Jackson's Real Food Market

As I embarked on a lifestyle change in 2017, one of my many challenges was sourcing nutrient dense food. That was until I discovered Jackson’s. Having been presented with the opportunity to chat to Gary, I have to admit that it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down as I so desperately wanted to know more about the brains behind one of my fav hangouts. Prior to this meeting we had a brief encounter where Gary mentioned his weight loss story and his lifestyle change. Gary’s passion for #JustRealFood is undoubtably contagious and a conversation with him is both effortless and informative. Probably why we chatted for almost 2 hours without even realising the time had passed.

During our chat he light-heartedly referred to Jackson’s as a groceraunt. The concept of blending a restaurant experience with a grocery experience. Jackson’s Real Food Eatery is however a lot more than just that. It is a one stop shop to a healthier you and is most probably the reason I am a regular customer at Jackson’s. I am able to do my shopping there and Saturday mornings see me take some me-time as I work on my mental strength with some rooftop yoga. In addition to this, we dine rather regularly at the restaurant, believe it or not even my kids love eating at Jacksons. Healthy food that tastes uber delish.
As Gary shared his journey with me, I was transported back to the first 5 years of his life where he grew up in Tokyo due to his dad taking a job there. The lifestyle in Tokyo ensured that he was a super healthy baby. In the early 1970’s Gary’s family relocated to Cape Town. The South African way of life, which was vastly different to the lifestyle he had become accustomed to in Asia, saw him develop several health conditions from eczema to hay-fever which earned him the nickname “wet hanky”. Doctors claimed that these health issues were allergy related and he was treated accordingly.
After completing high school Gary went on to varsity where he studied Industrial Psychology and Business. He later joined the army where he earned the title of lieutenant. Military discipline and training in addition to having grown up with a mom who was into yoga and a dad who owned his own health studios’, meant a healthy lifestyle wasn’t something new to Gary.
Gary repeatedly applied to an International Fast Food company, and after numerous letters of rejection they finally contacted him to say that they were interested in coming to South Africa. He was presented with the opportunity to run a store abroad to prove himself, so off he went to London where he learnt the ins-and-outs of the Fast Food industry. They were so impressed with him that before he knew it Gary was running 4 branches at a time back in South Africa. He spent the majority of his time ensuring that the fast food outlets were a success, but this inadvertently meant that he lived off fast food and as his weight climbed, his health plummeted. He had to deal with high cholesterol, brain fog, depression and even kidney stones. Gary remembers witnessing his clients succumb to similar health issues.
At this time Gary started dating a gorgeous Greek girl, who wasn’t happy about his health issues. She asked him for just 3 months … 3 months to try her approach to diet and lifestyle. Obviously besotted by the gorgeous girl, Gary agreed and started eating a Mediterranean diet. His existing health issues started to vanish one by one, making him realise the importance of eating a healthy nutrient rich diet. He then eased into an exercise routine and without even realising it, a lifestyle change had begun. Towards the end of our chat, I asked Gary what had happened to the Greek girl. He lit up like a Christmas tree as he said “I married her, how could I not? She was just amazing.” So it was a win win situation as Gary got his health back on track and he got the girl.
After his lifestyle shift, Gary left the fast food behind and took up employment with an upmarket food chain where he learnt everything there was to learn about the organic industry. After 6 successful years of employment with this mega chain, Gary’s awareness and self-discovery edged him to bite the bullet and he opened Jackson’s Real Food Market in Bryanston. The once humble 4 table groceraunt has since grown from strength to strength, resulting in Gary opening a second branch at Kyalami corner, 5 months ago.
Having earned a Degree in Hamburgerology, Gary prides himself on ensuring that Jackson’s dish up the yummiest hamburgers along with many other amazingly delicious and oh so healthy meals. His vision for the brand is to make healthy food accessible to everyone so that people can be healed and so that they can achieve vitality and wellness in their lives.
DISCLAIMER : This is not a sponsored post, merely me sharing my opinion on my favourite hang outs.


World Hypertension Day

In December 2016 I rushed to the doctor as I was experiencing severe headaches and my feet were swollen. For weeks I had been blaming it on the December heat. At my visit to the GP we discovered that my blood pressure was 155/115. After numerous tests, it was confirmed that I was hypertensive. I was immediately treated with medication, but losing 15kg has helped me keep my blood pressure under control.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of hypertension in the world and there are more than 1 billion people affected by this silent killer worldwide. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and even eye diseases.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension occurs when the body’s blood vessels are persistently put under increased pressure.

How can I be affected by hypertension?

People may develop hypertension because it is genetic or due to lifestyle habits, such as the harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, being overweight, high salt intake, or even stress. According to the Hypertension Society of South Africa, approximately four in 10 adults older than 25 have hypertension .

Blood Pressure Readings:

Blood pressure readings comprise two readings:-

  • Systolic – The maximum arterial pressure during contraction of the left ventricle of the heart.
  • Diastolic – The bottom number indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

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The Effects & Treatment of Hypertension

Left undetected or untreated, hypertension can damage one’s body as highlighted in the below illustration.


