Celebrity nutritionist Shweta Shah has worked with some of the biggest celebrities from Katrina Kaif, Digangana Suryavanshi to Sakshi Dhoni, and even sports biggies like Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh. She had also worked with actress Deepika Padukone during her Cannes 2019 appearance and during her pre-wedding days. Shweta has recently introduced an App called Fitza, The First Ever Intelligent Virtual Nutrition App to help people with diet plans during the lockdown. Let’s find out how to curb food cravings during a pandemic.

How can one overcome food cravings during this lockdown?
· Self-educate: Try to educate yourself with emotional eating v/s Hunger.

· Increasing protein intake and may reduce your appetite and keep you away from overeating.

· Avoid extreme hunger by always having a healthy snack ready.

How does one improve their metabolism change during a lockdown?
Metabolism influences our body’s basic energy needs and it depends on how much you eat and drink along with how much physical activity you get. We are confined to four walls in the house to limit the exposure to the coronavirus and had also stopped routine workouts, going out for a walk and to the gym. Our urban concepts of eating lead us to more eating means more calories. Most of us are working from home; we had missed out on the opportunity to be active which had drastically slowed down our metabolism and resulted in weight gain.

To maintain our metabolism, we should start our day with hot water or herbal tea and, if you can, a hot breakfast. Our digestion system is stronger between 10 am and noon, so try to make lunch our main meal of the day. A light and early supper to follow will allow plenty of time for digestion before you go to sleep.

Eat Sattvic food – fresh, organic food, rather than reheated or processed food.

What should you eat in a day during a pandemic?
Not only during the pandemic but always eat a balanced diet. I would always suggest following the “2 rule theory”. This rule is an easy way to remember and easy to follow, it goes well with any food, likes, or dislikes of a person. Plans that will help you incorporate your protein, carbs, fat, iron, magnesium, vitamins required for your body to recover faster. It’s very easy; just remember this 2 rule theory to be followed in a day.

· 2 Pre Probiotics: As digestion is upset and to set the gut permeability right, we need to start our day with probiotics and also have it in the evening. Try taking homemade probiotics like rice ferment water or beet carrot kanji.

· 2 Proteins: It helps to boost immunity, muscle recovery and wear and tear of cells. Do include healthy proteins like tofu cutlet/ sprouts chaat/ besan moong dal chilla/ dals/ quinoa khichdi.

· 2 Complex Carbs: To recover faster include complex carbs like ragi dosa or oats prouder or bran wheat roti or Dakota khichdi or hand pounded rice.

· 2 Fat: Include fat in the form of ghee (2 tsp a day) or coconut ladoo.

· 2 Veggies: Vegetables are the powerhouse of nutrients that boosts the immune response and maintain overall health. Avoid raw vegetables as they may increase the chance of infection. You can incorporate it as veggies/ Sabji/ curries during meals or have it in the form of stir fry or patty as a snack like a veggie patty, beetroot Tikki.

· 2 fruits: Fruits that are seasonal, local like orange, amla, mango, watermelon, pineapple. It helps to build resilience in the body against infections.

· 2 milk products including milk: Have any 2 milk products either in the form of Haldi Doodh for better sleep or as Paneer stir fry / Paneer Bhutto / curd or buttermilk.

· 2 nuts: Nuts keep the immune system strong, create DNA, support our sense of smell, build proteins and trigger the release of enzymes. You can incorporate soaked almonds and walnuts, or unsalted pistachio.

· 2 seeds: Have at least 2 different seeds or any seed 2 times a day, seeds are highly nutritious packed with antioxidants that keep infections at bay. Have seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seed.

· 2 fruit based dried fruits: To increase the iron, haemoglobin level, have dried fruits like Anjeer or dates.

· 2 glasses water-based drink: Apart from 10-12 glasses of water, also drink at least 2 glasses of water-based drink in a day like energizing drink like kokum sharbat, lemon water kanji, vetiver root water.

· 2 tbsp jaggery: To increase the iron content, have 2 tbsp of jaggery in a day.

· 2 herbs spices: Have 2 herbs spices in the form of concoctions depending on the person’s Prakriti and pre-existing conditions. Just check on the number of ingredients used while making Kadhas (herbal decoction). You can try coriander seed water, ginger – jeera concoction, tulsi – Haldi Giloy Kadha.

Just by following these two rule theory you tend to eat a wholesome diet that’s healthy with a strong immune system and lowers the risk of chronic disorders and infectious diseases. Hence it is pivotal to eat a varied diet rich in fresh natural products to get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals, fibre, proteins, fats, and antioxidants.

How can we lose weight during lockdown through diet?
· Eat home-cooked food.

· Follow circadian rhythm fasting (eat according to sun’s shine). It is like time-restricted eating of your daily calories within an 8 to 10-hour block when the sun is up, leaving a 14-hour fast between your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day.

. Eat little and often – for example, choose smaller meals plus snacks rather than three larger meals.

· Avoid alcohol.
· One grain meal a day
. Last but not least, do some indoor exercise and yoga.

What are the lists of food diabetes patients should avoid in lockdown?
Among Diabetic patients, carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar by far. This is because they’re broken down into sugar, or glucose, and absorbed into your bloodstream. Maintaining a low carb intake can help prevent blood sugar spikes and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications. So, it is not only about the lockdown, a diabetic patient must avoid all kinds of processed, preserved, canned foods, soft drinks, cola’s, fruit juices, instant products, refined cereals products like maida, suji, biscuits, and white bread. Simple sugars like sweets, sugar, glucose, artificial sweetener, high fructose corn syrup. Tubers like potato and tapioca.

What are some healthy munchies for stressed-out people who are working from home?
You can choose healthy snacks options from: Sukha Bhel, Sweet potato chaat, Makhanas, Roasted oats chivda, Rice crackers, Chia seed pudding, Fruit parfait, Roasted chana, Trail mix, Roasted chickpeas, Sweet potato yam patties, etc.

Rapid fire

Deepika Padukone starts her day having
10 soaked black raisins

What is Harbhajan Singh’s quick bite?
Homemade energy bars out of oats Makhana almonds and dates.

What is Katrina Kaif’s most favourite and hated food?
She sticks to the plan religiously. She has a standard diet to follow anyway she likes to eat peanut butter bites. She hates rather she doesn’t like the concept of high fat Keto diets.

What is Digangana Suryavanshi’s favourite health drink?
Mint, coriander lemon juice

What Sakshi Dhoni can’t avoid eating in a day?

What’s Deepika Padukone’s diet secret?
Rice Rasam