Posted in Ayurveda, Healthy Living, Healthy Recipes

Being Enlightened by Rujuta Diwekar

20151219_130154[1]For the last one week or so my friend Geetanjali and I have been excited about the Rujuta Talk that was held yesterday at Sadhu Vaswani Mission’s Little Lamps Pre School.  The excitement was palpable at the venue.  The seats up front were already taken and the camera people were ready.  The best thing about Rujuta’s ideas and beliefs about food is that she preaches a holistic approach to food.  There is nothing fitness fad-ish about what her advice, and her diet guidelines are ‘accessible’ for the masses.  With this in mind I went prepared with pen and paper.

Rujuta’s talk focused on overall family wellness.  So she spoke a lot about children.  There was a Q&A afterwards, where enthusiastic fans needed answers  to all their questions.  I tried my best to note down as much as I could.  Here are my notes:

EXERCISE

  1. 90 minutes of exercise a day is recommended for children.
  2. 150 minutes a week for adults.  Rujuta recommends that you have three sessions a week: weight training, yoga and cardio.  According to Rujuta, men develop a paunch when they lose strength and muscle in their lower body.  Womens’ hips grow wider.  Weight training is an excellent solution for the paunches and the wide hips of this  world.
  3. For every 30 minutes you sit, stand for 3 minutes.  (I’ve already started this by setting an alarm on my phone.)
  4. Diabesity = diabetes + obesity.
  5. Exercise 3 days a week AT A FIXED TIME.  (I believe this has a lot to do with discipline.  In my experience people who don’t pencil their workouts into their calendars are the ones who do them ‘later.’)

SLEEP

  1.  Don’t look at anything that emits light an hour before you sleep.  An important point she made is that fitness bands (the current fad) also emit light and fall under this rule.  So bands that are supposed to measure the quality of your sleep are actually promoting bad quality of sleep.  In her irreverent manner Rujuta said that if you want to know how well you slept then look at the person sleeping next to you.  If you haven’t tossed and turned and snored the entire night, then they would be sleeping peacefully, and that’s a more accurate measure of the quality of your sleep.  (I would like to point out that you maybe have tossed and turned for reasons agreeable to both of you…)
  2. Body chemistry and biology is determined by the HPT axis – Hypothalamus Pituitary Thyroid. (These actually correspond to chakras!)
  3. The HGH (Human Growth Hormone).  With the decreases of HGH there is a also a decrease in muscle tissue and a corresponding increase in fat stores.  And lack of sleep contributes immensely to the decrease of HGH.  (The lack of quality sleep is perhaps what is causing the increase in childhood obesity?)
  4. HGH also decreases with age, which is why you gain weight as you age.  This is why it’s imperative that you continue to workout as you age.

FOOD

  1. Always have breakfast.  Your breakfast should be hot and homemade.  Never have anything that comes out of a packet such as oats and cereals and tetra pack milk (!).
  2. Have your husband cook twice a week  Here Rujuta made a point that resonated very strongly the feminist in me.  She said that most of us have grandfathers who can cook.  Some of us have dads who can cook.  But none of us have husbands who can cook.  In fact our husbands may not even know how much sugar we take in our tea!  To be empowered doesn’t mean to only go out and earn a living and draw a fat paycheck.  Empowerment also has a great deal to do with how much equality exists in the home.
  3. Don’t count the composition of your food (calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat etc.)
  4. Coconuts have no cholesterol.
  5. Cashews have no cholesterol.  If you have high levels of blood sugar you should have cashews.
  6. The USDA has revised it’s guidelines in April 2015 to state that there is no link between cholesterol consumption and heart disease.
  7. Learn food systems and not food groups.
  8. Have a banana on your way to the airport and not a Subway sandwich.
  9. Are you bloated when you wake up?  Do you crave for coffee/tea post a meal?  Are you constipated?  Fear no more!  Just have a banana.  Bananas contain prebiotics, they help in fat burn and they are rich in fiber.  Prebiotics provide the infrastructure for all the millions of good bacteria to flourish in your gut.  These are as important as probiotics.
  10. Great breakfast option:  Roti + banana + sugar
  11. Great fruits with a meal: bananas, jackfruit and mangoes.
  12. “Banana zaroor khana.”
  13. Ghee helps in post pregnancy weight loss.
  14. Make your ghee from milk.  Do NOT use your mixer because the heat from the centrifugal force kills the important fatty acid bonds in the ghee.
  15. Ghee has prebiotics.
  16. Ghee reduces the GI (Glycemic Index) of food.
  17. Have single polished and hand pounded rice.  Rice has lycene, an amino acid which is linked to HGH.  HGH is at it’s peak in the night so if you have rice in the night, you give your HGH a boost.
  18. Raagi is high in calcium, gluten free and high in fiber.  It is a complete non allergen and it’s great for bones.  In an age when everyone seems to be deficient in Vitamin D – Raagi is the solution because it helps in retaining it!
  19. Sugarcane detoxes and cleanses your system.  (It’s cold pressed!  Rujuta exclaimed mirthfully.)  If you have sugarcane juice in the winter, you can prevent all the seasonal issues that come along with the onset of winters.
  20. Jaggery – another form of sugarcane!  It contains glycolic acid which prevents wrinkles and it keeps your collagen intact.  (Personally I’d rather eat wholesome food containing glycolic acid than slathering on chemical formulae on my face.)

Post the session everyone gathered around Rujuta to ask her questions, take pictures and have her sign their books.  I also took a book along but was dissuaded to go up to her by the throng of people around her.  However, Geetanjali whipped out her phone and egged me on.  And when I finally managed to get up to Rujuta and told her that I’ve taken notes and is it OK if I put it up on the blog, she said yes! of  course and what blog is it that I write for?  I told her that I have a blog called yogawithpragya and Geetanjali captured this moment:

 

Rujuta says she’s read my blog!!!! OMG!!!! Rujuta Diwekar has visited my blog (happy dance)!!!!  That explains this expression:

IMG-20151219-WA0010[1]

All in all it was an awesome morning.  Rujuta is an engaging and intelligent speaker.  She seamlessly links grandmother’s food wisdom to solutions to modern day environmental issues such as global warming.  She talks about cooking and women’s empowerment.  She talks about the transience of food fads.  And she reads the newspapers and this blog! 🙂

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