Tag Archives: noakes

Dear Discovery Vitality

Dear Discovery Vitality,

I don’t like using the f word on social media but there is no other way today – I am FUCKING FURIOUS.

I run 5 times a week and earn discovery vitality points for fitness. I am superbly fit which is in your interests. But now I am told that I have “reached my limit” regarding points for fitness. Does this mean you only want us to exercise for half a year? WTF people? I have 30000 points to go to reach platinum but I have reached my limits fitness-wise?

I do still get my free coffee for reaching 1200 points per week for my running – woohoo, how generous! I just don’t get to drink it because I am 350 kilometres away from the nearest outlet. Bad luck that.

So now what? I know what you want me to do. You want me to rush off to doctors, dentists, pharmacists etc to be “screened” and for that you will award me big points. No thank you. I only go to doctors if I am sick – and if you glance at my records you will see that happens very seldom, again in your interests. I certainly do not need people squeezing my boobs between sheets of metal or inserting cameras up my bum, or anywhere else for that matter.

Yours in fitness,

An Extremely Disgruntled But Healthy Person

PS  You need to update your health questionnaire and your take on cholesterol – low fat is so last season, and just plain unhealthy. Have you not learnt anything from the “Noakes Trial”?



Train Mean, Eat Clean….

Train mean, eat clean – I love that saying. It makes me feel like Rambo, all rippling muscle and Eye of the Tiger aggression, on his way to victory! The only problem is the “train mean” part – it doesn’t matter how many times I play Eye of the Tiger on my Ipod, I just cannot channel Rambo on the road – sorry coach!

But the “eat clean” part, that’s another story. It all started with Prof Tim Noakes and his team on Real Meal Revolution. I have dropped sugar, gluten and seed oils from my diet, get my carbs mostly from veggies,have upped the good fats and have never felt better. I am now an absolute glutton for all new research on the subject of what real food can do for lifestyle diseases. Hippocrates wasn’t far off when he said all those years ago “Let food be thy medicine….” Functional medicine is growing rapidly overseas and hopefully South Africa will catch up soon.


Step number one in the “eat clean” campaign is to have your own veggie garden. I am so proud of mine – who would have thought? Twenty years ago if I had been told I’d be growing my own veggies I would have rolled on the floor laughing. But it’s nice to know I’m getting the benefit of all those little microbes in the soil that we need and that my greens aren’t contaminated with chemicals.


Good health starts in the gut. In simple terms we need to eat the stuff that feeds the good bacteria and avoid the stuff that feeds the bad bacteria.  And it’s that old devil sugar that feeds our bad bacteria.


One of the best ways to feed the good guys is to eat fermented foods. One of the easiest ways to do this (Banting friendly of course) is to make fermented pickles – so it’s back to the veggie garden. I now have a jar of fermenting cabbage on the top of my fridge. I’m a little scared of it. Will it explode if I have the proportions wrong? There’s quite a learning curve involved here. And it would not be cool to be injured by a flying jar of fermenting cabbage. My coach wouldn’t accept that as an excuse to avoid speed work anyway…

The good guys also need fibre which is provided by loads of leafy greens. Think spinach, kale and Swiss chard. I love wandering out into the garden early and picking spinach and a handful of spearmint. This goes into my Nutribullet (insert link) along with half a teaspoon of crushed ginger and the juice of a lemon. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Last, but not least, veggie gardens also need to provide food for the soul…..



Loving Liver




I read recently that when lions make a kill, the first meat they eat is the internal organs of the unfortunate prey.   These lions know what they’re doing.   Their instinct tells them that that particular meat is the most nutrient dense.   And look at them – handsome, strong and kings and queens of the jungle.

Then in steps Prof Tim Noakes.   Eat offal and the cheaper cuts of meat, he says, as they are more nutrient dense than the other more expensive cuts.  And I firmly believe that Prof Noakes knows what he’s talking about.  I’ve been following his LCHF way of eating for 9 months now and my energy levels and general health have never been better.

I decided to start with beef liver.    Mmmmm –  I’ve never even touched a piece of liver, let alone chopped one up and cooked it.   I manned up, chopped the beast,  cooked it and the results were superb.   Here’s my recipe:

You will need:

beef liver

beef mince – about 250g

half a pack of bacon, chopped

2 onions, chopped

coconut oil and butter for frying

garlic, preferably freshly chopped – several cloves

salt & black pepper

red wine


You will do:

In an electric frying pan heat a good few blobs of coconut oil and butter.   Be generous, these fats are good for you.  Add the chopped onions and saute for a few minutes.   Add the chopped bacon and garlic.   While this mix is frying away merrily (keep the heat low to medium), chop the liver and extract the tough white bits.  Give these tough bits to the dog(s).   Add the chopped liver to the pan, followed by the mince.   Break the mince up nicely, add salt and black pepper, and fry for about 15 minutes with the pan lid on and stirring quite often.   When the meat & onion mix looks nicely cooked, add half a glass of red wine, preferable dry-ish.   Do not forget to pour yourself a glass or two – full of fabulous anti-oxidants.

Let everything simmer away for about 10 more minutes.   At this stage you can turn off the pan.   When you are ready to eat, heat up with a dollop or two of thick cream.  I served this with fresh broccoli, lightly steamed.  Deeelish!

Now I need to work out how to tackle kidneys.

Marathon week is here!

Marathon week!  I’m doing a mini-taper running wise but haven’t cut my gym classes.  Last night we had a step class and I think I may have been a bit over-enthusiastic – I do love step!  This morning my left hip is sore, something I haven’t had for a while.  I hopped on the treadmill for an easy 5km just to keep the legs ticking over for Sunday and, of course, it didn’t do the hip any good.  “Unscheduled rest” is something that most runners fail to understand, especially me.   It could be a foreign language, for all I know – maybe Peruvian for “lets be obsessive”. Anyway, time on the treadmill with an ache in the hip gave me the opportunity to think about anti inflammatory pills.  It’s so tempting when faced with something that could become an injury to pop a couple of tablets.  But lately I have come to  believe in the amazing ability of our bodies to heal themselves, if left alone.  Popping pills messes with the bodies ability to heal itself – confuses it, so to speak. But for the body to heal itself it needs to be fed the right type of food – and that, I am convinced, is done by following the Prof Noakes regime of low carb, high fat aka Banting.  I’ve been eating this way for 6 months now and I feel on top of the world – amazing increase in energy levels.   I also believe that the complete lack of sugar and minimal carbs (mostly veg) leads to less inflammation in the body.   For Sunday’s marathon I will have my normal creamy coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil and a handful of nuts, no gels, sugary drinks etc.  I’ll carry some nuts as well in case I get peckish – after all us geriatric tortoises are on the road for a long time! This is where my sore hip comes in.  I’m going to eat right and leave my body to heal itself – no anti-inflammatory tabs. Let’s see what Sunday brings……

An introduction….

Let me introduce myself.   I am 56 years old and passionate about running.   I started my running journey 10 years ago with a half marathon and celebrated turning 50 with my first full marathon.

But now I’m tired of beating my head against a brick wall.   In my eyes the pinnacle of running success is to complete the Comrades Marathon before the final 12-hour gun (or even just to get into the stadium before then) but four times I have tried and four times I have not made the last cut-off before the end.   This year I decided not to put myself through that again but to rather take a step back and formulate a new plan of attack…..

I have tried all the normal training plans, speedwork, hill repeats, tempo runs but have not seen any real improvement.  I can crack a sub-5 marathon but several valves are burst in the process – I am trashed for at least a week!

At last, after reading, researching, browsing and a lot of thought,  I think I have found the problem – enter Dr Phil Maffetone .  If you haven’t heard of him, google!   Also google Zone 2 training with a heart rate monitor.  He maintains that if you cannot run comfortably while keeping your heart rate in a certain zone (for many people this will be our zone 2) then your aerobic base is poor.  And if you have a poor aerobic base then no matter what you do it will be hard to see any improvement, and you will be constantly battling injuries and other assorted niggles.   Sounds like me.

So I work out where my zone 2 lies and off I trot with my heart rate monitor on – SHOCK, HORROR!  I have a TERRIBLE aerobic base.  To keep my heart rate at the required level I actually have to go a full 2 minutes per kilometre slower than what I already thought was slow!  And a whole load of walking is involved!

Dr Maffetone maintains that one should not do any training outside of that zone until one has built a decent aerobic base and he has a test, the MAF test, to gauge how one is progressing.  Well I will be tweaking his recommendations a little (and also his test) to suit myself but the basis of my new attack is the Maffetone method.   I will refer to it as Zone 2 training though because I will be tweaking as I go along and do not want to offend any Maffetone purists!

Also, like any good attack, mine is two-pronged, a pincer attack if you will.   For 6 months now I have been eating according to the Prof Noakes plan aka Banting.  I have never felt better.   I used to have many digestive issues (including “runners trots”) which have all disappeared – how wonderful not to have to down a couple of Imodium before every race and then deal with the subsequent nausea!

So, basically my plan is to run as many kilometres as I can fit in but all in Zone 2, no matter how slow, for the next few months and see how I can improve my aerobic base.  Whilst I am cutting out intensive workouts, I do not want to cut down on volume.  I will pop in a marathon or two where I can find marathons with generous time limits.

I will continue banting – so far I have managed to run/walk  for 3 hours on a creamy coffee with coconut oil and a handful of nuts – no energy dips, no nausea and no pit stops in the bush!  I hope to be able to do this for a marathon soon, but that will be for another post!