'Eating right the mantra
for perfect health'
Shonali Sabherwal, the only macrobiotics chef, counsellor and instructor in India was recently in the city to undergo a routine rejuvenation programme. She tells Janani Rajeswari S that macrobiotics is all about minimising some food items and substituting them with others
Thanks to Shonali Sabherwal's diet programme, Katrina Kaif, Neha Dhupia and Raima Sen could show off their stunning figures on numerous red carpets. No wonder her clients vary from celebrities who want to look slim and glowing to people with health concerns or merely an urge to eat healthy.
“Macrobiotics is not a fashionable concept but is more of a life approach,”
Shonali avers. Though she was into market research for 13 years, she found her true calling when her father succumbed to cancer in 2001.
Mona Schwartz from the US, an expert in macrobiotics who had settled down in Dehradun, gave her basic training in the subject. “It was a frightening discovery that a mere allergy could lead to migraine and could end up in cancer. I had a general interest in health but was not trained in it formally. Macrobiotics can help cure cancer as it involves cleansing the nadi system and blood. If I have known about it, I could have saved my dad.”
Her flair for cooking was also a reason to take up macrobiotics. “Today dieticians do not go beyond your plate. They do not connect the universal energy with the energy present in the foods you eat and how they can make a difference to you.” To learn more, Shonali moved to the US for a six-year course in Kushi Institute at Becket in Massachusetts.
Macrobiotics approach includes some dietary practices that are quite similar to that of Ayurveda. It is a tailor made diet programme depending on the health concern.
“I did not want to merely be a dietician. My aim was to do something useful.” She also started her own catering service 'Enhance' in 2007 in Mumbai by preparing just five lunches a day. Today she does around 30-35 lunches (a generic meal plan) and six tailor-made dinners. She also conducts cookery classes.
“I have adopted the usual cooking styles but have 'Indianised' the food. Most are not aware that cooking a food in a certain way can actually enhance the energy quotient.” The meal plan includes organic food and is quite affordable. Shonali is planning to start a retail outlet soon in Mumbai.
Her opinion about staple Indian diet? “We love sugar and dairy products but they can be quite harmful when taken in excess. Macrobiotics is not a no-no diet. It is all about minimising some food items, substituting them with others and also interspersing them.”
But habits are difficult to give up, Shonali admits, revealing that she too had her own addictions like coffee and black masala chai. First she gave up milk and then her favourite chai. “It would be a crime to deny an Indian his/her cup of tea. However I would suggest that they go for green tea instead of black tea. Macrobiotics is extremely powerful and life changing. I am proud that I brought the concept of macrobiotics to India to suit our lifestyle.”
Ideal diet should include
• 40-50 per cent of intact whole grains
• 25-30 per cent of vegetables
• 10-15 per cent of beans, pulses
• 5-10 per cent of soups
• 5-10 per cent of fruits and vegetables
• Processed food
• chicken in some cases
• no stimulants. Go for green tea instead of black tea
• White rice. Replace it with brown rice instead.