January 5, 2023. 5 minute Read
The word health has different perspectives for different people, and the way to acquire health keeps changing with changing times. After experiencing the effect of the Covid -19 pandemic, we have understood that following a healthy diet is of utmost importance. Still, acquiring it should be through scientifically proven methods and traditional wisdom.
We blindly follow every diet on the market without understanding for whom and barely even understand what its applications of it in our day-to-day life. With the immense flow of knowledge around us, we cannot decide which path to follow. We tend to fall prey to Fad diets and start following them without understanding the after-effects of such diets.
For example, Keto diets are for epileptic patients, but since they started showing results, people blindly started following them. Similarly, many diets came up on the market, such as intermittent fasting, paleo diet, detox diets, etc. All of these have some other pros and cons. And we must consume under specific conditions with the guidance of a professional consultant
Carbohydrates form the basic building blocks of our body and are the most critical components in Indian diets. We eat them in the form of Rotis, rice, daliya, Rawa, Poha, etc. But because of modernization, our diets have become mostly refined; instead of whole wheat chapatis, we consume more biscuits, bread, and pizza bases, which have maida or fine flour as the main ingredient that deprives us of the fiber and B6 vitamins in the grain’s husk. A healthy eating alternative would be replacing white bread with chapatis, pizza bases with millet-based bases, and biscuits with whole grains.
Proteins have been the favorite component of food among weight watchers. But due to the glam world, people need to understand the ground reality to start taking protein supplements to meet their daily requirements and to pump up their six-pack abs. One requires good quality proteins for many processes and the building up of cells and tissues, but we can meet the requirement by having a proper balanced diet rather than pills and powders. A good 2-3 exchanges of proteins in the form of dals, legumes, milk and milk products, eggs, and poultry can quickly fulfill the protein requirements. A combination of cereals and pulses can give high biological value protein as much as an egg, e.g., Khichdi,daliya, etc.
Fats have been the most potent weapon of the slimming industry. Fats are also an essential component of our body that help maintain our body’s temperature; it is also a part of various hormones and enzymes. Different vitamins are absorbed only in fats, e.g., Vit A in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables. Hence including healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, milk, and its products and oils, which are locally available, are a part of healthy eating habits. Everyone should have at least 1 tsp of ghee and 2 tsp oil in their daily diet.
When we look at our food plates (Roti, sabzi, dal, salad, curd), we must consume carbohydrates in the form of Roti or rice, or daliya. Proteins include dal, pulses, sprouts, curds, or a nonveg portion of egg, chicken, and fish. Healthy fats from ghee, nuts, seeds, and oily fish. Vitamins and minerals in the form of vegetables and fiber in raw salads. Resistant starches include overnight cooked and cooled potatoes, rice, etc. And probiotics in the form of curds and other fermented foods add to our good gut health.
Traditionally our diets were made in a pattern wherein our diet took care of all essential nutrient intake. E.g., Rajma -chawal with vegetable raita. Spinach rice khichdi with curds or Roti, sabzi, and dal with a kachumber or grated radish salad.
We must identify the wholesomeness of our diet. We started eliminating essential nutrient-rich foods like ghee and added processed fats such as butter, cheese, and mayonnaise. Worse, we have begun adapting to the west and consuming supplements and powders to fulfill our daily requirements. We have even started blindly following many Fad diets, which later become the road map of our healthy eating patterns.
Understand! Healthy eating means using unrefined and unprocessed foods that are minimally processed. Our food plate should be colorful, and half of it must have vegetables,¼ with Rotis, and ¼ with a protein portion like dal/pulse/fish /eggs/lean chicken, etc.
You can fulfill your regular requirements if you opt for a traditional diet or understand that all the main meals in the diet should have all the food groups. Healthy eating habits are lifelong assets.
Moreover, understanding what healthy eating is not sufficient; its application is also essential. Many times it is observed that we know everything and we understand things. Still, we don’t follow it until and unless we fall into the trap of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure issues, and many other hormonal diseases. In other words, we take our health for granted. Diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney diseases, etc., do not develop overnight. It is years and years of inflammation that result in such comorbidities. To give a simple example, suppose a person is detected as a pre-diabetic; what the first step we usually take is? As per our observation, a person would meet a physician and probably take some medicines or start home remedies to control blood sugars. No one would ever think of changing their lifestyle or eating pattern. And if you see the latest research in this field has proven that lifestyle modifications along with a healthy eating pattern can reverse the pre-diabetic condition of an individual.
One must take Small steps towards improving our diet. And prevention is always better than cure. It helps to prevent disease-related comorbidities later in life. By improving our diet, we can also maintain healthy eating in our day-to-day life. So do not live to eat. But instead, consider food as medicine to live and maintain a healthy life.
Shilpa Mittal is a Nutritionist with a merit rank and has done her Master’s in Food Science and Nutrition. She is also acertified diabetes educator, pediatric nutritionist, and onco nutritionist. Founder of Shilpsnutrilife, i.e., Diet and lifestyle makeover Winner of “Nutritionist of the year” Skilled award professional with greater than 23 years of experience having two clinics in Mumbai, one at Borivali and other at Malad, also does online consultation. She has helped clients with weight loss, gain, BP, diabetes, thyroid, Pcod, cancer, and kids manage obesity. Instead of suggesting pills or powder, she gets them permanent solutions through a natural customized Diet, be it illness or wellness.
She has done theme-based corporate workshops and school wellness programs. She is one of the first nutritionists in India to have an android app, “shilpsnutrilife,” for educative purposes.
Reach out to us