1. Before we start, tell us about yourself and your brand “Eat Clean with Eshanka’.
I am a Dubai & Delhi based Wellness Coach and Entrepreneur who has always been passionate about a clean and healthy lifestyle and during the offset of the lockdown due to covid in March 2020 is when I realised that eating clean is not just a choice, but a necessity. I have always believed that eating clean is the strongest form of self-respect. “If you can control what you eat, you can control anything!” Hence, ‘Eat Clean with Eshanka’ creates gut-strengthening, nutrient-dense alternatives for all comfort food by eliminating unhealthy ingredients & replacing them intelligently with superfoods. My goal is to change the psychology of food by introducing a healthier and upgraded lifestyle, which enhances mental as well as physical well-being. I use the psychology of eating to develop the healthiest food synergies and make people understand and listen to their gut, which is the key to living a healthy lifestyle.
2. How does one interpret the term ‘Clean eating’?
I strongly believe that “If you can control what you eat, you can control anything!” But that doesn’t mean that the food or lifestyle needs to be boring. Clean eating is not about following a particular diet but it's all about understanding each person’s bio-individuality and listening to your gut. Clean eating should be focused on having an improved and upgraded lifestyle. Losing weight and inches is a by-product. My focus is to strengthen the gut, immunity and mental health of all my clients because it is all intimately interconnected through neurotransmitters.
3. What got you started on this journey?
I have always been an active, healthy individual and spent a lot of time creating recipes right from my childhood. While I always pushed my closest people around me to make healthier choices, 2019 was a very stressful year for me on a personal front as a whole. I knew I needed to bounce out of it in the healthiest possible way. It was time for my mental as well as a physical transformation. I started with mentally strengthening myself. Soon after that, I started tricking my mind by giving in to all my cravings, but by using healthier ingredients and eliminating all nasties. Within weeks I was feeling so much better. I started sharing my recipes with my friends and family and then started sharing them online. It led me on to a holistic, soulful path of eating clean, being mentally cleansed and feeling extremely positive. During the lockdown, I started teaching my recipes online, and had over 500 clients from all around the world in less than 2 months! I believe to transform yourself to a healthier lifestyle, it has to be a combination of physical health (fitness and eating right) and mental health. In a matter of a few weeks. This new way of holistic living kept me extremely happy, content, positive and energized and made me feel even happier to be able to help others around me.
4. When it comes to physical health, what else is important other than good food?
Getting good sleep, getting the sun, keeping hydrated, having an intimate relationship with close friends and family, meditation, working out, doing things that you love, and being well-rested. Keeping a check on nutrition through vitamins and supplements if required.
5. Does food affect a person’s mood? Are there foods that can be eaten when one is sad, or happy to alleviate the mood?
Food can be a great comfort when you are feeling happy or sad or just stressed. It is common to eat our feelings because of the dipping serotonin levels in our body. What we eat surely influences the way we feel. There is an intimate connection between our gut and mental health, thus connecting food with our mood. 90% of serotonin is made in the gut and then transmitted to the brain through neurotransmitters. We reach out to accessible yet unhealthy food through cravings due to stress and depression. This is because we have low serotonin levels in our body at the time. My pick of goodies that can boost one’s mood instantly would be salmon, berries, spinach and kale with lemon, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate.
6. Weight issues and body positivity issues are major issues in today’s time of social media flaunting. What would you like to tell GenY?
In my personal wellness coaching, an entire module is dedicated to this. I make my clients unfollow accounts that are detrimental to their personal mental health. I make them detach themselves from people they are following on social media for self-destructive purposes. I teach them how to do a social media cleanse and detox. Social media is an extremely progressive platform, one which needs to be used to your personal advantage, and not allow it to abuse your mental health. There is a fine line between the 2, and I magnify the complexity of the line to my clients so they learn to stop being impacted by the staged lives through social media flaunting.
7. What is your philosophy on wellness and healthy living?
One which is holistic, sustainable and can be a part of your everyday life. I try to use my clients DNA, tastes and habits and work upwards from that. Therefore, each client's program is extremely different from the others. All my clients eat all food families, but with different synergies. I am a believer of Intermittent fasting, not for weight loss, but for mental health and how it centres our entire wellness journey.
8. How did ‘Eat clean with Eshanka’ come into being?
2019 was a very stressful year for me on a personal front, I knew it was time for mental as well as a physical transformation. I started with mentally strengthening myself. Soon after, I was led on to a path of eating clean and getting back to shape. I believe to transform yourself to a healthier lifestyle, it has to be a combination of physical health (fitness and eating right) and mental health. In a matter of a few weeks, I had lost 10 kilos and had unknowingly begun a soulful journey. This new way of holistic living kept me extremely happy, content, positive and energised.
