The nationwide lockdown began with almost everyone vowing to give more time to their health and fitness regimes. We all started with watching our diet and doing those numbing burpees every day. But how many of us have been able to actually keep up? Our guess is that most of us fell out of it with the same speed as we got into it with. Here’s where India’s top nutritionist, Rujuta Diwekar, comes in. She has a simple funda – practice a healthy lifestyle that is actually sustainable for the long run and don’t follow fitness fads just for the sake of it. This week we spoke to her about diet trends, life during the lockdown, sweet cravings, and more.
Q. You have generally been against most of the trending fitness fads. Which one of the fitness fads do you think is the most harmful for our bodies?
RD: It is tough for a mother to pick her favorite child and for a dietitian to pick the worst trend. Each one is equally harmful for people’s health and that of the planet. The healthiest people in the world have never been on a diet and regard food as a blessing. I would want the world to eat in their diverse, traditional ways. It’s the best way to stay healthy, again for both people and the planet, to be, eat and live in sync with nature and not in sync with the latest fad.
Q. Your short videos all through the pandemic have helped and motivated a lot of people. What does a typical day in your life look like during the lockdown?
RD: Exactly like everyone else’s, I guess. Wake up, eat some nuts & raisins, some yoga, cook breakfast, clean plates & utensils, work. Take a break to cook lunch, eat, clean up after – repeat. The kind of #atmanirbhar I don’t mind not being.
Q. There are several posters, ads and whatsapp forwards about foods/drinks that increase immunity. What is the one misconception about immunity that you would like to clarify for our readers? And what is the most effective and practical way to keep our immunity up this year?
RD: Immunity is the new weight loss. From bhaji wash to wall paper, everything is #Immunityboosting. But if you have a body, it already has its innate immune response and specific immune response in place. Just ensure that you don’t displace that with poor sleep, fad diets, overexercising or being in toxic relationships.
Q. The one thing that troubles most of us, and I’m sure you would agree, is our sweet tooth. What do you recommend one should do about a post meal sweet craving?
RD: Don’t keep long gaps in meals, chew your food slowly, stay true to the authentic recipes like using ghee, sugar, spices in dishes that require those and don’t replace them with “healthy” options and the cravings will no longer bother you. You may then eat a sweet out of decision and not desperation or frustration.
Q. What is your favourite dish to cook and eat? And what food is your guilty pleasure and/or cheat meal? A bowl of pasta, perhaps?
RD: Dal chawal ghee with fried aloo papad that comes from the coast of Konkan is my favourite stuff to cook. Also as a person, I think of myself as a human worthy of food on her plate. I work to earn it, source it, and cook it with honour. So when I enjoy my meal, I never feel like I cheated or guilty.