Thursday, January 17, 2019

Discussion with Kavita Devgan - an Expert Dietician & a Best-selling Author

It was a pleasure for us to host an interview with Kavita Devgan a celebrity dietician & the best selling author on our blog. We have reviewed both of her books on our blog "Ultimate Grandmother Hacks" & "Don't Diet". She has delivered the most complex topics in the least boring manner. So without wasting time let us have a round of Q&A for which you all are waiting.

When did you start a career as Dietician? Did you have thought about working in this line from your teenage?
Well, my dad wanted me to become a doctor and I even took up bio in plus two because of that (and also because i enjoyed the subject). He was really really keen but by the time i finished my 12th class I had made up my mind not to study medicine. I wasn't very clear about what I really wanted to pursue but somehow I was totally clear that i did not see myself as a doctor. So even though dad tried to convince me, i resisted and finally got my way. Luckily i am like this: once i make up my mind I stick to it. So then I decided to study HomeScience (hons) with specialisation in nutrition in Delhi University as I found that more interesting than other science streams like botony or zoology. And thank God for that as it was love at first lesson for me. I realised the potential of prevention, and was sure this is what i wanted to practice and teach. What also helped was that I was naturally / maybe genetically a healthy eater (thanks to mom's efforts), so i was a good fit. I followed up my graduation with a specialisation in Dietitics and Public health nutrition an then an internship at Safdarjung Hospital later I was a qualified Dietician, ready to practice. And now I have been practising for almost 25 years and been writing on health for 20.
When did you think of coming into writing as well? Any specific incident which made you write?
I was always writing, ever since I remember. But earlier it was mostly fiction (short stories, poetry etc). When my son was born, I took a break from practice for a year and began writing more regularly. As by then I had subject matter expertise plus lots and lots of practical experience via the people I had counselled for health gain and weight loss, I started writing in the health genre and luckily found many takers in the media for it. Then on, for many years writing took front seat and my clinical practice was put on the back foot. Now I practice a healthy balance of both, and like it like this.The fact that I can through my writing take my idea and the rules of healthy living (that I believe work) and also the latest researches in the field to thousands of people at  one go is a huge motivator, and this is precisely why I began writing. Also the thrill of seeming my byline… that is unparalleled. Yes even after so many years of writing.
The recipes mentioned in books tell us your expertise for cooking as well. So tell us how do you manage work (at home & office/clinic) & writing both. We feel writing requires a good amount of effort, what about you?
Yes there’s a lot to juggle, but I like it like this. The best part is that this way I don’t have a typical day. It changes depending on whether its my writing day, clinic practice day, or a day when I have a speaking assignment penciled in. It usually begins the same way every day though: with lots of water first thing in the morning and then a cup of ginger (lots of) and pepper tea. Another constant is that on most days I manage to sneak in some writing too - as that’s almost a soul necessity for me.

So tell us about your book "Don't Diet"&"Ultimate Grandmother Hacks”?
My first book Don’t Diet! 50 habits of thin people grew out of my interactions during my weight management practice. It is a compilation of lessons I learnt (what works and what doesn’t) from my clients. I believe that the only sustainable way to gain health and prevent Illness is by changing our habits. So I have listed the ones I believe (and have seen) work.

Ultimate Grandmother hacks is a compilation of habits that I have grown up with and consider super healthy. The book compiles time-tested food habits to help us develop a cohesive healthy lifestyle and rediscover the joy in eating. It lists the many nuggets of wisdom and discusses the various foods and habits that our parents and grandparents followed that are still relevant today. I basically did not want us and the next generations to forget them, hence the book. That was the motivation behind the book.
Any specific thing that you would like to share with us?
Never think short term, always keep the long term goal of health in focus. You only get one body (like one life), so don’t be responsible with it. Focus on nutrition and the weight loss will happen naturally. And yes please go back to the traditional way of eating.


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