Updated: May 14, 2021
Having a nutrition blog and not talking about the magic D word ‘Diet’ is quite unbelievable, isn’t it? The common quest for an individual trying to get fit or start their journey always begins with one thing, which probably is ‘the powerful diet for weight loss’ or where can one find ‘the diet plan that works’. As I have mentioned many times before, fitness is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, and it is evident that the first step in this space would be to correct your diet.
With the age of social media and the internet and thanks to our influencers and fitness instructors, we come across various kinds of diets. All of us get crazy when a new superfood or a fad diet is introduced, and we fall into them, try them only to realize that they are not sustainable in the long run, and get ultimately dejected. What are these diets in the first place? These diets are nothing but fixed regime meal plans that promise too-good-to-be-true results in a short span of time. And if you haven’t guessed it by now, these are just marketing products designed by the fitness industry to play with your emotions and get you onboard.
So what should I do, is the next question on your mind? Well, it was the same for me as well. I researched into many kinds of diets, reviewed many others, and ultimately found that nutrition isn’t that difficult. Nutrition isn’t rocket science, after all. And that took me back to my roots and to how my grandparents cooked and what kind of foods they ate. Because, when I look at their lifespan and the health of my grandparents and parents, I find them stronger, more resilient, and healthier compared to us. As a matter of fact, the incidence of lifestyle diseases of the current generation is enough fact to prove that their food choices and their food styles kept them and their immunity levels high.
So here are a few things that I learned in my quest for finding the right diet for me, and I am sure this will inspire you as well:
1. Local and traditional: While growing up, my parents fed me really basic but nutritious south Indian foods that I really cherish. The steaming hot idlis, the masala dosas, the yellowish coconut-based fish curries, the tempting rice laddoos, etc and etc have helped me immeasurably. Hence, I always prefer going back to these basics. In fact, ancient wisdom and ancient practices have evolved so beautifully that the food pairing concept was practiced. So go ahead, take your recipe books and note down these delicious recipes of your traditions, and pass it on to your children as well.
2. Home cooked vs processed: This one is a no-brainer. Children fed on processed foods while growing up suffer from lifestyle diseases at an early age. Home-cooked, whole foods have that magic of wholesome goodness packed within, that cannot be replaced. Anything fresh and natural is way much better than the same that came from a factory or stored for many years with an expiry date on a carton pack. Hence, I prefer to cook my meals rather than order from outside or use a packaged product, simply because I am in full control of the ingredient that I consume.
3. Vegetarian and Veganism: It is no doubt, plant-based foods are easy to digest, and are light on the stomach. And I totally understand that products that are manufactured by the dairy industry these days aren’t that safe for consumption, but a sudden change or shift to veganism or vegetarianism is difficult as well. I find that rather than giving up and regretting it all together, reducing its consumption and enjoying it once a while for the taste buds, would not do us that much harm. Having said that, I am also against the idea that plant-based foods are boring and tasteless. There are quite some beautiful recipes and with the age of the internet and YouTube cookery channels, searching for one doesn’t take much effort. On the other hand, if you are thinking of going vegan, that is absolutely amazing, because it has double the benefits of helping our planet.
4. Smart nutrition: The very word ‘Balanced Diet’ refers to the fact that all your meals should contain the three macros- carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and the two micros- vitamins and minerals in the right quantity and the right sources. And all of us have that much common sense as to understand good fats from bad fats, good carbs from bad carbs. I would prefer having rice five times a week rather than the maida-based pizza. Because rice is a whole grain that has many other minerals associated with it, whereas maida is a processed version of the wheat that is devoid of anything good. The same goes with choosing desi ghee over sunflower oil or choosing good fats from almonds and nuts over processed meats like sausages and hams. Listen to your common sense.
5. Smart eating hacks: In today’s world, we are all in need of simple and quick hacks to lighten our worries. And while the knowledge about the right food and the superfoods are there in the market, without a few eating hacks, none of the above information will seem helpful, if your digestion isn’t optimal. Because at the end of it, you are not what you eat, but what you digest. Look out for those smart hacks in my previous blog post and introduce them in your life to reach your ultimate digestive power.
I hope this blog post did inspire you to choose your meals smartly. This year 2021, let’s pledge a resolution that we will treat food with respect, choose foods that will nourish our body, and help our bodies work the magic that it is supposed to be doing. In fact, the word diet which came from the Greek word ‘Diaita’ means ‘to live one’s life. Cheers to the year 2021 and new food choices. Namaste.
Here are some links from my favorite nutritionist whose concepts I truly adore, and which will be an eye-opener for you as well: