#033 Better diet better life with Riyana Rupani

#033 Better diet better life with Riyana Rupani

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Clean-in-15 Program


Episode Transcript

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Hi everyone. Welcome to How to Live, a podcast that explores ways to live a good life. I'm your host, Sharad Lal. This is episode 33. Did you know that a bad diet causes stress? Many of us think only external cause stress, hectic work, relationship challenges, money. But diet which is internal and something we have complete control over can cause physiological stress.

 We feel it in the form of low energy, bad mood, anxiety, and other symptoms. No amount of meditation, exercising, or journaling can effectively tackle this physiological stress. eating lifestyle causes this, and that's what needs to be fixed.

 In today's episode, we talk about holistic nutrition. We focus not so much on losing weight or looking good. Instead, we focus on ways to minimize stress, maximize energy, and show up at our best. Joining us is certified holistic nutritionist and entrepreneur, Riyana Rupani.

Riyana, like many of us was working in the business world, living, a busy but reasonably healthy life. Then out of nowhere, she got multiple health problems, autoimmune conditions, P C O S, fertility issues. While trying to understand the root of her problems, She became so fascinated by what she was learning, that she went back to school, became a nutritionist, and launched a food business here in Singapore.

She helps individuals find the best diet for themselves through innovative programs like Clean In 15. she also creates multiple food products, selling them directly to consumers and through channels that include big supermarkets, artisan groceries, and restaurants. Riyana’s philosophy is healthy-ish eating. She does not prescribe tough diets. Instead, she suggests small, manageable changes in diet that can lead to huge improvements in life. In our conversation, we talk about how diet affects physical and mental health, myths about food. We grew up with the philosophy of healthy-ish eating, gut held sugar spikes, sensitivities, and a lot more. Through the interview, Rihanna shares multiple practical tips on how to manage our diet and lifestyle.

 But before getting to the interview, thank you for your support with your support. We are now listened to in 85 countries, over seven 50 cities worldwide. We ranked in the top 5% in the world. If you haven't already, please do consider subscribing. If you'd like to hear more about stress, you can check out episodes three and four where we talk about ways to manage stress.

 You can also check out episode 23 where we discuss ways to manage mental chatter For folks who don't like mindfulness, meditation, or yoga, thank you in advance. Now, here's the interview.

Sharad Lal: Hi Riyana. Good morning. Welcome to How to Live. How are you doing this morning?

Riyana Rupani: Good morning. Thank you for having me. I'm doing great. Excited to jump.

Sharad Lal: Great having you in the show. Rihanna, I've been very curious. You spent 15 years in the corporate world in Asia and America, and then you shifted to holistic nutrition. What made you make that move?

Riyana Rupani: So if you asked me 15 years ago if I ever thought I would be. A holistic nutritionist? I would probably laugh. I'm very much a calculative person. I'm very much a systematic person. I went to school and studied banking and finance. I was living my life thinking I was doing everything right.

I thought I was eating well. I thought I was living a balanced life. I was working hard, playing hard. I was happy. Unfortunately though my health gave me a wake up call and I was dealing with things such as autoimmune conditions like colitis. P C O S, with infertility and all of these things just started compounding on each other.

 Of course I went to a lot of different doctors and they were giving me different suggestions to help my symptoms. But the one thing I found was the missing link was no one was telling me. , I was sick, so why did I have these autoimmune conditions? Why was I dealing with P C O S?

And that was what kicked me off on this journey. And I started digging and I started researching and I started to just make small tweaks and changes to my lifestyle and my diet and I saw a huge difference. It was just incredible. I.

Very much inclined to wanting to share this with anyone and everyone who would listen. And the further I went on my health journey, the more people I found were going through the same thing I was going through. of course it wasn't an easy transition, it's not always the logical thing to quit your job in your thirties and go back to school. But I did it and I never looked back. It was the best decision I could have ever made.

