Weight watchers guide to healthy food habitsFrom plant-based regime to that inspired by hunter-gatherer ancestors, different diet programmes may have different purposes but all roads eventually lead to a healthy lifestyle.
Considering the photos of food that decked social media walls during the initial months of lockdown, we can easily perceive that we indulged in savouring homemade delicacies. "What’s cooking today?" was the question that ruled the conversation among food enthusiasts until recently, if not now. With months of food trials and minimal movement, most of us have put on weight and lost our abs to the cloud of abdominal fat. Given the slow but steady ride to normalcy, the most asked question now is “What diet are you following?”
There are a number of diet plans—ranging from vegan diet to paleo diet and each one has its own benefits to lure you in. Sushila Sharma, Dietitian at Diet Counseling Service Centre, Sanepa advises sticking to 'healthy eating habits' rather than opting for a trendy diet plan. She says, "Diet needs to be taken as the set of food items that our body requires to function well. Occasional intervention is required only when some health issues arise."
The contemporary mainstream social media influencers following and promoting a certain diet; continuous tweets and retweets on how it will save the earth, numerous subreddits solely dedicated to their food habits, not to forget YouTube blogs that share similar contents are some of the biggest contributors of getting different diet programmes to trend in the digital world.
The most famous one at present is the plant-based regime. The vegan diet is all about excluding animal products from your plates and pantries—including meat, eggs, and dairy products. It attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation; so this is considered a cleaner, greener, and more ethical way of living.
Itchya Karki, beauty and skin educator, who turned vegan two years ago, believes that being vegan is ethical. “Just because something has been passed down for 100 years, doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s about choices and I’m glad I choose to lead a vegan lifestyle,” she said. She also shares that the myth that ‘vegan diet is expensive’ is pretty common but the classic dal-bhat combo is vegan, readily available and economically sustainable.
Another diet plan that’s taking the internet by storm is the keto diet. The main basis of this regime is low-carbohydrate and high-protein intake. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.
Shiba Magar, 20, who’s been on a keto diet for the past six months swears by it and has even recommended it to a few of her friends. “Vanessa Hudgens, one of my favourite actors, is on a keto diet. Her transformation was noteworthy so I gave it a try too,” says Shiba. “I’ve managed to get rid of some of my baby fats and I think I will continue this diet for the next six months.”
A ketogenic diet typically limits carbs to 20–50 grams per day. While this may seem challenging, many nutritious foods can easily fit into this way of eating. Meat and poultry are considered staple foods on a keto diet so comparatively it sounds like a fair deal. Besides that, cheese, avocados, eggs, nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts, unsweetened tea and coffee, dark chocolate are popular amongst the keto diet groups.
But are there any diet plans where one won’t have to sacrifice a certain food group? There sure is. Intermittent fasting, which basically follows a 16:8 ratio, where one goes 16 hours a day without food and then eat normally for the next eight hours, is not a new thing in religious communities, who fast on specific day or days in a week. This diet plan has been endorsed by celebrities all over the world and has had a wide level of public acceptance as well.
Fashion blogger Parakram SJB Rana considers intermittent fasting as a life healing practice. “I make sure to keep at least a 16-hour gap from my last meal of the day till the first meal of the following day,” he says. “I do, however, sip unsweetened black coffee or black tea in the 16 hour period.”
Whichever diet you are following or plan to follow, dietitian Sharma emphasises on consistency. But does that mean one should stick to a certain diet chart throughout their life? “Calorie intake alone need not be blamed for weight gain; a stable lifestyle is equally responsible for it. One’s healthy eating habit should be in tandem with regular exercise as well," Sharma said.