The body is clever

Words: Hannele Steyn

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Like myself, many of DO IT NOW Magazine’s readers are active and strive to live healthy lives, and we therefore rely heavily on our bodies.

The body is clever

We need our bodies to be strong, fit, and healthy!

Whether you are an endurance junkie, adventurer, sprinter, cyclist, runner, walker, surfer, etc, we have all experienced what happens when we run out of fuel as a result of poor or incorrect eating habits. Like it or not, food plays an important role in our lives.

The human body is made up of a bunch of organised cells and what we don’t realise is how adaptable our bodies are. Yes, we are our own unique genetic blue print, but environment, social circumstances, and, of course, what we eat and do physically can either have a positive or negative impact on our body. So, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you lead a healthier (and ultimately happier) lifestyle.

General adaptation syndrome (courtesy of Patrick Holford)

When you first do a certain activity or taste something for the first time, you will obviously know whether you like it or not (and even if the first experience isn’t always nice, we tend to pursue it till it becomes nice, or actually until our bodies 'adapt' to it) e.g. smoking, drinking or even the pain of mountain biking, triathlon or any other crazy activity.

1. Adaptation:

If something is not good for you, like a fizzy drink full of sugars and colourants, the body will adapt to it by having to secrete high doses of insulin. This leads to a drop in your blood sugar and if this happens often enough, it could lead to diabetes. As you can see, adaptation is not always a good thing if you continue doing a bad thing, but is what the body needs to do to cope. 

The conclusion is that most of the illnesses and bad symptoms are a result of the body adapting to cope with it and to protect itself, which brings us to:

2. Exhaustion:

If these bad habits continue, the body will eventually be too weak to cope and will give in to illness, injury, or fatigue. Your energy will be gone and your digestive system is in shambles! What do we need to do to rectify this?

3. Recovery:

To do this, we need to change our lifestyle:
• In the case of physical activity, start to train wisely (Get a coach, a heart rate monitor, a programme, and train with a plan.)

• Do this consistently, not only once in a while and then go and overdo it in a race!)

• In the case of nutrition, seek professional help, see a dietician or nutritionist, become more knowledgeable about what you are buying and putting into your system, and realise that most of our foods are not packed with nutrition anymore and that we do need supplements to complement our food. Make sure that you also know which of the thousands of supplements to buy. Eat more balanced (this means to eat foods or meals that contain all three food groups: protein, essential fat, and low glaecemic carbohydrates).

The body is clever

A good way to start is to:

• Cleanse your body with a two-day liquid fast (hot water and lemon juice, and a green smoothie in the morning; veggie soup for lunch; and chicken and green vegetables for dinner (cook some green vegetables like spinach, cabbage, green beans, and broccoli, with a little chicken or vegetable stock (add some chillies and garlic, and pour through a sieve.)

• Remember to drink at least two litres of water per day. You can drink plain Rooibos tea throughout the day.

After a cleansing like this, you can start your new lifestyle plan with the correct foods, in the correct quantities, and supplemented with quality vitamins and minerals.

Living a healthy lifestyle day in and day out, can be difficult, but with a little bit of effort and commitment, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how fantastic you will feel - physically and emotionally - and it’s so worth the effort.

Green smoothie recipe

In a blender, add 2 spinach leaves, 50 ml aloe juice, a tablespoon of chopped ginger, a pinch of chilli, a teaspoon of Spirulina powder, 100 ml green apple juice, and 250 ml water. Blend and then pour the liquid through a strainer and enjoy.

Drink this smoothie in the morning, but remember to drink a glass of hot water with lemon juice first. This gets the metabolism going and rinses the kidneys and liver. The smoothie is high in nutrients and fibre, and guaranteed to assist your health and digestion.


For lifestyle plans and information on good supplements, visit or contact Hannele via email on

Sources: Patrick Holford