Sharad Lal: Thank you for sharing that. Inspirational. story I'm one of the guys who benefited from you going through this journey, so I'm very appreciative of it. When you went. Investigating as to what has gone wrong what are some of the myths that you found through the process that have been associated with diet?

Would love to hear you talk about that.

Riyana Rupani: One of the first misconceptions as long as I'm eating healthy, nothing else matters. And I tell a lot of my clients, I tell a lot of people, you can eat all the kale in the world, but if you're not digesting it properly, Then it's not doing you any good.

 You have to be actually absorbing those nutrients from the food and your mindset and your lifestyle play a huge part in that.

 When we talk about holistic nutrition, we talk about lifestyle, mindset, and your diet. So these three things, all work together.

 One misconception is you can burn the candle at both ends. You can be working hard, you can be playing hard. You can, go off of four or five, six hours of sleep and think your body's going to be able to keep.

And it won't. It's only for a short period of time before you start to feel that burnout. Another big misconception that again I found myself falling into is consuming a low fat diet. I thought fats were gonna make me fat. The only part of a nutrition label that I read was the fat content, and I wanted to make sure that was gonna be as low as possible.

 And that was just the generation I grew up in and a lot of the clients that I work with as well, as soon as I tell them at some more olive oil, at some avocados, at some nuts, they're looking at me in fear like, Brianna, are you sure I should be doing this? Isn't this gonna make me get fat or is this gonna put my cholesterol off?

 The next misconception is, , demonizing carbohydrates. So I feel like we've gone through this, these layers of demonizing different macronutrients. And the truth of the matter is we need all of them now. How much you eat when you eat them.

in what combination you eat them. It's finding, the right type of carbohydrates for you and, eating them in the right way that's gonna work best for your body.

Sharad Lal: I know one of the other myths was calorie counting. Would love to get your perspective on calorie counting.

Riyana Rupani: Yeah, so this is a huge one. women are told you have to eat 1200 calories a day, for example, and unfortunately this might work. For a short period of time, but in the long run, it is not gonna benefit you in any way. And that's simply because our calorie needs change daily It can be because of the amount of physical activity you've done, how well you've slept, how stressed you are mentally or emotionally. How much activity you did the day before, your hormonal balance for women where you are on your cycle, for example, plays a very big part. What I would rather have people focus on is their macronutrients.

 So our macronutrients are. Our carbohydrates, our proteins, and our fats, making sure we're getting the right amount of each of those into our diet. And a lot of times people ask me, what's the difference between a carbohydrate and a protein and a fat?

How do they impact my body differently? And I love using the analogy of a burning fire. I want you to think of carbohydrates as kindling. So it'll give you a quick spark, it'll give you a quick jump to your energy levels, but just as quickly as those levels go. They're also gonna fade and go down. Now, rev reversely, if we look at proteins and fats, I want you to think of those two as logs.

on your fire. It'll give you long-lasting energy, slow burning energy. and even energy throughout the day.

Sharad Lal: As you work with your clients on holistic nutrition, what are some of the big diet related issues that you hear from them?

Riyana Rupani: So when clients come to me, they don't. And tell me, Rihanna, I have a gut imbalance, or, Rihanna, my blood sugar is out of whack, or my hormones are out of whack. They come to me and they tell me I have no energy. I'm feeling really bloated.

I feel like I'm not digesting my food properly, I'm constipated. If it's a woman, they'll tell me, problems around possibly their menstrual cycle. if I convert that into the health conditions behind those, Blood sugar regulation is a huge one. Gut health is massive. And then more recently I find hormonal balance also being a very big one.

Sharad Lal: it's so interesting where you say that health diet has impact on energy, on stress levels, on how we live our life. And if you double click into it, it could fall into two, three buckets, which could either be, like you said, gut health,

blood sugar of course, there's allergies and sensitivities. So maybe we go into each of them. Let's talk gut health. And as I was researching gut health what struck me was. Gut is like a second brain. And of course we are discovering a lot more about the gut, but it's a second brain.

