Nutritionist Lovneet Batra sticks to basics in pandemic times

At a time when a multitude of manufacturers are pushing their largely synthetic products as boosting immunity during the pandemic, nutritionist Lovneet is steadfastly sticking to the natural way of doing things, saying traditional wisdom provides the best answer to staying fit.

“I’ve been a clinical nutritionist for over a decade; during my practice I’ve helped several people struggling with different goals, be it weight management, body image issues, sports or healing from a disease condition. Although different people may have different goals their hope is to re-invent the wheel when it comes to their diet,” Lovneet Batra told IANS in an interview of her book, “50 Desi Superdrinks” (Rupa).

“They usually expect a super-food from far away land to be the life-changing element in their fitness journey. Just like I’ve busted those superficial, non-sustainable ideas of fitness for my clients through my diets, this book is a humble attempt to rebrand our traditional wisdom through the support of science into our go-to super-food,” she added.

Q: What are the health and immunity benefits from such drinks?

A: Immunity is the most trending buzzword of year 2020; it is an army that is required to work in a strict balance in our body. Although we can’t build a strong immunity overnight but maintaining optimum nutrition, restful sleep and active lifestyle remain key ingredients. Indian kitchens are loaded with ingredients that can support our health and immunity.

Our gut health is strongly linked to our immunity through trillions of microbes present in our GI (gastrointestinal) tract. ‘Kanji’, a natural vegan probiotic made by fermenting beetroot and carrot can help in nourishing the good bacteria that strongly support our immune system.

Then, ‘masala chai’, which is loaded with a strong antioxidant theaflavin and is combined with flu-fighting ingredients such as tulsi, ginger, black pepper and cardamom keeps infections at bay.

Mulethi and fennel kahra is used as a natural immunity booster in Ayurveda. It helps in soothing sore throat and chronic cold-cough. This drink helps to decongest and reduce phlegm production, Batra elaborated.

Q: Are there separate summer and winter drinks?

A: Yes, each and every drink has a season, time and purpose. Some drinks like ‘besan sheera’ or ‘kahwa’ are meant for cooler temperatures whereas some like ‘jal jeera’ or ‘aam panna’ are summer saviors. Drinks like ‘thandai’ are a must have during festivities whereas others are a timeless pleasure such as ‘masala chai’ or ‘shikanji’.

Considerable research went into the book.

It took over a year of late night researching through scientific journals, learning more about the details of regional Indian traditional recipes and making sense of it all through my day-to-day patient interactions, testimonies and professional experience as a nutritionist.

Q: What then, are the five takeaways from this book?

1) Healthy living starts with simple and sustainable solutions not with some exotic, hard to find and over-priced ingredients.

2) We need to look beyond calories to measure goodness in our foods.

3) Food is the source of our strength, don’t make it a weakness, and use it wisely.

4) Celebrate and nurture traditions.

5) The power of drinking well is underestimated; it adds up quickly and boosts vitality seamlessly.

Batra certainly believes in leading by example.

“Going beyond fads and myths, I believe in making nutrition simple and straight. I often encourage my clients to develop a healthy relationship with food. As a nutritionist, I believe good food and good health are best buddies; I begin my day with a paneer parantha for breakfast because it keeps me happy, full and energized for the rest of the day. For me, nutrition is delicious and doable,” she said.

Q: What is her next project?

A: I’m currently working on developing nutrition education platform for patients struggling with disease management.

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