Healthy Living – An Interview With Madhuri Ruia

We feel no shame in confessing our love for all that delicious food that is unfortunately termed as junk. We gobble down tons of burgers, fries and pizzas without paying much attention to our expanding waistline and receding life line. To make you enjoy junk food more and feel less guilty about the same, there’s actually a day called the National Junk Food Day in America that is celebrated on the 21st of July.

This increase in the popularity of junk food has not only got mommies worrying more about the health of their almost obese children, but has also made the once passably healthy adults sluggish, over-weight and unfit.

To help you keep your health and diet in check, InOnIt spoke to Madhuri Ruia, a diet, nutrition and pilates expert to see what she has to say about healthy living.

What constitutes a healthy lifestyle?

Consuming a diet rich in green, colorful and non- starchy vegetables like all kinds of beans, leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce and methi, capsicums (500- 600 grams a day) and adequate protein in the form of skimmed paneer, milk, yogurt, eggs or egg whites, lean poultry and sea food (a fist sized serving daily for 4 to 5 meals a day. Consuming a glass of water every waking hour, exercising with moderate to high intensity one hour a day, never missing meals especially breakfast and sleeping for 6 to 7 hours daily (preferably between 10 pm to 6 am at least 5 days of the week) is also important. Also, you must strictly control the intake of junk and refined food, tea and coffee.

Is it possible to have a healthy body without much exercise?

No, it is not possible. Exercise, especially weight training increases the quantity of lean body tissue, muscle weight and strengthens bones.  Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular strength and endurance, and flexibility training keeps your joints flexible by improving their range of motion.

Can a healthy diet be maintained by people who mostly eat out? If not, then what steps can be taken to ensure that the food going in is healthy enough?

Eating out is always a tough challenge.  Depending on where you choose to eat you can get a reasonably healthy meal.  When eating out it is important to choose food that is grilled or lightly cooked in less oil.  Avoid too many gravies and thick sauces.  Deep fried potatoes, tikkis and corn are best avoided.  As far as dessert is concerned follow the taste and savor approach.  Goes without saying that one needs to avoid maida based products.  Indiscriminate consumption of pizzas, roomaly roti and naan can make you fat and more prone to diabetes.

How important is it to eat at regular intervals?

It is critical to eat at regular intervals, at least every 3 to 4 hours. This way you improve your Basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the rate at which you burn calories. This helps you stay slim .

Are there any easy to carry and eat foods that can help improve skin and hair health?

Multigrain wraps with vegetables and paneer or chicken, brown rice pulao with vegetables and beans or paneer or chicken salad. Try having one-dish meals without gravy.  Of course fruit is the easiest to carry. Apples and oranges with almonds or walnuts or yogurt make healthy snacks.

Can you suggest a few easy-to-do exercises for people who have busy schedules and very little time for intense work-outs?

A circuit of squats, lunges, push-ups or skipping (if your knees are fine) works well as a quick work-out.

Madhuri Ruia is a fitness expert, dietician, nutritionist and pilates master. She runs a gym at Colaba called InteGym, where she works out exercise routines and diet plans for you, depending on your requirements. She combines the fitness of a gym instructor with in-depth knowledge of a dietician. Madhuri has done her Nutrition Specialization course Diploma from the American Academy of Nutrition USA (USA), and she is a certified Pilates expert from Pilates Institute (UK).

-  Sonia Khudanpur

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