Intermittent fasting is quickly gaining popularity as celebs and ordinary folk alike are jumping on the bandwagon of this method of dieting. Whilst the word ‘diet’ is not in our vocabulary at WellBe, it can be said that this form of restrictive eating does seem to have some benefits, as well as some adverse effects, which is why we decided to dive into the topic. 

Truth be told, anything that doesn’t involve spending excessive amounts of time on the stair master or hundreds of rands on paleo and banting bars and trail mixes is worthy of our attention. 

So, what is intermittent fasting all about? Let’s find out. 

An expert explanation of intermittent fasting

According to an educational article published in Hackensack Merdian Health, “Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you withhold food for a certain amount of time and allow your body to use energy more efficiently.” Basically, instead of your body using energy from food such as carbs, it will break down fats instead. 

Sounds too good to be true, right? We thought so too. So we did a little digging…

The different methods of fasting

The 5:2 method

This is where you consume your normal caloric intake for 5 days a week and then on two non-consecutive days, you limit your consumption to less than 500 to 600 calories a day. 

The 16:8 method

This is one of the easiest ones to follow, basically, this involves skipping breakfast. You don’t eat for 16 hours of the day and then eat during the other 8 hours. You can choose which hours you would want to spend eating and which ones you will fast for depending on your lifestyle. For example, you can choose to fast between 10 am to 6 pm or 11 am to 7 pm. Whatever suits you! 

The 24 hour fast

Also known as the eat-stop-method, this is pretty much as straight forward as the name suggests. A 24 hour fast is when you do not eat for one full day, either once or twice a week. You then stick to your usual caloric intake for the other days of the week.

The warrior diet

This one seems a little extreme to us. How it works is that you divide your days in 20 hours of fasting and then 4 hours of eating as much as you like. During the fasting period, you are allowed to have small amounts of eggs and nuts to prevent low sugar levels causing you to pass out.

Is there any science behind fasting and weight loss? 

In order to lose weight, our bodies will need to increase the amount of time spent burning calories from the food we eat. When you do not eat (fasting), then this allows your body to burn stored energy. When your body digests and absorbs food it is in what is known as a ‘fed state’, this starts the moment you start eating and lasts roughly 3 to 5 hours after. 

During this ‘fed state’, it is difficult for your body to burn any fat as your insulin levels are high.

On the other hand, your body’s post-absorptive state will last between 8 and 12 hours after the last meal you ate. This is when your body has entered a fasted state, during this time your body will burn fat as insulin levels are low. 

FYI: Insulin works to decrease your blood sugar levels by moving glucose out of your blood and into surrounding cells. When we have higher levels of insulin, this prevents fat from being broken down for energy.

Essentially what fasting does is put your body in a fat-burning state that it rarely reaches during your normal schedule of eating. 

Can I drink during periods of fasting?

As long as you’re only drinking zero-calorie beverages such as water, coffee, and tea, then you’re in the clear. Drinking water whilst fasting is encouraged. 

I thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day?

Experts suggest that it’s better to eat more earlier in the day to avoid overeating at night. If you want to start fasting, it’s advised that you start eating at a time that gives you a 5 to 6-hour time gap before you sleep. For example, if you typically go to sleep at 10 pm, then your last meal should be at 5 pm. 



Apart from weight loss, are there any other health benefits to fasting?

Studies suggest that those who have followed a diet of fasting compared to a calorie-restrictive eating plan have experienced more health benefits and sustainable weight loss. Some of which include decreased inflammation, increased energy and even an increased immune response (perhaps this is because our bodies are not working overtime to digest food all the time and can focus on immunity efforts). 

However, you need to keep in mind intermittent fasting is a relatively new trend, meaning that current studies lack in control group numbers and findings are somewhat limited. 

Are there any foods I should avoid when I’m not fasting?

There is no rule about what you can and can’t eat when following an intermittent fasting plan. However, it is encouraged that you eat unprocessed wholefoods and be mindful of what you put in your body. Experts suggest sticking to a healthy diet and foods that are high in fibre will boost effects felt from fasting. 

While you’re here, have a look at these foods to help improve gut health

What are the side effects of fasting?

After a few weeks of intermittent fasting, your body will start to adapt and adjust to your new eating cycle. But we must warn you the first few days and weeks can be incredibly challenging. You might experience bouts of lightheadedness, headaches, low energy, constipation, and irritability. 

