It is hard to summarise Dr Namita Jain’s wellness accolades in one paragraph. She has authored 11 best-selling health and fitness books as well as received both international and national awards in the field of health and wellness. To top that, the expert has been a nutrition partner for the Miss India pageant 2012 and a celebrity nutritionist on the Food Food TV channel.
Here the dynamic personality spills the beans on diet, eating right as well as her new book, Low Fat Low Guilt …
You have received both international and national awards in the field of health and wellness including ‘The Department of International Women’s Excellence Award’ and the ‘Savvy Excellence Award’. Do share a bit about your fitness journey.
My interest in sports and embarking on a healthy lifestyle led me to do several international certification courses. And when equipped with the degrees and knowledge, the journey thereof, was a fulfilling one. Today, I enjoy my profession. I also cherish the hours I spend as a wellness specialist and a nutritionist, guiding people towards their goals and making better lifestyle choices.
What inspired you to come up with the book ‘Low Fat, Low Guilt: Recipes and Lifestyle’?
As a wellness expert, I thought it would be useful for a dieter to browse through a recipe book and find relevant recipes to achieve the goal of staying fit and healthy. So, I decided to write Low Fat Low Guilt. The book will help one get fit as it addresses the challenges of dieters and gives tasty recipes to trim down the waistline.
Many dieters find health food tasteless. The book features a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes, which have been given healthy twists, while the calorific elements are kept to a minimum. It was written with the idea of showing one how to enjoy food without guilt, in a sensible and practical way. It is a wonderful guide for those who are looking for easy-to-access recipes they can follow as a practical, day-to-day guide in their quest towards wellness.
Could you shed some light on some healthy alternative to foods?
If you really want to lose weight, you need to alter your current eating habits. Switch from fried foods to baked foods as well as cut back on sweets and aerated drinks. Also, read the label when you buy packaged foods.
How do you feel one can balance taste with health?
Healthy food need not be boring! Weight loss is not only about willpower, but it’s also about making better choices. So, experiment and try healthy recipes for soups, salads, wraps, toasts, rice dishes, pasta and dips, making eating a pleasurable experience. It is also important to curb unhealthy lifestyle habits and embark on habits such as regular exercise and restful sleep.
What is your go-to healthy meal fix when you are pressed for time? Do share the recipe.
This recipe is filling and satisfying. I make the legume spread, refrigerate it and use when I am pressed for time.
Where do you feel people go wrong when it comes to eating healthy?
I think people follow unrealistic diets they can’t sustain. So, they lose weight and then put it on back again. To lose weight it’s important to be realistic. Figure out how you plan to achieve the goals. Then make up your mind and focus on acting towards your plan. And when you start seeing results – you will be encouraged to keep going.
What diet should pregnant woman follow in terms of eating nutritiously and not overindulging?
A pregnant woman should always consult her gynaecologist and follow the diet recommendations. Yes, overindulging will result in excessive weight gain and is not advisable.
What is your take on the superfoods that keep flooding the market (first oats, now quinoa)? Do you feel that they are genuinely good or simply a marketing gimmick?
It’s great to discover the benefits of superfoods, such as oats and quinoa and so on and try incorporating them into your diet. However, many foods contain nutrients that are good for health which is not highlighted and labelled as a Super Food. So, in short – focus on a balanced diet and find the diet plan that works for your palate and unique needs. Consult a doctor and ask for suggestions to improve your diet and lifestyle habits.
What is your take on the various diets that are out there?
I believe diets should be realistic. Diets that cut out food groups or focus on only consuming one type of food should be avoided. Drastic calorie cutting or omitting food groups could result in lowered immunity and deficiencies in the body. The right one can help maximize physical and mental performance and help to regain vitality. A balanced diet includes six essential nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water are termed macronutrients because the body needs them in proportionately larger quantities. Vitamins and minerals are termed micronutrients because the body needs them in smaller amounts.
You were the nutrition partner for the Miss India pageant 2012, what was the constant advice that you would give the beauty contestants? How would their nutrition and eating habits wary from the common man?
I encouraged them to eat sensibly and to plan meals looking at the caloric content and body’s nutritional requirement simultaneously. I also emphasized that the body needs nutrients from various food groups. As the contest had certain expectations about their weight and body tone – they needed to be more careful and watchful than the common person.
Being a wellness specialist and having authored 11 best-selling health and fitness books, what are the three golden rules that you have when it comes to fitness?
- Eat smart: For instance, bake, steam, grill or stir-fry foods instead of deep-frying them. Trim off the skin and fat from the meats, so that they are more nutritious and heart-healthy.
- Eat at regular intervals: Skipping meals simply doesn’t work. When the body is deprived of regular nourishment, it gets into the habit of functioning to a minimum – slowing down its metabolism.
- Schedule exercise in your planner: Factor in time in your schedule for exercise.