Palak Chaturvedi, Nutritionist & Lifestyle Consultant


‘Being healthy should be the ultimate goal. I always reiterate this fact that balanced health is not only about the food we eat or the weight we lose, but it’s about being fit physically, emotionally and mentally.
Palak Chaturvedi, Nutritionist & Lifestyle Consultant

1.Kindly brief us about Nufit and its vision.
NuFit was started out with a passion for health and fitness and create an awareness of what true health means. NuFit is the outcome of that 360- degree approach for health and fitness to generate and spread awareness by focusing on good eating habits and lowering overall stress.

Balanced living isn't just about the food we eat or the weight loss we aim to achieve. Everything in moderation is a phrase you hear often, and with good reason. Everything in moderation means that there's a healthy balance to your life, so "laugh, love, live, and be healthy", was my mantra and vision to build health by creating the right synergy between Ayurveda and Modern Science.

We need to sustain our body's well-being and retain energy. Nutrition is important for everyone. When combined with being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, eating well is an excellent way to help your body stay strong and healthy.

2.Could you please give us a brief overview of the latest trends in the food & beverages sector as far as consumer demand for a healthier product is concerned?

Nowadays, most consumers are more interested in the total nutritional package of the foods they are eating. These consumers have become much more aware of health and reading labels and making a conscious choice before buying any product from the market. They follow a particular diet and utilise an eating regime of their choice because they do their research and have an idea of what is best for them. The word "healthy," however, means different to everyone. Everyone agrees that fruits and vegetables are healthy. 

The latest trend in the food and beverages sector is of people preferring homemade healthy fillers, free of preservatives over the packaged food items. Indians tend to consume more carbohydrates, sugar, less protein and plant protein than what is recommended for a sample adult population base, despite having access to diversified dietary sources.
Physical activity and high protein intakes are recommendations we usually associate with younger people, but these recommendations are even more important as we age. Trend on healthy ageing has underlined the importance of getting enough protein and being physically active to maintain muscle mass. Older adults need much more protein than younger adults to grow or maintain muscle mass. Digestive wellness has been a high-priority trend for years, but it continues to evolve. The key is to make sure that true health benefit is being offered to consumers.

3.Being a nutritionist, how do you evaluate a new client's nutritional needs? 
Every client is different and so is their nutritionist needs. Since there is high disparity in one’s body, the needs depend on factors such as one’s age, height, weight and health conditions. Even two persons with similar ages, height and weight might have different nutritional needs as per their ethnicity, exercise level, current lifestyle and health conditions. The key to success is to deliver on the expectation of 'healthy' in plant-based nutritional options. This could mean providing the same amount of calcium, vitamin D, and protein in plant-based dairy alternatives as what you'd find in a dairy product. It could also mean adding a new health benefit, such as a serving of whole grain in an oat-based milk alternative. One needs to always be aware of the amount of sugar, sodium, and saturated fat in plant-based foods before making it a part of their regular diet.

Developing this kind of sustainable nutrition format is key to being healthy in the future. Nutritional needs reflect on our ability to provide positive and balanced nutrition solutions that help maintain good health and are created to complement sustainable healthy habits at home. Thereby influencing the ability of future generations to meet their nutritional needs by way of switching to healthy eating at home. The second important thing is using diet charts to improve ones’ day-to-day lifestyle. Rather than just focusing on fixing a health problem once it has already occurred, proactive health keeps and minimize the onset of health problems. 

4.While consulting a client, what aspects of nutrition are most important to address? 
As we saw earlier, everyone is typically different in all their varying attributes. However, there are a few key aspects that can help understand the various needs of a person. First and foremost is related to the psychology of the person. It is of utmost importance to comprehend how the person reacts and approaches certain foods and diet charts. To fully appreciate and maintain the diet plan, one needs to also build adequate trust and faith in the foods that are being consumed. Both, understanding of how what we eat impacts us and why it's important to abstain from certain ‘go to’ foods are equally necessary. That is why the thinking of a person is of utmost importance when it comes to healthy and nutritious eating. Secondly, one’s mental and emotional readiness to implement and stick to the diet and fitness plan is essential to achieving the desired results. 

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it's also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges. And you don't have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life. 

