Today we are having an interview with Dr. Dinara Galieva on preventive medicine and healthy eating habits for improvement of quality of life. Dinara completed a PhD degree in public health at the University of Edinburgh and currently teaches at Nazarbayev University. She is also a pediatrician, nutritionist and health coach in integrative eating.
— Dinara, why did you decide to professionally engage in healthy eating mentoring?
The consequences of a sedentary lifestyle caused by intellectual work, understanding that over years the body does not get younger, reduction of energy, emerging certain disruptions within the organism, overall all these factors have formed a desire to regain former working capacity and vitality of 20-year-old youth. Especially after 40, the risk of hypoxia and deficiency of vitamins and minerals increases, such as fatigue, drowsiness, impairment of memory and cognitive abilities, intestinal problems, hair loss, dry skin. If you listen to your body and start preventive work with your weakened state, you can maintain yourself in a resourceful state and significantly slow down the pathological processes that take place within the body. Otherwise, chronic diseases are quite likely to develop. The education of a health coach at the US Institute of Nutrition gave me the understanding that fate of one’s health lies her/his hands and depends on lifestyle, nutrition and physical activity. Many modern diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity develop due to an improper lifestyle, because today a person consumes much more sugar, fast foods and carbonated drinks than her / his great-grandfathers. Therefore, I find it very important to educate people about healthy eating habits. A person and even a child, should be able to make the right choice of products in grocery store.
— Dinara, is it possible to minimize exposure to seasonal viral diseases?
Of course you can, you even need to. From my theoretical and practical experience, I see a direct link between nutrition and immune system. By changing their eating habits and physical activity, a person can protect himself from catching colds.
First of all, you should clean up your diet: remove sugar, refined sweets such as candy, chocolate and cakes. Sugar causes inflammation in the body and also blocks the transfer of oxygen to cells, resulting in oxygen starvation or hypoxia. Deprived of oxygen, the immune cell cannot fight viruses and therefore, high sugar in the diet greatly reduces the body's immune system.
It is difficult to give up sugar because it is addictive. However, it can be done by gradually adding more vegetables, fruits, greens, and whole grains to your diet. Each of us has an internal environment that is either acidic or alkaline. Vegetables and greens alkalize organism; harmful products, on the contrary, oxidize. Viruses and bacteria develop in an acidic environment. They multiply at the expense of sugar and encourage us to consume more sugar, thereby, it controls our eating habits. This vicious circle can be broken by changing your eating habits.
— What advice would you give to a person who leads a busy lifestyle in a city with a lot of temptations to eat fast food on the go and does not always pay attention to his healthy eating habits?
Firstly, I would advise to cook meals at home. For example, putting together a lunch box for work from sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots does not take much time, but it is more beneficial for health than buying another unhealthy snack in the store. Secondly, busy people who often have no time to cook from scratch could have in their arsenal several quick and easy food recipes, as well as plan the menu in advance and make a purchase of products 2-3 days in advance. Thirdly, in order to avoid the costly and addictive habit of impulsively ordering food delivery to your home, I advise you to cook and save meals for 2 days, which could be reheated after work.
— Dinara, could you please share with the readers what products does your daily ration include?
I might be considered an ascetic when it comes to eating and I think my menu is not suitable for everyone, but personally I feel light and energized. I have given up gluten in my diet. Glu comes from the English word “glue”. Just like in kneading dough, it sticks together our intestines and the process of absorption of nutrients into the intestinal walls is disrupted. I replaced gluten with bread made from rice and buckwheat flour. Moreover, I have eliminated caffeine and lactose from my daily diet. As a person ages, it becomes more difficult for a person to digest lactic enzymes and they cause bloating and flatulence in the gastrointestinal tract. Instead of cow's milk, I drink plant-based milk made from almonds and nuts. Most of my diet consists of vegetables, fruits, herbs, whole grains, nuts, meat, fish, poultry.
— Dear Dinara, thank you very much for your interview!
I am glad I could be helpful. Thank you for having me!