Sridevi Jasti talks with You & I
An ace nutritionist and creator of healthy gourmet food, Sridevi Jasti has studied nutrition and worked extensively in the US and Canada to promote healthy living. She moved back to Hyderabad four years ago to do the same here. In a candid conversation, she shares her outlook on this and other topics.
Why did you become a nutritionist?
I’ve always loved food. My father worked in an agricultural university, and as I had many relatives who were agricultural scientists around me, I had a natural inclination towards it. As a teenager I connected with what food does to how I look, and somehow connected to it so intensely that food became my forte. When the time came to choose my subjects for higher studies, I was lucky that my parents didn’t push me to do something specific, instead they encouraged me to choose what interested me, and nutrition seemed to be the most logical subject.
What aspect of healthy living does your company ‘Vibrant Living Foods’ focus on?
Through my company, I’m trying to convey to people the importance of having a good relationship with food. I promote natural, organic, artisanal food–the opposite of fast food. I’m not, however, promoting one cuisine or form of cooking; instead I’m trying to encourage people to choose their food wisely and to make their food in a way that is healthy and tasty at the same time.
How and when did you start preparing and delivering healthy gourmet food?
Before moving back to Hyderabad, I was living in Miami, and ever since I started practising nutrition people wanted me to start making healthy gourmet food. But I was afraid because food production takes up a lot of time and needs real commitment. After moving here, people often asked me what to eat and how to make it. But no matter how much I told them, it was difficult for them to source organic ingredients and make that kind of food at home, day in and day out. That’s when I realised the need of the hour and decided to start this for myself and my clients. Creating new healthy recipes makes me happy!
Why did you shift?
It was a pure accident. After living in the US and Canada for many years, we started to travel extensively to experience world cuisine and culture, and would often land up in India to meet my parents. Over the last six years I had been travelling back and forth every few months and it was then that work opportunities started to pour in. So we decided to move here and it’s been four years since.
What is the secret to a healthy lifestyle?
Balance... Healthy living is all about keeping your body, mind and soul happy. It also involves any form of exercise. We all connect with food in such an emotional way that it’s important to balance it out. It’s natural for us to crave fatty food and sweets, but how we choose the good fat and good sweets is what’s vital. Choosing correctly helps your body to get the right nutrients and your mind to be satisfied. Depriving yourself of things will result in physical and nutritional downfall.
How do you come up with such interesting recipes?
I guess it just comes naturally to me... I’m a foodie, in the sense that I care for good, tasty and healthy food. I get inspiration from my mother and grandmother’s cooking, or some chef I dined with across the globe. What excites me most is when someone gives me a natural ingredient; thinking about all the recipes I can come up using it gives me great pleasure.
What do people do wrong when trying to lose weight?
People often want to lose weight for a wedding that they have to attend, or an outfit they have to fit into...that’s utterly wrong! You should want to lose weight to stay healthy! All these fad diets will definitely make you lose 3 to 4 kilos in a week, but you’re draining your body in the process. If you want a long-term change you have to work towards it and see what fits your lifestyle and tastes.
What sort of advice do you give people?
To love themselves and their body! Not everyone’s body is alike; what suits someone may not suit another. You transition from time to time and this you must accept. Also, know that you’re not born with good or bad habits, you make them, so it’s never too late to start.
What are your other interests? How do you unwind?
When I’m most stressed I get into the kitchen and cook, because it helps me relax. I enjoy interacting with my 9-year-old son and watching him grow. I like to dance, do yoga and go for morning walks to KBR Park. I try to balance out my personal and professional lives by going away on holidays for two to three months at a stretch. It helps me rejuvenate! I also enjoy dining in restaurants where chefs can stimulate my senses. --- as told to Niharika