Macrobiotic diet is about eating right: Shonali Sabherwal

arti_01_240x240_mar27Shonali Sabherwal is India’s only Counsellor/ Chef & Instructor in Macrobiotics. She meets your needs not just at the health counselling level, but stretches beyond that and takes it to your plate, wherein you are equipped with recipes, cooking styles, and sources on where to find products. The goal of Shonali’s company Soulfood is to use the Macrobiotic approach to diet to raise a persons wellness quotient. She is the author of the book ‘The Beauty Diet’ published by Random House in January 2012.

Her clients list include bollywood stars like Katrina Kaif, Esha Deol, Jaqueline Fernandez, Neha Dhupia, Shekhar Kapur, Kabir Bedi and Dalip Tahil apart from corporates, people with diabetes, PCOS and other health conditions.

Shonali Sabherwal answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat. Read the transcript below.

Im suffering from heavy hair fall , not taking food properly, less vitamins , iron will b a cause for this??
bad blood condition, change your diet – hair is a sign of good health.

how much sugar is needed by person?

how good is sprouts for aperson?
Very good

pl advise some good food for my heart
Whole grains, Beans, Kidney Beans specifically, leafy greens

is rice bran oil is ok?
OK as long as it is not refined

which cooking oil is best?
Til (cold pressed), Olive (Extra Virgin), Canola (cold pressed)

pl suggest some food for diabetic person?
You need to look at your whole diet: Include a whole grain at every meal.

pl name some healthy food that could be made at home?
Boil sweet potatoes, cube it, add chaat masala corriander leaves and squeeze some lime over it

How much intake of salt on per day basis is safe enough and will not cause water retention or even high blood pressure?
A pinch a day

I am trying to cut down on my salt intake to avoid heavy water retention before and during menses. Is black salt better than the white one?
Sea salt or rock salt are the best. White salt is still table salt not the best for you, as is black salt

I usually pop in neem tabs sometimes as I get small pimples on face sometimes. Is neem the best blood purifier?
Yes but also correcting your entire diet is better. Just popping neem tables and still eating the bread r sugar is not the answer for great skin

Please tell me ma’m what is the right way to detoxify our body?
Keep away from sugar, dairy, white flour, meats, stimulants like alcohol and caffeine

There is a lot of advise given on the consumption of water and other fluids in a day. What type of fluids do you advise and how much water should one drink in a day?
Water should not be over-consumed. Total fluid intake should be 2 liters a day. Of these green tea, herbal tea, carott juice is good to do

Should white rice be completely replaced by brown rice or is it okay to have twice or thrice a week?
Yes replace it – can mix it with brown during summers

Which is the best oil according to you to fry foods?
Canola Cold pressed or til

Why does one feel drowsy after having curd? Any particular reason for this?
No reason, you probably have a blood sugar imbalance happening and need to address it

I am female aged 37 yrs computer professional. I do light exercise 2-3 times a week at home for 10-15 mins. I take home food for lunch but face this problem of feeling bloated mostly everyday. Pls guide.
You probably have a candida build-up. So look at the macrobiotic approach it is the best suited for candida.

What is the best time to consume fruits? Morning or post dinner?
Usually empty stomach — so even at nite if your food has digested its good.

I had read somewhere that Paanipuri acts as a detoxifying agent. Do you agree?
NO it does not (don’t kid yourself) The jaljira is good for you. But that’s it!

I am really addicted to fast foods. How many times in a month can one eat fast foods to maintain good health?
No to eating fast foods

They say, “We are what we eat”. How do you explain this?
We are what we eat, because food makes your blood and makes you.

I recently saw in the papers that you had launched your new book, ‘Love Diet”. What is about?
Please go to my Facebook page or youtubechannel it has everything about the book, watch the chat show that Sify has just uploaded

M’am I have a sweet tooth. Strong cravings for sweet foods always. How can I control this?
Eat a whole grain at every meal

How does macrobiotic diet help to fight serious illnesses like cancer?
By keeping your blood condition strong

Hello Ms. Shonali, Is Macrobiotic diet very low in fat and protein?
YES to fat and no to protein it has adequate protein

arti_02_240x240How does cooking macrobiotic food vary? Does it take longer than usual?
It does not take longer — cooking is the same.