Another area of nutrition that is often neglected is the role of the family is eating a healthy diet. Since most of our meals are eaten together, it is critical to highlight the role of adequate support from family members to acclimatize them to the benefits of the fitness plan. A family’s support and guidance go a long way in even encouraging them to stick to the plan on days when the results are not as visible. Those who have a travelling job also need to take adequate measures to ensure that fitness targets are achieved even when travelling or on vacation for that matter. 

5.What are the major challenges you face giving consultations to adults and how do you handle them?
We Indians generally eat cooked food using a lot of oil, butter and ghee. Even mid meals include a lot of carbs intake. The biggest challenge is correcting the ratio of carb, protein and fats. Another challenge is altering the method of cooking. Again, we have fallen prey to lots of instant food and food packets in our daily lives. Using fresh food with natural ingredients is a challenge for many. 

While we know how healthy Indian food is, where we often go wrong with is our over-indulgence in fried Indian snacks. These are usually consumed after 6 pm and result in bulging tummies and high-fat percentages. This is the first step towards all kinds of lifestyle issues like diabetes, thyroid, obesity, etc. Another simple change in your everyday diet that can help you keep your problems at bay is by controlling your portion size. Sticking to natural sugars like honey, cinnamon, fruit sugar is a better alternative if you want to keep your body measures in check. Eating late dinners has a natural outcome due to sodium intake in foods. Sodium retains water in the body and hence leads to you feeling groggy in the morning.
Since our salt consumption is high throughout the day, start reducing your intake by half a teaspoon. On that note, we are fortunate to have our Indian cuisines traditionally rich in whole spices. Let your food be cooked with whole spices like curry leaves, cardamom and cinnamon. Rather than using more fat to flavour your food, use spices instead. Indian staples are rich in our cultural heritage for a very valid reason. Some of the best traditional spices- such as turmeric and black pepper are now gaining popularity in the west for their multiple health benefits and rightfully so. Make sure you include these superfoods in abundance in your diet and food preparations. Turmeric and black pepper, consumed together are said to boost your immunity, increase nutrient absorption while keeping your mind and body healthy. 

6.Nowadays, there are a variety of immunity-boosting products available in the market.  Are they really helpful? What are your suggestions on the same?
The latest fad is adding immunity-boosting foods in all the products right from biscuits to snacks to drinks. With the superfood boom around us, everyone seems to run to the next big superfood on the shelf. However, what many forget is that eating healthy and well-balanced food that includes a few natural immunity-boosting elements aids to boost one’s health and immunity much longer and is sustainable naturally.

Immunity, mood, energy, and digestive health are some of the most common health benefits people look for from foods and beverages. Immunity was top-of-mind throughout 2020 and will continue to be in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of questions around how the immune system works and how to support it with nutrition. Nutrients like vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C are seeing more popularity for their role as immunity boosters. Ingredients like yeast beta-glucans and probiotics are also becoming more common in food and beverages for their many immunity benefits.

7.Keeping in view of the current pandemic, what are your advice to our readers to stay healthy and fit?
Being healthy should be the ultimate goal. I always reiterate this fact that balanced health is not only about the food we eat or the weight we lose, but it’s about being fit physically, emotionally and mentally.

To be healthy and fit, you must set good habits to live by day after day. Don't fall for the fad traps; just make a good effort to eat well and stay active. Diet products are so tremendously successful because they often make promises of rapid and easy weight loss, leading us to set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Although it is tempting to "shed 5 lbs in a week" or "drop 2 dress sizes in a month," these goals are often doomed to meet failure. By thinking about weight loss as something that should happen gradually, embracing small changes and lifelong goals, we stand to improve our physical and mental health without all the restriction and regret. Everyone who ever lost weight or "got in shape" started on a single day. That day turned into a second day, a week, a month, and eventually a year. It didn't happen overnight and it wasn't always (or maybe ever) easy. But persistence pays off when it comes to health. Start with a single step today—a short walk, some fruit for dessert, or an extra glass of water (not soda)—can pay off and bring you closer to the healthy and fit body you've always hoped for.

8.What are your future plans for the expansion of your brand?
The passion behind NuFit will continue to drive home the importance of health, fitness and a balanced diet. For now, our expansion is more focused on reaching the message to as many as possible. With the leverage of social media and word of mouth, the plan is to spread awareness and create a result based understanding about food and fitness for healthy living. Even then, there is always the need to reiterate that while there are many ‘superfood’ products available in the market; to achieve and optimise one’s health, discipline, patience and consistency is the key.