Lose It! I did.

11 Apr

The first issue of Lose It! Magazine is now available to purchase from Exclusives and Woolies and it is absolutely worth the R50 cover price as it gives you all you need to know to get Banting or, more famously, follow the Prof Tim Noakes diet.

They have also done a feature on me and here is a link to their on-line version.

Lose It! Magazine

Lose It! Magazine

I can eat anything except sugar & carbs and not get fat again.

2 Apr

Although I’ve been at my goal weight for more than a year now, I still think of myself as that fat guy who took up more space. I’m reminded of this when I need to get past people sitting in a restaurant and I think I’m bigger than I am and ask people to push their chairs in so I can get past. Fat blog

I wonder if I will ever be like a cat that knows its whiskers represent the widest part of its body.

Perhaps we all have an inaccurate picture of how we really are. Before getting on the scale this morning I imagined I would be 82Kg (had a greedy past few days) but I was actually 80.6Kg. This prove to me the veracity of the truth that sugar and carbs made me obese and not the fat or the caloric-value in foods.

Pic by Anel van der Merwe at Fairlady.

Pic by Anel van der Merwe at Fairlady.


I can have my cake and eat it!

23 Mar

No carb no sugar cheese cake.

No carb no sugar cheese cake.

Totally stoked to have devised a recipe that I can bake without fear that I’m pushing sugars and carbs onto addicts.

For my no-carb, no sugar berry cheese cake I made the “biscuit” base by blitzing desiccated coconut, a few unsalted almonds and coconut oil until it clumped together. I added a drop of vanilla extract for flavour.

I baked the base in a spring-release tin for 12 minutes at 180 degrees.

The filling is cheese, cheese, cheese and egg yolks. Usually I only make cheese cakes with Philadelphia-style cream cheese but I didn’t have enough in the fridge to I mixed one block of Philly, one tub of mascarpone and one tup of smooth cottage cheese in the food processor with a table spoon of vanilla extract. I added eight egg yolks and a table spoon of xyletol.

Bake in a water bath in the oven for 1 hour at 180. Unmould once chilled,  top with Greek yogurt and arrange berries prettily.

The next version will have three table spoons xyletol and the  zest and juice of a lemon.

I came up with this recipe after reading a similar one in Lose It magazine, the new magazine dedicated to shedding weight the “Tim Noakes way.” You can download the magazine by following this link.




PR-Net Trade brings together wine industry and media

11 Mar

The first PR-Net Trade event, in partnership with Andrea Desfarges of Publicity, was held on the 7th Floor pool deck of Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel. 

Seen there were:

When a logo says it all

8 Mar

As Cape Town is World Design Capital at the moment, it made even more sense to engage a professional to create a logo to represent my newest passion – a support group for people with Type 2 Diabetes who are also committed to reducing the impact of this scourge by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

I couldn’t be happier with this logo that Ian MacKie created for me. He perfectly understood that it is a fight to achieve health nowadays and that there is a revolution afoot of people who are no longer satisfied being dished up the same advice for a problem that is only getting worse. Like Victor Hugo says “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Please join our revolution. Our support group meets every Wednesday in Kenridge between 6pm and 7pm. You can email Type2Revolution@BrianBerkman.com to join.

TYPE 2 logo-01

Shed fears and phobias as you shed weight

2 Mar

I’ve started a support group for people with Type 2 Diabetes who want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We’ve had just two meetings but already I notice how similar the experiences of others in the group have been to mine.

Even though I’ve achieved my goal weight and by every measure I am now healthy, I still sometimes eat as a way of managing my anxiety. The difference now is that now I eat nuts or more of the foods that are good for me and even if I do increase my weight because of it, I’m able to normalise in a day or two.

I’ve also noticed that I’m not alone in the way that shedding my heft has also dramatically increased my ability to manage my anxiety and phobias. My life-long fear of spiders was once so debilitating that I couldn’t even look at a photograph or worse, be near a rubber spider without freaking out.