It actually sends signals to the body from the gut and what to do. if a gut is not strong, it leads to a lot of issues related to stress and energy. So I'd love to hear you talk about gut and how it can have this impact on us.

Riyana Rupani: so Many of our hormones and our neurotransmitters that are responsible for the way our mind works are actually being created in our gut. serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that, keeps us happy is predominantly created in our gut. So we wanna be careful with, what we're consuming, because of course, 100% that's gonna affect your gut health.

 When it comes to the gut, there are two main issues that is either a gut imbalance. So that is like the fight between your good bacteria and your bad bacteria. Either you don't have enough good bacteria or you don't have a wide enough variety of that good bacteria.

 The second problem is if you have something called leaky gut, and that is when your gut lining has these little gaps and holes in them, which allow things. From inside your gut to leak out into your bloodstream, and then that creates an immune response, and both of these conditions can put additional stress on your entire system that we don't want to happen.

Sharad Lal: So when we think of stress, quite often we think of stress from work, from external stimuli, but there's a stress within the body as well when there's a lot of pressure on the gut to do too many things and it's not functioning well.

And that sends physiological stress through the body, which increases the stress that we have.

Riyana Rupani: 100%. So you might go and have for lunch, a burger for example, and you might be sitting at your desk, if you're at work and eating that burger while you're, furiously typing out emails and whatnot, and your body's not digesting it, your body's working double, triple as hard to try to process that food, number one, because. the food probably has a lot of additives and chemicals, et cetera, that it needs to work through. And then number two, you're not paying attention to your food while you're digesting it. You're busy on, your computer. All of those things are putting more physiological stress on your system.

 And then we wonder why, we're not able to cope with the mental and emotional stressors that are also happening in all of our.

Sharad Lal: So after eating that burger on your desk, you go into a two o'clock meeting and then you kind of lose it there and you wonder how did this bad mood happen? I started off well, you talked about sugar and I'd love to share the personal story about it where when we were working together, I didn't know this thing about sugar spike. So in the morning I would have cereal, and this wasn't like supermarket cereal.

This was like Whole Foods, little Farms in Singapore, that kind of cereal, which does not have too much sugar in it. So I would have. Go out to Fort Cann, go out to the park, go for a walk, and then come back and get these headaches. And I didn't know what was causing these headaches. And when we started working together, you explained to me that this was a sugar spike that my body was craving for.

 So I got that spike, which gave me the energy. But once the spike came crashing down, that's when my energy came crashing down. That's when headaches starts happening, so I'd love to hear you talk about sugar spikes and how it affects like everyone.

Riyana Rupani: Pushing it a little further, we know diabetes, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, it is plaguing, the world. So it's definitely something we need to pay very much attention to. I tell my clients we want to get off the sugar rollercoaster, as you said.

We want to prevent these, spikes and crashes, and instead we want to see our blood sugar, kind of like a rolling hill. Many people feel they're not eating sugar. If I ask them, do you eat a lot of sugar? I'd say nine out of 10 times people will say, I don't eat sugar. But we don't know number one, where sugar is hidden. So a lot of these packaged foods that we're eating, cereals, granolas breads, et cetera, there's sugar hidden in there.

 But then we also have to remember that our body metabolizes carbohydrates into sugars that. Predominant role of a carbohydrate. And when we're eating simple carbohydrates, those carbohydrates are turning into sugar even faster. And when you're starting your day with a meal that is predominantly carbohydrates, whether it's bread, whether it's, just oats or cereal we are flooding our system with sugar.

 And then as you pointed out, Our body will kick in the insulin and then our sugar will crash. What we wanna be doing is making sure that either our carbohydrates that we're having are balanced with the protein and fat, or what I usually suggest is that our first meal of the day is predominantly protein and fat.

