You’ve tried every possible fad diet, cut out the carbs, stepped up the hours of exercise, and are still not there on the health index. Try moving away from the BMI fixation towards integrative nutrition that looks at wellness comprehensively, not just through the lens of food. It is about how you nurture your body, soul, relationships, career and the environment.
Essentially, the state of your health is a measure of what you consume, physically, mentally and emotionally—the crux of integrative nutrition. It is also about working on everything from your relationships to career to sleep patterns and building a sustainable lifestyle.
A trending diet slaps on a regimented intake, but the concept of integrative nutrition brings in food choices based on your preferences, and not just calorific content. Says Bengaluru-based Simrun Chopra, a deep health coach and founder, Nourish with Sim, “You need to understand that correcting your weight involves not only what you consume, but also how you feel while consuming it. Your mood matters. When you are low and unmotivated, you tend to consume more calories. Underlying health problems such as Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), diabetes, stress, and anxiety contribute to daily mood changes, hence eating patterns.”
Your health is a composite overview of what you eat, drink, think and do everyday. “A single diet cannot comply with all these components. Integrative nutrition or deep health involves synthesising your daily eating habits with your lifestyle and personal habits. You could be a student living in a hostel, dependent on the food served at the mess, but you can still eat healthy by controlling the portion size, and choosing the most healthy dishes out of the menu. If you rely on food delivery, make a wholesome choice,” says Chopra.
The healthy gut flora must be nourished to build upon core health. Bringing in fermented foods in your diet such as kanji, kimchi, curd and idlis spells probiotic fostering for your digestive system. Explains Payal Kothari, an integrative nutrition and gut health coach, and the author of The Gut, “The game changers for your gut are root vegetables, yoghurt and a nourishing green soup with drumsticks. The best time to consume a small salad bowl of boiled root vegetables would be before your lunch. Bring in 50g of organic yoghurt with nuts, seeds or granola as an evening snack. A medium bowl of green soup before dinner would help reboot the gut very well.”
It is a question of connecting with your body, and in the process, identifying your likes and dislikes, to strengthen what works for you individually. In this way, integrative nutrition betters your insights into overall nutrition, rather than making you conform and fit into a preconceived diet grid. It is all about what nourishes you intrinsically. There is no single way of eating healthy. You need to choose and develop an eating style that works for you, and leaves you feeling energised.
Having said that, there are broad guidelines you could dip into to discover your calling, like exercising every day, that allows your body to slip into a healthy rhythm. Be it yoga, gym routine or a sport, choose whatever you like. “My anthem includes yoga at least four times a week, with meditation for 10 minutes in the morning and evening, one portion of probiotic post breakfast, and the consumption of eight colourful fruits and vegetables daily. Hydrate till your pee is colourless, odourless and free-flowing,” Kothari advises.
Eat right and on time. Add protein to every meal. “Consume dark, leafy greens three times a week and target ten thousand steps a day. Begin by committing yourself to seven hours of sleep at night,” advises Chopra. Call it emotional sustainability for happy, healthy living.
Good things about integrative nutrition
● It is a flexible approach to health and well-being. You get to explore several dietary theories and choose one that suits you best.
● Promotes plant-based
eating, emphasises the
importance of raw foods,
brings in some Ayurvedic tenets and more
● The approach roots for behaviour modification, spiritual connectedness and emotional detoxification
● It focuses on achieving occupational wellness, which entails achieving a work-life balance so you can be professionally satisfied and personally engaged
“My anthem includes yoga at least four times a week, with meditation for 10 minutes in the morning and evening, one portion of probiotic post breakfast, and the consumption of eight colourful fruits and vegetables daily.” Payal Kothari, Integrative Nutrition & Gut Health Coach
“Integrative nutrition or ‘deep health’ involves integrating your eating habits with your lifestyle and other personal habits... Your mood matters too. When you are low and unmotivated, you consume more calories.” simrun chopra, Deep Health Coach & Founder, Nourish with Sim