Look, I’m not suggesting that spiders and I are now best friends but certainly the intensity with which I avoid them is diminished.

I think I’m less frightened of myself, more confident that my body won’t fail me if I need to get out the way of a spider on the rampage.

I’m also more able to tolerate discomfort – I slid while climbing down Hangklip and deeply grazed my hand and arm. It was bloody and sore but I had no option but to continue climbing and deal with it when I got home. I mention this because I know that even if I were bitten by a spider that I’d likely survive it.


A golden orb spider encountered while climbing the Kogelberg.

A golden orb spider encountered while climbing the Kogelberg.

As I learn more about what I’m capable of now that I’m not fat  I honour myself for breaking the cycle of using food to soothe myself and then using food again to suppress the sadness and anger I felt at having used food to soothe myself in the first place.

More than anything, Tim Noakes introduced me to the idea that I was addicted to certain foods.  It wasn’t that I was lazy, or lacking in willpower, but that all of my life I’d been given the wrong advice in terms of what to eat.

Changing the way we live is hard enough without having to also be kept on the brink of addiction.

The Type2Revolution, We Shall Overcome support group meets on Wednesday evenings between six and seven at the practice rooms of Dr Louise Spruyt, 1 Mildred Street, Kenridge, 7550. It costs R450 per month to participate. Email Type2Revolution@BrianBerkman.com to join.


Lianne Burton shared her Pinterest passion with PR-Net

12 Feb

Had a brilliant PR-Net last night with Lianne Burton sharing her passion and insights about Pinterest with the group.

Our venue was Cameraland, the perfect inner-city venue for a presentation and reception on their open roof top. www.BizCommunity.com, PR-Net’s exclusive media partner sponsored the refreshments.

Seen there were:

Type2Revolution support group

11 Feb

A new support group called Type2 Revolution, We Shall Overcome! for people with Type 2 Diabetes who are struggling to achieve and maintain a healthy weight will be facilitated by me, Brian Berkman who successfully shed 70Kg and reversed diabetes and hypertension. The hour-long sessions on Wednesday evenings, between 6pm and 7pm will be held at the practice rooms of Dr Louise Spruyt at 1 Mildred Road, Kenridge. It will be an opportunity for people to talk about their experiences in a confidential, caring but constructive environment where they can plan ahead to achieve their goals. Fee is R450 per month. Email Type2Revolution@BrianBerkman.com to join.

Quality ingredients and eateries that cater to fussy tastes impress over “smart” spots

5 Feb

With money ever tighter there have to be compelling reasons to invest in dining out. When I wrote reviews about dining out I’d often suggest saving three or four ordinary meals to enjoy an extra-ordinary food experience believing instead that more value was delivered at the top end. Following a recent experience at Waterkloof Restaurant on Waterkloof Estate in Somerset West I’m no longer of that opinion.

The cured trout at Waterkloof was the only dish that impressed me.

The cured trout at Waterkloof was the only dish that impressed me.

A table for three was booked in writing. With a week’s notice I let them know I followed a no sugar, no starch, low carb, no alcohol diet. When they confirmed the reservation they also generously noted that they’d recorded my dietary requirements.

With one of the most dramatic tasting rooms and restaurant locations, Waterkloof has every right to bill a premium and I knew it was R350 per head for three courses (R40 is added if you order cheese) when I booked. Beverages and tips are extra.

However, when what’s on the plate doesn’t match up to the view or the price I feel cheated. The fact that they had us down for two and not three when we arrived was irritating but not the end of the world. Despite me telling the waiter about my limited diet they still, unthinkingly, served a sorbet between courses and my monk fish main arrived with the advertised samp despite me asking the waiter when I ordered it to provide an alternative.

I left the restaurant very disappointed by an experience where I feel that my fussy requests were ignored and, to add injury to insult, the monk fish was overcooked.