And protein and fat will keep your blood sugar very balanced. throughout the day it'll start your day off with that rolling hill as opposed to that rollercoaster of a spike and then crash.

Sharad Lal: What, what could some of those breakfast or early meals look like? Which give us the rolling hill.

Riyana Rupani: eggs is of course a big winner. Avocados is great. If you are doing something like oatmeal, I always, encourage adding a good fat in there. So adding something like a peanut butter or an almond butter in there, adding chia seeds, which also gives you some plant-based protein as well. So again, it's just gonna buffer that out.

Any kind of meat as well. If you aren't a vegetarian that always works. And again, we have this preconception that I have. Breakfast, food for breakfast, but there's no reason why you can't eat, leftovers from the day before, whether it was lunch or dinner for that first meal of the day.

Sharad Lal: Eating meat from the night is a new thing. But what I'm hearing is it's good to get that balanced diet in the morning so that. our energy gets regulated through the day.

And I think one of the things that worked for me was what you'd recommended just the overnight chia seeds pudding. Which is great. It doesn't have too much of sugar, but it has that reg, it has a balance thing. And then of course, smoothies are a big thing where you have the opportunity to put everything in there.

You can add everything into that smoothie. And that's a good breakfast.

Riyana Rupani: Yes, those are wonderful. And I even have a template on my website how to build a smoothie because a lot of times I feel like people do have smoothies for breakfast, but they find that they're left feeling hungry again in, in two hours, and that's because they're maybe putting some milk or liquid in there, or coconut water and they're just putting some fruit in there and blending it together and calling that breakfast.

 But again, basically all you're doing with a formulation like that is you are spiking your blood sugar. So adding a protein powder, a good quality protein powder to that will be really beneficial. Adding some form of fiber, chia seeds, flax seeds, for example, are wonderful. Adding a good healthy fat, whether it's something like coconut milk or a nut butter, is wonderful.

And when you add all of those right components, , you've got a delicious smoothie that's gonna keep you very full and satisfied and keep your blood sugar very nice and stable.

Sharad Lal: Which then sends you to the day in the best kind of energy, physiological stress is reduced, and that, of course gives you the best opportunity to do well in the day. One of the other things which you talked about is with time we build sensitivities to certain food and those don't digest well with us.

 Would love to hear you talk about sensitivities and how can people think about these as we go through life.

Riyana Rupani: one thing we have to remember is our body is continuously changing. So what our bodies were capable of, the types of food that we're able to digest and process will change. And these sensitivities to certain foods can develop whit time and they can also go away if addressed correctly.

 most sensitivities are due to the gut lining as we talked about before, So having this leaky. Which is allowing small particles of foods to enter into your bloodstream, and then which causes your body to respond with an immune response to those foods.

 So things like dairy though, for example we know that as babies, we create an enzyme called lactase, which helps us actually metabol. The dairy. But as we get older, that lactase starts to reduce because physiologically, historically, we don't need milk to give us a nutrients because we start to eat other foods that we can get this nutrition from.

 So as we get older,

 just a great way of figuring out if you do have sensitivities to certain foods is just eliminating them for a little while.

 And seeing how you feel and bringing them back in, and then testing and making sure they aren. Bothering you or maybe they are bothering you so that you can handle it correctly. So I have a program actually called the Clean in 15, where we eliminate certain foods for 15 days.

And the point of the program isn't to eliminate these foods forever, but it's just to give your body a pause and rest. And it's to take these foods out for a while so that we can bring them back in and we can really understand the impact that they might be having on our body.

Sharad Lal: Very interesting, Rihanna. With time as we develop sensitivities, the gut again has to work harder when we have these foods which sends physiological stress in our body effects our energy level. What are some findings that people have had after doing the Clean and 15 program big ones that have struck out to people when they've.

Riyana Rupani: I think the biggest one is so number. . You don't have to starve yourself and you don't have to eat food That's boring and bland, even when you are going through this elimination protocol. A lot of us are dependent, on our dairy items or our breads and our carbohydrates, our grains, I would say.

