I was a Features writer at Forbes India, where I wrote primarily on healthcare and explore retail as a sector. The technologies that make both these industries tick interests me greatly. For story ideas or feedback you can reach me on Twitter @Niloferd
Recently, nutrition and specifically nutraceuticals have been in the news for a while. A Frost & Sullivan report covered in the Economic Times said the industry would grow from $1,480 million in 2011 to $2,731 million in 2016. Two days ago, the Ayurvedic products company, Himalaya, launched its own line of nutraceuticals.
Philipe Haydon, CEO-Pharmaceutical division, Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, said, "We hope to have nine products in the nutraceutical space in the next five years, and it will contribute Rs 250-300 crore in revenue for the company." The company known for its herbal healthcare products will be launching two more products within the next eight months to cater to adults and expecting mothers. Himalaya also hopes to add nutrition biscuits as well as cereal bars to help people get their daily dose of nutrition.
With the entry of Himalaya, competition is increasing in this space; Abott has Pediasure, British Biologicals' has Kids Pro, and Wockhardt has Protinex Junior.
While companies are hoping to cash in on the lack of nutrition they claim exists in urban homes, Ryan Fernando, Director, Qua Nutrition, hopes otherwise.
Fernando used to be part of a nutraceutical company called Nutrilite, and says, "In the ten years I've worked in this space, people always came to me asking for help to get their basic nutrition right." Since he could not address this problem while he was part of a large organisation, Fernando opened his own brand of nutrition clinics in Bangalore.
He hopes to help people get their basic nutrition right and has priced one of his many nutrition plans at Rs 2,000. Fernando hopes to be cost effective as well as result oriented in getting people healthy and fit.
While he tries to go the mass route, established nutritionists, like Rujuta Diwekar, charge anywhere between Rs 15,000 – Rs 3,00,000 to get people fit. But can you get a diet plan for free?
Here are three things I found that work in the Indian context.
Step 1: Get a balanced diet
Lisa Sarah John is a Bangalore-based dietician, who has advised people like Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, and V. Sehwag. On her website, she gives readers an easy break up of what a balanced Indian diet should look like. For a South Indian, like me, I found it refreshing because she did not tell me to cut out rice or turn vegetarian, and it sounded very practical to implement. For more, you can go here.
Step 2: Put checks and balances to see if you are keeping the diet
I must confess I found it hard to keep track of my diet so I went to lifemojo.com. They offer an online service for free, where you can track you food, fitness plans like walking or jogging. It also makes you set a goal to see if you are moving towards it. After a week, you weigh yourself and it generates a report to show you your progress.
Step 3: Exercise and don’t look at it like a chore
There is a video I watched, which was circulated internally in our group. It was conceived and presented by Dr Mike Evans, who is a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto. He believes that there is an emerging need for ‘clinicians to become part-time “curators” of the best health information for their patients’. It was the best argument to get me out of my chair and become more active in a non-forceful manner.
Disclaimer: Consult a doctor before you try this at home.