You need to ensure you are drinking enough water (6 to 8 glasses a day) and avoid any strenuous exercise when fasting. 

Who should not fast? 

If you are someone who suffers from an eating disorder, or you are pregnant, have diabetes, are underweight, trying to conceive or have issues with your blood sugar regulation, then fasting is not for you.

The final word

Before starting any new eating plan, it’s always advised that you chat with a professional such as your doctor or wellness coach. They will be able to assist you and give you sound advice on what kind of healthy lifestyle choices you need to make. 

Remember, different diet and lifestyle choices work for different people. We always suggest that you make conscious and mindful decisions to lead a healthy and happy life, and your diet and exercise plan are two very big determining factors in your physical and mental wellbeing. 

Following a nutritious diet


A number of new moms will start to wonder just how long it takes to lose their baby weight and bounce back to their pre-baby body. While many might wish you could magically lose the love handles and hips the moment your baby is born, the fact remains that no one, not even celebrities, can snap right back to their body before their baby so quickly. 

And give yourself some credit, you just carried a baby inside your womb for 9 months. Your body was bound to change as your baby developed and your hormones conjured up what seemed to be a hungry, tired and sore body (unless you’re one of those pregnancy unicorns who glows and walks around on clouds, then kudos to you). 

So, just how much weight do you lose the moment you give birth? 

This will depend on the size of your newborn, he or she should weigh between 3 to 5 kgs, then there is the weight of your placenta and amniotic fluids, which you deliver at birth. All in all, you can expect to instantly shed 5 to 6 kgs during delivery. Hooray! 

So, where is the rest of the weight sitting? In your blood supply, breast tissue, enlarged uterus and fat stores. In fact, when you give birth you should not expect the instant weight loss to automatically shrink your belly, this might take about 6 weeks until your uterus shrinks back to its original size. 

Losing the baby weight

There are a number of ways you can go about trying to lose your baby weight but remember to give yourself a break. You literally just birthed another human being. Things have moved around, grown and stretched out a bit. This means that the trick is not to focus on getting your pre-baby body back, but rather to create a happy, healthy and slightly-differently-shaped you! 

1. Setting reasonable weight loss goals

A good place to start is to chat with your doctor or a qualified dietician for them to help you set a reasonable and safe goal. Remember that everyone sheds weight at their own pace. There are also a number of factors that come into play when it comes to weight loss. One of these is your age. Your metabolism slows down as you get older – have a look at this blog on how to naturally boost your metabolism.

Another factor is your diet. If you adopt healthy eating habits (which will not only benefit you but your baby too if you are breastfeeding), then this will help immensely in your weight loss journey. While you’re here, have a look at these healthy and happy meals

And lastly, your activity levels and exercise routine also plays a role. 

2. Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a great way to burn calories while sitting down. In fact, some experts suggest that breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day! It also stimulates the release of hormones that will aid in shrinking your uterus back to its pre-baby size. So, if you can, breastfeed your newborn. Some moms suggest breastfeeding for the first two years of your little one’s life. 

3. Following a nutritious diet

The first thing I need to warn you about is to never jump into a ‘get-thin-fast’ kind of diet. These kinds of ‘crash’ diets might have you shedding a few pounds in just a few weeks through excessive and restrictive dieting, but when you start eating normally again, you will only put the original weight you lost (and some) back on. 

Your body needs proper nutrition to recover from the delivery, fight off infection and aid in feeding your baby. Which is why you should not consider any forms of restrictive diets

You need to ensure you are getting enough calories to breastfeed your little one. There are a number of delicious, healthy and easy to follow diet plans out there, especially for new moms. The WellBe Team is happy to help if you want some expert advice on where to start and what kinds of foods you should be eating as well as what kind of exercises plan to follow. Having a wellness coach is one of the best things you can do for your body and your wellbeing. 

A good place to start is by cutting out on junk food, processed food and fast food and choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. But if you want a slice of cake, treat yourself. The key is moderation when it comes to implementing a healthy lifestyle. 

4. Following an exercise routine

You might feel exhausted, rundown and sleep-deprived, but keep in mind that exercise, even a brisk walk, will not only do wonders for your physical appearance, but it will also boost your mood and leave you feeling great. So before you head to the couch after putting your little one down for an afternoon nap, why not pop a yoga video on the TV or a quick little workout video to follow? 

