Indians tried new-age Keto, Atkins, Paleo, low-carb. Now they’re going back to Ayurvedic diet

Nidhi Mehta was struggling with her weight. She was barely sleeping at night and felt lethargic all the time. On top of that, she was suffering from a debilitating cough. When she was hit with the added layer of long Covid symptoms, she decided to explore a centuries-old alternative – Ayurveda. Allopathy as well as consultations with those she called “the best doctors” had failed her too.

To the unacquainted, her symptoms may fall into different realms, each requiring a specialist’s attention. But as per Ayurveda, no health-related issue can be viewed in isolation. Nidhi was subsequently prescribed an “Ayurvedic diet,” one that eschewed counting calories and promoted medicated ghee and tailor-made remedies to combat her ailments. It held the promise of restoring her mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

Through word-of-mouth, she approached Aika Health, a health-tech venture that uses Ayurvedic diets and remedies to combat diseases and “new-age” health problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), acid-reflux, stress, anxiety, and bronchitis. After consultations with an Ayurvedic doctor and then a nutritionist, she was given a holistic treatment plan. She began consuming herbs and spices along with the medicated ghee. The underlying principle was no processed foods and to avoid any chemically infused food items. Everything needed to be Natural. “I started feeling better in about 10 days,” said Nidhi, who went on to lose 10kg.

Today, the variance in diets is staggering. Keto, Atkins, Paleo, low-carb, and Dukan. In this mix, there’s now a new and growing breed of Ayurvedic dieticians who go beyond calorie count and spot reduction and take on a more “holistic approach.” They customise it for each patient and use Instagram and WhatsApp groups for hand-holding a daily diet programme.

Patients appreciate this single-minded focus and attention to the minutiae of their lives. “I had a long conversation (with the nutritionist and doctor). They understood my problems in detail. We don’t have this kind of awareness.”

From 3,000 years ago to now, Ayurveda has donned many hats and been repurposed…

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