Arteriovenous malformation, plantar fasciitis, calcification, osteoarthritis of both knees, lumbar spinal column spondylosis, frozen shoulder on the left, carpenter’s syndrome, herniated disc, blood pressure and 14 other diseases along with obesity. That was Kavita Bakre’s profile just 24 months ago. Several operations, physiotherapy, Ayurvedic medicine and what not, she tried everything together for years. Eventually she realized that the main cause of all her ailments was her diet. She went to a nutritionist and had her eating plan drawn up. Along with proper nutritious diet and exercise, Bakare became fit and fit within a year. Finally, she also became interested in nutrition and diet and completed her training as a clinical nutritionist. Today she runs a company that offers nutritional advice. Since September is National Nutrition Month, TOI spoke to Bakare, who claimed that the combination of proper diet and exercise can reverse any illness and keep you fit.
Q. What are your health complications?
A. The list is long. The clinical names of the diseases I had are not even known to many. In short, I had more than 15 diseases. There was a time in my life, about two years ago, when I was unable to get up and walk. The pain was enormous. Vascular, muscular, and orthopedic pain associated with obesity and high blood pressure made my life difficult when I was just forty. My blood counts were worse. Doctors once said my reports were like those of a 70-year-old woman when I was just 40.
Q. Have you had complications since childhood?
A. No, I was an athlete in school and had won several medals. All of my disorders started due to a change in lifestyle. Most women in our middle-class households suffer from back, joint and similar pain, especially after giving birth. Unfortunately, we ignore this pain and limit our movements. Even I was like that. After the birth of my two children, I was busy with my family and repeatedly neglected pain and discomfort. I stopped exercising and my eating habits worsened. I gained excess weight and other illnesses followed. Then the tests, medication and physiotherapy started, but nothing worked for me.
Q. When did you realize that a nutritious diet could be the solution?
A. I continued to take medication, went to therapy, and underwent several surgeries. Despite these treatments, the pain and complications persisted. One fine day I decided that whatever it might take, I was going to get out of this pain. While we visit specialists, from orthopedics to cardiologists, we hardly think about a visit to the nutritionist or nutritionist. I was fortunate to have a good nutritionist who made post food planning. My suffering was so intense that I followed the diet chart with devotion. Within months, I started to feel the difference. Gradually, in addition to the diet, I started doing light exercises. The change was visible in a year.
Q. When did you decide to become a nutritionist?
A. When good food became my medicine, I developed an interest in the subject. I learned that nutrition is a specialized subject and that many universities and institutes offer distance learning programs. During the lockdown, I took two such courses and received certificates. I decided to set up my own nutritional consultancy, especially for do-it-yourselfers.
Q Do you think diet can reverse disease?
A. Most illnesses are caused by lifestyle problems. Most of them can be reversed if you eat well and exercise properly. Some of us overeat while others don’t eat right. Even the term “diet” is confused by most of us with “fasting” or “starving”. We have to get it right. Everyone is different and everyone’s nutritional needs are different. A proper plan for individuals can definitely keep them healthy and fit.
Q. Should people go to nutritionists or dietitians the way they go to doctors?
A. I think you should see a nutritionist before you develop any disease. When I started my practice as a nutritionist, my parents, both seniors, became my clients. Within three months, they will feel more active and happy. It’s not just weight loss. In fact, we never think about weight loss. We think about proper nutrition as we plan the chart. Weight loss happens automatically. Being healthy and fit is always better than being slim or thin.
Q. What is your advice to do-it-yourselfers?
A. Don’t neglect everyday pain. The pain spreads all over your body, and gradually you get seriously ill. If you are in pain, treat it properly, then and there. Second, our eating habits need to change. I’ve seen many women eat more just to consume excess food and stop wasting. That’s the biggest nonsense. Eat right, exercise well, and don’t hide ailments. See a doctor early and within months you will be fine.