It’s a good idea to find activities you actually enjoy doing and ones that don’t take up too much of your time. Being a new mom doesn’t leave you with a lot of free time on your hands, so try to get in exercise anywhere you can. Invest in a pram you can jog with or pop a few squats the next time you ‘pop a squat’ in the bathroom. Trust me, incorporating these little exercises into your day will make the world of difference. 

5. Staying positive

The key to all of this is staying positive and being easy on yourself. Focus on the things you have accomplished and the weight you have already lost and remember than fitness if more about the number on your scale. 

The fact that you’re reading this blog is a step in the right direction, so here’s to you!

Sweet potato with feta and kale


It turns out, there are a number of healthy (and delicious) foods that can help promote eye and ear health. We all know just how important our eyes and ears are for helping us function in everyday life. From listening to beautiful music or watching the sunset, there is no denying that we need these senses to live our best lives.

Which is why we have put together 3 healthy and delicious meals to promote good ear and eye health!

Click here to download and view our easy and delicious Eye & Ear Health Recipes here


Sweet potato with feta and kale



Your gut health is more important than you think! In fact, maintaining a healthy gut is vital for mental and physical health, your immunity and much, much more. 

But just how do you go about improving the healthy bacteria in your gut? Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s first explain what your gut health refers to. 

What is a healthy gut?

Good question. 

Basically, your gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms living in your digestive tract. Your gut flora or gut microbiome refers to the bacteria and fungi that inhabit your gastrointestinal tract. These microorganisms have a big influence on your metabolism, weight, your body’s ability to defend itself against invading bacteria and viruses, your appetite and your mood. 

It’s crazy to think that the little organisms in our guts play a role in our mood and our weight, but it’s true! When we start to look at it this way, it makes sense as to why it’s important for us to ensure our guts are healthy. 

And here are 5 ways to do so…

1. Eat more fermented foods and take a daily probiotic

An article in Harvard Health examines the benefits of probiotics for our health. Probiotics have a range of benefits and gut health is the biggest of the lot! 

Probiotics are known as good bacteria, they are found in fermented foods such as yoghurt or you can also take them in the form of supplements. 

Probiotic supplements are a great way to ensure you are getting enough healthy bacteria in your diet. A number of people have found probiotics to be beneficial for effect on the gut in alleviating issues such as diarrhoea, IBS, bladder infections and even eczema in kids. 

It’s a good idea to chat with your pharmacist or doctor regarding what probiotic you should take. 

Fermented foods include: 

  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso

While you’re here, have a look at our article on supplements you need to add to your daily vitamin list (hint – we chat about probiotics here!). 

2. Eat more fibre

You need to include a wide range of fruits, veggies and whole grains in your diet. It turns out, your mom was right when she told you to eat your greens! 

Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fibre. What’s interesting is that your body cannot digest fibre, but it can be digested by certain bacteria found in your gut and fibre stimulates the growth of these healthy bacteria. 

Some fibre-rich foods include: 

  • Artichokes
  • Lentils 
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans 
  • Whole grains (whole grain oats, pasta and bread)
  • Brocolli
  • Green peas 
  • Raspberries

A great idea is to start your day with a blended shake! 

Put half a cup of dry oats, some frozen raspberries and protein shake powder into the blender with a cup of your milk of choice (yoghurt would also be great for probiotics). Blend and enjoy! 

3. Stay away from artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners have an adverse effect on your gut health and can cause an imbalance of gut microbes. 

A study done on rats found that aspartame (an artificial sweetener found in a number of fizzy drinks) was able to reduce their weight gain but increased their blood sugar levels and impaired their body’s response to insulin. Yikes! So the next time you’re craving a Coke Zero, rather have a glass of water with lemon and mint. 

Or better yet, make your own ice tea! Here are some great recipes to try! 

4. Reduce your stress levels



Now, I get that this is always easier said than done, but managing your stress is important for a variety of vital aspects of your health, one of these is your gut health. 

