Rujuta Diwekar Curated

Indian Celebrity Nutritionist

CURATED BY :  


  • This year Rujuta Diwakar focuses on children’s health and diet.

    Children love to play, spend time outdoors and stay active. But now days we see a lot of children missing on their play time due to a number of reasons. This could be excessive screen time or their homework or other school work. Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwakar has begun with her 12 week fitness project for the year 2019. This year nutritionist focuses on children's health and diet. Recently nutritionist took to Instagram and posted about minimum sixty minutes of free play for children everyday. Children do not spend time in physical activity and this is the primary reason children are facing a lot of health problems. Some common problems that children suffer are obesity, frequent illness and allergies. WHO recommends a minimum of sixty minutes of free play every day till the age of 17 years. Also, more than sixty minutes could bring additional benefits to the child. Nutritionist suggests that as parents and society we can facilitate physical activity for children by: Encouraging children to play in all weathers and seasons Teaching boys to share open spaces with girls and teaching girls to fearlessly occupy open green spaces to run, jump and roll By allowing them to bunk tuition classes or homework if it comes in the way of 60 minutes of free play

  • Could you recommend an ideal breakfast, lunch and dinner for the wedding season?

  • What food tips would you give for the wedding season?

  • What according to you is the biggest mistake done by parents?

  • What should we as parents do in order to maintain a healthy diet for our children?

  • What advice would you like to give for parents of teenagers?

  • Any advice for the fathers?

  • Where do you believe India is standing in terms of global health standards?

    I think India is standing at a very interesting place. One, India has the time-tested wisdom of eating right, yoga and staying active and doing your chores yourself, which is our culture. On the other hand, we have the concept of eating our regional cooking, which is good for us and the planet. Like even if you come to a Cafe Coffee Day, now you see they have the Madras Sondal and they have something or the other from the East, West and the North as well. We have always had our diversities but the problem now is that the affluent Indians are giving up on these diversities for a more homogenous diet. If you are rich, you must have cereals and low-fat milk and not eat luchi-aloo or idli-vada. I think we are at a juncture where we need to understand that we already have that wisdom and now it is all about practising the time-tested ideas versus going by the new headlines, weight-loss apps or sites every day. In terms of kids, we also have the second-highest number of obese kids as well as the highest number of malnourished children. We are at these extremities and I feel that the educated middle class needs to lead the way.

  • What are your views on the need for working out along with a healthy diet?

    I say this both about a workout and a diet — you need to adopt something you can live with for the next 50 years. If you are only doing it for two weeks to get into shape for your cousin’s wedding, no one is going to recognise you after that because you are going to be ballooning out of your pants after that! Exercise isn’t a punishment, it is something that you owe to your body as a sense of responsibility. You must ensure that you are challenging it in terms of strength, flexibility and stamina. At the same time, a diet is not the same as deprivation. Whether it is a diet or a workout, relationship or a job, I keep saying that we have to look at it in the long term and not the outcome in the next two-three weeks. We need to keep this perspective in mind before we get on to anything.

  • Do you think with the youth, the consciousness about fitness is changing suddenly?

    Yes and there’s a whole lot of reasons for that. It is now cool to stay fit and now you have Instagram and what not, which creates a lot of pressure to stay fit. However, there is no substance to it, it is more about what you look like on the outside as opposed to what you feel on the inside. Fitness is not about fitting into a certain size or looking good from a profile, it is about feeling on top of your world even at the end of your day, being high on self-esteem. When I go for talks to colleges, there are people rushing up to me asking for a selfie. Later they would say “oh my angle doesn’t look so well”. I just feel that you shouldn’t be putting your health at risk, just for 15 extra likes.

  • Any hacks you would suggest for people who are now leading a sedentary life?

    In the IT, media or private banking industries, some of the brightest minds go to work there and within a year they manage to make these people at least five kilos heavier and at least 10 years older. I really feel that companies that hire young capital should also learn to be a little responsible towards them. It is not about giving them a salary and their weekly offs but really ensuring that you are building an environment of fitness. Every 30 minutes, you should be able to stand for three minutes. Your workspace should have a big open window from where you can look out, and basics of gyms like yoga ropes, bars where you can stretch yourself. People not even in their 30s are facing back and shoulder problems and all of this is solely because of what their jobs do to them. One must demand the time for fitness within the job hours because if you are expected to work 10-12 hours every day for a week, there should be other privileges that you can avail. I would constantly root for one-and-a-half hours every alternate day, within your work time, to go take a fitness class or exercise. And every person should know that every five years you have the ability to vote, so vote for politicians who will give you more livable cities where one can walk or cycle to their workplace, not worrying that if I walk, a bike or car might come and run me over. This is a more multi-disciplinary approach to fitness and not just calories in, calories out.

  • You have always championed the cause of ‘eat everything’. Don’t you meet with trepidation from people?

    All the time and that is why I think it is thanks to my work with the Hindi film industry that I have received the support from media and a voice like mine is getting mainstream. Otherwise, it sounds like a daadi or a naani saying something like this! (laughs). I am very aware of the fact that I couldn’t have done this kind of work without support from these two places. I firmly believe that it is not the food that is making us fat. It is the entire lifestyle in totality. People were eating luchis and nolen gur in the 70s, 80s and 90s. When you talk to your mother or grandmother, they were at least five-10 kilos lighter than you at this age. Kids are eating out of packets. If junk food is going to be your food of choice for your kids, there is nothing that can be done. When we stepped out of school, a guava or some other fruit was our easy choice. Now, for kids, chips, pastry and chocolates have become the natural choice. One of my main focus areas is to align people back to the way they have always been eating — accordingly to our culture, climate and crop cycle. And it’s time we moved back to that instead of eating according to carbohydrate, protein and fat. This natural selection will help you stay fit for the next 50-60 years.

  • You work with celebrities. Any anecdotes?

    You know people ask me how difficult it must be working with celebrities but I have been doing this for the past 20 years, so that’s my comfort zone now. I really feel that if you work with anyone with commitment and drive towards one aspect of their lives, that commitment and drive percolates into other aspects too. They put in a lot of effort and then people like me can take credit for all their efforts!

  • What about cutting out carbs totally?

    Segregating food based on food groups like carbohydrate, protein and fat is equal to segregating humans on the basis of caste and religion. Then you are actually being biased and prejudiced. We have needs for all food groups and it has to be judged on merit. This conscious dividing is now called ‘nutritionism’, something that no one should indulge in because it only works for profits, it doesn’t work for people.

  • On the global stage of nutrition, who do you look at for inspiration?

    Back home in the kitchen, that’s where my inspiration comes from! The farmers who ensure we get fresh produce and the people who cook in the kitchen — we have to look at them. The latest data in nutritional science is this — eat more local. Life is more about what we do on a daily basis and not what we see on our social feeds.

  • Today, you are accessible to the common man. Was that part of your online strategy?