By contrast, two recent meals at little, unassuming bistros, impressed me.

Salmon, cream cheese salad at Just Pure Bistro

Salmon, cream cheese salad at Just Pure Bistro

At Just Pure Bistro, attached to Just Pure cosmetics in Hermanus, the quality of the ingredients and flavourful dressings make an ordinary-sounding salad something delicious. Great sea views didn’t hurt either nor did a under R100 for lunch bill.

Treat at Hertex Fabrics in Durbanville impressed me when I  enjoyed cakes and pastries and it continues to now. As a temple to sugar and carbs, if anyone had a right to return attitude when asked for no-carb no-sugar options they do but requests are met with the same genuine affection offered to all clients. Despite being busy they were open to serving the pulled pork sandwich as a salad instead and wow, was it delicious – juicy and flavour-packed pork with Tex-Mex attitude and condiments. For under R100 a person we each had a main dish and cappuccino.

Pulled-pork salad at Treat

Pulled-pork salad at Treat


Look, I’m not naive. Obviously the overheads at an establishment like Waterkloof are many times that of a regular restaurant but if their business model is based on the income of a plate of food from the restaurant alone it is doomed to fail.

As more of us change the way we eat those restaurants that don’t make the effort to happily accommodate the fussy eater may find a To-Let sign in the window in time to come. If you’re also a fussy eater I’d certainly recommend you have four meals at Bistro and Treat before you have one at Waterkloof.

My travel bucket list just got shorter

2 Feb


First published on www.BizCommunity.com. “That’s a Narina Trogon”, Solilo Kalumba, SK to his friends, pointed out. Armed with my iPhone Bird Guide App, I disagreed. “Narina Trogons don’t live here,” I read from the guide, smug in my correctness. “Look there it is”, he says pointing at the vivid green bird with red under-feathers. SK knows this island and the birds that live here better than my bird guide does. Next he points out a python tree which beggars belief. “It is not a parasite”, he says of the way the tree snakes around another creating giant knots of branches, “It just uses the other tree for support.” With python trees and thousand-year-old baobabs, Katomboro island in the Zambezi River is a rare and special place.

For birders this small island, easily circumnavigated in an hour, is paradise. The call of the African Fish Eagle, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Sudan’s national bird, is heard all along the banks of the Zambezi and you can expect to see Rock Pratincole, Senegal Coucal, Tropical Boubou, Trumpeter Hornbill, Yellow-breasted Apalis along with Kingfishers – Woodland, Pied, Brown-hooded and Malachite on the island.

The Katomboro rapids protect the island from all traffic other than local fisherfolk in their mokoro dugouts. This means that, unlike the rest of the Zambezi which is busy with water traffic and thrill-seekers, the island is a true hideaway. This is the reason why accommodation at Royal Chundu’s Island Lodge is so costly and so incredibly desirable.

Privacy is so guaranteed on the island that an outside bath forms a dramatic feature on your suite’s deck. Seeing it overflowing with a steaming hot bubbles on returning from a sunset cruise on the Zambezi is a pleasure to be added to hedonistic bucket lists.

As a member of Relais & Chateaux guests can expect a high level of accommodation but Royal Chundu Island Lodge vastly over delivers. Suites are huge with timber-framed doors and windows that concertina to open all three sides of the suite to the river and lush forest surrounding it. Guests are encouraged to sleep with doors open, protected from the mozzies and other bugs by a lavish mosquito net. This is probably the closest one can get to sleeping in a forest without getting moss and other creepy-crawlies in your ears.

Royal Chundu has two Zambezi properties: River Lodge, directly on the banks of the Zambezi and about 40-minutes outside of Livingstone, and Island Lodge on Katomboro island which is about 20-minutes down river by boat. They are run independently but check-in and check-out is from River Lodge and all activities, except for walks around the island, start and end at River Lodge.

Royal Chundu is decorated in an elegant yet unfussy African Colonial style with dark-wood and freshly buffed silverware. Elegant napery and cut-crystal glassware don’t seem out of place here although you think it might be.

