Roshni Sanghvi is a plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist, working with people who wish to start taking control of their health. Her quirky approach to fitness and health is loved among her followers. With India leading as the diabetes capital of the world, more and more people are resorting to a plant-based diet to help them reverse metabolic diseases. Roshni's holistic approach includes making positive and sustainable lifestyle changes, along with adopting a plant-based diet and a fun fitness regimen. Let's explore how a plant-based diet can help you better.
How and when did you realize that a plant-based diet could be the healthiest?
I came across the book ‘The China Study' right before I went vegan. I was careful not to take the book at face value but did a lot of in-depth research and was shocked at what I was reading. I decided to go on a one-month experiment with my body without dairy. Surprisingly my joint pains (which I assumed was very normal when you strength train) went away! I was surprised at being able to perform with more intensity in my sessions and recover faster. The more I stuck with my change in nutrition, the better I got. I then went on to certify myself as a plant-based nutritionist and now help people adopt a vegan diet.
How does a plant-based diet help in fat loss?
Plant-based food is very high in volume and naturally low in calories. We tend to overeat because of two major reasons, the first being lepton resistance- lepton is the satiety hormone responsible for signaling our brains to stop eating. The second reason is consuming food that is very dense in calories and saturated fats but low in micronutrients like vitamins and trace minerals. If the body does not get enough micro-nutrients, you tend to have more cravings and binge eat on more saturated fats, continuing the cycle. A plant-based diet is high in volume and micro-nutrients. This way, once you eat even a little, you are full and left with minimal cravings.
Are there any supplements or vitamins that are required when it comes to a plant-based diet?
Totally depends on your current nutrition intake and activity output. The supplemental requirements for an athlete who trains for 4- 5 hours a day will be different from someone with a sedentary lifestyle irrespective of the type of diet you follow. Supplements are not magic pills but just a supplement to the shortfall of nutrients in your regular diet. Unlike a keto diet, which lacks a lot of micronutrients, a plant-based diet is naturally high in micronutrients and covers most vitamins. Work alongside your nutritionist to understand your supplemental requirements, though.
A lot of people might assume that plant-based foods are automatically healthy. What do you think about that?
Well, they are because you are eating more fruits and vegetables. But that does not mean you can eat anything you want and still stay healthy. A french fry is still a french fry, vegan or not. I would suggest people to stay away from oils and processed food.
How many of your clients are on a plant-based diet? How hard was it for them to make the change?
All of them! This is an important criterion for someone who chooses to work with me. Ethically, knowing how bad dairy/ meat and eggs are for the gut and health, I cannot ask someone to put it on their plates. However, if someone is a hardcore meat eater and wishes to transition, I do not expect them to make an overnight switch and work with them slowly to start taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Mostly the change is not hard because they are still eating dairy and meat alternatives. I am also a great chef and food lover myself; thus, my client's meal plans are filled with delicious, yummy, and colorful food.
Whole Food Plant-Based diet vs. Vegan Processed food diet. What's your stand on it?
This, that and that too :). WFPB is great, and I follow it 80% of the time. But what is the point of all the hard work you put into the gym if you cannot bite into a few French fries or binge eat some vegan ice creams once in a while? Mostly when you drop added sugars from your diet, you will not crave a lot of desserts and junk. The body naturally gravitates towards a WFPB diet then. Let this happen over time instead of forcing yourself to avoid social gatherings and give up samosas for life.
What's your take on using a vegan diet for disease reversal?
A plant-based diet is the only diet in the world that not only promises to prevent but reverse metabolic diseases such as thyroid and PCOS. Medications or a low- carb diet is like putting a band-aid on a wound. You want to get to the root cause of the diseases and treat it from there, then adopt a plant-based diet. Work alongside your physician and nutritionist to help you get healthier.
Future of Plant-based diet in India?
Booming and ever-growing! More and more celebrities are endorsing the plant-based diet, and doctors are educating themselves with more research. The dairy industry in India is more adulterated than ever before. Cows are given growth hormones to increase milk production, and all of these find their way into our system through milk. Milk is often time bleached and mixed with chemicals and impurities. People are looking for healthier plant-based options, and it is a wonderful time to invest in plant-based startups currently.