    Being Kareena’s dietician is a still very much a part of my identity, one that I cherish. The social media following, however, has been an organic process. I signed up for it, like everyone else. But thanks to the fan following that Kareena enjoys across the globe, I got some part of that attention. Big names like business tycoon Anil Ambani and actors Alia Bhatt or Varun Dhawan bring credibility, curiosity and opportunity around your work. So the whole access thing actually works the other way around. People want access to you once there’s a big name attached.

  • What has been your method before you recommend or suggest meal plans to your followers?

    Right from the beginning, I have strived to strike the right balance between our ancient wisdom and study of nutrition science. So if I am spending time studying yoga and Ayurveda in Rishikesh, I also update myself from a university/conference in the West. My guess is we will see that change in five years. Till that time, we can rely on our homegrown wisdom of keeping life simple and eating local, seasonal and traditional. When I pay in Euros and attend these courses, I come back home feeling that all ancient cultures were in tune with this climate resilient and sustainable lifestyle and consumption practices for centuries together, and it’s a shame that we have undervalued the free access that we have had to this through our grandmoms. Clearly, these women and their collective wisdom haven’t received their due and all of us are guilty of that. As far as studies go, our latest and amongst our biggest experiments has been the 12-week fitness project 2018 which involved giving out a health guideline every week to 1.25 lakh registered participants from more than 40 countries. The tips were simple and the idea was to build fitness one step at a time so that its sustainable. The 12-week fitness project 2019 started on January 8.

  • Tell us any interesting incident you faced that perhaps shows the kind of attitude we have about our own rich food culture?

    Indians across regions and even globally are not ignorant about the goodness of their traditional, diverse diets, they are simply in awe of it. I mean it’s a case of being too good to be true. They are like, ‘really, dal chawal ghee kha ke patla ho sakte hai?’ Can we really lead ourselves to sustainable weight loss by being simple and no-fuss with our diets? And most times, I just throw some non-layman terms like lacto-fermentation for simple things like pickles or how dal chawal is a good mix of essential and non-essential amino acids and then they are like, yeah, it’s in English and some confusing terms so it must be scientific after all.

  • Give us a glimpse of your new book Notes for Healthy kids?

    Sometimes I worry that our future will be everyone eating the same food, speaking in the same language and reading the same book, and where would that leave us as people and the planet? The diversity our diets offer is a legacy of health, fitness and happiness that is worth passing on and my hope for a better future is my motivation behind the book Notes for Healthy Kids (and parents too). It talks about why grandma’s wisdom is even more relevant today, about what you can eat for different age-groups, the need to keep moving and to sleep on time. I am happy that it has turned out to be an interesting read.

  • What are your plans for 2019? What else can we expect from you?

    We will soon go live with the Fitness project 2019 which will be a family project with kids health at the centre of it. The ragi kheer project in my ancestral village of Sonave will expand itself to cover 1,000 kids.

  • What should our health resolutions be for 2020?

    Keep up and do better at what we have been doing; plant more native trees and raise the population of local birds, bees and butterflies.

  • How do parents influence what children eat?

  • What qualities are we lacking as parents?

  • Are junk foods are also harming the environment in some way?

  • Do you believe that plastic packaged food is the new age colonization?

  • What would be your advice to parents? 

  • Does body shaming create a negative impact on kids?

  • Don’t you think the foods you suggest for the kids are not easily accessible?

  • What is your nutrition advice for kids of 0-2 years?   

  • What is your nutrition advice for kids of 0-8 age group?   

  • How do we handle the food habits of the teenage group?

  • Why do you think sports is important for the kids?

  • What would be your suggestions for the parents of teenage kids?

  • Why do you recommend that open spaces are crucial?

  • How did India get the worlds second highest number of obsessed children?

  • Could you share some strong message for the girls who reach their puberty? 

  • What’s the importance of rice in a child’s diet?

  • What are the main sources of calcium?

  • Is it necessary to give vitamin pills to kids?

  • Should we avoid roti and puri since they are rich in gluten?

  • What is your view on fasting?

  • What are the three main things that make us catabolic?

  • What would you recommend to fix the unhealthy habits and stay anabolic?

  • What do you recommend for the evening snack time?

  • Why do you recommend women to have rice at dinner?

  • Do you recommend to have brown rice over white regular rice?

  • What’s your opinion on body weight?

  • What are the parameters that women should abide by?

  • What’s your opinion on the new age diet plans?

  • Why do you prescribe carbs?

  • What is the effect of starvation?

  • How do we understand our right portion of food?

  • What do you mean by a sustainable diet?

  • Why do you suggest people to have local foods?

  • What is the local food of Mumbai?

  • What food to eat for cholesterol?

  • What should we avoid in order to control our cholesterol?

  • Do you recommend people to have sugar?

  • What is the meaning of TOFI and FOTI?

  • Is it fine to drink wine?

  • What is the effect of rising pollution in the city?

  • What are you eating that leaves you fit as a fiddle?

    I'll tell you one secret. The idea is to eat before you get hungry. Also, eat foods which you are actually making from scratch at home or the ones that are freely available in nature. Naturally available. Fresh fruits. Nuts. Or homemade dal chawal. Homemade sherbets. Poha, upma, idli, paratha. Homemade mathri, shakarpada, chidwa. That is pretty much what I eat throughout the day. It seems like a lot of food but I split it and I eat it every few hours. And that way, I am not irritable or annoyed because of the lockdown. The lockdown has kind of imprisoned us in our homes.

  • What's your day like?

    I start with a few Surya Namaskars. Five to be precise and only then do I actually start my day.

  • What is your take on eating traditional food ?

    This is the one time when the smoothie is not going to keep us healthy but the khichdi is. We should buy more natural produce, support more local farmers and by doing that, we can keep our waistline thin and keep the earth in a good place.

  • How to take care of our diet?

    The only people who are worried ki ghar pe baith ke mote ho jaayenge are the ones who are opening packets and eating. Otherwise, there is so much work to do at home. From household chores to office work. No scope to get fat if you actually cook more meals at home. One of the things which I would recommend you to eat at home is ghee because it is extremely important. It allows your body access to essential fats. All of the fat soluble vitamins can actually be assimilated in your system every time you have ghee. Vitamin D, for example. It is linked to the immune function. For eyes, Vitamin A is good. Vitamin K is important for the heart. A teaspoon of ghee for breakfast, lunch and dinner is good. Also eat a handful of nuts. Have peanuts or chana if you don't like nuts. If you have low hemoglobin or iron, or simply having mood swings, add a little bit of jaggery to chana. Jaggery is very good for the mood especially if it comes with cashew nuts or chana. It's amazing. You are forgiving towards everyone after eating it.

  • What do you think about traditional superfoods ?

    We have kind of traded spices and we think we are doing something really cool if we are eating just raw salads or only steamed stuff like that. But then what we are needing to do is pop a pill of something as simple as turmeric. Or take shots of cinnamon and black pepper. So, make sure there is a sensible and intelligent use of spices in your diet. There is no one thing that is going to make sab theek. You have to work at it throughout the day. You need to build a robust lifestyle. Not just follow a diet till your cousin's wedding. Do it till the rest of your life. Not just till the pandemic.

