It is no secret really that most of us are not really as healthy as nature intended us to be. Not just you, there have been many instances when even I have not been as healthy as I’d like to be either! Maybe I was working out to the point of exhaustion but not eating and drinking right or I was eating well but living with so much stress that my body was breaking under the weight of it. Our bodies much like our careers and our personal lives are a work in progress. We are not talking about perfection. We are talking about choosing to stick with a roadmap that leads you to a healthier and happier existence.
Personally, I know a lot of people who went from kids who liked to eat ice cream and chocolates for breakfast to teenagers who liked samosas and Big Macs to young adults who swing from one diet to another to finally landing up as vegans and whole-food eaters! This is a cycle that most of us take in life. You could still have your wine and potato wafers. What’s life without life’s small pleasures?! I consult with my clients and make them understand how to make wise food choices and how to eat right so that they can make room for the less-than-stellar choices every once in a while. If you are struggling with your weight and eating habits, all I can say is that you can also get to that place. I can provide the road map but it is up to you to take the journey.
The approach you take with me is different from those you will find in weight loss centers and other Dietitians. I do not give you an all-or-nothing approach. I do not overhaul your diets to the extent that you do not even recognize what you are eating! Nor will you go from eating steaks and fries to subsisting on dal roti and air the very next day! I tell my clients that approaches like these don’t work in the long run. I do not want you to go on a diet – I want you to start living a healthy lifestyle!
Too Busy to Eat Well
Life seems to fly by like a whirlwind. Between work and socializing and making dinner to rushing to your kid’s cricket practice, food has become not something to nourish and energize but rather something that entertains and fills a gaping void in our lives. Fast food restaurants are now so ubiquitous and inexpensive that a lot of people now eat out all the time. Food Delivery apps like Zomato and Swiggy now make it easier to order food from fast food restaurants which are delivered straight into our living rooms. The frequency of eating fast food has increased so much that from a time when our parents used to eat out once a month and eating out was once an occasion to celebrate, it has now become the accepted norm to eat out all the time. The eating-out and restaurant industry in India is now 28 times the size of Bollywood and much bigger than even the hallowed IT sectors in terms of the size of the market, with combined revenues running into hundreds of billions of dollars each year and growing!
Your Stove is Missing You
Here’s an idea – Go buy a nice bright kettle and some pots and pans today and show your kitchen some love! Restaurants and brands are brainwashing you into believing that since you are saving your time cooking, you can spend more hours at the office, commute longer and spend more time binge-watching Netflix! We are definitely filling up our hours but are we really too busy to cook or are we simply allocating our time in a different way? When I help my clients do meal planning I make them realise that in the time it takes for you to browse through the hundreds of restaurants on the Swiggy app and decide which dish to order and for the time it takes to be delivered to your house (mostly around 45 mins), you could have easily cooked something in your kitchen! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A bit of fresh vegetables cooked with pasta and tomato puree or some veggie burritos can satisfy your hunger. Simple home cooked meals can be more satisfying and far less expensive than ordering or eating out. When you order food from a restaurant, you may have saved some time but you have worked a little longer today and you are going to repeat the same pattern tomorrow. Have you seen the hamster on a wheel? Think about whether your life is starting to resemble the same mouse.
But It Tastes Divine
It is indeed hard to resist the over-processed ingredient combos that we currently call food simply because the companies selling it have their hooks into you! Amidst the sea of French fries and mac and cheese, the humble cauliflower or cabbage tastes a little boring. Our taste buds have grown to crave the sweet, salty and rich tastes of manufactured food. But we human beings are not born to love those manufactured flavours. Giant Fast food corporations want to get you addicted to their packaged processed foods. They hire flavour scientists (yes that’s a job!) who research and find the right combinations of flavour molecules to carry that cocktail of flavour – salt to wake up your taste buds and sugar to provide a rush of pleasure. When you eat out at your favourite Chinese restaurant you get a wave of flavour, energy and comfort that leaves you feeling lost and empty immediately afterwards. In a situation like this, I don’t exactly blame you if you don’t like your cucumbers. They would taste odd with no sugary dressing on them. But you can start eating healthy – if you manage to change your taste buds. Once you start to see the difference that real food can make to your health you will no longer eat certain foods because they start to feel fake. You will still be able to enjoy the occasional icecream but that big white cake that has been ordered for your office colleague’s birthday will seem less alluring!