The 12 Steps to Wholesome Nutrition course is designed for people who would like to take charge of their own health by learning more about their best food and lifestyle choices.
So if you’re looking for another diet to blindly follow, please move along to the next item in your Google search list. If, however, you wish to learn a lot about nutrition, health and individuality, plus value self-empowerment so that you can make informed choices by the end of the course, come and join us….
Our book Wholesome Nutrition comes FREE with this course (except during periods when Udemy has discounted the course). If you are within metropolitan areas in South Africa, easily accessible by courier, you may receive a hard copy of the book. If you are outside of these areas, you will receive the e-book version.
This presentation looks at how modern nutrition (especially diet books) has a very polarised one-size-fits-all views and how this is limiting our individual health. We acknowledge that 'one man's food is another man's poison' and discuss strategies for personalising our food and lifestyle choices, especially through the positive expression of our genes.
Dr Daniel Meyersfeld, owner of DNAlysis Biotechnology educates us on some basic genetic science and demonstrates how by understanding our genes, we can take ownership of our own health with regards to our dietary and lifestyle choices for health and weight management.
Dr Yael Joffe from the Centre for Translational Genomics in Cape Town develops more into the discussion of nutrigenomics - the genetics behind our nutrition choices. She talks about her research into the genetics of obesity and shares her insights into future practices of health care.
Green juice is incredibly nourishing to our body, especially our liver/detoxification health. In her video, Rachel shows you how to put a green juice together, that is not only good for you, but delicious too.
Within the subject of individuality, the amount of carbohydrates and fats that should ideally be in your diet is a completely you-specific entity. This assignment may not give you all the answers that you seek, but it should take you one step further in your dietary thinking.
Part 1 - the food diary
Without changing the way that you normally eat, start by filling in the attached food dairy for two days - please make use of the reflection column, noting your thoughts about your particular food choices, especially incorporating the learnings from the individuality lecture and guest speakers. Also please take note of how certain foods make you feel: your energy, your digestion, your mood etc.
Part 2 - the questionnaire
Now fill in the attached fat-carb balance questionnaire. For each of the 10 questions, tick the most representative choice available to you from option a), b) and c). Then add up the number of a), b) and c) responses to see which one is most representative of your personal response to food.
The interpretations from the questionnaire and a discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 2.
This presentation challenges the calories in vs calories out equation as an explanation of weight management. We look at factors that affect the impact of calories and discuss ways to improve weight management, particularly managing stress levels for proper thyroid function, regulating female hormones and improving detoxification.
John Herman shares his autoimmune journey with Hashimoto’s disease and shows us that we need to be open-minded and realise that mainstream medicine might not be the only path to follow in relation to our health.
Dr Debbie Smith, a qualified Homeopath, Acupuncturist and Doctor of Chinese Medicine, educates us about Chinese Medicine and shows us how she practices when dealing with aspects of weight management.
Activated nuts are a great source of healthy fats, and they are incredibly tasty too. Rachel shows us how to activate nuts to increase their nutritional value and how to neutralise compounds that can interfere with the absorption of other essential nutrients in the gut.
Weight management is a reflection of health. If you’re struggling with your weight, there’s an aspect of your health that’s not working properly. This assignment will give you an idea of what you need to focus on for your own weight management.
Part 1 – health questionnaire
Start by filling in the questionnaire and calculate the total number for each section.
Part 2 – scoring graph
Plot the total number from each section obtained in the health questionnaire on the graph.
You will now be able to see aspects of your own weight management from the highest to the lowest priority. The higher ones might be the place to start if you struggle with weight management. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 3.
This presentation debunks common myths around fats. We learn how to classify different types of fats and the importance of getting enough good-quality fats in our diet. We also look into cholesterol and its role in producing sex and stress hormones, what the optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is, and how genetic tests can help determine how effectively a person metabolises fat.
Stacy Holland, host of the ‘Real Health’ show, shares how she battled with eczema and depression for years until she realised that she had been so diseased-focused rather than concentrating on healing. She tells us how she began her healing process by learning how to eat intuitively, trusting her gut and eating a primarily plant-based diet.
Hannah Kyle, a nutritional therapist who runs an integrative wellbeing consultancy called ‘Inspire Health’, teaches us how the gut and brain are closely interlinked. She discusses research showing how diet has a major influence on mental health and children on the autistic spectrum.
Sauerkraut is filled with probiotic bacteria, natural digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals that aid gut health. In her video, Rachel demonstrates how to make good homemade sauerkraut which should ideally be included in small amounts in every meal to maximise its health benefits.
Good quality fats are essential for good health. This assignment is a follow-up of Step 1’s homework and involves tracking your fat intake from your food diary. It will provide you with a better understanding of the quality of fats in your diet.
Part 1 - track your fats
Pick and list every food item from your two-day food diary (from Step 1) that you consider to be a fat source.
Part 2 – rate your fats
Rate each of those food items as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ by following the instructions in the sheet.
The ‘good’ fats are the best in quality and should be part of your daily intake. The ‘bad’ fats are not as good and you should limit their intake, while the ‘ugly’ fats are the worst and should be avoided. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 4.
This presentation looks into the different types of simple sugars and complex carbohydrates and we recognise that carbohydrate food sources should be viewed as a food item rather than a macronutrient. We also look into beneficial carbohydrate food sources that would be missed on a low-carbohydrate diet, and learn about the concept of glycaemic index, glycaemic load and the blood sugar curve. Finally, we discuss tips for balancing sugars.
Leigh Wallace, a GP who applies the Functional Medicine model, shares her personal and professional journey. She tells us about her own gut issues and food intolerances, as well as how she approached her healing process. She also talks about how she applied the Functional Medicine model to her own practice, and how her experiences revamped her personal and professional life.
Antonia De Luca, a chef, author, entrepreneur and owner of a wholly plant-based restaurant called ‘Leafy Greens’, shares her food and entrepreneurial journey. She tells us how she primarily eats a raw vegan diet but refuses to be restrictive and listens to what her body needs.
Homemade meat stocks are rarely used in modern-day cooking but they are incredibly nutritious. Rachel shows us how to make a delicious, gelatinous chicken stock that will not only add flavour to our cooking but also provide many health benefits, especially for our gut.
Good quality carbs are essential for good health. This assignment is similar to the previous one in Step 3 because you will be tracking your carbohydrate intake from the two-day food diary you completed in Step 1. This will give you a better understanding of the quality of carbs and sugars in your diet.
Part 1 – track your carbs
Pick and list every food item from your two-day food diary that you consider to be a carbohydrate or sugar source.
Part 2 – rate your carbs
Rate each of those food items as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ by following the instructions in the sheet.
The ‘good’ carbs are the best in quality and should be part of your daily intake. The ‘bad’ carbs are not as good and you should limit their intake, while the ‘ugly’ carbs are the worst and should be avoided. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 5.
This presentation looks into the structure of amino acids and the importance of proteins. We learn about different protein requirements, sources of protein and factors that determine protein quality. We also recognise the importance of combining vegan protein sources to improve the balance of amino acids.
Nicci Robertson, a nutritional therapist, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and founder of ‘Re~Invent health’, teaches us three effective strategies that anyone can implement to improve their health at no cost.
Craig Norman, a natural bodybuilder, personal trainer and gym owner, shares his journey as a competitive natural bodybuilder and discusses the importance of good nutrition to support training and overall health.
Boerie soup is heart-warming and filled with nourishing ingredients, including traditional South African grass-fed boerewors. In her video, Rachel shows us how to cook a delicious Boerie soup that can easily feed a whole family of four with leftovers that can be frozen for another meal.
Protein means ‘of first importance’ in Greek, so it is important that you know your own protein needs and make sure that you are meeting them. Like Step 4, you will be tracking your protein intake from the two-day food diary completed in Step 1. This assignment will teach you how to estimate the amount of protein you are obtaining from your diet.
Part 1 – track your protein
Pick and list every food item from your two-day food diary that you consider to be a protein source.
Part 2 – estimate your total amount of protein intake
Estimate the amount of protein in every food item using the sheet which shows common foods that will give you 20g of protein as a guide. Add them up to give you an estimate of your total amount of protein.
By knowing your protein requirements, you can see whether or not you are meeting them. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 6.
This presentation looks into an array of food sensitivities and how they can be identified. We also learn about alternative forms of common food sensitivities and recognise the importance of variety when it comes to food choices.
Dr Debbie Smith, a qualified Homeopath, Acupuncturist and Doctor of Chinese Medicine, teaches us about key concepts in Chinese Medicine and how they are used when looking at any health imbalance.
Sedrick Theodosiou is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) trainer and practitioner. In this interview, he discusses important psychological contributors to healthy and not-so-healthy behaviours, and demonstrates how NLP can be an effective tool for behavioural changes, especially when it comes to food choices.