Cuisine is a highlight especially because Food and Beverage Manager Sungani Phiri, who worked and trained in South Africa, has succeeded in presenting Zambian cuisine in a tasting menu complemented by South African wines. A trio of fish, for example, is served with mundambi jelly alongside a glass of Saxenburg’s White Blend or a Sour Milk Cheesecake with a Musika, similar to tamarind, glaze with Fleur de Cap’s Noble Late.

Much of the fish we enjoyed there, river bream among them, was caught by the chefs and Phiri has developed relationships with community growers and farmers to raise chickens and pigs for Royal Chundu’s use.

Royal Chundu offers a fully inclusive rate which also includes most activities and a partly inclusive rate which includes daily sunset Zambezi cruises and a visit to The Victoria Falls.

We’d been to the Falls the previous year and instead took the 15-minute Flight of the Angels ($175) helicopter flip over the Falls. This is a wonderful way to get a macro perspective and  snap the postcard image of the water tumbling into the gorges.

We also took a canoe trip ($50) down the Katomboro rapids. As exciting as it was, this is not the white-knuckle river rafting experience that people think of on the Zambezi but much more sedate. Providing you’re happy to get splashed no one – irrespective of age or fitness – should find it challenging. Royal Chundu’s staff know the river so well they steer away from the crocodiles and hippos that are ever-present along the banks. One especially memorable moment was when we approached a large flock of Great Egrets on the water who took off over our heads, drizzling us with water dripping from their feet.


That night we witnessed the flight of the termites, something that has been on my travel to-do list.

While at dinner we noticed Island Manager Aggie Maseko Banda, one of Royal Chundu’s greatest assets, quickly closing the deck doors. Not quickly enough though as within seconds the air above us filled with what first looked like thousands of elegant moths, more etherial than usual ones with long tapered wings and then, very curiously for the first timer, the floor suddenly began to move. “They’re attracted to the light” Aggie explains and tells us that after the first rains termites fly from their nests to mate and start new colonies. They fly just once and then fall to the ground, their wings left behind like a fairy’s discarded embroidered silk hanky. “They’re delicious too” Aggie says which immediately perks my interest. Termites, like mopani worms, are extremely high in protein. I ask her to save some for me. Starters at dinner the following evening included a plate of deep-fried termites – the way the locals eat them. They taste nutty with the texture of rice crispies. Very good to eat.

Experiencing the flight of the termites is not recommended if you’re taking mind-altering drugs or one of these people who fear the world will be taken over by insects. I have never before seen so many things in flight – a migration, albeit short-lived and difficult to predict accurately, to add to the list of things to see before you die.



Getting there:

A Yellow Fever Vaccination is required to enter Zambia.

We flew courtesy of SA Airlink from Johannesburg to Kasane. We crossed the border at Kazungula which is also noteworthy as a quadripoint where you can see Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. As a five-star deluxe property Royal Chundu and its affiliates shepherd you all the way including through customs. Do not try to cross the border yourself – it takes up to two weeks for trucks to cross and seeing pantechnicons backed up for five kilometres on either side of the border is an image that will also stay with you.

I’ll get more sponsored stuff if you buy it. Thanks.

26 Jan

New Year Detox: Get all five detox products for just R449. That’s a massive saving of R456 per pack before the end of Jan.

New Year Detox: Get all five detox products for just R449. That’s a massive saving of R456 per pack before the end of Jan.

I’ve used Sh’Zen products for years. It started with my sister Naomi Gelb who has represented Sh’Zen since Moses needed hand cream after 40 days and nights in the desert -  a very long time ago. At the time I was spending fortunes on Dermalogica products and not that keen to try something new but with each celebration I received another Sh’Zen product to the point today where I use Sh’Zen and Environ exclusively.

