#POPxoGetFit: Health Food Brands Fitness Expert Sumaya Dalmia Swears By

#POPxoGetFit: Health Food Brands Fitness Expert Sumaya Dalmia Swears By

“Most people who eat clean are aging better because the body is well-nourished. There is no aging of the skin because there is enough fat in the diet and no macros have been compromised. A clean eater will never say no to carbs but they pick a healthier carb. Like I choose brown rice over white rice," says fitness and wellness expert Sumaya Dalmia. 

For Sumaya, clean and healthy eating is a way of life. The idea, she says, is simple: stay away from packaged and processed food. Go for products with minimum preservatives and eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can. Opt for whole foods, organic meats, choose healthier carbs and don’t forget your proteins. Lastly, try buying more from local artisans who cater to you with minimum commercial interventions. 

While clean eating in India might have been a herculean task until recently, things are quickly changing. As Sumaya shares, today, almost everything is available in India, something that has enabled her to do extensive research, order a lot of things, and zero down on brands that are true to what they promise.

Now, as much of a task as eating healthy might sound to you, according to Sumaya, it actually boils down to just five basic rules. 

Here are Sumaya Dalmia’s rules of clean eating and 12 health food brands that she swears by:

1. Pay Attention To Your Gut Health

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“In my clean eating journey, I have found that gut health is the most important especially if you're looking for workout efficiency or losing weight. Additionally, taking care of the microbiome of the gut (the totality of bacterias and microbes in your gut responsible for its good health) is also important to autoimmune disease. It is not a fad, it is a realisation and it is here to stay.” Below are some foods that Sumaya suggests to keep the gut healthy:

  • PreBiotic food items like garlic, onions, oats, cocoa
  • Probiotic food items like kombuchas (fermented tea), yogurt, pickles
  • Fiber-rich food items like barley, berries, beans, nuts, seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables 

Here are some of her recommendations that will take care of all your gut health needs:

Farmonics

 “They are my go-to for all the salad needs and sell fresh hydroponic vegetables (veggies are grown in water instead of soil) from farm to table.”

Check out more products here.

Price: Starting from Rs 20 (fruit and vegetable prices fluctuate as per the market prices)

Krishi Cress

 “It’s a well-curated urban farm located in Chattarpur. They sell organic fruits, veggies, microgreens of great quality. Their kombucha teas are to die for.”

Check out more products here.

Price: Starting from Rs 45 (fruit and vegetable prices fluctuate as per the market prices)

Nature’s Soul Shop

“It’s a well-curated store with so much personal attention by the owners who help you sift through stuff if you’re confused. This has to be my all-time favourite store to shop at, on a weekly basis. Their gluten-free quinoa bread is the best (all true with no yeast). They also make fresh guacamole, pesto, and Greek yogurt dips.”

Check out more products here.

Price: Starting from Rs 20 (fruit and vegetable prices fluctuate as per the market prices)

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Gluten Free Quinoa Bread

INR 270 AT German Bakery

I Say Organic

“A regular stop on my Gurgaon visits, I Say Organic has a variety of fresh and dry produce. They always surprise me with their range of fresh healthy snacks, condiments & grains from around the country.” 

Check out more products here

Price: Starting from Rs 11 (fruit and vegetable prices fluctuate as per the market prices)

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Makki ka Atta/Corn flour

INR 135 AT I Say Organic

Wheaty

“Just love the almond bread from Wheaty. It is full of seeds and needs.”

Check out more products here

Price: Starting from Rs 185

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Gluten-Free Seeded Loaf

INR 385 AT Wheaty

2. Opt For No-Hormone, No- Antibiotics Animal Produce

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Unlike the old days, the dairy products that we get today are full of hormones and antibiotics. This is why there has been an increase in the cases of PCOS among young girls. Thus, to ensure that the diary that you consume is hormone-free, you can change to A2 milk and milk products. It is a variety of cow’s milk that has lesser lactose, is easier to digest, and comes from grass-fed cows, and thus contains no injected hormones. Here’s a brand that she recommends:

Mr. Dairy

“When I use dairy, it is all A2 milk! Their milk and ghee are of great quality, they use only glass jars and they have a subscription model for your regular supply."

