Lavleen Kaur- Dietitian, Clinical Nutritionist & Lifestyle Coach
Diet Insight insists on eating healthy and promotes an overall well being. Dive into a new lifestyle with clean eating to boost immunity and maintain a healthy life. Here in a conversation with Lavleen Kaur, who busted biggest myths about diet and nutrition.
Tell us something about your journey. How did you start ‘Diet Insight’?
The dictionary describes the meaning of word Insight as ‘the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something’. This matched our objective, which was and is to help people understand their diet better and properly. That is what we aim to achieve, hence the name ‘Diet Insight’. What started as a side kick, just to keep myself busy has now turned out very well and given me much recognition that we now work with patients and clients over more than 15 countries.
What is the most annoying thing today’s generation follows that leads to bad health?
Today, most of the youth is very gullible with regards to health and food. They follow every trending diet. There is a problematic urge to look for quick solutions. Improving health is a major and a drastic ongoing process, which has no short cut. One must work on changing lifestyle and habits, which definitely takes long. Also, the youth today is addicted to all kinds of screens and gadgets, having access to all the unhealthy food available in the market at the click of a button, which contributes to a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy lifestyle on the whole.
What is the one factor that encouraged you to become a dietitian?
Looking around me at a particular point in my life made me realise that there are so many misconceptions and wrong practices regarding food prevalent around me, and that by putting my qualification and passion for this field to use, I could be of help to many. The hoard of diseases which crop up as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle can be done away with, if one’s food input is understood, controlled and intelligent. I just took up the cause and began my journey.
The beauty of ‘food as medicine’ is that the choice to heal and promote health can begin as soon as the next meal. – Lavleen Kaur
What are the biggest myths about diet and nutrition?
Diet and nutrition industry comes up with new myths at all time, and surprisingly, many people believe all that with all of their gut. That carbs make you gain weight is one such myth. It’s the type and quantity of the carbs you eat, not carbohydrates themselves that cause weight gain. Complex carbs raise blood glucose more slowly, require less insulin, and keep you full longer, whereas simple or refined carbs spikes the insulin level, leading to frequent hunger pangs and ultimately you end up eating more calories. A monster trend in this industry is that of detox diets. People generally claim they need to ‘detoxify’ their body. We have our very own detoxifiers in the form of organs like lungs, liver and kidneys which work naturally round the clock to cleanse our body. Then why the positive hype behind those detox drinks? Because they say it helps in losing weight. While it does pack essential nutrients and vitamins, it reduces the overall calorie intake that leads to weight loss. And then comes the star statement of all times, that one may binge one night and then work out some more sets in the gym the next day to compensate, but a bigger lie has never been told. One must just carry on as usual, keeping a tab on one’s food after that incident, because the body is not storing the extra food and energy separately for burning out the next day.
Suggest some diet mantras for the new year.
I feel, instead on setting short term resolutions, one must decide to change a few habits. Bring about even one change, at one’s own pace, and then sustaining it is the real mantra for everything for me.
How do you suggest people to control their cravings?
Cravings account for most of our haywire eating. What needs to be understood is that the reason why cravings occur could be the deficiency of certain micronutrients. If someone suffers from severe cravings, getting an analysis done to understand the deficiencies would help a great deal. – Lavleen Kaur
Having a well-balanced and well-nourished diet would mean lesser cravings. If one still has cravings, then having homemade food is the best option. While making the dishes one craves for at home, the choice of opting for healthier alternatives is always available.
There are so many theories out there about good nutrition. What would you say?
While most of the theories concentrate on what to eat, I feel the best approach is to analyse what to eat, when and how. The nutrition which takes care of the whole well-being is the one having balanced micro and macro nutrients.
When a person comes for a consultation, how do you develop a plan with them?
We begin with the body composition analysis, and then discuss the current diet, eating habits, medical history and lifestyle. From that discussion crop up the required changes the client needs to make in their lifestyle. It is a self-realisation for the client, which is reached upon after careful analysis and discussion. After that we set a realistic goal and move on to the planning, keeping in mind their profession, location, food availability and weather. Because we do not aim only on weight loss but a healthy lifestyle, then begins the counselling session on how to integrate healthy diet, good sleep, minimal stress and exercise into the lifestyle. Our mobile app allows users to easily and effectively access their plans, recipes and keep in touch with their mentors.
What would you say should be a person’s fitness and nutritional goals?
This varies from person to person. Fitness and nutrition goals cannot be a glove that fit all. I recommend setting long term sustainable goals focussed on improving overall health and not just based on the value on the weighing scale. Along with physical fitness, the emotional state of mind must be in a positive state.
What are your thoughts on exercise and yoga?
Good health is a strong marriage between diet and exercise. Hence, exercise is an important part of being healthy. But here, one misconception with which we deceive ourselves is very important to talk about. Exercise is different than activity. Many people believe that walking is a complete exercise, whereas it is just an activity. It may be good for a person who has just started on a healthy journey, but it needs to be elevated gradually with other forms of exercises to achieve desired goals.
As far as yoga is concerned, it has its own set of benefits including stress reduction, gaining flexibility and managing hormonal balance, Meditation, a part of Yoga, is essential in today’s world of stressful lives, as it improves breathing and the mind, and eventually self-realisation.