Managing your stress can be done through a number of ways. Here are some easy ones to implement in your daily life: 

  • Get more sleep – You need to get 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. 
  • Workout – Regular exercise will not only boost your mood, confidence and your mental wellbeing, but you will also get better sleep and feel great! We chat about this in the next point. 
  • Meditate – Download Calm or Headspace and prepare to have your entire mindset changed. 
  • Breathing techniques – The next time you feel anxious or stressed, breathe in deep for 4 seconds and out for 4 seconds. Repeat this as many times as you need to. 
  • Eat right – Check out these 3 recipes to boost your mental health

5. Exercise

Regular exercise contributes to weight loss, weight maintenance, good heart health and great gut health. 

Studies have found that regular exercise helps create a wide variety of good bacteria in your gut. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week with at least 2 strength training activities on 2 or more days a week. 

Here are some great workouts to get you started! 

Need some expert help? Have a look at why it pays to have a wellness coach in this blog

What it comes down to

Your gut bacteria play an important role in many aspects of your health. The best way to maintain a healthy gut is to eat right, get enough sleep, reduce your stress and take part in regular exercise. 

The trick is to create a healthy lifestyle as opposed to the ‘get-fit-fast’ or ‘lose-weight-now’ approach. And it all starts with a healthy and determined mindset.

Offer yoga and meditation classes


A number of companies are starting to see the benefits of wellness in the workplace. From improving employee’s happiness which is directly linked to their levels of productivity, a healthy workplace allows for not only healthy and happy employees but a boost in sales and your company’s bottom line. 

To fully understand the benefits of workplace wellness we wrote a blog on the topic which you can have a look at right here: 8 reasons why your company needs a wellness program

Personal wellness is a top priority

As working professionals, our personal wellness is of top priority and when a company enables its employees to work in an environment that supports their personal health and wellness, it creates loyalty, decreases sick days and creates a workplace that boosts morale and decreases stress levels. 

One of the first steps to improving personal wellness in the workplace is to inspire a culture of fitness. But it takes more than just some healthy snacks in the breakroom and encouraging employees to take the stairs. 

More than a few simple acts of wellness

To truly make a difference in the lives of your employees and sustain these positive results, you need to create healthy habits of wellness in the workplace, it’s these habits that help develop a culture of health and fitness. 

It’s important to understand that whilst a culture of fitness is important to implement and sustain, as a company, you need to look at the bigger picture of corporate wellness. Which is why it helps to get some professionals in to help. Wellness coaches offer expert advice and implement effective practises to improve the wellness culture in your office. 

In any case, one of the first steps to creating a culture of wellness is to inspire a culture of fitness.

Why fitness matters

Exercise is known to make you feel good. From the runner’s ‘high’ to the great feeling you get after working out, even when you go for a brisk walk around the block, exercise does more than just improve your physical health, but it also taps into our mental wellbeing on a number of positive levels. As with healthy eating and positive thinking, exercise helps us to feel great about ourselves which has a direct impact on our work lives. 

So, how great would it be if your place of work inspired this kind of healthy living? It would be amazing. 

1. Get moving – step up to fitness

It’s all about the little efforts that make the big difference. Rewarding employee’s ‘stepping’ milestones is a great way to encourage movement. 

For example, set daily goals of 10 000 steps a day. Those who reach this goal for 10 days in a row are celebrated and rewarded with discounted gym memberships or healthy snack baskets. 

Walking meetings offer a fun alternative to the boring boardroom. 

Provide safe bike parking for those who cycle to work. 

Did you know that staff who spent 30 to 60 minutes working out during their lunch break reported an average performance boost of 15%? Encouraging staff to work out during lunch and better yet, providing them with the space to do so is a great way to improve productivity.

2. Bring fitness into team building

Fun soccer games, 5k fun walks/runs or even jumping on trampolines at Bounce are all fun and engaging ways to interact as a team. 


3. Offer yoga and meditation classes 

During lunch and after work, bring in a yoga instructor or offer a meditation class for those who want to get involved. You can also offer this before work starts in the morning to ensure employees start their day feeling relaxed and ready to take on the challenges of the day. 


4. Clear communication and celebration is key

Offer yoga and meditation classes

It’s all fine and well having these various fitness and health opportunities available to employees, but you need to ensure that they know about them too! 

And what’s more, your staff need to know that you care about them. A fitness culture in the workplace will not happen without reinforcement. 

