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Pandemic turned our fitness & wellness choices 'Desi'

29th December, 2021

From choosing yoga over gym workout, preferring homemade food instead of fancy diet meals, and most importantly, giving priority to a fit body over six-pack abs, the pandemic has brought a lot of changes in the current fitness regimen for a lot of people. According to health and fitness experts, the pandemic gave a desi turn to fitness and wellness. "More and more people are switching over to a more sustainable and holistic diet. They are preferring diets that include all the nutrients, fats, carbohydrates and proteins and ingredients which are generally available in the Indian markets," says Nutritionist Dr. Rohini Patil.
Desi homemade meals over fancy diets
Home-based diets are now finally capturing the attention of most people mainly due to all the fitness myths fading with new research and quality education. "Fitness is not just a target anymore, it's a way of life. No short-term diet will ever sustain it even on a scientific level, our body cells retain bio-binary input (food) which is most suited to its absorption capabilities if nature made us then Nature made food for us to live on as well. So, no man-made composition can be more efficient than Nature," says Kirat Shergill, a physiologist, and a fitness science expert.

Dr. Rohini shares that more than 70 percent of her clientele prefers homemade meals that can be easily prepared and the ingredients used are organically available. "People are becoming more interested in Ayurveda, the roots of Indian science, and now, they prefer herbs and spices to allopathic medicine. The same can be said for food and diets. Six out of ten people prefer home-cooked foods with fewer oils and spices for their health. Although progress has been slow, people are beginning to recognize the value of home-cooked meals," says Dietician Vidhi Chawla.
Desi ingredients top the list
According to Near Store, an online marketplace, that connects the local stores to the customer in a particular area, found out that there's a high demand for ingredients like brown rice, ghee, amla, turmeric, ghee, ginger. Apart from these ingredients, millet has been a top choice for many. Actors like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sara Ali Khan, Malaika Arora consume millet in various forms. It's one of the integral ingredients in their daily diet. "There is a way of redefining any fad / fancy diet and making a desi version of it. I highly support sticking to our basics with slight tweaks here and there. Slowly people understand that, and while giving an exact number is unrealistic, I strongly believe that the majority is now making the shift," says wellness advocate and nutrition coach, Eshanka Wahi

Yoga, pandemic's most loved activity
With the complete shut down of gyms during the pandemic, people started working out at home and a lot of them took up Yoga. From TV stars to Bollywood celebrities, Yoga became the go-to workout for many. Social media pushed yoga into the mainstream as more and more people were posting and talking about it on the platform. Experts feel that transition happened because people do not want to be exposed to the virus and hence they want to stick to their home but another aspect that brought about this change is self-care and self-awareness. Yoga isn't just about weight loss, it's way more than that, it controls your stress levels and eases out your mind and the pandemic was all about physical and mental health.

Preference of a fit body over six-pack abs
Having a perfect body always means abs and a buffed body. People went on strict diets and gave up on so many things to give the abs intact. Fitness experts share that sustaining six-pack backs for a long time is not healthy for your body at all. "A lot of people have turned to unhealthy means like steroids to keep their abs a certain way, but it isn't a long-term solution," says Rekha Nayak, a fitness trainer.

Bollywood has an influence
Bollywood and social media had a huge role to play to bring about this transition. While Bollywood always promoted unrealistic fitness standards for many, during the lockdown a lot of them opened up about their fitness and wellness routine. Anushka Sharma's oil pulling post made oil pulling a prominent practice for oral hygiene, Malaika Arora's morning drink that includes overnight fenugreek and cumin seed water is now the morning drink for so many to make their gut health better. When Kareena Kapoor Khan shared how rice is her favorite and during her second pregnancy she ate a lot of Khichdi and ghee, made a lot of people go back and understand the importance of ingredients that have been in our culture for years.

Desi ingredients that are the most famous right now
Mustard oil
Giloy water

"As per studies, the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood can be enhanced by eating spices, fruits, herbs, and vegetables that have high ORAC values. It is also analyzed that ORAC-rich spices may help boost immunity and fight the COVID-19 pandemic situation," says Kirat

ORAC value
Clove: 314,446
Cinnamon: 267,537,
Turmeric: 102,700
Ginger: 28,811


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