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  • Writer's picturedirtyheart

A World Filled With Food

Banting, Paleo, Fit4Life, Vegan, Nutri Bullet, etc. Nutrition… most probably the most talked about topic of late!


Everyone wants to find the magic formula to feel better, healthier and to lose weight. In sport, especially cycling, the power to weight aspect, contributes to even more need to lose those extra few kilo’s, but which diet or lifestyle do we choose? I believe in respecting Science, but most of the time, putting logic to the forefront, based on experience and results.

People often ask me what I think about a certain diet or lifestyle and my question is always - did it work for you? Most answer: Yes, while I was on it.

Question: Could you stay on it?

Most answer: No. Logic: All good diets and lifestyles have truth to them and will work if you stick to the rules, but obviously 99% cannot stay on it for life and that means, in the long term...EUREKA!!! Diets do not work. Why are people still looking for that life changing diet and why is there a new one in every magazine? If you take pills to make your hair grow and it haven’t started to grow after 3 months?

LOGIC: the pills don’t work

SOLUTION: Balanced eating, and no, this is NOT everything in moderation, but rather, the correct amount of each of the 3 food groups per kilogram body weight per day.

Let us not go into all scientific evidence of things but rather look at a practical way to understand and implement this nutritional way of life. It might not be accurate to the micro gram, but definitely very close. I am not going to into all the details but I advise you keep it simple and do-able.

The 3 main food groups are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat.

CARBOHYDRATES: Most of us, eat more than enough carbohydrates, because it is in all our sugars, starches, fruit and 80% of vegetables. All carbs, break down in sugar and those that we do not burn as energy, will be stored as fat. Sugar also produces other bad effects (insulin spikes and blood sugar dips, etc)

FAT: Good Fat: very simply put- plant oils, seeds, nuts, fruits like olives, avo’s and fish oils. Animal fat is not bad, but we don’t need to eat too much of these saturated good fats (meats, butter, dairy, etc). Bad Fat: Eish…all the great tasting treats, like choccies, baked, fried, processed, artificial fats (margarine, vegetable oils, etc) ****Vegetables do not have fat, thus, vegetable fat or oil, is a man-made fat that gives flavor to food & preserves food, They are cheap and added more frequently to food.*** If you eat enough protein, seeds and nuts, you are most probably getting enough fat into the system as well, but if you want to add fat, please choose from the good fat list.

PROTEIN: This is the food group we make the most mistakes with, because we tend to think that we are eating enough of it. Latest research finds that we need 2-3 g of protein per kilogram body weight per day. If you weigh 60 kg = 120 – 180 g of protein per day. A 200 g piece of steak contains about 35 g of protein, the rest is fat, fibre and water. A can of tuna = +/- 25 g of protein. A simple way to check the amount of protein in a piece of meat: imagine how many medium size eggs (in the shell), can you fit on top of that piece and multiply it by 10. Now, go and see how little protein you are actually eating per day.

WHY is the correct amount of protein so important? - Protein is the food for our muscles (remember that your heart is also a muscle) - Proteins carry carbohydrates (glycogen), to the blood to be used as energy - Proteins repair muscles - Protein help to stabilize your blood sugar - Protein lowers the GI of a carbohydrate when added to it - You need muscle to burn fat


Choose lean proteins as there is already fat in the fibres, but you can eat fat and if you want to add fat, choose the good fats.

Choose low GI carbohydrates.

Choose good fats.

Get good fibre by eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables.

Drink enough water (+/- 2 litres per day).

ALWAYS choose natural over man-made, e.g. potatoes vs pasta: = potatoes, butter vs margarine: = butter. Take a good pro-biotic (natural: kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc).

Good vitamins to take: magnesium, VitCOmega 3. Men: extra Zinc and women: extra Calcium

If you haven’t heard of Hannele Steyn in mountain biking circles I suggest you brush up on one of South Africa’s finest talents. Her sporting C.V. is an impressive one and she has achieved so much throughout her years of professional and competitive racing. Hannele is still making her mark in the mountain biking world. She is currently one of the ABSA Cape Epic “Last Lions”. These amazing athletes have completed every Cape Epic since its inception 13 years ago, and Hannelie is the only female in this prestigious group of four. Beyond her athletic achievements Hannelie is also a thriving business woman. She has created a health food brand; Passion4Wholeness and is actively involved in teaching athletes about the benefits of correct eating and nutrition.

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