Eating healthy is the highest form of self-respect. But that doesn't mean that our food needs to be boring. I started creating recipes of all our "binge/comfort food" by eliminating the unhealthy ingredients and replacing it with nutrient-dense, superfoods making our meals extremely gut-strengthening. "Eat Clean With Eshanka" is where I started to teach how to make these healthy meals through online healthy cooking classes and slowly ventured into personal consultancy for my clients which focuses on upgrading the lifestyle with a holistic approach which includes eating clean, physical activities, work-outs as well as spiritual & mental wellbeing. My aim is not to "lose weight" but to be a voice to as many and tell them that healthy food is not boring and that eating clean is the highest form of self-respect. As a by-product of eating clean, one will definitely be at their fittest and enjoy higher energy levels, undisturbed sleep, and improvement in their hair, skin and nails. In less than 2 months I had over 500 clients. Today I share my own experience and nutrition principles with over 20 A++ publications.
9. What is the core purpose behind ‘Eat Clean with Eshanka’ and how have you achieved it?
My aim is to upgrade your lifestyle and strengthen your guts, it is not to merely "lose weight" but to be a voice to as many. To be able to tell them that healthy food is not boring and that eating clean is the highest form of self-respect. As a by-product of eating clean, one will definitely be at their fittest and enjoy higher energy levels, undisturbed sleep, and improvement in their hair, skin and nails.
I encourage my clients to use healthier alternatives and help them in changing their taste palate. Mindless eating decreases the serotonin production in our body, increases cravings and can result in low self-esteem. Keeping the gut clean, eating mindfully and changing your palate to nutrient-dense whole foods along with fitness, good sleep, spirituality, low-stress levels, and positive conversations and relationships are the ultimate answers for a happier mind, body and soul. I strongly encourage this upgraded holistic change in lifestyle creating healthy menus.
10. Your brand was a part of Dubai expo 2020representing India, how did it happen? And what did you feel?
I was approached by the Indian Pavilion for their launch on Gandhi Jayanti when they were showcasing sustainable fashion using Khaadi in modern cuts, on 15 Indian “women of substance”. I was honoured to be part of the 15 Indian women in the UAE to be representing my nation on such an esteemed occasion.
11. When customers come to you, what is their primary complaint? What do they expect from you?
Their primary complaint is not knowing how to eat clean or be healthy. They are extremely confused by the entire approach and find it very difficult to be consistently healthy.
12. What is the main appeal behind consuming processed or junk food and how do you help the clients break free of that addiction?
Lack of serotonin levels makes one binge. Sugar and processed food are many peoples' weaknesses. I use “alternative mind tricking” techniques and give them food alternatives and recipes that make them think they are bingeing but are actually eating clean. Its all about planning the meals. 3 of my modules in my personal wellness coaching are based on eliminating junk food and learning how to eat “processed unhealthy foods” minimally.
13. You don many caps – Culinary nutrition and holistic coach, entrepreneur, clean recipe creator, brand management and PR. How do you manage to juggle it all?
I get this asked a lot. I have dedicated days and hours to it all. Dedicated days to wellness coaching, dedicated days to recipe teaching and creation, and dedicated days for my entrepreneurial duties. I make it a point to completely switch off on my weekends, meet friends and spend time with family too. It's all about creating clean boundaries and living a balanced life.
14. With the health scene constantly undergoing changes, what strategy do you use to stay updated?
I am constantly learning, reading and practising different nutrition and wellness techniques on all my clients. It's an ongoing learning curve for me, always hungry to know more.
15. In the era of dieting with so many options available, how does one know what works and what doesn’t? Is there a cheat code for dieting for beginners?
It's all about bio-individuality and my personal wellness program decodes each one. I ask my clients to get some blood tests along with which I make them fill a very detailed form that has many intricate details, all helping me to create a tailormade program for them.
16. It isn’t easy handling multiple clients, so how do you manage to juggle them all without compromising? How do you work in harmony?
All about creating a balance. I take on limited personal wellness coaching clients so the quality of my work is not compromised, and grateful to god have a waitlist for it, so I don’t need to take on too many clients at once.
17. With New Year around the corner and people getting ready to party, which leads to consuming huge amounts of unhealthy food, do you have any tips or recipes to share with us?
Yes, my thumb rule is to indulge during the festive season, but clean up before and after. I follow the 80/20 rule where I eat clean 80% of the time and indulge 20%.
18. If your client falls off track or gets demotivated during their wellness journey, what do you do?
I have weekly coaching calls with them on zoom to keep them motivated and get back on track. They need to share their progress with me daily on WhatsApp so I know exactly when they slip. Its all about healthy communication.
19. Where do you wish to see ‘Eat Clean with Eshanka’ in the next 5 to 10 years?
With many recipe books in all book stores, with a programming platform that can help everyone with a click of a button, and with a healthy product line with foods that I believe in and consume as a part of my lifestyle.