Integrative nutrition

You’ve tried every possible fad diet, cut out the carbs, stepped up the hours of exercise, and are still not there on the health index. Try moving away from the BMI fixation towards integrative nutrition that looks at wellness comprehensively, not just through the lens of food. It is about how you nurture your body, soul, relationships, career and the environment.

Cue into integrative nutrition. Look at the big picture of well-being, nurture your body, soul, relationships, career and environment

Essentially, the state of your health is a measure of what you consume, physically, mentally and emotionally—the crux of integrative nutrition. It is also about working on everything from your relationships to career to sleep patterns and building a sustainable lifestyle. 

A trending diet slaps on a regimented intake, but the concept of integrative nutrition brings in food choices based on your preferences, and not just calorific content. Says Bengaluru-based Simrun Chopra, a deep health coach and founder, Nourish with Sim, “You need to understand that correcting your weight involves not only what you consume, but also how you feel while consuming it. Your mood matters. When you are low and unmotivated, you tend to consume more calories. Underlying health problems such as Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), diabetes, stress, and anxiety contribute to daily mood changes, hence eating patterns.”

Your health is a composite overview of what you eat, drink, think and do everyday. “A single diet cannot comply with all these components. Integrative nutrition or deep health involves synthesising your daily eating habits with your lifestyle and personal habits. You could be a student living in a hostel, dependent on the food served at the mess, but you can still eat healthy by controlling the portion size, and choosing the most healthy dishes out of the menu. If you rely on food delivery, make a wholesome choice,” says Chopra.

The healthy gut flora must be nourished to build upon core health. Bringing in fermented foods in your diet such as kanji, kimchi, curd and idlis spells probiotic fostering for your digestive system. Explains Payal Kothari, an integrative nutrition and gut health coach, and the author of The Gut, “The game changers for your gut are root vegetables, yoghurt and a nourishing green soup with drumsticks. The best time to consume a small salad bowl of boiled root vegetables would be before your lunch. Bring in 50g of organic yoghurt with nuts, seeds or granola as an evening snack. A medium bowl of green soup before dinner would help reboot the gut very well.”

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard

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