In our eternal quest for a slimmer waist, toned arms and chiselled pecs, it would seem like the 21st century’s most popular and universal villain is food. Super foods have breezed in and out of our lives as we manically search the internet for that next Holy Grail of weight loss. Foods, as a result, are indiscriminately cut off from diets while food fads are wholeheartedly embraced. The more conscious eaters, however, make informed choices that are backed by adequate research. Although moderation is key to most of them, certain foods find no place in their healthy diets -and for good reason.
Four professionals who work with food in one way or another, share the one food item they have completely cut off from their diet. And why you should probably do the same too.
Rakhee Vaswani, owner, Palate Culinary Studio
When Vaswani recently joined classes held by nutritionist Kashish Alimchandani, she learnt that food fads do not work and that the best thing to do is stick to a diet that the body has been attuned to since childhood. “So, outside of work, I do not have basmati rice and brown rice -the latter can be quite heavy. Instead, I consume Kolam rice, which is b something I have been eating since childhood and is lighter on the system and, thus, easier to digest,” explains Vaswani, who adds that she loves rice. The chef has also switched to having egg whites and Sendha namak (rock salt) over iodised salt. “The whole idea is to stick to a diet that is simple to follow,” she adds.
Dhvani Shah, healing diet specialist
Shah decided to cut off fortified foods from her life after reading an article that questioned the real benefits of foods that claim to be enriched with vitamins and minerals. “As a result, I have managed to keep off the weight and I am healthy and active,” she says. “What I have realised is that our regular, home-cooked food is well-balanced in terms of nutrients, while fortified foods claim to have only nutrient -like iron or calcium. So I make it a point to make homemade goodies and enjoy them. One piece of homemade ladoo is much better than a packet of cornflakes. Moreover, fortified foods are processed and ripped of all micronutrients although they are made out to be healthy,” she explains, adding that juices that claim to be 100 per cent fruitbased are rarely so, and loaded with hidden sugars.
Dr Roshani Gadge, diabetologist
The next time you buy your favourite brand of chips, check whether the packet looks inflated. If yes, what you are essentially getting yourself is chips with a side serving of something more dubious. “Such ready-made food packets should not be filled with air or look inflated and if they do, it indicates the presence of bacteria. They are supposed to be packaged air-tight so if the packet is inflated, it’s the most obvious and visible sign that something is very wrong.The same rule applies to canned goods as well. If you notice froth or foam once you open the can, do not consume it as that too indicates the presence of bacteria. This rule can be applied to other food items that come packaged as well -like milk. I strictly do not buy such goods, and urge others to do the same,” she explains.
Ritesh Shaiwal, senior manager at Fitness First
Shaiwal gave up eating frozen meat roughly eight months ago, when he chanced upon an article in an American health journal that established the link between frozen meat and diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. “Besides the obvious health and fitness factor, this is a safety issue that one needs to consider,” he continues. “Moreover, over the course of their storage period, their nutrients get diminished greatly. But in India, it’s difficult to completely cut this out from your diet.” But still, Shaiwal tries to shun the meat in his own way. For instance, before setting out for a party, he has his fill of food from home. If he is unable to do so, he makes it a point to ask the host of the party whether she will be serving fresh or frozen meat. “And if it’s frozen meat, I stick to vegetarian food -I prefer to have paneer any day over frozen meat.”