The Wellbeing Chronicles

Eight books that are changing the way Indians eat and live  by Taniya Sahni

Published: 09th December 2017 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2017 04:59 PM   |  A+A-

It’s that time of the year. Parties, revelry, bingeing are at their peak. The New Year resolve of clean eating will resurface followed by broken promises. Even as we brace for 2018 with hope and positivity, it is likely that the Global Nutrition Report 2017, released in November, has gone unnoticed by a majority. The report takes a look at statistics of 140 countries, including India, showing a grim picture of times to come.

Price: `250 Publisher:  Penguin India

The independently-produced annual report on the state of the world’s nutrition found ‘significant burdens’ of three important forms of malnutrition (childhood stunting, anaemia in women of reproductive age, overweight adult women) used as an indicator of broader trends. It also discovered that overweight and obesity are on the rise in almost every country, with two billion of the world’s seven billion people now overweight or obese and there is less than one per cent chance of meeting the global target of halting the rise in obesity and diabetes by 2025.

In India, 16 per cent of adult men and 22 per cent of adult women are overweight. Obesity also becomes a reason for visits to nutritionists and dieticians in urban areas. We explore eight books that guide you on your journey to a fit and healthy lifestyle. A good mix of Ayurveda, macrobiotics, yoga, exercise, mindful cooking and eating helps you achieve your goals.

The Diet Doctor by Ishi Khosla

Clinical nutritionist Ishi Khosla’s journey into the world of nutrition started with managing her own weight issues as a child. She was always fascinated by the effect of food on the body. While making a career choice, opting for medicine would have been the natural course but she took up nutrition instead. She is the founder-president of the Celiac Society for Delhi, the first-of-its-kind in India. 

Gaps in the understanding of food by the common man led her to set up her own health food company—Whole Foods—which has 35 outlets in Delhi-NCR, housed in hospitals and offices. Ishi believes the growth of weight problems, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, digestive problems and even cancer have almost become a global crisis obtaining magnanimous proportions. She helps people manage weight and health issues. She remembers one of her diabetic and obese patients who was about to go in for a bariatric surgery: “The patient was upset about going in for a risky procedure and sought help. We did some food intolerance tests and put her on a diet. She was on the highest doses of insulin which was reduced to zero in four months after following the prescribed diet. Now she knows what works for her and is an inspiration to so many others around.”

Ishi, who authored The Diet Doctor, says, “No dietician or variety of diets seem to be addressing this problem. It is high time we put the facts clear and told people not to adopt fad diets or risky procedures to manage their weight.” She explains, “You need to understand your food and introduce little lifestyle changes. Every day you have to follow a diet and there are no short-cuts. It should be a way of life and not a pattern which has been advocated to you by someone.” Her book is meant to educate and empower the reader. “My book provides a sustained solution to weight management. We need to address nutritional deficiencies and food sensitivities. A person who is on the path to being fit should start understanding his/her body chart,” she says.

Top Tips 
Cut back on carbohydrates, refined sugar and excessive cereals. Cereal intake should not be more than twice a day.
Choose low-glycemic cereals
50% of diet should be vegetables and 50% of the vegetables should be rawhe Detox Diet by Shonali Sabherwal 
Eat most of your grains by sundown
Hydrate well. Ensure adequate protein in at least two meals.

The Detox Diet by Shonali Sabherwal 

Price: `299
Publisher: Penguin Random House 

Shonali Sabherwal chanced on the macrobiotic diet while she was on the lookout for a dietary practice for her father who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998. She promptly trained with Dehradun-based Mona Schwartz for a week to help her father follow a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle. Though her father did not adhere to the diet for long and succumbed to his cancer, Shonali is now a certified macrobiotic nutritionist/instructor and chef from the Kushi Institute, Becket, Massachusetts, and their first Indian graduate who offers a simple solution of ‘feeding the gut microbiota, with food alone’.

The first person to practice macrobiotics in India, Shonali’s client list includes the likes of Esha Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sidharth Malhotra, and Neha Dhupia. “My book, The Detox Diet, tells readers why it is necessary to keep the gut healthy 24x7, given today’s health scenario (rising obesity, autoimmune diseases and general health decline),” she says. 

Shonali is also trained in the art of oriental facial and meridian diagnosis (of all organs in the body). With this skill set, she helps people, “apply the macrobiotic diet principles to daily living by first diagnosing your organs and then advising a tailor-made diet”.Shonali advises intake of food that nourishes instead of food that damages. Through The Detox Diet, she lays the foundation of what plagues us in our journey towards regaining our health and the foods that address the imbalances in our diet.

