An experienced practitioner of good health, dietitian Mrs. Urvi Kaushal Vakharia has 8+ years of experience and has consulted over 5000+ clients in and around Mumbai. With a Specialization in Dietetics and Sports Science and Nutrition, she also specializes in customized diet plan taking into consideration patient’s lifestyle, work profile, timings and their likes and dislikes as well as therapeutic diet plan for the patients suffering from medical issues such as diabetes, heart ailments, thyroid, obesity etc.
In an exclusive interview with Zotezo, she speaks about maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Here is the edited excerpts of the conversation.
Team Zotezo: Can you tell us something about what inspired you to become a Nutritionist?
Dt. Urvi: She always wanted to do something in the field of health, so she chose science as her base of education. The idea of treating health issues and illnesses associated with the food always sounded interesting to her. She came to know that nutritious food has a magical power to keep our body fit & healthy. This convinced her to pursue her career in the field of clinical dietitian and spread her knowledge to people wanting a balanced lifestyle. She started her own consulting and it has given her immense satisfaction to improve people’s lifestyle.
Team Zotezo: What is balanced lifestyle? What happens to our body if we don’t lead a balanced lifestyle?
Dt. Urvi: Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is very important for one’s personal health including physical and emotional health. Living a healthy and balanced lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and prevent long-term illnesses. There is feel good factor which comes into play when one starts leading a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy is one of the best thing one can do to help increase the stamina, self-esteem, even your self image. Failure to do so can cause risks in our lives. It can lead to the deficiency of many vital nutrients in our body which is required to perform functions of our body. It may also affect your energy levels, decrease concentration and in turn lead to behavioral problems.
Team Zotezo: Why are we getting sicker these days? Is it due to sedentary lifestyle?
Dt. Urvi: People are getting sicker these days due to low immunity, hybrid food that we are getting in the market, the air that we are breathing is not pure and also due to poor eating habits. Sedentary lifestyle may play a role in we getting sick. Sedentary lifestyle is nothing but eating, sleeping and no physical activity. All this can lead to we getting stressed and affected by physical or mental illness.
Team Zotezo: What is sleep deficit? What is an ideal amount of sleep for a person?
Dt. Urvi: Sleep deficit is basically the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount of quality sleep you actually get. For example-you may see people who sleep for just 5 hours and still be active and fresh, whereas you may see people who sleep for 9-10 hours and still feel lethargic. The quality of sleep is really important. Quality of sleep for an adult may be 6-8 hours and it may vary in case of children and teenagers, somewhere between 9-12 hours.
Team Zotezo: What about diet for a balanced lifestyle? What to eat and what not to eat?
Dt. Urvi: A balanced diet is the one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. A balanced diet should include major food groups in right quantities at right time with a good quality. It should include complex carbohydrates which comes from whole grains like millet and oats. it should also be comprised of lean protein like dairy products.
If you are a weight watcher, go for low fat dairy products like cottage cheese, curd, skimmed milk, lean chicken, fish, pulses, egg whites etc. Along with this you must also include good fats like almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, avocado, olive oil & fresh green vegetables and colorful fruits. The major amount of calories should come from this food group. Cutting down on alcohol, smoking, refined grains, solid fats, saturated fats like butter, excess salt and sugars is a must. “To live a healthy lifestyle, you should balance with the food group”.
Team Zotezo: Is vegan or keto diet healthy?
Dt. Urvi: The keto & vegan diets are mainly in the headlines now, so more and more people want to try new things and they want shortcuts to lose weight faster. Keto is basically a high fat, high protein and low carbohydrate based diet, where the body goes into ketosis to burn fat but in the long term, avoiding carbohydrates is not a good option. It may lead to health risks later on in life. Sometimes it can do more harm than good. So keto diet should only be followed under clinical supervision or under a qualified dietitian for a short period of time. If the dietitian or a qualified people person knows that it is going to benefit the patient for a short term, it should only be done under a qualified person since the micro and macro nutrient distribution is very important.
Vegan diet consists of vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits which is mainly from plants. Vegan diet is a no animal or dairy diet so a person may be at a risk of missing out on the essential micro nutrients. People who follow vegan diet can be low in Vitamin C, D, iron etc. So, its very important to balance this deficiency with other vegan sources or supplements which should be prescribed by a specialist.
Team Zotezo: Describe an ideal day of diet for a person?
Dt. Urvi: An ideal diet should be a customized diet plan which should be based on a person’s medical history, body composition analysis and should be suitable to his or her lifestyle. One diet shouldn’t be for all. But a basic healthy diet should be comprised of 5-6 small, frequent meals – Breakfast, Mid- Morning, Lunch, evening Healthy Snack & an early Dinner. It should be complimented with a good amount of water and 30-45 mins of physical activity. The diet must be balanced, should include all major food groups so that your body is not deprived of any essential nutrients.
Team Zotezo: What is Intermittent fasting & is it for everyone?
Dt. Urvi: Intermittent fasting is a eating pattern, where your cycle is between the periods of eating and fasting. There are various types which are practiced. The common ones are the kind of eating windows where you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. For example – you may choose to eat from 10 A.M-6 P.M or 11 A.M-7 P.M. or 12 P.M-8 P.M. It is a cycle of eat stop and eat. Another type is 5:2 ratio where you eat for 5 days a particular calorie diet & then the next 2 days you lessen on those calories. It’s not about what to eat but when to eat. As long as you stick to healthy food, maintaining your fasting window, it may have some health benefits.
Research is still going on regarding these types of fasting regarding whether it is healthy or not. Since one diet won’t be suitable for all, so it needs to be practiced under a verified nutritionist or dietitian to avoid health.
Team Zotezo: What can be a basic exercise routine for a person?
Dt. Urvi: A basic exercise routine will vary from person to person. Any form of physical activity for 5-6 days, 45-60 mins in a week is required to stay fit. The forms can be brisk walk, sports like football or cricket, zumba, pilates or any power yoga activity which is helping your body to be healthy can be followed. Being healthy is not only about intake, its about energy expenditure also.
Team Zotezo: Any mantra for maintaining a healthy & balanced lifestyle to live better?
Dt. Urvi: Your body is a temple so take care of it. You can eat nutritious food (include meat and dairy), exercise daily, smile and laugh more often, spread positivity, read more, meditate & get good quality sleep to stay fit, active and happy!