I Lost 11 Kilos, Cured PCOD and Started a Food Business
Sonya Chandra, founder of BE Juice tells us of her journey from flab to fab, and how it inspired her to help others gain back their health.
I am a Punjabi girl at heart which means food equals love and the kitchen is my Disneyland. My father’s side of the family is Punjabi and mom hails from a Catholic background. Growing up, I couldn’t get enough of Nani’s fish and chicken curries, mutton chops and tomato saar. Then there was Dadi’s Maa di dal and bhindi with fresh piping hot and generously buttered phulkas, chole bhature and Janmashtami ke kale chane with puri and halwa.
Inevitably, I trained to be a chef and worked in the hospitality industry before joining the marketing department of a multinational ice cream brand. That’s when the alarming weight gain started and over five years, I went from being 50 kgs to 72 kgs. No, it was not the ice cream.
I travelled a lot and it was stressful. Also, I was diagnosed with PCOD. I couldn’t identify with my own body which made me an extremely sad and confused person. What was I doing wrong and how could I make things right for myself?
Then in 2015, I decided to take a sabbatical after more than a decade of working tirelessly. From the mad work hours, I transitioned to indulging in cooking workshops, art, travel and trekking. Also, I joined the nine-week Re-Nutrition course at The Health Awareness Centre in Mumbai by the renowned dietician Anju Venkat. It completely changed my perspective on food.
Sonya Chandra is the founder of BE Juice India.
It taught me of ingredients in our kitchen that work against our body, instead of supporting it. It clearly outlined how food plays an integral role and can transform you within just 21 days of eating healthy and cooking right. This is nothing short of a miracle!
Turning vegetarian in 2013, dabbling with veganism, tweaking cooking methods and eating the right food when hunger strikes are some very simple habits that my husband and I adopted.
Also read: 4 things you should know before going vegan
What worked most for us, was the one litre of smoothies I made and consumed twice daily—500 ml for breakfast and the remaining in the evening. A simple practise of increasing the amount of raw food and fibre in our diet worked like magic. I replaced my refined salt with rock salt and refined sugar with raw sugar or jaggery powder. I use almost no oil or one teaspoon of oil for cooking and eat a huge portion of raw salad with my meals.
I learnt that my food cravings are mere deficiencies; lack of energy indicates deficiency in glucose, chocolate craving is magnesium deficiency and salt craving is mineral deficiency. By eating right, these cravings began to disappear. I lost weight gradually and my skin started to glow.
The result? My husband and I lost a total of 29 kgs - I knocked-off 11 kilos and he shed 18 kilos. He doesn’t exercise. I love running and don’t miss my morning jogs. After I’d lost the excess weight, my gynaec declared that I had cured myself of PCOD.
My husband, delighted with his effortless weight loss without exercise, introduced the idea of going into business with my smoothies. Finally, I launched Froojie (Fruit Juice Smoothies) and started participating in Mumbai’s Farmers markets. The product got a positive response. Over a period of six months, as cold-pressed juices started to trend, I moved from smoothies to cold-pressed juices.
I now run BE All Natural (BAN) Private Limited and have a line of 19 combination juices, and six vegetable juices. We are in the process of launching fruit bowls, salads and sandwiches for people who genuinely want to live a healthier lifestyle but have little time. BAN’s sole intention is to make people aware of how easy it is to stay fit by inculcating simple habits and living in harmony with nature.
There’s a lot of contradictory information about healthy eating and diet rules are constantly changing. I do give in to my cravings because that makes me super happy. I love food and it’s hard for me to follow rules. For instance, I order McDonald’s breakfast once a month, because my mind can’t get over it. But, my body feels sick after eating it. It rejects such stuff and I pay more attention to the signals of my body rather than following diet guidelines.
After all the extreme experimenting I tried, here’s a piece of advice - Life is not about pushing yourself into uncomfortable situations to reach certain goals. Great results can be achieved happily by doing what you enjoy, balancing your food habits and sticking to a healthy home-cooked plate on most days, bringing in any form of exercise and meditation, and listening to your body. This always works.
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