Imagine how thrilled I am to get a stash of Sh’Zen-sponsored products (thanks in part to SleekGeek Eric Chowles for bringing his mom Heather who works with Sh’Zen and knows Naomi) to hear my Upgrade Your Life talk about my successful weight loss. Anyhoo, in exchange for a blog post and Facebook mention I’ll get a stash from them every month (providing, I guess, you let them know you love them too.)

I chose the New Year Detox package of Pamplemousse Cleansing Gel (smells divine) and can be used in the shower every morning to help tone and purify skin, the Skin Stimulator (think sponge and loofa on steroids) which exfoliates, improves circulation to give you a toned, firmer shape, a Contour Gel to help improve the excess skin under my arms and upper legs which also eliminates excess fluids and strengthens connective tissue to leave skin looking firmer and smoother as well as a Digestive Aid Massage Oil  which helps detoxing. (I’ve used the Black Pepper After Sports oil for years and swear by it!) The package also comes with Detox bath crystals but as I only shower I swapped it for shower gel.

IMG_4516 IMG_4517If you see me looking more spiffy than usual and smelling dreamy you’ll know why.

If you’re going to buy Sh’Zen please do so from my darling sister Naomi, also available on gelbie@iafrica.com.




Zebula Golf Lodge in Bela Bela, just two-hours from Jozie.

21 Jan

Casual elegance at Protea Hotel's Zebula Golf Lodge

Casual elegance at Protea Hotel’s Zebula Golf Lodge

This piece was first published on www.BizCommunity.com

Think about Zebula Golf and Safari Lodge as a Club Med experience and you couldn’t be happier.

For golfers there’s the Peter Matkovich course designed to USGA-specifications. Dale Hayes and Steve Dunn were among the initial developers so the championship course ticks all the boxes. It is also very picturesque which is of great appeal to lodge guests who get to enjoy it from the walking and bicycle tracks that criss-cross the course.

For families there’s a zoo of sorts with scary snakes, a pair of crocs, and the most adorable tiger (yes) and lion cubs. There’s also a vast selection of activities to entertain all from the most sedate to the adrenaline junkie either on the premises, on nearby properties (such as elephant trekking) or in their vast wildlife enclosure and equestrian centre on the opposite side from the main gates.

And for the more energetic Zebula also has a squash court, fully-equipped gym, and resort-style pool with faux rocks and waterfalls.

Our accommodation was at the Zebula Lodge, managed by Protea Hotels, but there is also accommodation in the Waterberg unit or by renting privately owned homes on the estate. Because it is just two and a bit hours from Johannesburg it is especially popular for weekends-away. Bela Bela, previously known as Warmbaths, is celebrated for its hot springs and the Forever Resort, 45-minutes from the Lodge, is worth stopping at for a few hours en route to “take the waters.”

If you like to bike

We hired bicycles for the two days we stayed there and it was wonderful being able to get so close to animals like Sable, Eland and loads of other antelopes that roam freely around the reserve. There was a nyala that liked the sweet grasses near our room and would be out every morning when we opened our suite’s sliding doors.

There is something especially moody about the Waterberg and the summer light makes the bushveld look golden.

While on a horseback safari – a real highlight again because of the easy proximity to the animals (no predators) thunder struck just as we were trotting along the edge of the waterhole. My mount bolted which I am so glad about as I’d been terrified about this happening. Look, for an inexperienced rider such as I am, it was scary, but I also felt a high sense of personal triumph at being able to stay calm. I didn’t fall off which was my greatest fear.

Up close enough for a nibble

We got so super close to a giraffe while on horseback that she could have nibbled my earlobes if she’d been inclined.

Accommodations are extremely roomy – suites are huge, at least twice as large as you’d expect from a city hotel with equally vast bathrooms. This is a bush lodge only in that it is surrounded by bushveld and there are animals nearby but it comes with all the resort trimmings – DSTV, spa baths, twin basins, separate toilet, Wi-Fi, in-room phones etc.