So when they remove it for these 15 days, they feel like there's no way I'm gonna be able to do this.

I'm not gonna feel full, I'm not gonna feel satisfied. And they find out. They do that they feel great and that they can actually have a full, complete meal without these components in them. The other big takeaway I would say, is balancing your blood sugar. So again, when you take out those grains that we're very dependent on in the morning and you bring in your, your fats and your proteins energy levels improve significantly and people walk through life either not realizing that they have low energy.

 Or not realizing what having a good amount of energy and steady energy throughout the day should feel like. So when they do get there, it's wow. Sleep as well is a huge one. You know what we eat? How our plates are balanced. The timings that we eat have a huge impact on our quality of sleep. So that's another big one that improves.

I will say the program is probably 80% women. So another big impact that I see women have is their menstrual cycle. If having irregular menstrual cycles, it regulates, or if they were having bad pm. That alleviates and it's just magical, and something as short as 15 days can give you so many positive results.

Sharad Lal: Absolutely. We leave a link to that in the show notes because that's such a good program. So Rihanna, what I really liked about your philosophy on eating is. It's not something that's gonna be torture for you, . It's not something that we are gonna, eliminate all the good things you like.

You call it healthy-ish eating, so you get to eat some good stuff, but you get to balance it out. And you, yourself, being a foodie, brought that philosophy in, which I think is very accessible to people. So I'd love to understand more about the philosophy and how people can can access.

Riyana Rupani: Yeah. So yeah, to your point, my branding is healthy-ish and happy, and. Healthy-ish is gonna be different for each person. And I put my tagline as life in balance. So your balance is gonna look very different from my balance and even when we, when I put someone through an elimination protocol or they do a clean in 15, the point of it isn't for them to eat, clean, quote, unquote clean all the time.

It's to find their balance and to understand what foods work for them and what foods. So that when you do choose to eat these foods, so I'll give you an example. I'm a New Yorker. I love my pizza, I love my bagels. Is gluten my best friend? No, it doesn't work for me. So well, but that doesn't mean I'm never gonna have a slice of pizza again or I'm never gonna have a bagel again.

 But now that I know, how my body reacts to it, I can take preemptive measures so I can. Feel my best if I do decide to have them or if I don't feel my best, I completely understand why it's happening. I always say knowledge is power giving people that, power and that knowledge to understand their bodies will pay them back tenfold.

Sharad Lal: I love that. When you're traveling or when holiday season is coming up, whether it's Christmas or Chinese new, you're gonna eat a lot. And what you're saying is don't not eat a lot, but know that it's gonna do something to you. And maybe you could have more probiotics during that time to help your gut, or you could do other things that could help you

 in the holiday season when people are eating a lot, what could they do to manage things like gut and other things?

Riyana Rupani: Yeah, sure. So definitely. So I think most also, the other thing is mindful eating. And I see this a lot at times with clients, where they've been quote unquote good throughout the week and they've allowed themselves this one or two meals where they're going to again, quote, cheat, and they're gonna indulge.

And I am all for that, but I always say number. . Don't call it a cheat meal. Call it a treat meal, because we all need to be treating ourselves and food is meant to be enjoyed, but enjoy it mindfully, and if you don't enjoy something and if it's not as good as you thought it was going to be, it's okay to stop eating it.

 Another one is the sequence in which you eat your food. This can make a very big difference. So if you start your meal with a salad and then move to the protein and then lastly move to your carbohydrates, those fibers and proteins are going to keep your blood sugar very much balanced when you do eat those carbohydrates as opposed to having the carbohydrates first.

And if you do have the carbohydrates first, you're probably gonna end up overindulging in those carbohydrate. Taking something like a digestive enzyme, if you are consuming foods that are not the best for you or that you don't digest well, can be really helpful. Taking, as you had mentioned, a probiotic is really helpful, but even if you're not taking a probiotic, simply including some fermented foods with your meal can be extremely beneficial.

