Experts are vying to talk about the nutrition principles and the right products combination, and meanwhile questions do not decrease. Is it worth giving up animal protein? What are dairy products dangerous for? Does our organism need vitamins? Let’s figure it out with health coach Fidan Huseynova @iamgreenjunkie.
How did you become a healthy diet follower?
Of course, I also had periods of my life, when I ate junk food, doners and burgers. However, my mother was partially trying to encourage us to eating healthy. As a true Ganja native, she prefers all fresh and homemade, we never had mayonnaise or low-quality products at home. I always loved dairy products very much (especially cottage cheese “shor”) and bread, which I still cannot give up. Then I got married and started reading a lot of books about proper nutrition during pregnancy. At that time the interest to healthy eating was increasing, but due to my restless nature I decided to dig deeper and explore it all myself. I did not even think about being vegan at the moment. I lived in Dubai and had enough literature by my side. Especially I was impressed by Colin Campbell’s “The China Study”. In this book he talks about experiments, which were held on rodents. So, one of the experiments allowed to track accurate connection between deterioration of rodents’ health with oncological diseases and consumption of cow's milk. The same with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. And so, I slowly began to understand that it was time to give up certain products. Two years ago I switched to vegetable products and noticed changes immediately. I was never energetic, got tired quickly and "fused out". After switching to vegetable food, oddly enough, I felt an incredible inflow of energy, ease, clarity of mind.
How hard was such dramatic change of eating habits?
I had a lot of fears. How will people around react? What will I order at restaurants? But all this could not stop me, of course. Luckily my mother’s experience was in front of my eyes: she practiced intermittent fasting for 15 years, did yoga and was able to heal her gastric ulcer. It all looked like naturopathy. Transition to a new nutrition system went gradually and consciously. For a few months fish was still in my diet. Then I refused it as well. Before going vegan I did not really love vegetables and did not consume herbs at all. After switching to vegetable food even tastes and flavors sound differently.
So, your relatives supported you? Do they eat healthy as well?
You won’t find any products containing preservatives, coloring and other chemicals in my kitchen. But natural, seasonal and whole foods – easily. Respectively, everybody eats more or less "healthy". My husband and daughter are on traditional nutrition. Baby’s diet contains a lot of vegetables and fruits, almond and sometimes goat milk, but there is no red meat, cow's milk, children's yogurts and buns, which in my understanding are a priori unhealthy. I cook on ghee oil and also olive and avocado oil, sometimes coconut oil as well. I accustomed my husband to smoothies and salads, but he is a meat eater and coffee lover.
Diet or transition to vegetarianism has to be conscious, and everyone including my child, has to make this choice independently. In my power is only to form the correct eating habits, to set an example of healthy nutrition and a lifestyle.
Nowadays there is so much talk about gluten, lactose intolerance. What is your opinion on that?
The thing is that about 70% of people on the Earth are lactose and gluten intolerant. Panic attacks, absent-mindedness, neuroticism and depression and even migraines can be caused by gluten intolerance. For example, when the children having autism are transferred to non gluten diet, their state improves. I know that I am gluten intolerant, and generally learned to trace my body’s reaction to certain product. However intolerance frequently passes covertly, without allowing revealing the true reason of constant sickness. Same with dairy products. I no longer argue with people on its pseudo-benefit, but a lot could be said about it. The most difficult is to give up cheese which literally causes food addiction, but does not bring any benefit. My professor from the American Institute of Nutrition where I remotely study right now, said a remarkable thing. Some certain product can bring a huge benefit to your health, when on someone else it will affect as poison.
What do you think of taking various vitamins and dietary supplements?
Vitamins are only acceptable to take if there is direct necessity, this means their lack, and it must be done after passing tests. In most cases it is enough to consume fruits and vegetables in large numbers in order to provide organism with necessary nutrients. Either way, vitamin treatments are just synthetics.
And what about eco-products?
Unlike in Dubai, I do not buy products in Baku marked "organic", etc. I choose seasonal products. It is naive to buy mango and to expect that it will bring more benefit, than seasonal apples which grow on your ground. By the way, it is very important to consume products which grow on the territory of your inhabitance.
Do you follow the rule of two liters of water a day? Do you drink tea?
Drinking regime is individual as well. Of course, it is desirable to drink not less than 1.5 liters of water. It is important to drink water, but not some other liquid. But it is obligatory to observe a certain period before and after meal.
I do drink tea, of course. I cannot imagine going somewhere and not having a cup of tea with delicious jam, for example.
How can you briefly formulate the basic rules of your nutrition system?
People often ask me whether I profess the Buddhism. Actually, my lifestyle is not connected with any spiritual doctrine, and directed only to health maintenance.
It is important to remember that the principles of nutrition should be selected individually. What suits one person can be harmful for another. Perhaps, vegetarianism suits me now and will not suit after a while. It is also impossible to ignore genetic predisposition to a certain type of food. Therefore I do not consider reasonable to exclude certain products from diet completely in one day. I think, the perfect option is when your food is useful for 80%, and the 20%, probably is necessary to please the brain. The total exclusion of all desirable products will inevitably lead to failure. It is very important to listen to your own body.
Success is not concluded in vegetable diet, but in reasonable, intuitive nutrition. An organism, reacting to certain products definitely, gives us the most right answers.
The fact that recently the number of people with awareness in eating habits grows is very pleasing. It is a wonderful trend.
At the moment I complete my education and think of gaining new knowledge. I participate in several projects, I supervise Greenjunkie corner, which presents my healthy desserts, smoothies, salads and snack. Also I try not to abandon my main passion – painting!
Interview by Nigar Maharramova