Payal Kothari

19th March, 2021

An Author’s Afternoon hosted Payal Kothari for the 89 th session. Payal embarked on her health and wellness journey with the world’s largest nutrition school, IIN Institute for Integrative Nutrition, New York USA, IIN Advanced Business, Medvarsity, India’s leading training academy, Kaizad Kapadia’s K11 and QI academy. She has 150 published articles under her belt from prestigious publications like Times of India, Vogue, The Indian Express, Hindustan Times and ET Panache. She holds practical certifications from ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and has been a part of some of the most powerful global Transformation Programs like Date with Destiny & Unleash the Power Within with Tony Robbins. Today, Payal is one of the rare few IIN-certified coaches in India who practises Integrative Nutrition and Transformation.

In a conversation with her was Ehsaas Woman of Kolkata, Nilisha Agarwal.

Welcoming them to the conversation was Sourabh Mitra of Taj Bengal.

“One has to be their own Guinea Pig, to know what suits them and what doesn’t” – Payal Kothari.

Kothari, has always been a believer of eating what suits oneself and maintain a healthy balance of 80-20. Integrated Nutrition is the way to go forward. One has to think about the mind, body and soul while thinking about the food one eats. Integrated Nutrition believes in uniting physical and emotional needs. The times that we live in has taken a huge toll on people. Almost, everybody is going through some emotional or mental issue. Mental Wellness is as important as Physical Wellness. Mainstream Medication looks at the symptoms, and treats that, however Integrated Nutrition believes in looking at the root cause and treating the illness from the root. In Integrated Nutrition each individual is treated as a unique person and one man’s food can be other man’s poison. A generic diet will not suit everybody, it has to be customised according to the needs of each individual.

Kothari said that as a child she was malnourished a child and when she hit puberty, she started gaining weight and was almost on the verge of obesity. The weight gain hampered her mental wellness and her physical wellness. During that time, she was learning dance from Shamak Davar and that where she saw people eating healthy nutritious food that made them energetic to dance continuously. She had to take many antibiotics that made her body weak, which made her propogate for not taking medications unless absolutely necessary. She then started experimenting with her food and taking into account what suited her and what not; and that is where her intertest in food and nutrition started.

She believes that every person must experiment with the food that they eat and have a 12-week program where in the initial weeks they eliminate certain food and, in the latter, they add food that is good for them and their gut.

The gut is the second mind that a person has, and one has to feed it with good food. She said that as cavemen and women we had strong gut intuitions which resulted in fight or flight, and even in the present we have gut instincts that give us indications of the situation we are in. She said that the gut is of the utmost importance in the human body and one has to feed it with food that helps in growing of the good bacteria. The bacteria on our gut, she said, were smart however sensitive, giving them proper nutritious food would help in multiplication of the bacteria.

She said that in life a balance of 80-20 is a must, 80 percent of the time eating food that is healthy and good for the gut and 20 percent induldging in food that one craves. She said that a health coach, dietician and doctor can not do anything if the person is not ready to change. The biggest change one has to make is of modifying the lifestyle. She also suggested that one has a 70:30 ratio for water and food respectively as the human body is made up of 70% water and it must be given an ample amount of water.

In India she says, people are battling with the double burden of malnutrition and obesity. There are two ends of the spectrum and one has no idea with how to deal with the situation. She believes that one should have a proper food intake, physical activity and mental wellness rituals to solve the double burden that the country is facing.

When asked about the food one should and should not eat she said that super foods and prebiotics are something that everybody must consume. She asked everybody to include coconut water, spirulina, salad, fruits, soup and water in their diet. She also said that one must avoid having junk food and food that are extra greasy.

Talking about lifestyle changes she said that one must avoid using technology when waking up and before going to bed. She also advocated on the importance of physical and mental wellness and that one must look after it. Kothari urged that one must not have a heavy dinner and must also give the gut a break in between meals, for it to process and work.

The conversation ended with Ehsaas Woman of Kolkata, Esha Dutta, thanking Kothari and Agarwal for an insightful session on food, nutrition and the human body.

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Watch a glimpse of the conversation