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Do we eat healthy food? Well, all of us read, ask, and refer to a health regime and healthy foods. How many of us successfully adhere to the healthy eating habits and routine even if it seems as a hard nut to crack.

This is a crucial time for all of us to strengthen and empower ourselves to face health issues challenging our immunity. Chat on the Mat with Deepti Sehgal, Macrobiotic & Nutritionist tried to unearth the unattended questions which is the very foundation of a healthy life. 


hellomyyoga: What is healthy food?

Deepti: There is just one theory to understand healthy food at its best, one that suits an individual as per his/her composition & condition. The rest all is a fad! The definition of healthy food for everyone is different. No two individuals are similar & no single food can give equal benefits to two people with similar health issues. This is the philosophy of Ayurveda & Traditional Chinese Medicine too.

In the past, until people understood this fact, health issues hardly emerged. With the advent of the modern way of understanding food, our focus shifted from understanding ‘Person’ to ‘Food’, which made food theory generalized. To really know healthy food, the philosophy must be ‘Know a Person & Not the Food’!


hellomyyoga: What is more nourishing for the body keto diet, gluten-free diet, Lacto –free diet, or a balanced diet that has a variety of food on your platter?

Deepti: A wholesome balanced diet will keep a healthy person balanced & fad diets may end up creating imbalances in an already balanced person.

However, if one has already developed any imbalances, for example, gluten-sensitivity or high blood sugar, or to deal with specific health goals or health concerns the fad diets fit-in well in such cases.

These must not be followed by everyone as the latest trend! Trends keep changing but our body functioning is ancient & still the same since evolution, thus, the ancient way of diet is best suited for balanced body functioning.


hellomyyoga: What is important eating twice a day as per Ayurveda or keep munching small quantity in every few hours?

Deepti: This again varies from person to person. There is no generic statement for two different people.

A healthy person following a proper Dinacharya with a balanced state of body & mind will do well with two meals a day to maintain his/her internal balance & energy levels.

However, someone with an imbalanced internal state like digestive issues, gastric issues & weak internal state, may require small frequent meals to cope up with compromised digestive tract. It again boils down to understanding the state of a person & not finding that one best approach!


helomyyoga: We are born with gene impressions of a few kinds of food. How does our metabolism & immune system respond to a switch to a different food diet?

Deepti: 

It is truly said ‘You Are What You Eat’ & the impression goes on for generations to come. What our ancestors may have eaten formed our gene expression & those kind of foods are most satisfying for us. Thus, it is important to stick to the roots. However, when moving onto different foods than what form our gene expression, depends upon the strength of our digestive system & internal organs. Some people adjust to just anything, while some cannot move beyond their staples.

It depends upon the strength of the digestive system & immune system. Thus, whatever our gene expression of foods be, or whatever new we try, our 80% focus must always be to keep supporting our systems to be able to accept new foods. 


hellomyyoga: How emotions play a role while we eat food?

Deepti: Emotions play a prime role when it comes to food consumption. There is a whole science behind this ancient statement, ‘Do not eat when you feel sad or angry & wait until you cool down’.

Emotions are the pre-cursors to any signal that the brain passes on to the body with the help of hormones. If our body constantly gets negative signals due to negative emotions, a host of stress hormones keep releasing which shut down the functioning of the digestive system.

Thus, Happy emotions=happy signals passed=happy hormones=optimal digestion OR Negative emotions=negative signals=stress hormones=disturbed digestion. Even the healthiest food cannot save you from this impact if emotions are negative. Emotions are primary when it comes to digestion, the choice of foods becomes secondary!


hellomyyoga: Why mindful eating & seating posture really matter?

Deepti:

Mindful eating is important as an act of listening to yourself. Food is fuel for our body & at the core level, we must eat to nourish ourselves.

Each organ has a specific taste associated with it, that heals & nourishes it& thus we see a typical ancient Indian platter is complete with the 5 tastes including sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, salty.

This mindful way of preparing meals is no coincidence but a deep-rooted science of our organ systems. Thus, by feeding ourselves mindfully, what each system needs we are fueling the body's right for optimal performance. 

The science of the right seating posture is as simple as understanding that our body internally is all pipe structure. If the pipe is bent anywhere, the free flow of food is restricted. Thus, sitting straight while eating will ensure food reaches straight to the stomach without causing any discomfort in the food pipe or esophagus.


hellomyyoga: What do's & don'ts you would suggest related to diet principles?

Deepti: To concisely put the ancient & modern concepts of diet principles together, I would focus on following pointers when designing diets for individuals:

  • Ensuring foods we consume are digestion-friendly (that’s the very first rule)
  • Ensuring probiotics are consumed with each meal
  • Ensuring foods are as per the season & seasonal energies (For example focusing on cooling foods in summers)
  • Eating in time & having lunch as the heaviest meal of the day.
  • Ensuring dinners are light & early
  • Using a variety of tastes in meals to support the functioning of various internal organs