  • Tell us something on quarantine meal plans.

    It uses all non-perishables such as dals, grains, rice, millets and bajra. These are healthy and good for everyone from children to senior citizens. What needs to happen in Indian households is that Indian men need to contribute to cooking. They have to understand that making jokes about making rotis in the shape of different world maps is not cute. When there is a pandemic, you need to be efficient and competent. Indian men should be able to prep for that cooking. Cook and also clean up after that. And only then are they truly useful at home.

  • What are some of your quick tips ?

    Please eat mangoes. You can eat mangoes and roti for lunch. It is also a good time to rejoin ourselves to that chain of Indian food wisdom because every region and community has its specialties and they are under the threat of losing them because we are not practicing them. Be it making shakarpada, ajwain paratha or biryani. Learn that and practice that. Make it at least once during the pandemic. It is also a good time to document your traditional family recipes.

  • How are you advising celebrities to keep the size zero? What's your advice to them?

    My magic formula for them is to do what you have always been doing. None of my celebrities were eating an avocado before. They were eating dal rice, bananas, paratha or and dahi rice. They are continuing to do that.

  • Suggest a few drinks with medicinal properties

    Haldi doodh is traditionally used every time we feel a little down. Drink at night. Homemade sherbets are great as well. Be it of amla, rose or lemon Drink in the mid-day so that you are not buckling under the May heat. The third drink is a nice cup of chai or coffee just as you like it. Be it with a teaspoon of sugar or milk or whatever. Don't drink it the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. Not after 4pm. In the afternoon, so that you can sleep well at night. A cup of chai in the day also helps people unwind and relax.

  • At what time should you eat lunch and dinner, and how much?

    Make sure after you wake up, you eat some fruits and nuts to start your day. Also, eat a nice wholesome breakfast. Don't delay your lunch beyond 12:30pm or 1pm. If lunch is delayed, eat a banana. Try and have dinner by 7pm or 8pm.

  • How to give up on cravings?

    If you are craving for a chocolate pastry, you can tell yourself, 'Okay, I give it to myself once every week. I will eat the best pastry that money can buy and when I am in a good mood and in good company. Not when I am feeling like I am going to go crazy. Not when I feel dull, bored or depressed.'

  • What are your suggestions on working out and dieting ?

    Workout is something that you owe yourself and you must work out irrespective of anything. Similarly, eating food that you like is something that you owe yourself. Most victims of dieting are women because we are waiting for someone to approve of something that we would like to eat. A pastry a week is not making anyone fat. Eat it in a way that it continues to give you sweet memories. Not something that makes you feel guilty.

  • Do you get clients who come to you saying, ‘I want a body like Kareena’s?’

    No, mostly I have people who tell me, “Listen, I am no Kareena Kapoor,” either to say that they are not going to be as committed or to communicate an unwillingness to pay my fees. When I started in 1999, yes, some convincing was required. But now thanks to the books and social media, people already know you before they meet you. And they choose to come to you because of your approach and not in spite of it.

  • Celebrities are often the ones setting fitness goals. What are the challenges for regular people?

    People we refer to as celebrities are generally the ones who make it to the top of their field, and generally people make it to the top because they are much more disciplined and have a better sense of priorities than the rest. Chandra Kochar looks in better shape than the average banker, Anand Mahindra is in better shape than your middle-level manager, and this rule applies to actors too.

  • What are some of the overlooked superfoods that could be incorporated in our diets?

    We only need alternatives when we think that what we have is not good enough. The dal-chawal and roti-sabzi that we eat is great, but our grandmas never indulged in nutritionism and sold us the idea of eating a certain food based on a single nutrient. The idea was to always eat in a sustainable way, to follow a food pattern that is region and season specific, something that the nutrition scientists are talking about now. The world over, nutrition bodies are also saying that the food of the poor in one continent becomes that of the rich in another. So the kale of the poor European farmer and the quinoa of the poor Peruvian/ Bolivian is the food of the rich in London, Paris, New York. While burger and fried chicken, the food of the poor in the US, are the foods of the rich in countries like India. Superfoods are foods that are local, versatile and blend with the ecology of the region you belong to. So in India we have the banana, ghee, turmeric, nutmeg, jackfruit, ragi, sugar cane, ambadi. In fact, my most recent book is Indian Super Foods and it lists 10 different super foods native to India.

  • Losing weight over being healthy – why are we unable to distinguish between the two and can they be achieved together?

    It is because when we go to see a doctor for backache, blood pressure, fertility, anything at all, we hear the words “lose some weight”. It is the same thing we hear at parties or weddings: “She is so pretty, if only she lost some weight toh shaadi jaldi ho jayegi.”. Loss of weight can be achieved by loss of health too – diarrhoea does it, so does AIDS. It is important to focus on improving metabolic health, to carry more muscle and bone than what we currently do, to make long-lasting changes in our lifestyle that lead to sustainable weight loss. And the only thing that can bring that ideal balance is education about the fact that fitness or fatness cannot be measured on a weighing scale.

  • What are you eating that leaves you fit as a fiddle?

    I'll tell you one secret. The idea is to eat before you get hungry. Also, eat foods which you are actually making from scratch at home or the ones that are freely available in nature. Naturally available. Fresh fruits. Nuts. Or homemade dal chawal. Homemade sherbets. Poha, upma, idli, paratha. Homemade mathri, shakarpada, chidwa. That is pretty much what I eat throughout the day. It seems like a lot of food but I split it and I eat it every few hours. And that way, I am not irritable or annoyed because of the lockdown. The lockdown has kind of imprisoned us in our homes.

  • How to take care of our diet?

    The only people who are worried ki ghar pe baith ke mote ho jaayenge are the ones who are opening packets and eating. Otherwise, there is so much work to do at home. From household chores to office work. No scope to get fat if you actually cook more meals at home. One of the things which I would recommend you to eat at home is ghee because it is extremely important. It allows your body access to essential fats. All of the fat soluble vitamins can actually be assimilated in your system every time you have ghee. Vitamin D, for example. It is linked to the immune function. For eyes, Vitamin A is good. Vitamin K is important for the heart. A teaspoon of ghee for breakfast, lunch and dinner is good.

  • Would you like to give us some tips on what to include in our diet?

    Please eat mangoes. You can eat mangoes and roti for lunch. It is also a good time to rejoin ourselves to that chain of Indian food wisdom because every region and community has its specialties and they are under the threat of losing them because we are not practicing them. Be it making shakarpada, ajwain paratha or biryani. Learn that and practice that. Make it at least once during the pandemic. It is also a good time to document your traditional family recipes.

  • How are you advising celebrities to keep the size zero? What's your advice to them?

    My magic formula for them is to do what you have always been doing. None of my celebrities were eating an avocado before. They were eating dal rice, bananas, paratha or and dahi rice. They are continuing to do that.

