RIYANA RUPANI | HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST
After successfully taking control of her health following years of dealing with the complications from hormonal, adrenal, digestive and autoimmune-related issues, Riyana Rupani wants nothing more than to help others who are experiencing the same thing. “I want people to understand that just because the health issues we deal with today are common, it doesn’t mean they are normal. We need to do something about them.”
Her journey towards healing began when she quit her corporate job of over 15 years in the US. “I guess you could say that I was a Type A workaholic who didn’t realise what I was doing to myself until my health gave me a wake-up call.”
Despite years of doctor visits, medication, and feeling sorry for herself, she couldn’t quite put her finger on what was wrong, especially since her lifestyle seemed healthy, filled with fresh foods, and a regular fitness routine. From there, it took tons of research to finally find suitable methods to heal. “Slowly and gradually, I made changes to my food, habits and lifestyle,” she shares. “I began to understand how to listen to my body and was amazed at the sheer impact of how real food and lifestyle adjustments could change my life.”
Today, Rupani is a holistic nutritionist who seeks to help others manage their diets. And given the year that we have had dealing with the effects of the pandemic, she states that it is imperative to adopt a good and nutritious diet. For the uninitiated, what exactly does holistic nutrition entail? Rather than just addressing isolated symptoms, holistic nutrition takes one’s mind, body and soul into consideration. “We are all bio-individual, meaning no two people are the same. What works for one person may not work for another. Holistic nutritionists look at the big picture and address all areas because we believe that everything is connected. Of course, your diet plays a huge part of the healing journey, and so do factors such as movement, sleep and stress.”
For Rupani, “it’s not just what you eat, it’s what you absorb”, because after all, it all boils down to the diet’s bioavailability. While having highly nutrient-dense foods is fantastic, it’s important that the body responds accordingly to digest and absorb all the nutrients it has to offer. Factors such as mindful eating, reducing stress levels and feeling mentally at ease are key to elevating that process.
Heightened levels of stress have unfortunately become all too familiar for most during these uncertain times. It is primarily psychological but can also manifest in physiological forms that impact what your body demands and the way it functions. “When you adopt a less than optimal diet, you deprive your body of what it needs and are probably giving it a lot of what it doesn’t require. Both of these create physiological stress as you are making your body work harder than it needs to. Separately, when you don’t give your food the attention it deserves and allow your body to enter to parasympathetic state to regulate digestion, it doesn’t have the chance to digest and absorb the food you are consuming.” Rupani shares how to be kinder to your body.
Seeing as most of us are staying indoors and working from home, what are some effective ways to combat virtual fatigue, loneliness, anxiety and burnout?
One of the best ways to combat these is to get out in nature. Getting exposed to natural sunlight is known to increase serotonin, which is in charge of lifting spirits and commonly known as the happy hormone. On top of
that, being in touch with the ground on your bare feet is also known to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, depression and stress.
Can you share a simple exercise to do at home to alleviate stress?
There is a breathing exercise I love called the five-seveneight method. In times of stress, breathe in through your nose for five counts, hold it for seven, and exhale through your mouth for eight. Doing this a few times pulls you out of a stressed state and will help in creating greater focus, relaxation and clarity.
What are three items that you have in your weekly grocery basket?
Avocados, leafy greens and eggs.
What are the pantry staples you cannot live without?
Good cooking fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, ghee and coconut oil, to name a few; good-quality seasonings and spices; and good-quality mineral salt such as Himalayan pink salt, sea salt or Celtic salt. Many of us are mineral deficient and stress depletes minerals further, so adding this to our diets can be powerful.
“I want people to understand that just because the health issues we deal with today are common, it doesn’t mean they are normal. We need to do something about them”