What does macrobiotic foods include?
Whole grain, Vegetables, Legumes, Fermented Foods, Fruits

Is macrobiotic diet related to Yin and Yang? What is that?
It is and it will be very difficult to explain on a chat like this I encourage you to read The Love Diet my book about it

What changes in our diet can keep our skin glowing, fresh and without pimples?
I have given everything in The Beauty Diet (buy the book)

I usually have fruit juices from out, even sugarcane juice. Sometimes 2-3 glasses a day. Is it healthy?
No it is not (and definitely not sugarcane juice)

Please advise something to retain and keep the energy going through the day. I am a female into marketing job. Get really exhausted sometimes.
You have nto eat well overall, just one thing will not do it for you. SO look at the basics of your entire approach to diet.

Which is better for health, fresh cream, butter or ghee? And how many tsps can be taken?
Ghee is fine the rest are not good for you. 1 tabp a day if you are not trying to lose weight is ok to do

Madam I am very fond of milkshakes. Can you please suggest me which is the best milkshake for health?
I dont believe in milk. So make your milkshakes out of almond milk or soy milk (however avoid soy milk daily)

What dry fruits are the best? Should one avoid cashew nuts?
All are good, cashews in moderation will not harm you

M”am it is often recommended to have a handful of dry fruits everyday. Does this go for everyone?
No everyones health condition is different it cannot be applied to everyone

How do we know if the organic foods we buy are really organic? Is there a way to find that out?
Depends if they are certified organic look out for the label

Is it true that only organic vegetables can be eaten raw?
Ans: not really

I have heard that spinach should be heated in hot water before cooking. Is it only to retain the colour or also the nutrients?
That is true blanch it first

And what about green leafy vegetables? Should it be boiled or pressure cooked?
Sauteed or pressure cooked is okay

How do we know whether we are overcooking the food or not?
It really depends upon the food you are cooking — you have to have a basic sense of cooking to understand about over or undercooking. Each food has a different cooking time.

What is the right method of cooking daily food?
There is no one answer. Please have a look at The Beauty Diet it will explain cooking approaches to you

Does a gluten free diet also control our carbohydrate intake?
Not really you could be doing gluten free carbs instead

How does a gluten free diet help to maintain good health?
Gluten free foods make for less stickiness in the intestinal lining, so it helps you absorb other foods if you take it out of your diet

How is Soya milk for health?
Not daily twice a week only

Should one avoid milk completely at night, pre or post dinner?

What is the right time to eat dairy products?
Never a right itme to eat dairy-keep away from it

I have heard that if one eats really less after 5pm he/ she loses weight faster. Is this true?

I want to lose around 10kgs. I am 29yrs female height 5ft 3″, weight 71kgs. Please guide.
Unless I don’t know your case history I cannot advise. Log on to for details

Madam are potatoes really bad for people who need to lose weight?
Sweet potatoes better as they are low on the glycemic index.

How useful is Macrobiotic diet in Diabetes?
Very useful. I have had a lot of success with it. Infact I have got people off the insulin with this approach

How healthy is to go for a fruit diet once a week? What fruits should be taken?
I do not advise fruit diets once a week. All fruits are healthy minimize bananas

I am very fond of bananas. Is it fine if I eat 2-3 bananas a day? I am 33yrs woman. Which is better for health, eliachi banana or the normal banana?
I don’t advise bananas as they build up mucous in the body

What is your advise on the daily food essentials that we need to eat. I am a vegan M’am.
Whole grain, legume, vegetables, fruit, good fermentation via foods

What types of snacks and products are available M’am under your name?

I stay in Kolkatta. Where can I find your ready to eat snacks & products?
Unfortunately I do not distribute in Kolkotta. Maybe someday so sorry

Good afternoon Ms. Sonaliji. Do you have a book where we can find your recepies or do we need to poersonally consult you?
yes I do The Beauty Diet & The Love Diet both have recipes

I am 24 years working female. I stay away from family so usually rely on outside food as I get too tired to cook. How can I adapt to a macrobiotic approach?
Well eating outside is not the answer to eating well. But you can eat well when you eat out like stick to roti, veggie, dahl or south Indian food. keep away from white rice and maida. Carry a fruit always.

Can one also lose weight through macrobiotic diet or is it only to maintain good health?
Of course you lose weight, as all the junk goes out.

Is macrobiotic diet 100 percent vegan?
Not necessarily. You can include fish if you are a meat eater, and of good health condition.

Madam I want to know what is macrobiotic diet?
A Macrobiotic diet is about eating right and also living a life with freedom for being on a diet, so in a sense it is a lifestyle diet. Keep away from trigger foods: sugar, dairy, white flour, minimize animal foods, preserved foods and refined flours. Bring in whole grains, beans (legumes), vegetables and good quality fermentation. Eat seasonally and local foods.