  • Why according to you does this generation have very picky eating habits?

  • What is your nutrition advice for the age group of 0-2?

  • What is your nutrition advice for the age group of 2-8?

  • What is your nutrition advice for teenagers?

  • How important is the role of 'sports' in our life?

  • Does sports help in the assimilation of nutrients?

  • According to you, is the intake of rice good for us?

  • Does a vegetarian diet have enough nutrients?

  • What are some good sources of Calcium?

  • What is your opinion on multi-vitamins?

  • What do you have to say about the new trends in dieting?

  • How should people who work late manage their diet?

  • How should people who work late manage their diet?

  • What is the best form of rice one should intake?

  • How do you get rid of belly fat, after the age of 40?

  • What is your idea of a basic diet?

  • How much ghee should we eat?

  • Is it okay to intake sugar in our diet?

  • Is it okay to intake sugar in our diet?

  • What are the 5 diet myths that you want to break?

  • What are the superfoods that you swear by?

  • What is your message to new moms or those planning to start a family?

  • How did Kareena Kapoor manage her diet during pregnancy?

  • Weight loss, fat loss and fitness are three entirely different things. Would you agree?

    Of course. I have five principal fitness parameters — cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance — which is not the same as the second one, body flexibility and body composition. Men should ideally have less than 20 percent fat and women 25 percent. The first four parameters should be worked on to achieve the fifth. Any good diet plan should be lifestyle-oriented. The energy and enthusiasm levels should be there right from waking up to late evening. Exercises too are important.

  • How do you suggest getting a healthier approach to food?

    We should not look at food only as something served on a plate that should be eaten. We should take keen interest on how this food is grown, stored, sold and even cooked.

  • What about a lack of sleep adding to weight gain?

    Definitely there are those lifestyle aspects as I said. But the quality of sleep is also important and the food-sleep relationship must be studied.

  • What about the commonly-noticed observation that men find it easier to lose weight?

    I think that women support their men more than the other way round. Most of my male clients come in with their wives or girlfriends who are also keen about their getting back into shape. But the vast majority of women come in alone. Not just that: a man should also support a woman, especially if he is working, so that she gets time to follow her regimen by taking charge of some of her responsibilities.

  • The media has discovered you because of Kareena Kapoor. What is your say on this?

    Honestly, I was upset at first because of this before, but they have put me into the spotlight. Sometimes I think that they should ask me for a royalty! (Laughs)

  • You have had an extremely illustrious career and what you have achieved is highly inspiring. You would have obviously had some to face lots of challenges in your journey to stardom. Can you tell me about some of them?

    A lot of times I am asked if I have had many challenges. Honestly, I have had none. When I first began and I told my grandfather that I was going to do my post-graduation in sports science and nutrition, he wanted to know what exactly I was going to do after that. I really did not know at that time, but it was one thing which I felt was my calling and what I was going to do with it was something I would discover every single day. SO, I really feel that every single day is a learning and a challenge, but in every challenge lies the opportunity to get better and to grow and overcome all your limitations. In that sense I probably meet challenges every day and I am really grateful for all of them. Working with celebrities whether it is Karena Kapoor or an industrialist like Anil Ambani or using my own voice to reach and impact many other people who would probably not have access to paid professional services. Taking my kind of work to the grass root level to that of maybe farmers and trying to help the local or micro economy and trying to create an impact there. I think the bigger the impact you want your work to create the more the challenges that will face. If you have stopped facing challenges, then you have probably stopped working.

  • What is your biggest driving factor towards success?

    I don’t know if I have a driving factor. I just feel that I want to feel useful, to myself and to as many people as I can be and that is my driving factor. The other driving factor is that I feel that we are sitting on a gold mine of traditional wisdom about food and well-being which we have either completely undervalued or we are simply unaware of it. We also have rich and diverse tradition of so many cuisines. Every city or state has so many different cuisines. How many countries can say that about themselves? I feel when we have all this, I think it is important to cherish all this collective wisdom that we all have chanced upon. We should not really wait for the West to give their mark of approval or for a celebrity to endorse it on Instagram. We all need to rediscover the joy of living simply and living glorious and fulfilling lives. This is also my motivation or my driving factor.

  • What advice would you have for aspiring millennials like myself?

    Well you know, a lot of people feel that millennials are short on attention and high on entitlement, but my experience has been really different. I find that most that I meet are interested in the various things that they are doing. I find them hard working from a very young age like you. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do interviews when I was your age.

  • Did you have any role models growing up?

    No, I did not. On the other hand, almost everyone I met was a role model for me. I think there is something to learn from every single person. In my kind of a career, I get to meet people from a diverse background who are doing very well, and I have had the opportunity to see so many people go through their trials and tribulations and their triumphs. What I have discovered over a period of time is that only those who have managed to triumph over their trials are the ones that have persisted and have not listened to what others have to say. They have said no to small successes for the goal of a big success. The ones who have not moved from their path even when times have changed, those are the ones that have come out triumphant. In that sense everyone that I meet is a role model. I remember once I was at a traffic signal. There was small boy and he was so moved by what we were talking about, he kissed my hand. I hesitated to kiss his hand back and then I thought that after being abandoned by everyone that I should have been there for him. If this boy could find it in himself to have to affection to kiss a strangers hand then I could do the same. I really felt happy about meeting that small boy because I felt that I could learn the love he still had inside of him.

  • Being an author have there been any books that have inspired you in any way?

    Oh well. I should say my own books… Well I actually happen to be an author just by chance. I haven’t read at all. Right through school we hear how much we should read but I haven’t read a single book in my life. Writing is something that just happened. As I said you can’t plan for success it just happens as the world was changing. Blogging had started and I started. Kareena did a movie and they spoke about her size zero which then led people to take about how she got there and that’s how I got into writing. So, I don’t have books that inspire me unless I count the Upanishads as a book, but it is much more than that. However, that is something that I read every morning.

  • What are some of the biggest successes that you feel you have accomplished, and you derive satisfaction from?

    To start with you can’t achieve success by yourself. It is always team work. When a group of people work together you can see something of success. We recently concluded the fitness project which was a free open and free fitness project. We had over a 100,000 people register on Facebook from across the globe. When I looked at the numbers, we had 91% who’d had persisted with this throughout the program. We had 85% of women who overcame their PMS troubles. We had 72% who have started strength training. I count this as a collective success. I also count the project that we are doing at my ancestral village which is a tribal village as a success. We started a project where school going children get a millet, milk and jaggery meal. A year after starting this project we have achieved a zero-malnourishment score in the entire district. This is also a collective success of all those involved. I really cherish.

  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?

    Well in people’s hearts. I don’t view my career in terms of milestones. You can do that if you talk about figures and numbers. I work in the field of health and I don’t really work with numbers. In ten years if have created a 100 time more impact than right now then it’s would be worth it. Saying 100 times does not mean anything. Just more impact is critical because I feel impact is my currency. If I see more people in the gym, mor people eating at home , more gender equality, if governments wake up to the fact that we need more open spaces, if we have schools promoting more healthy cuisines then I would feel that what I am doing is of value.

