Ever heard that food can make someone caring, loving and giving? Welcome to the world of macrobiotics, a biological and physiological application of Oriental philosophy, that shows the way to happiness via health. It involves simple techniques in choosing the right food and cooking styles and putting them into practice. For example, brown rice is rich in serotonin, a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.
Throwing more light on this is the new book The Love Diet by Shonali Sabherwal, India’s leading and only macrobiotic nutritionist. Shonali’s book was recently launched by actor Jacqueline Fernandez and filmmaker Zoya Akhtar. The book provides recipes, tips and insights on how food actually affects our moods, sexual drive, hormones and emotions. The book helps to understand what one can do to increase the ‘love quotient’ in their life by eating right and living with the right mindset to handle different upheavals created when one consumes wrong foods. Her clientele include Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez, Neha Dhupia, Raima Sen, Esha Deol, Tabu, Kabir Bedi and Shekhar Kapur.
Shonali, who has earlier authored The Beauty Diet, this time around has explored the goodness of macrobiotics through the perspective of personal accounts and her relationships in life. The very premise of The Love Diet is that you need to love yourself which is what Shonali has been working hard to achieve, over the years. “My life has not been easy. Relationships require a lot of hard work and learning—how to self-preserve from heartbreak and pain. Love is so wonderful: it’s something we all want in our lives; we don’t stop seeking it though we get hurt time and again and go through countless break-ups. When we fall in love again, we give the relationship all we’ve got and are willing to stake our faith all over again,” Shonali says.
The book outlines her own struggles—a 10 year old marriage ending in a divorce and losing her father to cancer. “After many years of emotional struggles, today I find myself in a satisfied space after healing through the right kind of foods. A friend told me ‘be an island unto yourself’. This was in the 90s and today I am just an island—green and rich—surrounded by the calm waters of life; in the sense inviting only those relationships and people that bring in happiness,” Shonali says.
The bestselling author, who dons several hats—chef, nutritionist, diet counsellor — shares the principles of macrobiotics through the website soulfoodshonali.com. Food and life is closely linked. She cites her own example when she was married and had erratic eating patterns and a lot of stress. She indulged in compulsive eating to replace the love that was missing in her life. “I knew my ex-husband could get up and walk from me but food would not.” If someone is tired, depressed, irritable or anxious, chances are he/she is eating white sugar, refined flour, meat and dairy products. The diet should be filled with nutrient dense food. Whole, unprocessed foods are nutrient dense.”
Increase the feel good hormones like oxytoxin by spending time with loved ones, family and friends. “My own life is an example of how self love can transform life. I learnt how the emotional baggage I was carrying for years was affecting my life and relationships. I have grown to learn how to be in a love situation 24X7 with my domestic staff, family and friends. We have to look within and work on changing ourselves. I have given a lot of tips and recipes in the book like a pudding with cardamom. You can choose to eat the pudding with the cardamom or remove the latter and eat it. Take what suits you and adopt it to your lifestyle but the change must come from ‘you’.”
Love diet tips
■ Consume complex carbohydrates and reduce intake of simple sugars
■ Use more proteins from whole grains, beans and other vegetables and rely less on animal proteins, except fish
■ Eat more traditional and local foods, and less processed and refined foods
■ Eat foods rich in antioxidants like green tea, red grapes, pineapple, lemons, apples, soya beans, tomatoes, dark chocolate etc
■ Eat foods which are natural aphrodisiacs like spices but in small quantities like chillies, ginger, garlic,
saffron, nutmeg, tulsi, turmeric etc
■ Use home remedies and alternative systems of medicine like homoeopathy rather than popping pills which only suppress the symptoms and don’t address the root cause