Consuming food is more than just eating what is available on hand. We must study our body, understand its needs and then eat as per our requirements. A ‘one shoe fits all’ approach will not work in this case. To help us in this regard, we have Sheryl Salis, a multi-hat-donning Wellness Coach who is here to bust some myths and give us ideas on building resilient immunity.

Q. Please tell us a little about your professional journey.
A: After completing my formal education in dietetics, I worked with a couple of hospitals in Mumbai. Not very satisfied with the profile of a hospital dietician then, I moved on to work with a leading insulin manufacturing multinational company Novo Nordisk as a Diabetes Educator. This is where my journey as a diabetes educator started. I then moved on to work at Johnson and Johnson (J&J) for their Lifescan division as a Diabetes Educator for West India. There was extensive travel of more than 15-20 days a month covering Maharashtra, Goa, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. This job gave me a lot of exposure and learning as I had to conduct programs for doctors, nurses, dieticians, diabetes educators and patients.

In 2009, after completing 5 years at J&J, I joined a start-up called Cheenykum, which was into real-time disease management. Gathering rich experiences and learnings through my career of 13 years,I started my venture ‘Nurture Health Solutions’ (NHS) in 2013.
I have also been teaching since 2007 and am associated with several educational institutes as a Course Director, faculty and research guide teaching Nutrition and Diabetes Education. Teaching young students keeps me energized and upbeat as well.

Q. What services does Nurture Health Solutions offer?
A: Nurture Health Solutions (NHS) was founded to help people transform and adapt to a healthy lifestyle. Nurture Health Solutions is a health and well-being company offering niche comprehensive Health & Wellness solutions to corporates and individuals. We work with leading Corporate Houses, hospitals, educational institutes, government bodies and individuals in India and overseas, offering services in the health and wellness space. Our services include Workplace Wellness programs, Workshops, Seminars, Webinars, Cafeteria Assessments, Health Coach Programs for Wellness and Disease Management, Training of Health Care Professionals and Scientific Content Contribution.

We offer comprehensive care management plans which include personal consultations, email and online support for Diabetes (Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes), Heart Disease & High cholesterol, High Blood pressure/Hypertension, Fat Loss and Muscle Gain, Thyroid conditions, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Cancer, Gastro-Intestinal Disorders, Food Allergies/Intolerance, Kidney Disease, Dialysis and Transplant, Liver Diseases and Transplant, Gout (High Uric Acid), COPD and Asthma, Tuberculosis, Pregnancy, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Athletes and Sports Person, Special diets for Marathon Runners, Immunity Boosting, Osteoporosis, arthritis and other medical conditions. In a short period, NHS has touched more than ten thousand lives through our health coach programs, having worked with reputed multinational companies both in India and overseas. Our dynamic and passionate team at NHS has successfully helped motivate thousands of people to achieve their health goals.

Q. What is your book, ‘Diet in Diabetes Simplified’ about?
A: Pre-diabetes and diabetes is rising in our country at alarming rates and affecting not only adults but also our children. The pandemic and lockdown have resulted in more obesity in children due to inactivity and unhealthy eating, making them more prone to pre-diabetes and diabetes.Because of stress, anxiety, long working hours and an inactive unhealthy lifestyle, adults primarily in the younger age group are falling prey to the disorder.In today’s times, with so many myths and misconceptions around food, people resort to online research or advice from well-wishers or self-proclaimed nutritionist’s / health experts that may often be incorrect and misleading, resulting in complications.

As healthcare professionals, half of our time in the clinic is spent responding and clarifying these socia media forwards from friends, family and clients.
This book aims to disseminate the proper evidence-based knowledge focusing on traditional wisdom to society to reduce the burden of diabetes and diabetes-related complications in our country. The book aims to provide the reader with general guidelines, recent advances in the field of nutrition, dispel common myths and misconceptions, easy to make recipes, superfoods in diabetes, frequently asked questions, real-life case studies and examples from my own clinical experience of 20 years to help people lead a healthy and active, good quality life in spite of diabetes. As a tribute to my late father on his 25th death anniversary in May 2020 and to “pay it forward” to society, I started a foundation “, George Salis Foundation” in his name.I pledged the profits from the book’s sales to support underprivileged children with Type1 Diabetes for their education and medical needs.