This means you need to create a clear communication plan and timeline that lets employees know exactly what activities will be taking place and when as well as what rewards and incentives are linked to these activities. 

It’s important that you reward and celebrate those who take part in fitness challenges. As mentioned earlier, some rewards include: 

  • Discount gym memberships 
  • Healthy snack baskets 
  • Healthy reward vouchers for shops like Total Sports or Sportsmans Warehouse 
  • Free yoga vouchers 

The list goes on. 

Open up an honest conversation around fitness in your business. Talk about topics like work and personal life balance and nutrition. Create an environment where employees are encouraged to talk openly about their health and mental wellbeing and have the right tools to improve their health. 

It starts at the top

Don’t forget that effective fitness in the workplace starts with the boss. As a leader, your staff will follow you so ensure you set a good example and take part in the various fitness activities in the office. 

Eye health


We all know that our eyes and ears play a vital role in helping us to function in everyday life. I for one know that my vision and hearing are two things I often take for granted. 

Ensuring our eyes and ears stay in tip-top shape directly relates to us living our best lives. And as it turns out, there are certain foods that can help us to do that. 

Foods for eye health

Do your eyes have all the minerals and vitamins they need to prevent glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts? Food has a HUGE impact on not only our mental wellbeing (pssst, here’s a great blog on handling anxiety in the workplace), but it also plays a role in our body’s health and wellbeing. 


This popular leafy green is a great source of zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which are closely related to beta carotene and vitamin A which are known to protect health issues with your eyes as a result of sun damage and reduce your risk of macular degeneration (eye disease that results in vision loss) and cataracts. 

Other great sources of these nutrients include collard greens, spinach, broccoli, kiwi, red grapes, oranges, corn, mangoes, honey melon, and yellow squash! 

Keep in mind that your body needs fat in order to properly absorb zeaxanthin and lutein, which is why it helps to eat these with some healthy fats such as avo or olive oil. 

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, this is a powerful antioxidant that gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant colour. 

The body converts this nutrient into vitamin A which helps prevent night blindness and dry eyes. Vitamin A and beta carotene also reduce your risk of eye infections. Carrots and butternut squash also contain this nutrient! 

As mentioned above, vitamin A and carotene are best absorbed when eaten with a healthy fat.


These contain plenty of vitamin C, this is an antioxidant which can help reduce your risk of cataracts.


Suffer from dry eyes? The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and other fish can help treat this! 

I suggest you aim to eat fish two to three times a week or include omega-3 supplements in your diet.

Green tea

The antioxidants found in green tea help lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Green tea also contains catechins which have anti-inflammatory effects.   

What’s an antioxidant? 

Antioxidants are important substances that can protect the cells in your body against the effects of free radicals. These molecules are produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation

Foods for ear health

Thinking about foods for your ear health is not really a common thought. But there are in fact a number of yummy and delicious foods that contain a variety of properties that can help to maintain healthy ears and lower your chances of hearing loss. 


Bananas contain magnesium (which also assists with cramping from sports and gym), but this nutrient is known to help expand blood vessels and improve circulation, all the way into your inner ear! 

Magnesium is also responsible for controlling the release of glutamate. Glutamate contributes to hearing loss related to noise. When glutamate is controlled, this lowers your risk of hearing loss. 

You know what they say – a banana a day keeps hearing loss at bay! (Well, I mean they should say that!)


This wonder food makes a second appearance in this blog! 

The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon are well known for their ability to reduce your risk of age-related hearing loss. 

The trick is to start eating two to three servings of salmon a week and including omega-3 supplements into your daily routine BEFORE you reach old age.  


Broccoli is full of folic acid which has incredible effects when it comes to slowing down hearing loss. 

Broccoli also contains vitamin C, vitamin K, and fibre which are all nutrients that help reduce damage to the sensitive and delicate tissue in your ears. 

Dark chocolate

Your tummy may have already started grumbling a little after reading about all these healthy and delicious foods, and this grumbling is just about to start getting worse because here comes something bound to get your mouth watering…

Drum roll, please…


This delicious treat is high in zinc. A deficiency in zinc is linked to age-related hearing loss. This means that eating a square (note I didn’t say the whole block), is a great way to keep your hearing in good shape as you get older. 

Want some more advice on healthy living?

Get in touch with our team of health and wellness experts