  • The book seems absolutely for women; won't your male readers feel left out?

    I did think about that and would love to work on a similar book for men, who also have their share of problems and insecurities. But for the time-being, men can read this book to care better for the invaluable women in their lives!

  • How can one handle fussy children?

    It is a multifold problem. What works well is getting the child connected to the soil. If you grow, for example, coriander in the window, the child knows how the process works. Take them to the farm at least once every month. Let them observe plants, trees, fruits, berries in their natural settings so as to make them conscious about food. Because when they know where it is coming from, they buy into it. Connecting with food requires connecting with the environment. Also, parents must cook more at home. When children see their parents in the kitchen, they, too, will follow and will fall in love with the process of cooking and eating. Also, the entire family must eat at a fixed time everyday with no phone activity or TV at all. There was a five-year study that was done in the European Union on children's health (the I.Family Study), and they found that a child doesn't get unhealthy in isolation. It is a part of the entire environment that contributes to it. They noticed that saying no to the child helps them.... The point is that as a parent you have to overcome your child's pester power. You must persist. But we also want the government to respond to this problem, which was also what the I.Family Study noted. The government must ensure that there is no junk food advertisement on TV. As parents, we must lobby for it and vote for the government on the lines of health.

  • What led you to write the book?

    It was to educate and inform parents. We can't shame a child into eating right. We can educate them to eat right and then the change invariably comes.

  • What should be the food pattern of a low birth weight child?

    Low birth weight of a child is also a part of nutrition transition, which I have written about in the book. Nutrition transition is not good. It means ending diversity for uniformity in food. Earlier, we had a Malayali eating differently than a Punjabi, who, in turn, ate differently than a Bengali. But now, we are all eating westernised food or packaged and processed food. And, we move much lesser than our parents used to. Children are not low birth weight in isolation—it is mostly the result of a mother who has become very fat during pregnancy. A mother's obesity is also not a personal problem, but a policy issue. For instance, when mothers are asked to not travel by local transport during pregnancy, it leaves them with no choice but to remain at home, which, in turn, adds to their weight. But what we can do to tackle low birth weight kids is to give them desi cow's milk and ghee in proportion to the meals. But don't do anything extra to fatten them. Please do not subscribe to any protein powders or supplements. Because in the process of fattening them up, we are also feeding them fears that something is wrong with them. And, these fattening tonics that we give toddlers change them so much that they get PCOD and other problems on growing up. Instead, feed them ragi kheer and sooji halwa, which is very homely and healthy. Having said that, I want to reiterate that a child's weight is no one's business. And, mothers must stop feeling guilty or pressured about it. If the child is energetic, active and happy, it is just fine. Raising a child is a collective commitment. It takes a village to raise a child, not the mother alone. So, she shouldn't be facing the judgment alone. If something is wrong with my child, it is also your fault.

  • Given the nuclear family setup we live in, how can parents bring up their children in the best way?

    Cooking isn't the chore that it is made out to be. It is actually time-saving than time-consuming. It also keeps everyone in the family healthy, [and helps] save on the money you spend on tonics and medicines. It is a critical investment. The game changer for a nuclear family is getting the Indian male to start working at home. We don't need reservations in Parliament, rather we need men's reservation in the kitchen. Earlier, men would work in the kitchen, but this new breed doesn't seem to think the same way, which is shameful. We are geared in a way where the woman is just killing herself to service everyone at home.

  • To what extent can parents allow the child to consume junk food?

    There are many decent vendors who sell on the roadside. Eat there once every two weeks and eat one or two dishes at one time. Don't think you can have chaat for dinner. Also, the point is to not make junk food aspirational for children. Parents must not bribe them as return gifts or treats.

  • What should a child eat daily without fail?

    Rice, peanuts, ghee, a seasonal fruit, a homemade laddu—these must be given every day, and other food that is locally available.

  • How can one limit chocolates?

    Chocolates must be limited and children should be made aware that it is the chocolate industry that still involves child labour in a big way. Don't give them chocolates as a treat. It should be limited to once a week.

  • Why do you think that the narrative of weight loss is so complicated?

  • Why do you think people are so confused when it comes to how to eat?

  • What is your opinion about the new diet trends?

  • What are some things you usually prefer to eat?

  • What is the 'grandmother rule' that you talk about?

  • How to make our children inculcate healthy dietary habits?

  • Is being a vegan the right way to live?

  • Which food is better recommended?Local or traditional?

  • As obesity is a growing problem in India, how can parents prevent the creation of what you call the “obesogenic environment" in the book?

    I believe childhood obesity is a policy failure rather than a personal or parenting failure. Currently, in India we have the highest number of malnourished kids and the second highest number of obese kids. You get there by having policies that subsidize fertilizers but don’t support native, natural farming efforts or create market linkages between rural and urban India. We should hold our politicians responsible and accountable for poor planning of cities, lack of local produce in our markets and shrinking green spaces. As parents, it is important to say no every time your child asks for a chocolate for finishing all the food on their plate. As a household, it is important to adopt certain habits. Don’t have a fridge stocked with aerated drinks or packaged juices, or watch TV while eating. Another important point is to speak to your children in their local, native language. This is the language that our grandmothers spoke and is one of love and compassion—a language that should extend into food and trump the narrative of fear and caution.

  • How does one tackle the problem of underweight and malnourished children especially among the less privileged sections of society?

    There was a time when India’s poor were not victims of obesity and non-communicable diseases but that’s no longer the case. With packets of ultra-processed foods like chips and chocolates available for ₹ 5, the poor and the lower middle class is fast getting fat. Good nutrition is easily achievable and obesity is preventable if there’s government will and push for the right policies. The return of millets and value creation for the neglected and underutilized species of fruits and vegetables of every region of India will go a long way in preventing malnourishment. For all my ranting about what governments do wrong, the anganwadi (rural childcare centre) programme is a huge success and a shining example of the impact that policies can achieve when backed with political will. In the Sonave village of Palghar district, near Mumbai, we run a programme that sends ragi kheer to about 500 kids in anganwadis and hope to cover many more in the coming months. Private and public partnership with government officials working as facilitators has worked wonders for the region and I believe this is scalable if the government is able to find genuine partners in other regions of India.

  • The way children eat has changed with the growth of nuclear households where both parents are working. How can one ensure efficient as well as healthy cooking within this setup?

    Cooking at home saves both time and money in the long term by preventing obesity and all the diseases that follow that condition. We need to understand that cooking isn’t the chore that it is made out to be. One of the reasons why we undervalue cooking is because we take very little interest in the local, seasonal produce. The other big change that India is waiting for is for our men to enter the kitchen. They need to contribute to sourcing, cooking and serving food in their homes. I often say this to people, everyone had a grandfather who could cook, a father who would go out and do the daily shopping for fresh fruit and veggies. Then there is the husband who demands hot food on the dining table and a son who needs to be cajoled and bribed to just eat a bite. According to me, the problem is less the nuclear family but more about a change in the attitude of the Indian male.