“I see 95 per cent of people suffering with shades of leaky gut. Due to this, they go through various health ailments: mostly autoimmune related. Their lack of knowledge on the ‘forgotten organ’, which is the gut ecosystem, is something I take care of with my practice and through the book.”

Top Tips 

Introduce a healthy range of probiotics other than yoghurt
Eat MACs (Microbiota Acessible Fibers)
Build gut collagen through food
Know the triggers to leaky gut

Eat Delete by Pooja Makhija

The author of Eat Delete and Eat Delete Junior is a clinical nutritionist, who, in the first 10 years of her work experience, faced “clients who were petrified of eating. They thought not eating would make them lose weight and starvation was the way to stay fit”.Pooja Makhija’s journey into the world of nutrition was almost pre-destined. As a child she was always curious about ‘why does orange have Vitamin C’ and more such questions. “It is only befitting then that my daughter at the age of four would be full of ‘healthy food’ but her ‘junk food stomach’ would still have space for chocolate,” she chuckles.

“Like we imbibe manners and all else into our children’s minds in their growing-up years, if we also make them equally aware of the food they are eating, they’d probably never have to visit a nutritionist or a doctor,” she observes. “Hence I wrote Eat Delete Junior with the aim of food-ucating (food education) parents who’d be able to put their children on the path to mindful eating from the very beginning,” she adds.

A celebrity nutritionist, Pooja has Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Sushmita Sen and Gul Panag following her prescriptions. “Once I had prescribed quinoa to Deepika Padukone who couldn’t lay her hands on it while shooting. She sent an emergency text to me asking for an alternative which I saw much later. Deepika did not eat anything till I reverted. That level of commitment to eating healthy is what makes my job worth its while,” beams Pooja, whose approach to eating and deleting has won her many a fan. She helps determine if food is your boss, entertainer, comfort, etc., and then helps overcome the unhealthy relationship with food.

Top Tips 
Break the wrong relation with your food

Build faith in food and make friends with food
Eat something every two hours so that the body is in burning mode
Eat within the first hour of rising to jumpstart metabolism. Never start the day with caffeine.

“Whether you’re in need of an energising start to the day or a pick-me-up late in the afternoon, a refreshing lunch or an indulgent (but sugarless and eggless) dessert, this book has the perfect mix 
for you.” —Viddhi Dhingra

The Wholesome Kitchen by Pooja Dhingra and Viddhi Dhingra

Pooja Dhingra graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and on returning to India, rose to stardom for her macarons. She is the pastry chef, founder & CEO of the successful Le 15 Patisserie in Mumbai. One can often spot a celebrity or two having a bite of her famous creations.

She came together with lifestyle nutritionist Viddhi Dhingra to write The Wholesome Kitchen when she began her own journey to lead a healthier lifestyle. “This involved not just changes to my fitness routine, but also to my food and my mindset. As a pastry chef, most of my recipes included egg, flour, sugar and butter. It was challenging and refreshing to develop these recipes to help me in my quest to eat healthy and still satisfy my sweet tooth,” she smiles.

In the course of researching for the book, Pooja discovered that healthier food choices can be enjoyable too. “Our book encourages readers to make healthier choices while also not compromising on taste,” she reveals. Viddhi adds, “The recipes in the book are divided into four sections—Energise, Nourish, Refresh, and Indulge, to help choose a recipe based on what the body and mind need. All recipes require only locally sourced ingredients and are not heavy on the pocket.”Based on the nutrition philosophy, Pooja herself adopted to simplify her long-term battle against weight issues. Accompanied by expert advice from nutritionist Viddhi, the delightful treats in this book will inspire the readers to transform the way they cook and eat.

The 10-Minute Yoga Solution by Ira Trivedi

The founder of Namami Yoga Foundation, Ira Trivedi, teaches yoga to the President of India. She entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest yoga class in history that she led during the first International Yoga Day celebrations at Rajpath. An Acharya of yoga, Ira has introduced many (including state heads) to the discipline with her retreats and workshops held across the world.

Ira practices yoga off and on but it was when she grappled with her own neck and spinal problems that she took to yoga with full force and even went on to explore it further at the renowned Sivananda Ashram. “I particularly remember the case of one of my students who came in with a weight problem at 150 kg. Through yoga, he was able to shed about 30 kg from where he went on to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” says Ira, who believes in learning as a never-ending journey. Hence, she takes off to explore different aspects of yoga when she believes there’s something more that she can add to her knowledge bank.