Treatment for hypertension depends of the severity of the blood pressure reading. The goal of hypertension treatment is to lower high blood pressure and protect important organs, like the brain, heart and kidneys from damage. Treatment for hypertension has been associated with reductions in stroke, heart attack and heart failure according to research. A lifestyle change is ultimately the solution to preventing or reducing hypertension. Treatment with medication is recommended to lower blood pressure to less than 130/80 in people older than age 65 and those with risk factors such as diabetes and high cholesterol. The downside of the medication is that the there are several side-effects.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat High Blood Pressure

A critical step in preventing and treating high blood pressure is a healthy lifestyle. You can lower your blood pressure with the following lifestyle changes:

  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet to less than 1,500 milligrams a day if you have high blood pressure; healthy adults should try to limit their sodium intake to no more 2,300 milligrams a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt).
  • Getting regular aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking at least 30 minutes a day, several days a week)
  • Limiting your consumption of alcohol

Hypertension Awareness Day is celebrated annually on the 17th of May and happens to be a word-wide celebration with a purpose of educating people to be aware of their blood pressure status. This years theme is “KNOW YOUR NUMBERS” with a goal of increasing high blood pressure awareness in all populations around the world”.

It is important that you know that hypertension is a preventable and treatable condition. Go have your blood pressure checked today and have it checked on a regular basis. Don’t become a statistic.


The Cookery by The Secret Jozi Chef

As an absolute foodie, one of my favourite pastimes is cooking up a storm in the kitchen and if you follow me on social media, you would know that if I could spend every minute of my day cooking, then I would.

So when I attended a Women’s Health Magazine event at The Cookery, I knew that I would find my happy place. I get to cook while sipping on bubbly and I get to socialise. All I can really say is this place was made for me.

When I met Paul Maciel for the very first time, I was completely starstruck. During the course of the evening we got to chatting and he told me his story and all he ended up doing was igniting my passion for cooking. Paul started out as the owner of a well known Jozi restaurant Pronto in 2004. Twelve years later he sold Pronto and launched his blog The Secret Jozi Chef as well as his cooking school, The Cookery. I chatted to Paul about my weightloss journey and I clearly remember him saying, “Eat whatever you want, as long as you make it yourself”. I never thought about food that way, but it made absolute sense. The Secret Jozi Chef strongly believes that the real chefs in the world are home cooks.

The Cookery is a venue where foodies converge to cook, learn and socialise. Irrespective of whether you can cook or not, you are guaranteed to have an uber fun experience. I always meet the most amazing and interesting people at The Cookery which makes for a fabulous time.

The kitchen is equipped with state of the art appliances and equipment that will make any cooks’ heart sing. Can you say Kitchenaid and Whirlpool?!?! Events are theme based and advanced bookings are essential. The Cookery can cater for up to 20 people per lesson. Lessons are super relaxed, entertaining and just pure magic. Paul is supported by his fabulous team who are beyond friendly and helpful. Paul, Emilio, Sicelo and Carlos operate with such ease and precision that they make the entire experience one that will keep bringing you back time and time again. Trust me on this, I speak from experience as I aim to visit The Cookery at least once a month. So, if you haven’t experienced The Cookery by The Secret Jozi Chef I highly recommend you put it at the the top of your list of things to experience in Jozi.

The month of May sees The Cookery celebrate 2 years of all-round amazingness. To Paul and his fabulous team, I sincerely wish you the very best and I look forward to making many, many more amazing memories with you. Thank you for giving of yourselves so generously and for just being truly wonderful people. Your love for food and people is contagious and I’m left in awe after each and every visit.


Grabbing PMS by the Balls

At the very tender age of 40 I can thankfully say that I have no freakin clue as to the kind of havoc PMS can cause in a woman’s life. Well I do, but I don’t if you know what I mean. That time of the month is really a non-event in my life but so many of you have a completely different story to mine. In the interest of understanding what throws you over the edge and turns you into a crazed lunatic, this post if for you, the woman who has to face the dreaded monster called PMS.


How long should it last?

PMS should start consistently a week to two weeks before your period and stop a day or two after menstruation starts. Which basically means that on average you have a week of calm and peace in your life. Like WTF?? But that’s life and we got to find ways to roll with the punches.

The most common emotional PMS symptoms

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Food Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Over-sensitivity
  • Sadness
  • Rage

Ways to cope with PMS

Exercise. As much as you didn’t want to hear this, physical activity can lift moods and improve depression. Exercise may help counteract some of the hormone changes that may trigger severe PMS. No one is expecting you to run a marathon. Try taking a walk, running, cycling, swimming or even yoga.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sweets. Another thing you didn’t really want to hear. I mean what the hell are you going to be left with. I’m not entirely sure that this is the answer to your problem, but avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sweets (sugar) can make a considerable difference.

Small, frequent meals. Eating small meals throughout the day rather than two or three big meals may also help ease PMS symptoms. Try to eat six small meals a day to keep your blood sugar levels steady.

