20 Minutes Live with Jinal Shah


This live session was conducted by me, Ninad Karpe, partner, and founder at 100X.VC. The guest panelist for this session was Jinal Shah. Jinal has completed a Masters in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from SNDT University, Mumbai, in 2012. Since then, she has trained under and is working with Ruchita Diwekar as a senior nutritionist. She is a regular speaker at various conferences and TedX talks. Her views on nutrition are sought after by many people, including business owners, corporate leaders, public officials, etc. 

Let us have a look at Jinal’s view on nutrition in the times of COVID-19.

She shares her thought that a diet is successful only if you see it through a crisis time. During this pandemic, she has figured that our real friends are rice, pulses, and ghee. In this session, Jinal shared five diet rules that we must follow. These rules are easy to follow when you are at home during the lockdown and start working again. Following are the rules - 

Diet Rule 1

Do not start your day with tea or coffee. Instead of this, start your day with fresh fruits such as apple, banana, mango, chikoo- depending on the season. It should be a fresh local seasonal fruit. You can also start your day with a few nuts such as overnight soaked almonds or raisins. After 15 minutes of having these, you can have tea or coffee. Also, have your tea or coffee the way you like it, with milk and sugar. Do not worry about drinking green tea or purple tea. All teas or coffees are the same. So, you must have it the way you like it. You must also remember to limit them to a maximum of 2 or 3 cups a day. Make sure that you are not replacing any of your meals with tea or coffee. Also, don't have it as the last thing in the night or even after the sunset because this will come in the way of your sleep. This diet will ensure that you wake up feeling energetic, and the rest of the day goes well. You will be full of energy until the end of the day.

Diet Rule 2

Eat your dinner at least 3 hours before going to bed. It will allow for easy digestion and make sure that your sleep is good. We all know that sleep is essential for optimum recovery as well as for good health. Right now, all of us are seeking immunity, while some of us are also seeking fat loss. So, one thing that you need to do for that is sleep well. Hence, if you have your dinner 3 hours before going to bed, it will help. In case you are hungry before sleeping, you can always go for something like turmeric milk. We have all figured out that turmeric has now become the new global superfood. Don't push your bedtime because you have to have your dinner 3 hours before going to bed. Instead, plan things in a way that you get a gap of 3 hours before going to the ground at your average time. 

Diet Rule 3

Avoid big gaps between eating during the day. Most of us probably eat our breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and eat nothing in between. So, plan for a meal between your breakfast and lunch. Make sure that you are not going for things like biscuits and cookies or any junk item because this stuff is not going to work for the body. This should be taken care especially if you are seeking good health, better blood sugar regulation, better blood pressure, hormonal balance, fat loss, immunity, or just a happy life. So, at that time, you can have anything like a homemade sharbat, coconut water, or just fresh fruits. 

In addition to this, the time between 4 to 6 pm is very important because all of us experience hunger at this time. And, if we don't plan for a good meal, we invariably eat stuff that is not healthy. Most of the people get the feeling of having junk food during this time. So, you need to plan for a good meal. Your options include homemade things that are healthy and full of nutrients. You can also have whatever you had for your breakfast. Other options are a chapati with jaggery, banana, or any other fresh fruits, a handful of cashews or peanuts, etc. All of these things work in a good way to keep you energetic. These also ensure that you are not overeating at night. If you skip this meal, you invariably have a very large dinner that disturbs your sleep and you wake up really tired. So, make sure that you are not keeping long gaps in between your meals.

Diet Rule 4

These are the three S’s of eating right. We often feel like we don't know how much to eat. But, in actuality, only we know how much we should be eating and when we should stop eating. But, you should be able to get in tune with your stomach if you follow these three S’s.

  • First S - Sit at a fixed place and eat. Try to sit cross-legged.
  • Second S - Stop eating when you know. For this, you must eat with your own hands, chew your food well, and do not get distracted by any gadget such as phone, TV, laptop, etc. In this way, you will know exactly when to stop eating.
  • Third S - Slow eating. Eat your food slowly and make sure that you are not putting your hand inside the plate to get another one before finishing the one that you already have in your mouth. Eat slowly so that you can listen to the talking happening between the brain, the tongue, and the stomach. In this way, you will get a clue about when to stop eating and enjoy the meal.

Diet Rule 5

Include ghee in all your meals, especially a teaspoon full in your breakfast, lunch, and dinner each. It adds satiety and promotes digestion. It also helps to improve the assimilation of vitamin D3 into our bodies. Recently, it has been found that there is a good association between vitamin D3 and a reduction in complications in COVID-19. Another thing that you should include is any fresh fruit once a day. It can be consumed as a mid-meal as discussed earlier. Fruits are rich in nutrients that help to boost immunity. Also, include a chutney or a pickle daily with lunch or dinner. It provides the body with a lot of micronutrients that are important to improve the health of your gut bacteria. These are the best for anyone who has a vitamin B12 deficiency.

In this session, a lot of viewers asked questions. Let us have a look at some of the questions that Jinal answered.

Is jaggery fine for a diabetic person?

Yes, it is fine. In our culture, we have a very beautiful way of using sugar in the summers and jaggery in the winters. Do not completely replace sugar with jaggery. Diabetes and eating sweets do not correlate at all. The problem occurs when you eat packaged food.

Is premature grey hair related to food?

All the five diet rules that have been discussed above work really well in reversing the premature grey hair. You can also include coconut and raisins in your diet. Also, practice oiling your hair to stop grey hair.

Is there any particular recommendation of diet for women post 50 years of age?

Women post-fifty should not do anything that is derivational in nature. Some of the things to be taken care of are -

  • They should not go for extreme diets to lose weight. 
  • Include ghee in your diet.
  • Exercise regularly, especially strength training, because bone mineral density reduces post-fifty.

What are your views on the trend of intermittent fasting?

Fasting was always meant for creating diversity in our culture. Anything that is extreme and unsustainable is not recommended. Fasting also leads to a drop in iron levels which is dangerous as it impacts immunity and mental health. In the time of crisis, intermittent fasting is not at all recommended.

Special tips for COVID-19 time

Always follow the five diet rules discussed earlier. Once the pandemic is over, don't start eating junk. Stick to your practice of eating local, seasonal, and fresh food for the rest of your life to ensure that you remain disease-free. Make sure you eat healthy because eating healthy is living healthy. 

- 100X.VC Team

Published on: July 3, 2020