Check out the entire menu here.

Prices: Starting from Rs 100 

Again, in the case of meats, they are loaded with hormones until you are buying from a trusted source. Here are two brands to look out for:

Vivers Fresh Organic and Digis Fresh

“I don’t really need to explain, as to why we all need to move to organic produce when it comes to meats. It’s hormone-free and antibiotic-free, with a higher content of omega 3 fatty acids.”

How to shop: 

Viver’s Fresh Organic: Check out the entire menu here. Price: On request 

Digi’s Fresh: Check out the entire menu here. Price: Starting from Rs 100

3. Don’t Miss Out On The Proteins

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Most Indians don’t make up their protein requirement which is typically one gram protein per kilogram of body weight to just function. “You need to calculate and make up for the requirements and most Indians don't, especially the vegetarians. So a protein shake is quite a good supplement,” says Sumaya. Here are two products that she swears by: 

My Vegan

“I always get asked for vegan options for protein shakes and most of them taste shit! Finally, I have found one that is pleasant tasting.”

Lifestyle

Vegan Protein Blend

INR 3,499 AT My Vegan

My Protein

“I keep trying different protein shakes currently using this. Love it!”

Check out more products here.

Prices: Starting from Rs 896 

 

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Impact Whey Isolate

INR 749 AT My Protein

4. Know What Goes Into Your Desserts!

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Whoever said it’s a bad idea to have desserts is clearly not friends with Sumaya who BTW is a self-confessed mithai lover. According to her, you can certainly have sweets as long as you know where to get them from and what goes into their making. You can explore desserts that are made using erythritol or stevia instead of processed sugar. Similarly, nut flour options instead of desserts loaded with gluten would be a healthier choice. “I get my sweet treats from artisans who themselves have suffered from PCOS and diabetes and have thus put in a lot of hard work into their products,” she shares.

Here are her favourite brands:

Mia’s Magic Co

“Their almond flour torte is my all-time favourite. It is gluten-free, contains no sugar (she uses erythritol), and is keto-friendly. Their other desserts are fab as well.”

You can reach out to them on Instagram to place orders. 

Price on request

The Cinnamon Kitchen

“They do the best gluten-free, nut and seed crackers, a staple in my home. Also, their almond flour cookies are to die for.”

Check out the entire menu here.

Price: Starting from Rs 50  

Lifestyle

Organic Almond Butter Cookies

INR 320 AT The Cinnamon Kitchen

Minus 30

“Their gelatos need no introduction. They have dairy-free options and their ‘dark chocolate’ gelato is my favorite.

How to shop: Minus 30 outlets across India

5. Buy Food That's Been Through Minimum Commercial Interventions

"When we buy from local artisans and farm-to-table businesses, we are effectively dodging multiple commercial interventions. With this elimination, these food items require lesser preservatives for a longer shelf life given that the food is directly reaching at your doorstep, which makes it all the more healthy," says Sumaya. Thus, try purchasing as much of your food supplies from local businesses as possible especially your fruits, vegetables, condiments, and dairy products.

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But is it boring? Does Sumaya miss out on the inviting, cheesy pizza or that loaded burger? Is she being too rigid? These are some of the questions that she is often asked. Her answer is simple: “Contrary to what you might believe, clean eating is as addictive as junk,” she adds. When the fitness mogul herself has made this claim, who are we to refute it? As for your apprehension about the small businesses and artisans, Sumaya Dalmia has thankfully researched and reviewed all of the brands that we just mentioned. She regularly orders from them and knows that they, in fact, deliver what they promise. Well, how about we make today the day that we start eating healthy? 

Featured Image: Sumaya Dalmia on Instagram