  • Everyday, there is a new health trend and a pantry staple that is suddenly villified. How to balance the facts and myths?

    One of the ways to do this is to assess where we live and to find what grows naturally on our land and what the birds, bees and butterflies pollinate and feed on. In this awareness lies the deepest truth about nutrition. We have over 10,000 varieties of rice, over 65,000 varieties of pulses, over 7,000 varieties of vegetables, a veritable gold mine that has been explored and perfected with region-specific cooking by our grandmothers. There isn’t a better formula for health but to cook what grows locally and in season and to eat with a heart filled with gratitude. Education means recognizing this diversity and fighting back for the sake of our future. A healthy population and a healthy planet depend on our ability to do just that.

  • What about the role of ‘ghee’ and milk in a child’s diet?

    Both ghee and milk are among the panchamrits (a purifying mix of five foods used in Hindu worship) of our country and are therapeutic in nature. Cattle is an intrinsic part of a farmer’s ecosystem and they are raised like family but because of our disconnect with farming life, a lot of us believe that cows are being tortured for milk production. And while that is true of industrialized milk suppliers, it is far removed from the truth for a majority of Indian farmers. Buy milk from a local dairy or source from a local farm and let the child drink it only if she enjoys the taste of it. For dietary requirements of calcium, protein and other nutrients, a wholesome diet devoid of milk can meet that too and quite easily. So don’t use malted chocolate powders to get the kid to gulp down milk. And don’t give them almond milk, etc., to compensate for not liking milk either. Also, know that desi ghee is lactose free. So if the kid has a weak gut or immunity, both ghee and butter can help in healing that.

  • Is there anything that can be acceptable as junk food for a child?

    All Indian delicacies that are made at home can be enjoyed freely and they shouldn’t be counted as junk just because they are fried or have sugar. And as far as even pure junk food goes, the stuff that you can buy off markets or chains too is okay as long as it’s not offered as a treat or is perceived as an aspirational food item. This is true even for fat-free ice cream, flourless pizza or sugar-free chocolates. The thing is that junk doesn’t get healthy because some nutrient is added to it and fresh, seasonal produce, cooked in our kitchens, doesn’t become junk because of a particular food group or nutrient in it. When it comes to food, there is no room for guilt, it should be all about gratitude and common sense.

  • How much can a child participate in the food choices they are presented with?

    I have a chapter in my book about the involvement of kids in food sourcing, cooking and eating. Involving children in the kitchen, having them set the table, taking them to farms, letting them touch leaves, fruit, roots, is an engaging and positive exercise. It’s an enabler; an educative and empowering experience which allows them to see through cheap marketing gimmicks of the food industry and allows them to make choices in tune with time-tested ways of staying healthy. The whole point is to adopt a more sensible, simple and sustainable lifestyle as a family and to take it a day at a time. Don’t expect an overnight change but if you keep at it long enough, the change will be a liberating and irreversible one.

  • Five ideas for school snacks

    Banana is always a great idea even on days your child feels like skipping lunch in school, containing enough nutrients to equip them for the long day. Roti, jaggery and ghee are rich in iron and minerals and are quick go-to snacks for the long ride back home or post a sports class. Homemade laddoos made with aliv (garden cress seeds), jaggery and coconut ensure that moods don’t swing and energy levels don’t drop. Nimbu sherbet with a little ginger, kesar (saffron) and black pepper is great for the stomach and works as an antidote to digestion and fatigue that dehydration can set in. Homemade chakli, mathri and chivda are healthy options that leave your children well nourished for all their daily tasks.

  • You have been working with celebrities for years. Has the public perception of their bodies changed over the years? Is size-zero really desirable?

    Earlier, I would have to give at least a 10-minute lecture on why my office didn’t have a weighing scale. But now I don’t spend even 10 seconds on it. In fact, I have clients because they know that they won’t be held to ransom on a weighing scale. So yes, the perception has changed. There’s a better understanding about the fact that metabolic health needs to be improved and weight loss follows, not the other way around. As far as size zero is concerned, it is the media that coined that term. Until they don’t coin a better one, it will surface every now and then. Fitness is always desirable and size zero refers to a size of clothes and not to people.

  • Kareena Kapoor is your most visible and vocal patron. Does relentless coverage of her diet and of other celebrities increase pressure on ordinary people or does it encourage them?

    Celebrities are always in the public eye and the curiosity over their diets and weight loss programmes is natural, but to take pressure to emulate them is plain silly. Kareena is aware of her responsibilities towards her fans, and it was entirely her idea that I write a book post the Tashanphase so that people who were interested in losing weight the right way have complete access to exactly how she did it. The same with the Facebook live sessions – she really sticks her neck out and generously shares her diet secrets with all those who are willing to listen. Also, ordinary folks are much more intelligent than we give them credit for. They seek not just good content but also value credibility and can tell when someone is faffing.

  • Kareena Kapoor’s post-partum look seems to reinforce the notion that women need to lose weight after delivery. However, Aishwarya Rai received flak for taking her time with getting back into shape.

    Kareena’s journey towards fitness started way back in 2007. What you see now is the result of a 10-year long dedicated effort. It is anything but rapid. Any gynaecologist will tell you that in a healthy pregnancy, women will lose most of their weight on the delivery table. The key is to be healthy even before pregnancy crosses your mind, to aim at a pain-free period, for example, and this needs to be taught in schools itself. The fact that Kareena enjoyed and flaunted her pregnancy and even did cover shoots during that time goes to show that she not just embraced but celebrated this physiological landmark. Kareena’s post-pregnancy fitness is in response to eating home-cooked food, including dal-rice twice a day, working out 150 minutes a week, starting two months post-delivery and following a regulated bedtime. Now all this sounds very boring, but that’s exactly what Kareena has been doing. If the weight loss seems rapid, it is because the last picture of her in public memory was when she was full-blown pregnant. Comparing Aishwarya to Kareena is like comparing mangoes to sitaphal, it is a silly thing to do. We have many more media outlets than what we did just 10 years ago and everyone has a health and lifestyle page. And it is mostly about getting quotes from some celebrity dietitian/ trainer before the deadline, making an eye-catching headline, using the right picture and knowing how to make that page. Correct me if I am wrong, but who is asking a lifestyle journalist what their qualification in health or exercise science is? And bear with me here, but the poor lifestyle that journalists lead and their own struggles with food and exercise often make it to the page.

  • Celebrities are often the ones setting fitness goals. What are the challenges for regular people?

