Aug 17, 2014 15:07 Alvin Temple offers program centered on clean eating, exercise Alvin Temple offers program centered on clean eating, exercise Photo by LESLIE D. ROSE -- Judy Bazile, left, and Natalie Mead say Alvin Temple's Get Fresh program, which focuses on eating less processed or 'clean' foods, has made them healthier. Alvin Temple offers program centered on clean eating, exercise by Leslie D. Rose| Special to The Advocate Aug. 17, 2014 Comments In a country where fad dieting and exaggerated food claims are popular, you can struggle making choices that fit your health and vanity needs. Add deep-fried Louisiana temptation and say goodbye to your favorite jeans and hello to elastic waistbands. Tired of all the fib-filled food labels, 39-year-old Alvin Temple created his own program to help people better understand nutrition and exercise. It’s a support group-based nutrition program called Get Fresh With Alvin. “After looking into all of the fad diets and weight-loss programs, I noticed that the one thing that was missing from all of them was nutritional education,” says Temple, who teaches yoga and says he has studied nutrition. Get Fresh is a five-week program that Temple says focuses on eating fresh, unprocessed foods, known as “clean” eating. It begins with a weeklong cleanse, eating only raw fresh vegetables and fruits. In addition to ridding your body of overly processed foods, Temple says it will kick- start your energy. Each week, other foods — seafood, poultry and meats — are slowly reintroduced, although some participants elect to remain vegan, vegetarian or pescetarian, which excludes land animals and birds but includes fish. Participants also are encouraged to exercise at least five hours a week, including a weekly yoga class with Temple, which is part of the plan. Individuals interested in any nutrition program, especially one involving a weeklong raw cleanse, should consult their doctor first. Individuals with health issues, such as diabetes, should take extra care. Temple held his first Get Fresh session in October, and is now getting ready to start his fourth session. But, be warned: Get Fresh is not for the faint of willpower. Judy Bazile, 49, who has had type 2 diabetes for the past 20 years, participated in the second session and says she thought in that first week she would die. “The end of day two was when I hit my low on the program,” Bazile says. “I experienced shakes, chills and the most extreme case of lethargy ever.” Temple says Bazile’s results are typical. He says most Americans struggle with such severe sugar addictions that the body experiences withdrawal symptoms similar to getting off drugs. By day four, however, Bazile says she felt fabulous. She says she has evaded insulin use and lost 17 pounds. Natalie Mead, 34, who has type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, was also in the second session. She says she learned to maintain a vegan diet that’s kept her well. “Towards the end of week one, I began to feel lighter, more energetic, like I had just come back from holiday,” Mead says. “Now I try to incorporate at least one raw meal a day, and I achieved my lowest (hemoglobin) A1C score in 10 years.” Bazile also says her A1C level dropped. The A1C is a common blood test used to diagnose both types of diabetes, and then to measure how well you’re managing it. Temple says he is amazed at the results of some of his “freshies” and their willingness to take on clean eating. While not able to see the full course, dietitian Melissa R. Martin agrees that clean eating is a very important part of a healthy diet. Martin is the nutrition services manager at Woman’s Center for Wellness. “Choosing fresh and whole foods with a minimal amount of processing, additives and preservatives can help ensure a nutritional value,” Martin says. She warns that before starting any new program, you should figure out what is healthy, what is realistic for your lifestyle, which program helps you transition to a healthy balanced diet plan and if guidance or support is needed from an expert. She also encourages people to examine nutritional facts. Temple says while his program lasts only five weeks, he hopes the participants use it to jump-start a lasting lifestyle change. “The only repercussion you have from maintaining healthy nutrition is a healthy body, healthy mind and clean energy,” Temple said. “Your whole life changes after that point.” And that’s what’s happened for Mead and Bazile, who have been out of the program for 10 weeks. Mead has remained a vegan while Bazile has settled in a latter portion of the plan, which includes meat.