So things like sauerkraut, kimchi, perhaps sipping. Kombucha. I personally love apple cider vinegar with a bit of sparkling water. It helps balance your blood sugar. It's a probiotic, it's a prebiotic. It's one of my favorite tonics I would say. So doing these little things around your meals can be really beneficial I also suggest making sure you have a 12 hour. between the last thing you eat at the end of the day and the first thing you eat in the morning. So if you finish your dinner by 8:00 PM that means you're not having breakfast until 8:00 AM So this is an intermittent fasting or anything like this.

 This is just a digestive rest. Digestion is a process that takes your body a ton of energy. And if your body is constantly digesting, it's not giving your body the bandwidth or the ability to do the other wonderful things that it needs to, like cellular your repair, for example. So giving that body, your body, those 12 hours, is gonna be really beneficial to just help you process everything you had and start off fresh the next.

Sharad Lal: Thanks, Rihanna. very, very actionable tips that people can use. And what struck me while you were speaking was when you talked about mindful eating and being conscious of what you eat. And if you don't like it, leave it. We were brought up thinking, or you were brought up being taught that you need to finish what's on your plate.

And I think that's another myth that needs to be busted. That if it is not working for you, you tried it. It's okay to leave that in your plate. Maybe next time don't fill your plate too much, but it's okay to leave your plate with food that you don't like or which is not working for you.

Will that be fair to say?

Riyana Rupani: Yeah, definitely. And I know you're a father. I'm a mother. I've got three little kids at home, this is one thing that it's difficult as a parent, but we want to try and encourage our children to listen to their body and listen to their hunger and full cues. It's not about finishing what's on your plate, it's about listening to your body and is it full?

is it satisfied? So for a lot of adults, what I tell them to do is use a smaller plate. Instead of using a very large dinner plate, maybe use an appetizer size plate and fill it up so you feel like you're filling up your plate. Once you're done with what's on your plate, if you do finish it, then ask yourself, am I still hungry?

And it's always fine to put more, on your plate if you feel like you need it. And then same thing with children. I know my kids, especially if they're hungry, they're gonna load their plates on and then they're like, I'm done. I'm full. I don't want anymore. So I always tell them, take a little bit, eat it.

There's a lot more food left, and if you're still hungry, then take more. But it's that whole connection of listening to your body and acting accordingly.

Sharad Lal: And I guess that takes a lot of practice, but being conscious of it and trying to perfect it, one can do it over a period of time, so I like that. Are there any other hacks that, that you have in mind, which could be low-hanging fruits that people could put into their diet or lifestyle, which can go a big way in both stress management and energy maximization.

Riyana Rupani: Yeah. When you're grocery shopping, focus on shopping the outs skirt. Of the grocery store first before the inside. So that's where your vegetables meats all your fresh items are on the outskirts of the grocery store, so fill your basket with that before you start traveling down the middle of the aisles.

So that's just a good way to start focus on Whole Foods. So we've become a society that eat a lot of packaged foods Foods, I wouldn't even, for a lot of them, I wouldn't even call them foods. They're basically chemicals. So we wanna move away from things that are made in a factory and focus on things that are from the earth.

I always say the lower number of ingredients that a food has, the better it's probably gonna be for you. So that's why if you're picking up one piece of fruit, it's just the fruit. Or if you're picking up a vegetable Another one is just read your labels. When it says low sugar or if it says organic just because something or is organic doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you. Just because something has low sugar doesn't mean they're not adding other chemicals in there to mimic, the taste of sugar.

So always turn around your package and read your labels. Another one is a lot of people tend to have a lot of bloating and digestive issues. So an easy one is make sure you're drinking your water. Away from your meals. Predominantly if you're sipping on water with your meal, that's totally fine, but you don't wanna be gulping down water with your meal because that's gonna basically put out your digestive fire.

