A nutrition expert to Bollywood’s biggest stars confesses his love for bhindi, and throws in a few valuable pieces of advice.
Diabetes and metabolic problems are the order of the day in India today. Blame it on sedentary lifestyles or faulty eating habits and stress, everyone from kids to the oldies is falling prey to these health demons.
At the same time gone are the days when weight loss meant losing inches or focusing on spot treatment. The biggest question that most people face these days when it comes to losing weight is: How do I lose the inches, but not the fitness? Or the most pertinent one being: I don’t want to be thin, I want to be fit.
So, when a doctor who is known to be the ‘it’ person for celebrities like Liz Hurley, Deepika Padukone (those curves!) and Ranveer Singh comes to town, how do we not pose these questions to him and especially so, in a country where both feasting and fasting rule.
And when it comes to wellness, Dr Harald Stossier has been the go-to guy for the swish set. Think about the fads, the diets, and the many websites claiming to give ‘exact diets’ of celebrities and well, what really constitutes as good food, we will know now.
Interestingly, for Dr Stossier gut-friendly food and intestinal health reign supreme when it comes to wellness. I ask the tall and lean doctor if this is his maiden visit to the subcontinent.
“The first time I came to India was to Mumbai, four years ago. Later on, I visited the other cities but the most impressive cities have been Chennai and Hyderabad,” he says.
His philosophy is to focus on intestinal health through nutrition. But I am aware that eat local, think global, is a wellness mantra. So what are the gut-friendly foods in our country that we can consume?
“Eating habits are more important than the food itself! ” —Dr Harald Stossier
“I think the gut-friendliest foods are cooked or steamed vegetables, which you find in a lot of Indian dishes, but the gravies they use are not easily digestible. Changing that is the best thing to do first,” says Dr Stossier.
After all, he believes, the most ignored and misunderstood reality is that health is related to the intestinal function and the role of self-awareness and self-responsibility is crucial there.
While by eating the right food in the right way we can protect ourselves from diseases, consuming the wrong things and having bad eating habits can create a lot of risk factors, which lead to most of what he calls as ‘civilizatoric’ diseases.
From the prescription
And, while there is no secret formula to achieve this balance, Dr Stossier does list out few recommendations regarding nutrition – the most important one being that the eating habit is more important than the food itself! “So, focus on the eating habit,” he says.
But did you ever think that being part of a social community, sharing your interests with people also contributes to your health? I pause briefly, as Dr Stossier emphasises.“We know that social integration is the most important factor in staying healthy and also autogenesis, which means to do all activities to stay as healthy as possible,” says Dr Stossier who has set up his wellness outfit in India.
And by doing so, he not only got a better understanding of the food habits of Indians but also developed his love for bhindi!
Dr Stossier’s many visits to India has resulted in his love for many Indian dishes, but the humble bhindi tops his list. He is especially fond of all vegetables and the different kinds of breads here. However, he is cautious of foods such as the different kinds of dals that taste good but are not easy to digest.
I cannot help prod him to reveal his celeb clientele. But he simply changes the topic with a polite yet stern “No”.
As for his trips to India, he says he’s heard a lot about Bengaluru and Rajasthan. “These parts I would like to visit the next time,” he signs off.