Mumbai-based Rujuta Diwekar, 38, is the voice of reason we’ve all heard in our heads. If you read Diwekar’s recently released The PCOD Thyroid Book, you’ll realise that we’ve all ignored our innate logic about food and nutrition and it is this common sense she appeals to often in the book too. Of course, the reason why most cannot ignore Diwekar and her tough love rationale when it comes to ailments, food and fitness is because of her impressive client list. She says, when we meet her at her North Mumbai office, “In my profession, you’re almost always, riding or banking on the credibility of those you work with. If people think highly of Anil Ambani and his decision-making abilities, and if he has worked with you, you too become important by the virtue of his decision.”
Besides Ambani, who consulted Diwekar in 2004, several Hindi film celebrities, most notably, actor Kareena Kapoor, have benefited from her sensible and sustainable diet and fitness routines. Diwekar’s clear-headed approach to food is backed by her upbringing. She says, “My mother ensured we had garam nashta for school recess.We never had bread or fryums or chips in the dabba. My maternal grandfather was from Konkan and was all about eating more traditional local food and looked down upon the concept of eating breads. So, no chocolate or colas for us and I discovered very early that you don’t have to eat junk food for entertainment or fun. You need solid parenting or grandparenting – people with the courage to constantly say no to you till you see the better side of life.”
Another childhood tradition that shaped what Diwekar advises others to eat was farming. “My paternal granddad had a farm in Vasai and was actively into farming. He had coconut trees and farmed rice. During all my vacations, my cousins and I would be at the farm – planting and growing most of the food we ate.”
If ancient Indian food wisdom had buzzwords, Diwekar is sure we would have clung onto it. She says, “Our ancient methods of eating are future proof.” So, we quizzed her on some buzzwords to debunk food myths and turned to her book to understand how to control PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) and thyroid ailments better.
“The food of the deprived.” In The PCOD Thyroid Book, Diwekar asks readers to avoid anything that’s heated too much, over-boiled or reheated in a microwave. Preserve nutrients by eating fresh.
“The super fruit.”
8-litre water intake
“Numbers don’t matter, colour of urine does.”
Stavia vs sugar
“Sugar is natural. Why replace our natural with someone else’s natural?”
“Oh boy! Let’s stick to paneer instead.”
“I prefer jaw chewing.”
Avoid any label that reads “fat-free” or “low-fat”, since essential acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 are found in ghee, paneer, and oils such as groundnut, til and coconut oil, among others. Eating fat slows down conversion of food to fat, says Diwekar in her book.
“Exercise and activity builds bones, not calcium.”
“Use your teeth instead.”
In her book, Diwekar mentions how carbs are a big boon in treating PCOS, especially unprocessed carbs such as wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, nachni or ragi, barley, etc.
“We keep eating things like complete protein such as quinoa without giving a thought to the fact that South America is killing its forests to grown quinoa. Eat local.”
“If there is a climate impact, then we are also part of that change. We’re giving up ghee to eat olive oil. Where are the olives coming from? Why is EU pushing this? What are the economics at play there? We have to think about these things.”
Surya namaskars with pelvic opening exercises are great for those suffering from PCOS/PCOD, according to Diwekar’s book.
“Masala chai, any day.”
The PCOD Thyroid Book by Rujuta Diwekar, published by Westland Ltd, is priced at Rs 200.