When we think of chocolate mousse, we often picture it as a fat-and-sugar bomb. However, Rachel shows us a healthy way of making chocolate mousse using nutritionally vibrant raw ingredients – a great option for desert.
Food sensitivities are very common nowadays, especially gluten, yeast, dairy and eggs. By taking the time to learn about your own unique responses to food, this assignment will help you identify your potential food sensitivities. This will enable you to make better dietary choices that work for you.
Part 1 – elimination diet
Eliminate foods that you suspect you might be sensitive or allergic to for three weeks.
Part 2 – challenge test period
Carefully reintroduce them, one at a time, following the instructions on the sheet. If you are sensitive to any foods, eating them at this time may provoke a stronger reaction than before, making it more obvious which foods are problematic. If you have an adverse reaction to a certain food, remember to wait at least 48 hours before testing a new food.
Part 3 – pulse test
To increase the sensitivity of your food challenge test, monitor your pulse (heart rate) as it tends to increase if an adverse reaction occurs. Follow the protocol on the sheet.
If you are sensitive to a particular food, try different variations to see if you can still eat that food. For example, opt for grass-fed, organic and/or fermented dairy instead of commercial dairy, or source sourdough rye bread instead of commercial wheat bread. This is part of making individualised decisions if you are looking for optimal health. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 7.
This presentation discusses the importance of food sourcing and food quality for achieving optimal health by looking into a range of ingredients that are commonly found in man-made foods, and realising how they can negatively impact various aspects of our health. We also explore rules for healthy eating, acknowledging the importance of making conscious food choices.
Debbie Logan, food activist and owner of ‘Organic Emporium’, teaches us about the importance of supporting local farmers who produce good-quality food rather than mainstream food retailers that rely on industrial agriculture and manipulate our thinking when it comes to food choices. She pleads with us to become more aware and to start asking proper questions about the food we source.
This is a follow-up from Debbie's main presentation, where she takes us through some excellent examples of organic farms in South Africa, that supply her or organic food shop in Johannesburg.
Debbie delves further into food sourcing and emphasises that famers should become our heroes. She also gives us a tour through her store and highlights the differences between organic and commercial food items.
Goji berry balls are a healthy snack option. In her video, Rachel shows us how quick it is to make delicious goji berry balls, using nuts with dried fruit to balance out the sugars.
Part of achieving optimal health is being aware of what is in your food and from where your food is sourced. This assignment will help you to become a more conscious shopper.
Part 1 – find a food item and list the ingredients
Scour your cupboards for an item of food that you would routinely be happy to prepare for yourself or your family. The product should have at least eight items on the ingredients list, at least three of which you do not recognise or which has a chemical sounding name. Write all the ingredients in the table provided on the sheet.
Part 2 – rate your ingredients
Research each ingredient you have written down on the internet, and rate each one of them as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’.
After rating all the ingredients, you should become more aware of what you are eating and ask yourself whether you would eat that particular food again. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 8.
This presentation discusses certain dietary and lifestyle practices that we can implement in our lives, acknowledging that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect diet’ but there is generally always something we can learn from different dietary practices.
Dr Simon Lawson, a chiropractor and president of the Chiropractic Association of South Africa, explores the link between the neuromusculoskeletal system and nutrition, highlighting the three main concepts of chiropractic practice.
Heidi de Preez, a natural scientist, author and functional practitioner, shares her holistic approaches to diet, supplementation, detoxification and emotional wellbeing. She stresses the importance of getting the basics right when it comes to nutrition and lifestyle.
Hummus is a great source of healthy fats that can be used as a spread or a dip. In her video, Rachel shows us how to make tasty and nutritious hummus using raw ingredients.
There is a tendency to follow popular trends in diets, with the ultimate goal of finding the ‘perfect diet’. This process leaves people more confused until they realise that there is no perfect diet. This assignment will guide you in reflecting on your own dietary patterns and lifestyle.
Part 1 – what can you simplify?
Incorporating the learnings from the ‘Blue Zones’ study, write down what you can simplify in your own life when it comes to dietary choices and lifestyle.
Part 2 – interview
If you can, interview your parents or grandparents about their life when they were younger. Ask about their traditional practices and dietary choices. If they cannot remember back far enough, ask Dr Google for some more insights. Use the attached resource for some questions to guide you and also note down anything that you could incorporate into your own life.
You should now have an idea of what you could try incorporating into your own life in order to achieve better health. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 9.