So we want that stomach acid to really be working well and digesting our food well. And water will inhibit that if you have too much of it with your meal.

Sharad Lal: The supermarket insight that you gave was very interesting. Never thought about it like that. But now that you say it, it makes a lot of sense. Is there anything in the space that we should also talk about that we haven't already?

Riyana Rupani: Inflammation, systemic inflammation. a very easy change that all of us can make in our kitchen. And I say if listen to this podcast and you make that one change, you are going to significantly improve your inflammation levels, swapping out the oil.

that you use for your cooking. So many of us are using vegetable oils and seed oils to do the predominant cooking in our home. So these are oils like canola oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, they're called, and you'll often find them in the grocery store in these big clear tubs.

 those are the oils you actually don't want to be using. those are very inflammatory. They are very sensitive to heat. and to light. their smoke point might be high. So that's the temperature in which they just really smoke. But in terms of the temperature at which they become rancid or they molecularly, change is very low.

So we don't wanna be using them while we're cooking. Instead what we wanna be using our monounsaturated and saturated fats. So those are cooking fats such as. Olive oil, avocado oil, butter, ghee, coconut oil, animal fats. These are all so much better for you

Sharad Lal: excellent. Again very actionable

and simple, Many of us have to eat out at times when we are traveling at work or maybe lunches. , any tips on how we should think about going to a restaurant that we don't know and eating out there? How should we think about that?

Riyana Rupani: One tip of course is always whether you're working, whether you're traveling or whatnot, I always encourage people to just carry a snack with them. Whether it's just a little bag of nuts or a trail mix or something like that. just so that we're not caught off guard. A lot of times we make the worst food decisions when we are starving.

And I do it in my little purse or, if you're at an office, keeping it in your drawer is a great. eating in this sequential manner is also really helpful. So if you go to a restaurant, I would say do your best to say no bread, please, especially if if you're at a Mediterranean or an Italian restaurant, starting your meal with fiber. starting your meal with a salad and then dressing it with a little bit of olive oil and any kind of vinegar is going to number one.

Eating a salad is going to activate your digestion, and then the vinegar is going to help with your blood sugar. And it's also probably gonna curb your hunger other tips I would say look for the protein on the menu. It's very easy when we're eating out to go very carb heavy.

 Not being afraid to ask, the staff to adjust things, replace things. Nowadays, even here in Singapore, people are educated. They understand, dietary restrictions, they understand food sensitivities and whatnot, and they're very happy to make, simple swap outs for you.

So if it's, replacing the french fries, that comes. the burger that you might be having to a salad to keep your meal a little bit more balanced.

Sharad Lal: Very useful. Now, often there are two people in a relationship where they might have different views on diet and eating. One might want to have a really healthy kale kind of a diet.

The other ones to indulge living, is eating. How do two people who have different mindsets on diet come together and find a common ground that becomes the family philosophy for food?

Riyana Rupani: I think definitely having a conversation with your partner with your family about this and, letting them know how important it is to you is step one for sure. I think step two is also making small changes that quite honestly might not even be noticed, changing out these oils.

For example if you're someone who's sensitive to gluten, bringing in tamari, which is gluten free versus soya sauce, but tastes literally exactly the same swapping out the mayonnaise that's in your house, swapping out the ketchup to a low sugar ketchup, making these small tweaks but then also remembering and being respectful.

everybody's on a separate journey and everyone's on a different part of their journey and you can't force somebody to meet you where you on your journey all the time. So you have to be able to give those. People, their space and let them do them. And you do you, and that's okay. I find this a lot of times with my Clean and 15 participants where they'll be cooking certain things. They'll be eating certain things, and their spouse who has no interest in doing the program or anything. Start to get curious and start to be like, that looks pretty good. Can I try some?

What is it? And it's just, slowly introducing it to them that way. But yeah, we always wanna be respectful of other people's boundaries and where they are.

