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Go back to grandma's kitchen to beat the fat

By Namrata Kohli
Last updated on: July 03, 2019 15:29 IST
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Food is genetic medicine, and the kind that your ancestry has eaten for centuries is your best bet.
Namrata Kohli reports.

A view of the Borivali fruit market, north west Mumbai, in the morning hours. Photograph: Mahipal Soni/Rediff.com

IMAGE: A Mumbai fruit market. Photograph: Mahipal Soni/Rediff.com

As bestselling author, Yuval Noah Harari warned the world, 'For the first time, more people will die from eating too much than from eating too little.' The average urban Indian is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonald's and drinking Coca Cola than from being blown up by al-Qaeda.

No wonder, Noah Harari's e-book collection, Sapiens and Homo Deus, predicts that the biggest challenges of the past, such as famine, plague and war, have now been replaced by obesity and lifestyle diseases. 

Suddenly, the whole world is investing in getting slim and losing weight. However, experts advise that instead of understanding why we are fat, we ought to be more concerned about why we aren't fit and what we can do to become so.

 

Embracing a holistic approach towards health will automatically lead to getting rid of fat, and weight loss can become a by-product of your journey towards well-being.

Eat local, ditch the exotic: According to Mumbai-based celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, "There is a multi-billion dollar weight-loss industry preying on a simple fact -- fear and confusion about what to eat."

"Look at two of the simplest and time-tested tools we can use whenever we are in doubt about feeding ourselves right. Lower the food miles, better the food."

Food miles is the distance fruits, vegetables and other items travel from where they are grown to your plate.

In simple words, eat what grows around you, eat what is in season, and eat by cooking food in regional recipes.

So out goes the kiwi, the dragon fruit, the quinoa, and in comes the sitaphal (custard apple), the chiku, millets such as jowar, bajra and ragi, along with rice.

She also talks of the grandmother test: Did your grandmother eat this stuff when she was your age? If she didn't, then you can safely avoid it, no matter if the latest research is promoting it as great for the heart, blood circulation or whatever.

Food is genetic medicine, and the kind that your ancestry has eaten for centuries is your best bet.

So ghee and not olive oil, poha/upma/idli/dosa/parantha and not oats/cereals, and such.

Celebrity chef and food entrepreneur Sanjeev Kapoor bats for "fresh, seasonal and local foods" as best for weight management.

"There is no perfect shoe that fits all. Weight gain is personal, and so is weight loss. For weight loss, foods with lower calorific values combined with higher physical activity work best," he says.

Manage your lifestyle better: It has a significant influence on weight management.

Along with a proper diet, physical activity should be integral to your routine.

Yoga adds up significantly to holistic health.

According to lifestyle coach Sudhanshu Rai, sustained physical activity with frequent changes in the exercise module, especially yoga such as Surya Namaskar and Bhastrika, combined with weight training, may fetch quick results.

Photograph: Mahipal Soni/Rediff.com

Helping people identify the right food for themselves is an entire industry of nutritionists and dieticians who 'design' diet plans ideally suited to your genetic, metabolic and hormonal pattern.

Take the case of 30-year-old Mitali Deshmukh, a resident of Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, who lost 9 kgs in 3 months by subscribing to an online consultation.

She had gained 24 kgs during pregnancy. "I was 52 when I conceived and reached 76 kgs by the time of delivery," she says. Her consultations with a famous dietician helped her get back to her pre-pregnancy physique.

Says Deshmukh, "Not only did it give me back my physique, it also gave me more confidence than ever before, as I achieved something that I earlier believed was impossible." She feels fabulous about shifting from size XL to medium.

Most of us spend a lot of time researching cars, watches and other luxury goods. "If only we spent some time thinking about the nutrition quotient of our food, we would be better off," says Aditi Malik, founder of Conscious Food.

Globally-acclaimed authority on food wisdom, Michael Pollan, is dead against packaged foods. The author of seven books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, all of which are New York Times bestsellers, says anything grown on a plant is good for the body.

Anything coming from inside a plant (factory-made) is terrible.

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