One day at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine to learn about Integrative Medicine.

The moment you agree that weight loss is not only about diet, calories in vs calories out, and that treating someone’s health complaints is not only about prescribing a drug and not worrying about the underlying root causes, is the moment you understand achieving health and wellbeing needs to incorporate a holistic approach. This is what integrative medicine is all about.

Our dietitian’s Sarah and Yvonne were at the one day symposium at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine and here are some of their takeaways they would like to share with you.

Sarah’s quote of the day ‘No one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care’. As health professionals, you have to demonstrate to you clients that you put their needs as the first priority, practice insight therapy – listen and give insight to what the problem is.

  • Some research shows that people who get the most aggressive forms of cancer might be people who were more stressed in general.
  • The quality of sleep relates to weight.
  •  A combination of good nutrition, exercise, vitamin D, vitamin C, lycopene (from cooked tomatoes), aged garlic, and good quality dark chocolate can be just as effective as medication when treating hypertension.


Gut health and diseases – Prof Luis Vitetta

Probiotics is the biggest buzzword of 2014 and the hype will most likely continue into 2015 and onwards. Some research shows promising relationships between gut microbiome and disease treatment or prevention, however we still know too little about gut bacteria that contribute to more than a million cells in our body! Bacteria rules!! However there are a few theories about healthy gut bacteria that can affect our health: A combination of probiotics may be able to replace the epithelial damage of the gut which will be beneficial for people who suffer GI diseases like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and coeliac disease.

Establishment of intestinal microbiota during early life is very important and it will set up a good healthy foundation. The first three years of life is the most important to build microbiota culture for optimum health.

Obesity and leanness have different microbiota, maybe one day we will no longer prescribe diets but rather change one’s gut bacteria to solve weight issues.

Yvonne’s Takeaway from NIIMs

  • •The Mediterranean lifestyle is considered to be one of the most healthful lifestyles on the planet. It encompasses not only the diet aspect, one that has variety, is high in fruits, vegetables and healthy oils, but it also emphasises how the presence of community and social support is just as important for overall health and wellness.
  • Lifestyle and dietary interventions has just as much effect, if not more on reducing hypertension compared to conventional treatments with the added bonus of not having detrimental side effects. Try some light exercises, relaxations techniques, and increasing your Vitamin C intake through foods such as kiwi, cantaloupe, and garlic supplements.
  • Diet can manipulate the expression of certain genes in our body through interaction with the microbes in our body. They are responsible for breaking down the foods that we eat and producing by products, which has an effect on our end organs such as liver, brain, kidney, heart etc. and how they function. The saying you are what you eat definitely rings true!


DR Ross Walkers 5 points to wellbeing

Wellness is not just the absence of illness. Managing your mind is just as important an aspect to a healthier and happier you.

Be an active participant of your own life, take control and responsibility of you, this includes your health, family and wellbeing. Respond instead of reacting to what life throws at you.

Be committed to living in the present, this will help you to be in tuned with your environment as well as your body. Your biography becomes your biology.

Take each situation as a test. Ride the ebb and flow of life. Instead of saying “poor me” when something happens, ask” what is this trying to teach me?”

This encompasses devotion, loyalty, valuing others for who they are, having a good support network, surrounding yourself with friends and family and receive and give love unconditionally. Communicate openly and forgive freely.

The greatest lessons are the hardest lessons. Have the capacity to respond to the unexpected, the uninvited and unimaginable. Life is about making small decisions every second of the day that will lead you to the big change, and not about waiting for a significant big event. Try choosing to take the stairs instead of the lift, and having a piece of fruit and not a biscuit.


Our Dietitians Sarah and Yvonne with Arvi Sali, Founder of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine and father of Integrative medicine.