    People we refer to as celebrities are generally the ones who make it to the top of their field, and generally people make it to the top because they are much more disciplined and have a better sense of priorities than the rest. Chandra Kochar looks in better shape than the average banker, Anand Mahindra is in better shape than your middle-level manager, and this rule applies to actors too. Besides, acting is a physically challenging profession. You won’t find an artiste sitting at one place for too long. They walk, they move, they dance much more than regular people. So when Madhuri Dixit or Juhi Chawla look great even today, you have to acknowledge that they are starting at a different baseline. When Karisma Kapoor was giving her 12th retake for “Le gayi, le gayi,” you were chilling with a bowl of instant noodles. On a serious note, diets fail because they are not a culture fit. So choose a diet that is sustainable, make exercise a non-negotiable part of your life and regulate your bedtime to keep life-threatening illness at bay.

  • Women dominate conversations about fitness and weight loss, while the focus with men is on the workout regime.

    I think the diets of both male and female celebs get discussed. I remember reading about the diets of Hrithik, Aamir, and even Atul Kulkarni. But while we are generally appreciative of men being on a diet and see it as a measure of their commitment, focus and discipline, for women, we see it as their way of showing us down and putting pressure on us to lose weight. Blame that on patriarchy. If your husband knows how to make a chai, wow, how lucky you are! And he is very unlucky if you don’t know how to make garam chapatis. When I work with Varun Dhawan, Saif or Anupam Kher, the focus is on the complete lifestyle – food, exercise and sleep. Celebrity or not, male or female, there is no fooling or cheating the human physiology or its ability to adapt to the stimuli of diet and exercise.

  • You have been a champion of Indian superfoods, but your support for such foods as ghee and cashew nuts has drawn criticism. Is this because we have been conditioned to believe these foods are bad for health?

    On the contrary, most people are relieved to know that ghee and cashews are not the villains that they were made out to be and regularly share how they lost weight or achieved better blood glucose control after incorporating these in their diets. But is there skepticism when they first hear it? Yes, and I welcome that. We must learn to question health professionals and not just believe their word because they have some degree or no time to answer our questions. The main reason for a bad reputation for ghee and cashews is that people who give us health advice – doctors, dieticians, trainers – have no clue about how food grows or have a single paragraph in their text books on agro-ecology. They sound more like spokespersons of the food industry than anything else. We were systematically put off ghee by using these influencers and converted to consumers of refined vegetable oils first and then of virgin olive oil. So people to whom ghee is native are scared of it and a start-up in the US was recently in news for making millions selling it. Back home, our farmers have given up rearing indigenous cattle, as they don’t find good money for full-fat milk. The economics of this aside, the United States Department of Agriculture, in April 2015, declared cholesterol as a nutrient that is no longer of concern for over-consumption. So if you quit ghee over fear of cholesterol, USDA is now singing your nani’s tune and saying, beta ghee khao, and don’t count how much you are eating. But you see, grandma speaks in a vernacular language, and in our heads English is the language of science, so we quit all the good stuff and suffer. Anyway, I am happy to report that we are making a slow but a sure comeback to incorporating ghee in our daily diets. The fact that someone like Kareena wholeheartedly endorses it has an effect not just on people’s health but also percolates all the way to the farmer. In all the glitz, we don’t notice, but celebrity endorsement of local foods is a great thing for our agricultural communities. As for cashews or coconut or peanuts, vegetarian food is zero on cholesterol and we have been fooled into believing otherwise by everyone – from the doctors to the media and everyone in between. Thanks to this, the business of the chana-sing-wala selling you a five-rupee packet of healthy peanuts is now bust and that of franchises bringing you pizza within 30 mins with a free cola to boot is booming.

  • You have also been vocal about local alternatives to exotic foods such as kale and quinoa. What are some of the overlooked superfoods that could be incorporated in our diets?

    We only need alternatives when we think that what we have is not good enough. The dal-chawal and roti-sabzi that we eat is great, but our grandmas never indulged in nutritionism and sold us the idea of eating a certain food based on a single nutrient. The idea was to always eat in a sustainable way, to follow a food pattern that is region and season specific, something that the nutrition scientists are talking about now. The world over, nutrition bodies are also saying that the food of the poor in one continent becomes that of the rich in another. So the kale of the poor European farmer and the quinoa of the poor Peruvian/ Bolivian is the food of the rich in London, Paris, New York. While burger and fried chicken, the food of the poor in the US, are the foods of the rich in countries like India. Superfoods are foods that are local, versatile and blend with the ecology of the region you belong to. So in India we have the banana, ghee, turmeric, nutmeg, jackfruit, ragi, sugar cane, ambadi. In fact, my most recent book is Indian Super Foods and it lists 10 different super foods native to India.

  • Losing weight over being healthy – why are we unable to distinguish between the two and can they be achieved together?

    It is because when we go to see a doctor for backache, blood pressure, fertility, anything at all, we hear the words “lose some weight”. It is the same thing we hear at parties or weddings: “She is so pretty, if only she lost some weight toh shaadi jaldi ho jayegi.”. Loss of weight can be achieved by loss of health too – diarrhoea does it, so does AIDS. It is important to focus on improving metabolic health, to carry more muscle and bone than what we currently do, to make long-lasting changes in our lifestyle that lead to sustainable weight loss. And the only thing that can bring that ideal balance is education about the fact that fitness or fatness cannot be measured on a weighing scale.

  • We live in times where Keto, Paleo are our new best friends. What do you have to say about these new trends that we are now slaves to?

  • It’s difficult for me to eat at 7, because of my working hours. What can I do?

  • Brown, white, red, or unpolished? Which is the best rice to eat?

  • How does one get rid of belly fat post 40?

  • Tell us a basic diet that people should follow to not gain weight and to get all essential nutrients

  • You keep saying Ghee is good, but how much ghee is good?

  • What are your views about Sugar in our diets?

  • What are 5 diet myths that you would like to break?

  • Which are the Indian super foods that you swear by?

  • What diet advice do you have for women who are planning to have babies or are already pregnant?

  • Some of us are obsessed with the weighing scale, finding out what food suited us or didn’t, etc. What would you say to that?

  • A lot of people say that sugar is not good, but you say it’s fine to consume. Why is that?

  • Some doctors / nutritionists say that one must not consume water for at least 40 minutes after finishing a meal. What do you have to say about that?

  • There are some people who just can’t start their day without a Chai and cigarette. What would you like to say to them?

  • What do you have to say about screen time at night?

  • Some working professionals have the oddest of routines. What diet advice would you like to give such people, especially those with media jobs?

  • A lot of people say that you shouldn’t consume rice or yogurt at night because of its low innate temperature. Do you agree?

  • Parents these days buy a lot of packaged foods for their kids. What advice would you like to give them?

  • A lot of the things you say are contrary to what the world thinks. Do you ever get hate mail from others in the industry?

  • Tell us about Kokum. What is it exactly and what are its uses?

  • Bananas, to eat or not to eat?

  • Cashews – aren’t they high in Cholesterol?

  • How many meals should one eat during the day?

  • What should one eat over the course of the entire day?

  • What is your advice to those suffering with Diabetes?

  • What is Pre-Diabetes? Is it even real?

  • How much Sugar is Okay?

  • What are some diet tips for better skin?

  • What are some diet tips for good Hair?

