Kavita Mukhi has studied eco-nutrition & lymphology in USA over two decades ago. She had the good fortune of learning with some of the best teachers of self-healing and has pioneered the awareness of organic foods (Conscious Food) in India in 1990.
Kavita Mukhi is also a naturalist farmer, using her years of experience to write, lecture and counsel on living in balance for the realization of human potential.
She shall answer your queries on healthy living through proper diet.
Kavita Mukhi's basic food guidelines
Question 6. My daughter is twelve. What specific nutrient/foodstuff should her diet include? - Sheela Juneja
If you replace all refined foods with unrefined, there is no way you can go wrong with what is served at the table. Today there is no dearth of alternatives available. You can make popular foods like pizzas and burgers the natural way too. If you have opposition, at least eat well yourself, the example will influence her future habits.
Fresh fruits, lightly cooked raw vegetables including greens and whole cereal are essential. Chyawanprash is an addition (check with your Ayurvedic doctor about which one). You can also give her Spirulina powder (not tablets). Alfalfa sprouts, flax seeds, nuts, seeds, dried fruit are all great add on foods to the basic diet. But besides food, your daughter needs exercise, activity and sunshine. This should have her well-prepared for her teen years.
Question 7. I am a 22-year-old girl and feel quite exhausted at the end of the day. I feel the foods I eat are not giving me the energy I need. Please advise. - Preeti Saproo
If you are partaking of regular Indian fare consisting of refined foods then you will feel exhausted. Mind you, relatively speaking, the common Indian diet is far superior to the general western diet but is still lacking in nutrients that are needed for energy and good health.
If you simply begin living and eating with some awareness you will be able to improve your energy level. We tend to eat poorly when we do not plan our meals. So ensure you plan from a variety of natural and whole foods. Eat lots of fresh seasonal fruit on an empty stomach. Also brown rice, lightly cooked vegetables, nuts and seeds. Eat roti and millets instead of bread, add alfalfa, mung and methi sprouts to salads, and substitute sugar with jaggery. Use rock salt and sea salt instead of iodised salt and cold-pressed or filtered oil instead of refined oil.
Also, remember that it is not just wrong food that can zap energy. Long hours on the computer and cellphone, too little sunshine and fresh air, lack of exercise, stress and unhappiness are other major causes. While it is okay to feel tired after a day’s hard work, a perpetual state of exhaustion is not normal. Examine your lifestyle and see where you can make small changes. If you send me details of your activity level and food intake, I will be able to help your further.
Question 8. I am 50 and approaching menopause. I need your dietary suggestions to cope with this phase of my life. - Anita Grewal
Since menopause is a phase that has gained much recognition today, please talk to your family about it. This in itself will make life easier for you and them. If they are able to take your mood swings in their stride, then the problems are much less.
Allow yourself to give vent to your hormonal changes through your emotions without guilt. Try to reorganise your life to avoid rushing around with chores when you need a break.
Food is a tricky situation at this point. You need good nutrition as in all phases
of life but at the same time, you may
want to avoid foods that make you feel
hot. Concentrate on simple foods with emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruits.
All food groups are necessary but these
two need extra helpings during this
time. Read answer to next question as
it applies to you too.
Keep active and make sure you get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. In the cooler months, a light weekly massage with cold-pressed almond or sesame oil is helpful in relaxing the body. Cold-pressed coconut oil is good for warm months. Keep cheerful, take care of your mind and body and menopause will be a breeze.
Question 9. What is the best source of calcium, apart from milk and dairy products? - Rajesh Jangra
Here is a list of calcium-rich foods:
All greens – including leaves of various
vegetables (like cauliflower, knol khol, carrot, beetroot, celery, colocasia, coriander, curry, drumstick, fenugreek, spinach, pumpkin, turnip, watercress, amaranth, lime, artichokes and, radish. Also gram, tamarind, ragi, whole bengal gram, horse gram, rajma, rajgira, dried lotus stem, bean, dried coconut, palm jaggery. Nuts like almond, walnut, sesame, sunflower seed, watermelon seed, poppy seed, sea weed, piper longum, apricot, bael, fig, raisin, dried dates, dried karonda, betel leaf, mahua flower, mango powder (amchur), roasted tamarind seed kernel, most spices but particularly cumin and bishop’s
weed (lavage/ajwain), tapioca, and most fish and snails.
Calcium, however, is best absorbed only when there is enough sunshine.
Question 10. What changes I should make in my diet to gain weight? I cannot take heavy foods due to my weak digestion. I am a diabetic with one kidney and creatine upt 1.9 and urea 56. what type of diet should be taken for this problem and is it cured? - Ankur Bhatia On 5 January 2009
You are right, you cannot take heavy foods. I would suggest using
brown & red rice and millets like jowar, bajra, ragi and proso as your
main food and eating a good variety of vegetables with it. Add only a
pinch of rock salt (sindhav) to your food & cook only with ghani ie
cold-pressed oil. I hope I don't have to repeat no sugar, no iodized
salt, no refined oil, no packaged refined foods, no white bread, no
white rice, minimal dairy or best none.
Eat non-sweet fruit like mousambi, oranges. apples. Two things to
remember for you: eat them on an empty stomach and eat them very slowly,
one bite at a time. Do not juice, chew each piece. Other foods like
dals and nuts: please eat sparingly only in addition to the main meal of
rice & vegetables. Lots can be done to the rice for example it can be
made into porridge and into patties mixed with left over vegetables. Eat
some raw vegetables too.
However perfect a diet, it is only part of the cure. You need to find
a reputed ayurvedic doctor. If you are in Mumbai, I can suggest one
excellent one. You need to make sure you are getting enough activity &
enough rest. Balance is crucial if you want to gain weight.
Meditate to find out your emotional reasons for getting ill. If it is
disappointment in life, try & choose to experience each moment rather
that staying in the past. Everything happens for the best. You can be
joyful if only you allow yourself to. And lastly I would recommend
doing a short vedic puja called Agnihotra. It needs to be done daily
if possible. This can have a greatly influence your body's capacity to
heal. Check it out at agnihotraindia.com
And let me know if you need any further assistance with it. If you
send me your blood type, I will be able to help you further. In the
meanwhile, the above suggestions will make you stronger and make you
gain some weight. Provided you let the sun shine on you.