• Let’s be clear in our minds -- living healthy and fit does not mean completely leaving a certain group or class of foods, like fats, oils and sugar, out of our daily diets. On the contrary, we need all of them, also including fats, protein-rich foods, fruits and vegetables and cereals, rice and pastas, but in varying measures, to keep in good shape and exude vitality and vibrancy. These are words of wisdom coming from an international authority on wellness, Dr Namita Jain, who was in the city recently to promote her newest book on the shelf ‘Low Fat Low Guilt – Recipes & Lifestyle’ aimed at showing us how to enjoy our food in a healthy, sensible and practical way, without feeling a sense of guilt.

Challenging the most commonly held fitness and wellness myths that crash diets are the most effective remedy to lose weight, she told lifeinchandigarh.com in an interaction that no wonder such diets can result in massive weight loss, but it is muscle mass and water that is lost, and not excess body fat. Problems associated with crash diets are electrolyte imbalances, anaemia, and calcium and iron deficiency. “It is important to follow a sensible diet to safeguard our well-being and ensure that the lost pounds do not come back on,” she explained.

Photo By : Life In Chandigarh

Sharing the contents of the book, Namita Jain, a leading health columnist, said “The recipes which have been featured in the book are given healthy twists, while keeping the calorific elements to a minimum. So we have low-cal recipes of delicious soups, salads, wraps, toasts, rice dishes, pastas and dips, making healthy eating a pleasurable experience.

“The recipes in the book use olive oil instead of butter, yogurt instead of mayonnaise, egg whites instead of whole eggs and whole grain instead of refined.  It highlights the cooking methods which promote healthy eating – steam, broil and lightly sauté instead of frying or over-cooking. As we flip through the pages we will also come across dietary myths which we often take as facts in our daily lives,” she added.

Sharing her thoughts about a balanced diet, she said “today, many diets eliminate certain food groups, or focus primarily on one or two food groups, which is a highly unhealthy trend. Our body needs a balanced diet with diverse nutrients to keep us fit and energised – a diet that includes fruits, vegetables,  grains, nuts, sprouts, seeds and low-fat dairy products.”

The Food Pyramid

Explaining the concept of the food pyramid to help us eat better every day, she said each of the food groups in the pyramid provides some, but not all, of the nutrients a body needs. No one food group is more important than the other – for good health we need them all. However, we need to go easy on fats, oils and sweets – the foods on top of the pyramid, which our body requires in small quantities.

The base of the pyramid is taken up by cereal, rice and pasta group. These foods contain carbohydrates, which our body needs in the greatest amount. To get adequate fibre, choose high-fibre foods such as wholegrain bread or brown rice.

The next level of the pyramid is occupied by fruits and vegetables. All carbohydrate-rich, these foods contain essential nutrients like vitamins A and C, folate, iron, magnesium and potassium.

At the third level of the pyramid are protein-rich foods. The body requires fewer servings of proteins than carbohydrates. Legumes, milk, nuts, meats provide the body with amino acids which are essential for growth and muscular repair. 

Back To Basics

Stressing on the need to de-complicate our fitness regimes, Namita Jain said “we have to go back to the basics. Fitness does not have to come at a heavy price. Beware of marketing gimmicks some of the companies indulge in to create hype over their fancy machines and foods. If we do not want to get tied down to a gym routine, it’s fine. Indulge in any form of exercise which we are comfortable with and love doing, like brisk walking, dancing, sports or yoga. Avoid excess frying and eating. Drink three litres of water every day. We have to be mindful, though, that every fitness regime demands a certain level of discipline, which we have to follow religiously.”

For Namita, “A healthy and fit person is one who is full of energy, is in control of his ailments, follows a sensible and balanced diet, maintains a regular exercise schedule, has a relaxed mind and remains positive towards life.”      

The wellness diva feels that eating out and late nights, modern day fads, should not be a barrier to fitness. “Today we have a choice of what to eat out - non-fried foods or less oil foods. We can also cut down on potions, even cut down on desserts. Once we firm up our minds, we can get around these hurdles. The need is to make wiser choices. Before stepping out we can also take salad and/or soup and indulge in frugal-eating outside.”

About Namita Jain

Namita Jain has been felicitated with a Post Graduate degree in wellness from Young Scientist University, America. Honouring her rich knowledge and expertise in the field of health and wellness, she has been certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council of Exercise, The Aerobic and Fitness Association of America, Pilates UK Institute, Reebok and Yoga Institute.

Namita has authored more than a dozen books and is a leading health columnist in various newspapers and magazines, including Elle, GQ, The Hindu, Mumbai Mirror and Economic Times. A formidable array of celebrities, including Deepika Padukone, Saina Nehwal and Hema Malini, have endorsed her books. Currently, she is practising as a wellness specialist at Bombay Hospital and is a consultant to the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).

Her latest book is available at all leading stores pan India.