Follow the 5 Ps

Ambika Shaligram
Sunday, 22 December 2019

Ishi Khosla, a clinical nutritionist, tells us  how to prepare our body before taking up an exercise and diet routine

A practising clinical nutritionist, consultant and writer, Ishi Khosla has recently come out with a book — Eating at Work. It has been co-authored by Nina Mehta. A guide to smart eating, it also has case studies and healthy recipes that will help you sustain what you have started — eating healthy.

Here, Khosla tells us about the nutritional tests we must undergo before we embark on a diet or exercise plan, our intolerance to wheat and dairy, and the alternatives.

What kind of dietary changes should be made by beginners when they decide to take fitness more seriously?
First of all, a thorough lab test of nutritional status must be made. Undertaking physical activity with nutritional deficiencies or undiagnosed disorders or food sensitivities and hormonal imbalances can be counterproductive. Supplements must be consumed under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

Second, follow the five Ps: 

  • Plan your day with relation to food and exercise time. Your cereals should be according to your weight and waist. Change your cereals and include millets too. 
  • Peak hunger time must be addressed and you should be eating in those hours.
  • Include protein rich foods in at least two or three meals. 
  • Pair proteins with vegetables.
  • Protective foods like vegetables and fruits should be included in one meal. 

Third, maintain a food diary to know how you eat. If you have any complaints, mention in the symptom diary. 

Fourth, set goals, both short and long term. 

Fifth, eliminate junk and processed food. 

Can you also tell us if intake of eggs, chicken, fish is advisable for runners? And in what proportion?
It depends on individual needs. If taken, they must include half in volume of vegetables and fruits.

What options do vegetarians have? 
Lentils, legumes, mushrooms, sprouts, nuts and dairy.

What is our relation with wheat? 
One of the major paradigm shifts in food is moving away from grains like wheat. This is because of the incredible changes in agricultural practices. Biotechnologists are modifying seeds to increase yield, and developing pesticide-resistant crops. There is a dramatic increase in the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers in the last 50 years.

Modifications in seeds have led to chromosomal changes which have perhaps become foreign to our bodies evoking immune reactions, more severely in genetically predisposed and younger people. 

Milk and dairy too have undergone  similar changes in their proteins, making them inflammatory in nature. In fact, 50 per cent of those intolerant to wheat are estimated to be dairy intolerant. Those with gluten and dairy intolerance must not consume whey and soy. Avoid excess protein. 

What are alternatives to wheat? Besides rice, some of the lesser-known and forgotten grains are millets which include bajra, jowar and ragi. These grains are better tolerated and easier to digest. Lentils or chickpea flours and nut flours can double up as cereals. Individual difference in response to each of the cereal may be there. To understand your body’s specific needs, a food sensitivity test (IgG) is advisable. 

How much sugar should athletes consume?
Sugar is best consumed as fruits, dry fruits, jaggery and honey.

What local foods should we be consuming in western Maharashtra, under which Pune falls?
Kokum, Thaalipeeth, Beetroot, Jowar roti, Dhokla, Bhel, Mangoes and Cashews.

​ ​

Related News