  • What are your tips for a Flat Stomach?

  • Can you talk about Oils and which ones we should be consuming?

  • What are your tips for 60+?

  • Do you have any tips for those suffering from kidney problems?

  • A lot of doctors advise heart patients to just walk and avoid other forms of exercise. What do you think about that?

  • Want A Toned Flat Stomach? Do Deadlifts; Celebrity Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar Shows How

    Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar in her recent Instagram post was seen doing deadlifts. The nutritionist quite often shares her opinion on foods,diets and weight loss on social media platform. But after a long time, the nutritionist posted a video where she was doing deadlifts. Her post said, "Alright, so a flat stomach is always elusive. Not so much because you are carrying excess fat but because you are carrying too little strength. Strength is amongst the least celebrated aspect of fitness but is the key to low fat mass, improved bone density, hormonal balance etc. The deadlift is the baap of all exercises and yet amongst the most misunderstood ones. It's as dangerous as crossing the road, driving a car or talking to your boss about a sticky matter. It's all about technique. It's about how you do it and knowing when to stop.I would put it in the low risk, high reward category. And well every girl must learn to lift atleast the equivalent of her body weight. So if you are 60 kgs, you should be able to lift atleast 60 kgs. That's what you should train for, aspire for, eat for. "

  • अगर हम कोलेस्ट्रॉल से पीड़ित हैं तो क्या हमें काजू नहीं खाना चाहिए?

  • इन दिनों माता-पिता अपने बच्चों के लिए बहुत सारे पैक खाद्य पदार्थ खरीदते हैं। आप उन्हें क्या सलाह देना चाहेंगे?

  • बहुत से लोग कहते हैं कि रात में चावल या दही का सेवन नहीं करना चाहिए। क्या आप सहमत हैं?

  • कुछ कामकाजी पेशेवरों में दिनचर्या सबसे अधिक अजीब होती है। आप ऐसे लोगों को क्या आहार सलाह देना चाहेंगे, खासकर मीडिया जॉब वालों को?

  • रात में स्क्रीन टाइम के बारे में आपका क्या कहना है?

  • कुछ लोग ऐसे हैं जो बिना चाई और सिगरेट के अपना दिन शुरू नहीं कर सकते। आप उनसे क्या कहना चाहेंगे?

  • कुछ डॉक्टर / पोषण विशेषज्ञ कहते हैं कि भोजन खत्म करने के बाद कम से कम 40 मिनट तक पानी का सेवन नहीं करना चाहिए। उस के बारे में क्या कहना है?

  • बहुत सारे लोग कहते हैं कि चीनी अच्छी नहीं है, लेकिन आप कहते हैं कि इसका सेवन करना ठीक है। ऐसा क्यों है?

  • What are the 3 Healthy Habits to adopt for the New Year?

  • Rujuta Diwekar talks us through why thinness is still big in a world that’s becoming more homogeneous and less diverse

    “We haven’t even begun to see diet fads; it’s only going to get crazier,” says Rujuta Diwekar, alarmingly. “Look at the pattern: if you deprive yourself of something, there’s going to be salvation, which is you getting much thinner than what you currently are,” she says. It’s as if beauty is typecast as someone who is a certain shape and colour, just the way food has been subjected to ‘standardisation’. Rujuta, has led the cause of food not being deconstructed into nutrients and calories. Instead, she stresses on slowing down, thinking back to what our grandmothers ate, how they cooked it, and what they said as they presided over the freshly-cooked family meal.

  • What inspired her to write the book -Notes for Healthy Kids?

    This is actually something that I had been thinking about for the longest time. Wherever I would go for a talk, people would constantly ask me when I was writing for kids. So, to me, writing this book almost feels like the completion of an unfinished project. And now, with diet fads and us staring at climate change and wars over food and water, god knows what the future has in store for us! I felt that it’s just the right time to write a book for children. One more reason for this is also because India currently has the second highest number of obese children and also the highest number of malnourished children. These were a few motivating factors for writing this book.

  • What do you mean by the phrase, “passing the grandmother test” ?

    This basically means that you need to be eating food which is local to the region that you live in, which is in season and prepared in your kitchen using traditional recipes. It is something our stomach and palette already knows and identifies with. So, we would be able to digest this food quite well. Almost everything that our grandmoms don’t recognise as food is that which has travelled a very long distance to land on our plate or it may just be something that is ultra-processed and being positioned as good for our health. The grandmom-test essentially allows you to tell the real stuff from marketed food.

  • Could you share the myths around what is healthy and what isn’t?

    Ghee: Ghee is extremely nutritious. Ghee has a very unique kind of fatty acid structure, which allows your body to assimilate all the nutrients from anything that you are eating. I would say, ghee is a health tonic. Milk: Try and buy milk from a local dairy; Indian cow milk is better than from the Jersey cow. If your child, by any chance, doesn’t like milk, you don’t need to force feed it by mixing a powder or switching to almond or soya milk. A lot of parents think that milk is the only source of calcium and protein but that’s not the case. You can very well derive these nutrients from a wholesome diet. So, even if you give your child a ragi dosa or moringa, it will serve the purpose. Traditional sweets: All our traditional sweets are a complete package of macro and micronutrients. They are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Most of them are prepared using millets or pulses, like a nachni laddoo, besan laddoo or nariyal barfi. They invariably have nuts, which add to their nutrient profile, along with ghee, sugar or jaggery. So, they really are balls of energy. We should ensure that we are routinely making them at home.

  • Should children be allowed to eat junk food or not?

    Identifying junk food and then having it once in a while is totally okay. For instance, if you are on a highway and there’s nothing else but a burger place, you can have it. But going to junk food places to celebrate birthdays or opting for them as a return gift for a birthday party or buying chips or chocolates out of habit is something we need to stop. I look at ultra-processed food for children as something that is as big a threat as smoking, which is injurious to health. All junk foods should come with this warning, including tetra-pack juices or fiber-filled biscuits.

  • Can you suggest tips on how parents can teach their child to appreciate food?

    One of the first things that I would like to tell parents is to not take their child to a mall every weekend. At least once a month, take them to a farm. That is what will help them appreciate food better because that’s how they will understand where it comes from. And once you understand the source of something, then you are more likely to take interest in food. Children love being out on the farm, planting and harvesting. You can help them plant a tree in the neighbourhood so they understand what it takes to grow something. Speak to them in your local native tongue. We are under the threat of losing so many of our indigenous languages. Without knowing your local language, you cannot possibly understand or appreciate your cuisine. And when you don’t do that, you stay disconnected from health, harmony and happiness that your cuisine brings you. Involve your child in the cooking process. Have him or her come to the kitchen, get them to set the table, have them pick the food, and so on.

  • What is your definition of a “healthy child”?

    My definition of a healthy child is one who is energetic, enthusiastic, has an open green space to run in, doesn’t need a gadget to eat, who can just hit the pillow and sleep and wake up fresh. A healthy child is an integral part of the sustainable development for the future.