet, lifestyle and mindset.
Yes certainly there is room for treatment and pills, injections, procedures and so on, but we have become conditioned to believe that these are our first option rather than our last resort.
Obviously a healthy diet cannot fix a broken bone or replace a lifesaving operation, but we do need to look at how seriously we rely on chemical treatment when what we need to be doing is strengthening ourselves nutritionally from the inside out.
It is similar to diabetics who are instructed to commence chronic medication for diabetes rather than change their high saturated fat, high sugar diets. South Africa is now leading the rest with diabetes and a huge bulk of this is because our country's eating patterns are a major cause for concern.
Living well and better consists of many aspects. For starters one cannot enjoy the beauty of life being ill. I always go back to nutrition because ultimately how we feel mentally and physically is largely based on how we live by means of what we eat.
If a person is diagnosed with a degree of infertility they can choose to rebalance and rewire their internal body by supporting their hormones with foods that can do exactly that. Again I reiterate that all conditions and degrees of these conditions vary and it is not a one size fits all.
Do you feel that currently there is a strong pull towards natural healing and living better, healthier?
The world has become a little wiser to an extent to the factual statistics of food on mental and physical health. Luckily to be able to share stories, research, findings and truths are easier to do now. In addition to this, vast institutions around the world are recognising that food is a huge determining factor on a country's population health.
I have in the ten years of practising seen a huge upswing in patients wanting to go the natural route not only regarding fertility but also including conditions such as obesity, child conditions such as ADD/ADHD, diabetes and depression. Luckily we are also establishing new research and are no longer using findings from research papers of sixty years ago that no longer apply to a world that has changed exponentially since.
Please share a few must-dos with us?
Do's and Don'ts regarding nutrition are really very simple. The first step is to understand that diets DO NOT work. Don’t diet. We are inundated with a plethora of various diets promising us the world yet the human race has never been more obese and sickly. A diet has a shelf life. Easy to shed the unwanted kilos only to have them creep back overnight when sticking to it for any longer becomes impossible. Rather understand how your body uses, stores, eliminates and needs certain foods more than others. Educate yourself on just how healing food is. Do know the difference between emotional eating and eating to sustain and nourish yourself. Do be realistic about food. This is a great step in the right direction so understanding that we cannot go our entire lives without ice-cream or a slice of pizza or birthday cake.
Don't eat when you are not hungry. Do eat varied foods and try eat foods in their most natural form. Don't starve yourself. Do stay hydrated. Do keep active. And lastly but most importantly do be kinder to yourself.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, there is lots of talk about boosting the immune system and how malnutrition is running rife. Any thoughts to share on this?
Our immune system is our primary security against invaders. Just as our homes have security gates, beams, alarms and electronic fences to keep intruders out, our immune system in a way does the same by protecting us. The only thing in our complete control that can either strengthen or weaken our immune system, is dependent on what we eat. Should we be eating highly industrialized, high saturated fat, high sugar foods, is overweight, be a smoker, drink excessive amounts of alcohol and have stressful lifestyles, then we can most certainly expect a compromised weak immune system susceptible to any and every infection, disease and slow recovery among others.
If however we are looking after our immune system by eating right, sleeping well, keeping stress levels low and staying as healthy as possible, we have a better chance at keeping illness at bay and a faster recovery if one does become ill. Staying healthy does not mean you will never catch a cold or become infected with a viral or bacterial infection, but what it will do is ensure your body will be strong enough to fight it out and recover faster.
Looking at our current situation regarding Covid-19 where we are all affected in some way. The safest bet is to bulk up of foods high in antioxidants, ensure you are getting enough natural sunlight, primary vitamin D, as well as vitamins and minerals. Children benefit most from eating these foods because they are in a complete natural form and not in supplement form, but it certainly will stand us all in good stead regardless.
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