Nandini Gulati and Mala Barua USP of the book:
Demystifying the world of healthy food without
compromising on taste, style, or simplicity 

Through her book The 10-Minute Yoga Solution, Ira offers a solution to those who want to practise yoga but cannot find the time. The modules in the book will put you on the path of health, healing, and self-discovery. “The book offers to help people shed weight, get washboard abs, lower their blood pressure—with just 10 minutes of yoga a day,” she says. Ira also outlines simple but effective routines that she has tested on hundreds of her own students. Ira’s life is a living example of how yoga prepares and disciplines your body and mind for a deeper spiritual experience. Through the purging of negative thoughts and habits, one begins to de-clutter the mind and thus life.

“Just 10 minutes of yoga can get you in shape, cure backache, achieve better exam results and even heal a broken heart. Yoga is much more than an exercise; it prepares and disciplines your body and mind for a transformative spiritual experience.”

Guilt-Free Vegan Cookbook by Nandini Gulati & Mala Barua

Nandini Gulati reversed high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and lost 30 kg by changing her lifestyle. Mala Barua turned vegan after watching Sequoia, her dog, suffer. Together, the ardent lovers of animals advocate the use of whole plant-based food in the daily diet. “Walking on a path of compassion and spirituality, adopting a vegan lifestyle was a natural progression for both of us,” say the authors of Guilt-Free Vegan Cookbook.

Wellness consultant and yoga, Tai Chi and Inner Silence Meditation teacher, Mala is the founder of Mystic Asia, a luxury wellness travel company. A holistic health coach, public speaker and corporate trainer, Nandini integrates the natural wisdom of the body with the latest scientific findings about nutrition and lifestyle.

“In our book, we have incorporated recipes requiring ingredients commonly found in every kitchen. These are known to keep bulge at bay with a focus on mindful, conscious and sustainable eating,” says Nandini. “The book presents not only Indian but Thai, Italian, Mediterranean and American recipes so that there is enough variety to keeps the reader happily engaged in following the diet,” she says.

Their book also handholds the reader to follow an oil-free, sugar-free and gluten-free diet. “This style of eating is being talked about as the ‘Future of Food’. It has three benefits: It helps prevent/reverse lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid, cholesterol etc. It takes care of the rising concerns on the impact of animal breeding on the environment. It’s cruelty-free,” explains Mala.

The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Gita Ramesh

Most known for her work as the joint managing director of Kairali, Gita Ramesh’s The Ayurvedic Cookbook incorporates the age-old science of Ayurveda and demystifies it to make it a part of daily lives of seekers. It explains nutritional and medicinal values of every fruit, vegetable and spice used in daily life, and bears a compilation of healthy Ayurvedic and easily digestible recipes. 

“We at Kairali always try to explore the holistic way of healing—be it Ayurveda, yoga, or food. Ayurvedic food nurtures and heals our body and mind, and helps remove toxins. This naturally flows into the book,” says Gita, who holds a degree in bio-chemistry and a certificate in alternate system of medicine. She recalls, “A guest from London who came to Kairali weighed almost 180 kg. She was prescribed an Ayurvedic diet and therapies post which she shed 90 kg. The changes in her lifestyle turned into a life-saving experience. We have numerous guests from all over the world coming with various problems and we help them resolve their issues.”

Urban Ayurveda by Dr Tanya Malhotra

The author of Urban Ayurveda describes herself as “an urban girl, born and raised in Delhi, who faced the dilemma of being the odd one out in her group of friends due to her Ayurveda practice. My friends would gorge on packaged chips while I would pop home-fried makhanas and nuts as snacks.” But Dr Tanya Malhotra stood her ground, and inspired by her biochemist father, carried out extensive research in Ayurveda and Vedanta Darshan (Vedic philosophy), before extending her work towards the community. In fact, it was through her practice that she met her husband who came to her as a patient first, and then became family.

“My husband was suffering from chronic cough that no medicine or healing foods helped. I advised him to get rid of foods that were heating up his body such as eggs. He followed my advice and was soon on the path to recovery,” she smiles.

Tanya channelises her energies by striving to make Ayurveda the preferred science of living for the youth of India. Her book helps the urban audience follow, adapt and connect to the ancient Ayurvedic principles of living and eating with only minor changes in their lifestyle. From Ayurveda, following the season to Ayurveda for students and working professionals, her book puts forth simple, practical and sustainable ideas to achieve health and happiness.

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