This presentation explores the benefits of exercise, while acknowledging the importance of balance. We discuss key concepts that relate to stress, exercise and health, and look into active restoration techniques for recovery. We also discuss how lack of sleep can negatively impact overall health and athletic performance, drawing attention to a variety of sleep aids.
Dave Gardner, a Budokon mixed movement artist, explains how important it is to enjoy what we do in terms of exercise. He also tells us to reflect on how we move and to ask ourselves whether we have found the right balance. Finally, he teaches us a simple exercise to find our neutral gear.
This is a follow-up to Dave's main presentation. He takes us through a seated exercise, where we become mindful of different body parts as we look for the notion of 'neutral' gear in our lives....
Zac van Heerden, an exercise physiologist, shares his holistic views on training for athletes. He talks about modern ways to monitor training and discusses the importance of periodisation for athletic performance, taking into account the individual athlete.
Kefir is similar to yoghurt but slightly sourer in taste and contains more beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Rachel shows us how to make homemade kefir, a delicious base for smoothies.
Balance is key to achieving a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine. This assignment will guide you in reflecting on your own lifestyle and exercise routine.
Part 1 – training and wellbeing quiz (TWQ)
At the same time each day, score yourself on this quiz. Scores under 20 may be an indication of overtraining and might suggest that resting or easy exercise would be best. Mark the scores daily in your training diary.
Part 2 – training diary and daily commitments
Log your daily training and commitments for one week. Rate your stress levels from a scale of 1-10, write down your hours of sleep, your resting heart rate and your TWQ score. After that week, do some reflection on your own lifestyle and training routine.
After reflecting on your own lifestyle and training routine, you should be more aware of how they may be impacting your health. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 10.
This presentation looks at how we have lost our intuition when it comes to knowing what to eat and how much we need. We challenge values and discuss the limitations of science, the belief system in modern-day life. We also look at how to practice mindful eating and its benefits to improve our health.
Peri Zourides, a strength coach and owner of ‘Seven Star Energy Centre’, talks to us about the importance of living and exercising mindfully. He walks us through a mobile app called JAMM (Just A Mindful Minute) that he co-developed, which aims to create sustainable and mindful habits for everyone, even those of us who are time-restricted.
Dave Gardner, a Budokon mixed movement artist, talks to us about the value of living a mindful life and shares some mindful practices that anyone can incorporate into their day for enhanced health and wellbeing. Finally, he demonstrates a simple exercise that we can all do, as well as a difficult exercise that can be accomplished with ease.
Snack pack is a healthy combination of ingredients that will stop you reaching for that sugar-filled chocolate bar or unhealthy packet of chips. Rachel shows us how to put a snack pack together, a convenient ‘reach and go’ option.
When it comes to food choices, we have forgotten how to use our intuition in a science-dominated world. This assignment will help reignite your own intuition and teach you how to use it when you are hungry.
Part 1 – natural slender-eating strategy
Before every meal or a snack, follow the self-explanatory flowchart provided.
Part 2 – the food diary
Start by filling in the attached food dairy for two days. Use the reflection column, noting your thoughts about your particular food choices after following the natural slender-eating strategy. Also take note of how certain foods make you feel: your energy, your digestion, your mood etc.
You should now have learned how to be more mindful when eating. The discussion of assignment learnings will come during the introduction video for Step 11.
Ian Craig BSc MSc INLPTA is a nutritional therapist, exercise physiologist, NLP practitioner and a lifestyle coach. He was a competitive middle-distance runner for 20 years and is now a more leisurely runner and cyclist. He runs a private nutrition practice in Johannesburg's Morningside Chiropractic Sports Injury Clinic, where he personalises nutrition and exercise strategies according to his client's genetic attributes and lifestyles. Ian also writes and he is the editor for the UK-based Functional Sports Nutrition magazine and he recently published his first book Wholesome Nutrition with co-author Rachel Jesson.
Rachel Jesson B.Phys.Ed (Hons) M.Phil. is a trained teacher, holding a Masters degree in sports science and psychology. Being an ex-South African triathlete, Rachel’s passion lies in food, health and physical fitness. Her current sporting interests are running and CrossFit.
Rachel is a health food specialist, with a primary focus on practical and extremely healthy meal and snack options for athletes, active people and those who simply want to be healthy. She is the co-author of Wholesome Nutrition and contributes regularly to the international publication Functional Sports Nutrition and is the co-founder of the 12 Steps to Wholesome Nutrition course.
Rachel insists that for health, we need to keep things simple. She takes inspiration from previous generations with regard to the preparation of wholesome food.