Based on the five planes on the runway during our stay and the expensive 4 x 4′s in the parking area, Zebula attracts the moneyed crowd.

Food is served in a buffet restaurant on the ground level of the Club House aka reception area while upstairs there is an elegant yet relaxed a la carte restaurant, along with a long bar and conference centre. We found the food delicious and the service good despite the resort being very busy.

Drawbacks included an unsightly electricity substation directly in our field of vision and the very hot temperatures. We had to retreat to our air-conditioned rooms for a few hours every afternoon as it felt like temperatures late in November were in the 40s.

Protea Zebula Lodge. Farm 534KQ D1000, Mabula District, Bela-Bela, Limpopo. T: +27 (0) 14 734 7700; reservations@zebula.co.za.

I can get it for you wholesale!

18 Jan

On top of the Kogelberg with Pringle Bay bay in the background.

On top of the Kogelberg with Pringle Bay bay in the background.

Anything for a discount, right? Right. Why pay full price when you can pay half the price? Suddenly spending R999 on another pair of waterproof Columbia hiking boots doesn’t seem like a stretch. Even less so when it comes with a different lacing technique (think ice skates) making my complaints about how long it took me to get into my previous pair a thing of the past.

Columbia, Canal Walk

Columbia, Canal Walk

I also love the elegance of the leather (amazingly this pair is as light as the synthetic fabric pair)  but they got seriously scuffed after just one mountain outing.

I consider the Kogelberg MY mountain and try to walk on it every day that I’m in Pringle Bay but it has lots of sharply jagged edges and small rocks and stones that make the wearing of regular shoes not a comfortable option. The best part about these boots is they have the kind of traction on rocks that let’s me pretend I’m a klipspringer. Mind you don’t expect the same traction on a tiled surface through, I almost went flying walking on a wet kitchen floor while wearing them.

A new favourite store is Kingsley Heath, also at Canal Walk where I bought the Columbia boots. I first discovered them when they used to be in De Waterkant but at that time I was too fat to fit into anything there. Their interior is all Colonial Adventurer Club meets African luxury and what I love most is the huge and comfortable changing rooms and brilliant service. I bought a 100% cotton shirt with button-down tags to neatly roll up the sleeves also at half price and they also had golf shirts vastly reduced.

A huge thrill for me is to ask the sales attendant for a smaller size. A big change from having to embarrass myself every time I got onto an aeroplane and had to ask for a seat-belt extender.

These Columbia boots are made for walking. Note the easy lace ups.

These Columbia boots are made for walking. Note the easy lace ups.

My other pair of Columbia boots, also useful as a flare when lost.

My other pair of Columbia boots, also useful as a flare when lost.

Betty's Bay from the Kogelberg.

Betty’s Bay from the Kogelberg.

Route to change: pick a path and stick to it.

5 Jan

Route to change

Baking without grain flour or sugar.

30 Dec

I love baking.

Increasingly I’m finding it difficult to bake sugar and grain-rich items while I encourage people to follow a low sugar and low grain diet. Here then is my beta version of carrot cake without grain flour and sugar. I used pureed banana in place of the sugar to add sweetness and volume to the beaten egg and oil (using olive oil instead of sunflower seed oil).

JP keen to try a slice.

JP keen to try a slice.

I didn’t have sufficient carrots so used zucchini too which works well enough. The coconut flour absorbs liquid at a far greater rate than cake flour does so I will use a third less the next time I make it. The olive oil imparts a flavour to this cake that is not entirely desirable but I’m loathed to use coconut oil instead as it is so costly. I plan to beef up the cinnamon to make it a more pronounced flavour.

While this dish meets many Paleo requirements it is still high in energy and fat because of the coconut flour, olive oil and banana.

Will let you know how the next one turns out but welcome any input if you’ve managed to bake successfully without sugar or grain flour.

Carrot cake without grain flour or sugar.

Carrot cake without grain flour or sugar.

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