I often get asked about my diet and what I eat when I am on-the-go! So, I decided to join forces with dietician and nutritionist, Sohini Shah, who designed a meal plan for me to create a fresh Black Bean, Avocado & Mango Salad!

We also asked Sohini some fun questions about diets, food myths and health. Here’s how it went!

1. What made you decide to be a dietitian and a nutritionist?

I was an overweight child and wanted to pursue my passion for dance. In an attempt to increase my dance fitness, I started eating healthy and exercising more. I started running regularly to build my cardiac fitness and cut out the junk foods completely. I lost 18 kgs in 3 months and have kept it off ever since. I understood the process, the struggles, the mindset while I experienced it myself and wanted to help others in their own quest for health and fitness. This is how the journey began.

2. What do you think is the biggest nutritional/dieting myth?

I think the biggest nutritional or dieting myth is that fruits make you gain weight because of their sugars and that it is unhealthy to consume fruits because of their sugar content.

3. Are raw foods actually good for you? Or should you boil and cook everything?

Raw foods are great because they are more nutritious! Especially when it comes to fruits, salads, sprouts, nuts, seeds and vegetables! However, each individual will have their own tolerance towards these foods depending on their digestive systems. While cooking is important to enhance the taste of the food, it also destroys some of the nutritional quality of the food. So a healthy diet should include a mix of cooked and raw foods, where in at least 30% of what we eat should be raw.

4. What three snacks can one keep in their bag when they are on the go?

1. Fresh, seasonal fruit.

2. Handful of nuts: 6-8 almonds, 3 walnuts, 2 dates.

3. 1/2 cup roasted salted chana

5. Ideally, whats the first thing you should do when you wake up ? And whats the last thing you should do before you go to bed?

Ideally, the first thing you should do when you wake up is spend a minute being grateful for the breath you take in, for that is your main source of energy and positivity for the day. Everyone has a different way to start their day, so theres nothing like the most ideal thing. However, starting your day with a fruit or turmeric water or some water with freshly squeezed lemon juice would help to rehydrate the system and alkalize it. Ideally, you should not eat three hours before your bedtime. The last thing before you go to bed is to meditate!!

8. What should one always have in the fridge to whip up something quick as a snack?

One should have low-fat curd which can be used in an ample amount of dips and spreads and that can be used over breads, crudites, apples, khakhras or even some crackers! Cool recipe: 1/2 cup hung curd, 1 tsp mustard sauce, 1 tsp chilli sauce, salt, pepper, 1/2 crushed jalapeno and some coriander. Just mix the ingredients!

9. What is the ratio of exercise and the right food that one must attain to see effective results?

The ratio of exercise and the right food would be 2:3 or 40% exercise and 60 % food. I would give food an extra 10% only because we eat more frequently than we can exercise, hence it has a bigger role for effective results.

10. A lot of people are moving away from cow’s milk and using soy/ oats/ almond milk? Is animal milk actually bad for you?

A lot of people have lactose or milk intolerance and often find themselves bloated/ burping/ gaseous because of milk. This is the reason why people are switching to other sources of milk. However, using low-fat animal milk should be OK for people who dont have lactose intolerance.

With a degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida, she is a Board Qualified Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist (RDN) and is registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – One of the World’s Largest Organisations of Food and Nutrition Professionals. Through the years she has partnered over 3500 people in their quest for health and fitness in a diverse range of countries such as India, New Zealand, UK, UAE and the US.

She regularly counsels people for weight management, diabetes, pediatric nutrition, sports nutrition, PCOS and many more and can be reached through her website or you can call her on +91 95588 20824 to book an appointment.