Hello, Health

In conversation with an international health expert that Bollywood stars swear by

Dr Harald Stossier was full of ideas on wholesome diets and healthy living.

 |  Hello, Health  |  4-minute read |   22-12-2018
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Certain basic attributes — like common sense and rules of healthy eating and living — are standard and global. It is these maxims that pass the test of time and the onslaughts of fad diets and of new and newer superfoods — and still, hold on their own.

Fortunately, there are acclaimed experts from around the world who stick by these golden rules — even if the world seems to be going the other way. 

And it is not a big surprise that it is these experts and mentors who are continually delivering sustained results and help people get healthier — as opposed to those who just propagate fad diets, jumping from one to the other, depending on trends and moods. 

I believe that I belong to the first category.

Perhaps that is why it was easy to strike a chord and converse with Dr Harald Stossier, the director of the prestigious VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth Mayr clinic in Austria. We had a great conversation along the sidelines of the launch of his tenth and latest book — Nutrition: What Really Counts. The launch and the conversation that followed was at the third edition of the Tasting India Symposium held recently in Delhi.

Organised by the founders of the Tasting India Symposium — food journalist Sourish Bhattacharyya and food creator and presenter Sanjoo Malhotra — the symposium is an attempt to keep the dialogue about sustainable eating going — a cause that is close to my heart too.

Dr Stossier combines conventional and alternative medicine to help reach natural body weight and stay healthy. His methods have treated many A-list celebrities, and his clientele includes many Bollywood stars.

main_stossier_122218052727.jpgOn living and staying healthy — Dr Harald Stossier (Photo: Facebook)

The idea of the conversation was to tap Dr Stossier’s experience to learn more about how we can all live a happier, healthier life. I was delighted to find out that many of my own 'get and stay healthy' ideas are completely in sync with how he thinks.

Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Wellbeing might have many definitions — different people explain it in different terms — but the fact is that it involves gaining rounded health. Piecemeal does not work.

All ancient civilisations placed a lot of importance on gut health, but unfortunately today we have forgotten about this important pillar of health. In Ayurveda too this was considered the most important. Gut health can be achieved via disciplined eating and focussing on alkaline foods.

We are our best nutrition advisors — the eating habits we choose can make or break our health. (Considering both my own books are part of 'change your habit series' I, obviously, agree wholeheartedly with him on this). Everyone can strengthen their own health in very simple ways — you just have to make the choice to be healthy. 

Eating raw food in the evening, eating too fast, eating too much are the biggest mistakes we make while eating. They can all be easily and consciously corrected. Dr Stossier laid a lot of emphasis on chewing the food right — according to him, this is the key to weight loss, an efficient digestive system and nutrients reaching our body. He says that we must chew each morsel at least 30 times before swallowing — at VIVAMAYR, they actually train people to eat the right way.

We can only gain complete wellness by going back to our roots. (Again, I wholeheartedly agree and as I wrote in my book Ultimate Grandmother Hacks — I believe that modern science has a lot of catching up to do with the logic-based common sense way of eating of the yesteryears).

While Dr Stossier is in favour of intermittent fasting, he gave a thumbs down to all the different diets being propagated today — keto, paleo, etc. He says each one contradicts the other, and they are all best avoided.

His take on a vegan diet was clear. While he respects the choice of those who follow it, he doesn’t believe we are meant to eat only vegetarian food.

Dr Stossier says we need to eat more fat, but of course, choose only the good fat — keep omega 6 down and omega 3 up and keep saturated fat in check.

The importance of focussing more on prevention and toning down the obsession with treatment (medicine) worldwide — right from the policy-making level. Holistic living is all about practising prevention naturally. And that’s what our ancestors believed in too. They placed a lot of emphasis on prevention.

Perhaps that is why our ancestors insisted on haldi milk at the onset of winters, and sheera and other warm foods were regularly made every winter evening.

The conversation with Dr Stossier was good food for my soul.

Also read: How black cardamom curbs sweetness to induce satiety (and guards against over-indulgence)


Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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