Calcium supplements. It’s been said that getting plenty of calcium can help ease mood changes related to severe PMS. Chat to your GP to get a supplement that can help your body cope better during your menstrual cycle.

Stress management. Stress can make severe PMS symptoms worse, so finding ways to give stress the slip can help treat PMS. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga.

Chart your symptoms. Chart your symptoms for several months to be sure that you are experiencing PMS and not another conditions. Debilitating PMS is a reality which includes both physical and emotional symptoms. It is therefore best to consult your doctor on ways to cope.

Holistic approach. Massage and acupuncture have been known to help some women cope better.


Fitness event|Lifestyle

Fitness is a Fit Affair

If you have been following my journey, you are probably asking yourself why I attended Fitness Magazine’s Fit Affair 2.0 that was held in Pretoria this weekend.

Well, it’s pretty simple.  Firsly, I love fitness events.  Secondly, fitness is a lifestyle and even though I may be battling an injury it is important that my mental game is strong. That’s why attending Fit Affair 2.0  was a no brainer.  Thirdly, you can’t beat the energy and vibe at a fitness event.  Events like these allow me the opportunity to keep the momentum going.  Besides, it means I get to hang and workout with my #fitfam and that’s the best part of it.


It’s the beginning of winter and the temperature at 8am was a chilly 8 degrees celsius.  The cold start didn’t last very long and the sun soon began to bake down on us, it wasn’t long before we started to feel the heat.

A tad frosty

The lineup started off with a stretch and activation session, which was followed by a Brazilian Booty workout which had us moving to the beat.  This was pretty much the only workout I could get involved in so I did my own thing and made the most of it.  It’s about listening to my body (and my doctor) but keeping my energy and spirits high.  It’s super easy to become demotivated and frustrated when faced with an injury, which in turn can see you fall off the bus.  I’ve come too far to let a set-back mess me up, so I’d rather be the girl who finds the silver lining.

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The last session was a HIIT workout, which I couldn’t do at all.  I must admit I had a serious case of FOMO watching from the sidelines.  I was however able to play photographer and it was amazing to watch my friends embrace this fitness event.  They were in it to win it and gave it their all.  I was so glad they decided to join me for this event because they left feeling amped and motivated.  Now this is what fitness events do for me and I was glad that I got to share it with my friends.

All in all another fabulous morning of getting up and getting moving.  Really hoping to see you at the next fitness event.  Check my Instagram account for more deets.


I Got Manhandled by a Chiropractor

….. and I loved it.

After numerous tests, doctors confirmed that I had sustained an injury in my sternum.  Over the past few weeks I have been living with the most insurmountable pain, so I made my way to a Chiropractor at the Bedford Wellness Centre.

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Chiropractic is a health profession specializing in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.

Chiropractic practitioners essentially rely upon non-invasive treatment methods and will refer patients to medical practitioners should medication or surgery be indicated.



Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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For the paste

  • 20 green chillies
  • 3 tbsp chopped lemongrass
  • 3-4 lime leaves
  • 10 tsp chopped coriander stems
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh turmeric
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • Salt

 NOTE : Or use the Blue Elephant Thai Green Curry Meal Kit or 4 tbsp Thai Green                               Curry Paste) For the curry

  • Coconut oil
  • 2 fresh green chillies (finely sliced lengthwise)
  • 3 fresh red chillies (finely sliced lengthwise)
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • ½ tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp Fresh ginger and garlic
  • 1 whole chicken (chopped into pieces)
  • 300g broccoli and courgettes mix chopped into chunks
  • Handful of Thai lime leaves


For the Paste

  1. Add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend together.

NOTE: Using a mortar and pestle will however produce better results.

  1. Work with one ingredient at a time before adding the next.
  2. Add some rough salt and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to aid the process.
  3. Work through all ingredients until one properly combined paste results

For the Curry

  1. Cut the chicken into pieces then set aside.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pot on a medium heat.
  3. Add the fresh chillies, ginger and garlic.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes then add the chicken pieces and fry for approximately 10 minutes, or until just chicken starts to brown.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the Thai green paste for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and add the Thai lime leaves. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil, then simmer until slightly reduced.
  6. Stir in the veggies, reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Add the fish sauce and coconut sugar to taste and bring back to the boil, then stir in the lime leaves, red chilli and basil leaves.
  8. Season carefully to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Serve with jasmine rice and garnish with lime wedges and dhania (coriander).


Cheesy Bacon Cassava Muffins

Cheesy Bacon Cassava Muffins

  • Servings: 12 normal size muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 pack of diced bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tub chunky cottage cheese
  • 1 cup cassava flour @health_riot
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (paprika)
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh herbs


  1. Preheat oven
  2. Airfry or bake bacon bits until done
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until property mixed
  4. Add the bacon and give a quick mix
  5. Spoon into cupcake/muffin tins
  6. Pop into the oven and bake for approximately 20 to 24 minutes