Sharad Lal: The last bit I want to touch on is the mental strength to do this. And of course your philosophy is a lot more accessible than many ways. It's healthy-ish, but it still takes a mental makeup of being conscious and eating well. And often people might start off with good motivation, do it for a period of time, and then the wheels go off the bus.

So how have you seen that play out what do you think is a good way to have a sustainable lifestyle around a healthy diet or healthy-ish diet?

Riyana Rupani: from a mental standpoint as well, it's this whole. Concept of punishing ourselves or saying, I've done something bad and now I have to make up for it. That is one of the biggest things that we want to remove from our mindset completely. Clients of mine, they're like, oh, Rihanna, I, went out over the weekend and I ate A, B, C, D, E, F, and all the rest of it, and now I'm feeling like I need to do something to make up for.

And it's not about that because if you keep going on this up and down, you're never gonna have a sustainable, way of eating, living. So I say, okay, you did it. Wonderful. Did you enjoy it? Did it make you happy? Yes, I was out with friends. I was whatever. Amazing. Hold on to that. Don't hold on to the guilt because that's not gonna make whatever you had worth.

and on Monday or on Sunday or whatever day it might be, just go back to your normal way of eating and that's it. The whole problem comes in is when we demonize foods, when we say, this was bad, or I was bad, or I did something wrong. Number one, you're not, I'm gonna end up enjoying those foods while you're having them because you're feeling guilty while you're having it.

So your body's probably not gonna be able to metabolize them. Digest them as well. And then number two, you're just gonna go back into this pattern of, reward and punishment. And that's the biggest train that we want to get off of.

Sharad Lal: That is so good and insightful and it's reassuring to hear that in all other aspects of life where the philosophy is changing. It's not being very hard to yourself and punishing yourself, whatever transformation you're making to your life, whether there's fitness and other things. The same applies here.

Being a little gentle with yourself seeing what you enjoy conscious, and then doing it maybe in a fun way, in an interesting way and building it up that way. So that could be a lot more sustainable than on and off

Riyana Rupani: Exactly, and there's no perfect, nobody's perfect, nobody's diet is perfect. So trying to, achieve this level of perfection, it's not gonna happen. And if we accept that and if we're happy with that we'll be a lot happier.

Sharad Lal: Absolutely.

 Thank you for sharing so much of wisdom. But before we go, is there one parting thought that you'd like to leave people with?

Riyana Rupani: Just because something is working for your mother, your brother, your friend, your sister, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work for you.

 Fad diets come from a particular person and what worked maybe for that person or a group of people. there might be principles from certain diets that we appreciate and that work for us, but we don't have to. Pigeonhole ourselves into a particular diet.

And I see it time and time again, and I get asked this a lot of times. Are you keto? Are you paleo? Are you plant-based? Are you pescatarian? Are you vegetarian? And again, they're all of these labels just like you are a person, you don't need a label. Your diet doesn't need a label as well. There are bits and pieces that you can take from different diets and always remembering.

 We need to be listening to our own bodies and doing what's best for our unique needs, Thank you, Rihanna, for such a practical and useful conversation. You're impacting people's lives through all the good work you're doing. Congratulations.

 In terms of action steps, maybe you could think of what are the small changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle, which could have a big impact. Maybe it's as simple as changing the oils in your house to olive oil, avocado oil, butter key, or maybe. Changing the order of eating salads, first proteins, and then carbs, or giving a 12 hour gap at night to give your stomach a break.

 There are many other tips that are in this episode, which you could look at If there are a few of them that are easy for you to do, you could try experimenting with them and seeing what it does to your energy, stress levels, and general mood. Best of luck.

 That's it for today's episode. I hope you enjoyed it. We will be back with another episode two weeks from now on January 31st, we'll be talking life lessons from sports. us will be Olympic coach and successful c e o Jim Lafferty. Hope you join us for that. Till next time, have a wonderful day ahead. Bye.