Q. What are the lifestyle diseases you see on the rise nowadays?
A: Diabetes, Hypertension, Dyslipidemia (deranged cholesterol andtriglycerides), Obesity, Adiposity (abdominal obesity) and Cancer are seen to be on the rise. This is because we are consuming refined, processed, packaged, ready-to-eat foods. Unhealthy, calorie-laden, carb and fat-rich snacks have replaced balanced meals in most households. Physical activity has become negligible, with most people confined to their seats due to work demands and pressures of meeting deadlines.

In the lockdown, office work has increased, and there is no end time with most people working till late nights. The entire routine has gone for a toss, with adults and children sleeping late and waking up late. Anxiety due to uncertainty has even added to the stress and mental health of individuals.

Q. What small changes do you think Indians need to make for a healthier life?
A: As rightly said by the father of medicine, Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. A wholesome, well-balanced and nutritious diet using local and seasonal ingredients readily available in our kitchen providing all the essential macro and micronutrients is vital for good health. I would request everyone to go back to their roots and revisit the days of their parents and grandparents. Our traditional Indian diets are well-balanced and provide all the nutrients necessary for good health.

Keep a watch on your carbohydrate and fat intake. Consume salads, whole grain cereals, millets, pulses, vegetables, and fresh seasonal fruits to get your dose of fiber to improve satiety and prevent constipation. Make sure you are hydrated well with at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Focus on improving the protein content of meals as it is a nutrient usually lacking in our meals. Protein sources are milk and milk products like curd/yogurt and paneer, dals, sprouts, soybean, tofu, nuts and non-veg foods such as lean meat, fish and egg.

Sabja or basil seeds in the summers help keep the body cool and prevent heartburn. Add it to infused water and sip through the day.Women planning to conceive shouldn’t consume too much sabja as it has shown to hinder fertility.
Cinnamon is an ancient spice with myriad health benefits, including weight, blood glucose, and cholesterol management. It helps regulate blood sugars, reduces visceral fat, and benefits by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Barley, locally known as Jau is known to cure urinary tract infections, kidney stones, lower bad cholesterol, aids weight loss and improves blood glucose levels. You can add it to your soups, salads or make a pulao of it. Do not fall prey to social media, resulting in you losing your health in the long run. Follow a lifestyle that is sustainable and has no expiry date.

A diet that excludes many food groups may help you lose weight in the short term but is highly deficient in nutrients essential for the body’s healthy functioning. Try and stay active as much as you can. Ensure that you sleep for at least 6 to 7 hours every night. Stay away from gadgets first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Most importantly, do what makes you happy and keeps you cheerful. Practice meditation and gratitude for a healthy mind and body.

Q. Could you share some superfoods our readers could use to stay healthy?
A: I always advocate the use of the kitchen as your pharmacy. Superfoods are foods that have a bioactive compound to promote and maintain good health and prevent disease. Many superfoods in our own kitchen are inexpensive, available locally and passed on from generations.
Amla is a powerful antioxidant due to its high Vitamin C content, which helps keep colds and infections at bay. It promotes hair growth, helps in blood glucose and cholesterol management and provides protection against various types of cancer and helps boost immunity. Black pepper with turmeric is a perfect combination as piperine in black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin from turmeric. Turmeric milk (haldi milk) is an age-old remedy for cough, cold, etc.
Sucking on a piece of clove and cardamom after meals is an effective remedy to cure acidity Sipping on jeera (cumin) and fennel seeds (badi saunf) water helps improve digestion and give relief from bloating and acidity.

Categories: Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.