Oct 26, 2018

Who is the right nutritionist for you?

An alarming trend I'm observing these days - 
Person A completes a basic nutrition course in Coursera and calls herself a certified nutritionist from Stanford. 
Person B goes for a one-month Ayurveda course in Kerala and claims as an Ayurveda expert, giving talks and workshops on Ayurveda. 
Person C loses weight by following Keto diet and then calls herself a Keto expert and offers weight loss packages for a hefty fee (35K-50K for 3 months). 

Nutrition and fitness are the hot topics in the past 5-6 years, given the prevalence of many lifestyle diseases. Many people are desperate to lose weight and fall for such bogus experts. There's no regulation whatsoever.

I'm perfectly okay with sharing knowledge and perspectives, but I'm concerned when people turn their half-baked knowledge into a business. I have been posting pictures of my simple, healthy meals on Instagram over the past couple of years. A few of my followers have asked me if I can help them with their weight loss. I politely declined with the reason that I'm not a qualified professional.

We seek an expert's advice ONLY when something is complex. If it is simple enough for us to interpret and make decisions, then we wouldn't need the expertise of an outsider.

Nutrition science has been intentionally made complex in the past decade, and you see so many such "experts" mushrooming at every corner, recommending one complicated diet or the other.

If you need specific advice, seek the opinion of a certified medical doctor or a qualified, experienced nutritionist. Avoid these "nethu penja mazhaiyile innikku molacha kaalan" type experts (mushrooms that sprouted after yesterday's rain).

No one knows your body and health better than you. After a meal, observe how your body reacts, how you feel in general. 

You don't need a calorie counter, a measuring scale, a health and fitness app or a dietitian to tell you the exact quantity to eat. Look inward. You'll know when you have overeaten. You'll realize which foods make you drowsy, which foods make you bloated. Mindful eating is the trending topic in the West these days. It is high time that we follow it too.

By looking inward, I was able to understand my food related ailments better.
  • Paneer makes me drowsy
  • I can't eat wheat rotis on a daily basis. I can include them at the max 2-3 times a week. Else, I feel bloated.
  • Pizza takes longer time to digest
  • Excess milk based sweets triggers my sinus
  • I know the foods that trigger migraine (excess caffeine, less water intake)
  • I'm aware of the foods to take in order to avoid menstrual migraine (iron and magnesium rich foods)
  • I can't drink a huge glass of sugarcane juice, it makes me drowsy and tired. Same with too many fruits in a single meal.
Daily food logging is a good habit but it is more than just listing down the foods we eat. It is also about how we feel after eating a certain food. No smileys or emojis please! Plain words that express how you feel.

When it comes to nutrition, you are the best person to decide what to eat. It needs discipline, focus, will power and a little effort. Instead of succumbing to these bogus experts, try to plan your meals yourself. Keep it simple, homecooked and real. I believe nutrition is quite simple, if we take the responsibility in our own hands.

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