25 January 2015 Last updated

Life Challenge Week 2: Bhawna Verma

Life Challenger Bhawna adapts her Indian cuisine favourites to her new diet goals and start feeling empowered.

Aquarius magazine
18 Mar 2012 | 02:49 pm
  • Besani Roti

    Bhawna has been trying her hand at gluten-free rotis.

    Source:Supplied Image 1 of 2
  • "I was quite disheartened at my inability to follow the prescribed diet plan but, after my second meeting with Lily, I am feeling more confident."

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 2 of 2

Week two, day three: Diet struggles

Following the new gluten-free and dairy-free eating plan was easier said than done and I am finding it extremely difficult to follow it.

The main challenges I am facing are –

  • Foreign food items, names I had never even heard before let alone eaten
  • Eating bigger breakfasts, including all the food groups
  • Double cooking requires tremendous planning (regular food for my family and special food for myself)
  • Light dinners leaves me feeling hungry in the night

To understand the diet plan better, I embarked on a web search and found out that the special recommendations made by Lily, Nutritionist (Dubai Herbal and Treatment centre) were not so alien after all. Pseudo grain like buckwheat is kuttu, quinoa is bathua seed, amaranth is rajgira, pearl tapioca is sabudana and so on.

Lily did not want to overwhelm me and gave me some concessions in the first week. I was allowed to eat wheat rotis and milk on a couple of days. This was done deliberately to allow a smooth transition. Nevertheless, it didn’t have the desired effect! I spent the week shopping for new groceries, trying new recipes but I am still not following the prescribed diet completely.

Meeting Lily tomorrow, hope we can find a way forward.

Week two, day four

Bhawna’s tip of the day

My tip for today: "Victoria, my personal trainer at Fitness First, warned me against stretching before a workout. It’s a common mistake and static stretches should follow a workout, not precede it."

Week two, day five: Food confidence

I was quite disheartened at my inability to follow the prescribed diet plan but, after my second meeting with Lily, I am feeling more confident. She welcomed the gluten-free recipes I had taken for her approval. All of these recipes were from the Indian cuisine. For example, dosa, cabbage and coconut stirfry, rajma masala, bajra roti, makki ki roti, missi roti, lentil kottu, besan chillas etc. She said the idea was to include a variety of non-wheat and gluten-free products in our diet irrespective of which cuisine they come from.

Plus, as I was not particularly allergic to any wheat products, I was advised not to omit wheat and dairy entirely from my diet but replace it on some days of the week to allow a break to our digestive system. Food Rotation! Food Rotation!

The best part was when Lily actually showed me her lunch box (baked veggies and lettuce with pumpkin seed oil dressing).  If a working woman could be so organised and determined to eat healthy, I knew I had to try harder. I plan my meals a day in advance now and am slowly trying to make this a family affair so that I don’t have to cook separately for hubby and children. This way, everybody gets to eat healthy.

As far as cow’s milk is concerned, I did not particularly miss it as I like the substitutes like rice milk and soya milk. I haven’t been bold enough to try camel’s milk yet, but what the heck! For me, it’s a miracle that I was able to go for a week without my night cap. There is a lot of recent buzz about the pros and cons of cow’s milk and I suggest we keep ourselves updated.

My tip for today is: There is no perfect food, so including a variety of different foods and watching portion sizes is vital to sound nutrition.

Week two, day six: Life coaching revelation

NLP was the area of the Life Challenge I was most looking forward to. I have been to hypnotherapists, psychics, face-readers, palmists and astronomers, and usually come back with average success. I am well aware of the issues I need help with and most of these talented people asked me to search for answers within myself.  Unfortunately, it’s not easy for me to: 1) trust my inner voice; 2) Act on its advice.

I had a heart full of expectations when I met my life coach – Carolyn, Blue Sky Life Coaching – and I wasn’t disappointed. The first session was about finding what I wanted out of the life coaching and if I was sincere towards changing for the better.

The real work started in the second session.  Carolyn made me dive straight into my worst fears and asked me to think about a situation that bothered me the most. After an hour and a half, I started to see the situation in an entirely new light, was at peace with it and this time I knew I ‘felt’ different not just ‘thought differently’ about the situation.  Carolyn did not offer a single opinion, judgement or pseudo-suggestion during the entire process. What she did was to make me dig deeper and deeper into the root of the problem towards my underlying fears that ignited the problem. We did this till I was able to catch hold of an unconscious belief, which was the cause of the fears. At this point, Carolyn decided to work on this limiting belief and made me come up with an alternative empowering belief. As soon as I engraved this empowering belief in my mind’s eye, voila, my emotions changed too. I no longer felt fear, or hatred, for the situation anymore. And I had finally come up with an answer from within!

Carolyn helped me to get in touch with my own infinite intelligence. She helped me to access my unconscious mind, which controls 97 per cent of our perception and behavior.  And this is just the beginning; I wonder what the next session holds for me!

My tip for today is: All is not what it seems. 

To prove it, try this cool optical illusion in the information box above and be prepared to surprise yourself! 

Focus on the cross in the center of the image…….soon the circle of violet circles will start DISAPPEARING!

Week two, day seven: Fitness time!

Yeah! I had my first personal training session at Fitness First and  I am so excited because I have never had somebody explain the complicated machines and funny gym equipment.  Not only did Victoria (Personal Trainer, FF, Sharjah) demonstrate the best way to use the machines, I now have somebody else to keep count while I sweat my way to glory!

Vicky has recently shifted from the UK to UAE and knows her stuff because she has been through every stage of toning up, correcting the diet, exercising as well as studying the body. I simply love the way she explains the body movements and how each muscle is being worked during the strength training. I always thought I had enough discipline to carry out a strict regime in the gym, but working with a personal trainer is awesome. I feel focused, understand my goals and her constant encouragement doesn’t let me give up.  I tried almost every machine on the gym floor under her expert guidance and didn’t even notice when the hour was over.

Vicky designed a specialised work-out routine, which will help me regain strength in my shoulders, as I have been struggling with it lately, tighten my abs and increase my stamina. Can’t wait for my next session!

Lily Mueller, nutritionist, says: “Considering the fact that you were quite overwhelmed by all the nutrition changes, I think you are doing brilliantly! First of all, by adjusting to the non-dairy lifestyle (something you thought was impossible) and, secondly, by digging into it yourself and coming up with alternative recipes that would fit into your diet plan. Well done! Nutrition is such a vast topic, it’s best to make some gradual better choices and start researching a little yourself as you go along.”


Aquarius magazine

Aquarius magazine