Journey

My athletic journey got wings through whole plant based foods

Nikita is a fitness enthusiast. She is a yogini, loves swimming, cycling, running and has participated in many athletic events. She is also an aspiring mixed martial arts fighter. Her fitness journey has been inspired and supported by her food journey of whole plant based foods. She does not take non-veg or dairy products, and yet her achievements are noteworthy!! Read her positively charged story here.

Nikita Solanki
Yoga Instructor/ Athlete / Plant-based Nutritionist
Mumbai

As a child, I was somehow enamoured by the sight of fruits. They come in such different colours, shapes, sizes and of course tastes. No matter how much junk food we had as a Marwari family which was ghee and oil-laden, I used to wait when my father bought apples from the market. Or mangoes in the summer. Delicious and so fulfilling. That was, and still is my festivity.

So the seeds had been sown for a healthy lifestyle. I only didn’t realize it as much until adulthood. The first turning point was when my father passed away in early 2013, at the age of 58. I had lost an integral part of myself, not just him. It made me wake up to the thought that a long life isn’t achieved just with other’s blessings, it is also due to taking good care of yourself.

Health is holistic

Many people go through a mid-life crisis. I was undergoing one at the age of 26. But the dots started connecting soon. Taking dance classes made me believe in my flexibility, giving me an opportunity to explore my fitness. It was in April 2015 that I realized that my calling was in the world of yoga, having tired myself out with few corporate jobs. I joined a yoga teacher training course and became a yoga instructor.

Health is not about one aspect, it is holistic. I felt within, something was holding me back, still. What was it? Why? I was still searching for answers, while attempting to make a living on my own ability. The body betrayed me like Judas at times, while doing my yoga postures. It wasn’t about practicing less or in a wrong way, it was something else which was elusive.

As I kept going, it turns out that the answer was seeking me itself. It all goes back to diet. Wow! The universe has its own mysterious ways of working.



Whole plant based foods

Brinda Poojary, a Mumbai-based vegan activist and a very dear friend of mine introduced me to whole plant based foods. She used to come to my home for yoga and I would experiment making food for her. She would explain a lot to me about the link between food and health. But I did not want to make any drastic changes in my diet that are not sustainable.

Initially, for a month or two, I was hesitant, typically thinking (even out loud sometimes!), ‘I as it is eat vegetarian food. I harm no animals. How can I live without milk? How rubbish is this concept?”

It took me more than a month to imbibe how the whole plant based diet is positively impactful to health. I read a lot about it, spoke to people around, watched YouTube videos. I learnt that foods that are whole in form, as close to their natural state, are most nutritious and body can easily digest them. Processed foods are depleted in nutrients plus have harmful artificial additives. Animal foods are difficult-to-digest and leave an acidic residue on digestion.

I wanted improvement in my fitness, which is my top priority after all. In January 2016, I was convinced to take to the whole plant based diet like a magnet does to a fridge.

Getting an opportunity to work part-time with Bhavna Kapoor from Health Nut deepened my understanding of food and health. She alongside SHARAN India, have made this journey instinctive and effortless for me to follow, till date. Daunted by lack of choices, what to eat what not to eat, how to cook, what to replace dairy products with, etc – all implementation challenges when you transition to a whole plant based diet, became a thing of the past.

My daily diet comprised of sprouts, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and a small amount of grains. If I ate cooked food, it would have more of cooked veggies and pulses and less of grains.

Life changed forever

Change in diet brought about many positive changes in me. I felt very energetic and light. I started feeling very positive. I started smiling more. I pondered ‘I have a lighter, stronger body and I have passion. What stops me from taking on challenges?’ From here began my athletic journey!!

Pursuing my passion - Cycling, swimming and running

All my life, I've been told that I look like an athlete but I was never really one until March 2016 when I completed a 200 km cycling ride. I trained very hard for it, including taking stairs for 40 floors to train for a kilometre long climb. I was often discouraged by people around saying it will be difficult for me as I was not taking milk and non veg. Even as I struggled and shed tears more than a crocodile, I was positive that it is a journey that has to be enjoyed. Cmon, keep going! That was my mantra. The simple cycle could be rode so much, having the simplest of food. I have that much stamina, I just couldn’t believe! Also my recovery after the ride was quite quick and smooth.

This was the first step in aspiring to excel in other fitness skills apart from yoga. In June 2016, I started swimming regularly, I had learnt swimming just a year ago. I also discovered my passion of running under the open sun.

Participating in triathlons

In September 2016 and January 2017, I participated in Olympic distance triathlons (comprising of all 3 of swimming, cycling and running). I was able to perform well due to massive improvements in postures and muscle-building.

I trained very hard. Either for all three sports individually or in a combination of two sports at a time.

A proud moment for me was to be able to complete the half IronMan distance Triathlon in Mysore in September 2018. My next aspiration is to complete the full IronMan.

Whole plant based foods support my athletic passion

Given my fitness regime, people often ask me about protein and calcium – where do I get them from. It’s only when they ask that I think about it! I believe in wholesome nutrition and I get it from my food. Eat plant based, whole, seasonal, local, fresh, raw foods and your body gets everything it needs.

Today I enjoy and devour raw food more than ever before. Now a large part of my diet is raw.

I feel very energetic. I travel a lot for my classes and follow a very hectic fitness routine. But even then I have so much energy left at the end of the day. This is a key reason why I have started learning Mixed Martial Arts! Yoga, swimming, cycling, running - and now I’m an aspiring Mixed Martial Arts fighter.

In today’s world, fitness and health supplements are believed to go hand in hand. But I haven’t taken them yet, except Vitamin D and B12. I want to closely listen to my body which has supported me thus far. I am on a path of self-discovery.

Whole plant based foods support my overall health

My immunity has become stronger. I don’t fall ill that frequently. Even if I do, I recover much faster. I don’t take medicines, I just give a lot of rest to my body so that it can self heal.

I had skin acne problem since I was 13 years old. I also had sinusitis. These issues have significantly improved.

It’s almost been 2 years now. I have embraced my spiritual side much more too. I have grown more compassionate towards both animals and people as no living being is greater than another, and we need to co-operate to thrive.

When you expose your body to Nature’s gifts, Nature gifts you with that instinctive ability to listen to your body to run your mind very well. I hope to participate in more events, overcome every challenge, increase my longevity and inspire society.

(About Nikita Solanki: Nikita is a yoga instructor, a content writer, a plant-based nutritionist by profession and a triathlete by heart. She enjoys swimming, cycling and running individually as well as together in a Triathlon. She is also an aspiring Mixed Martial Art fighter).



Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food and lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. Wellcure believes that each human body is unique and hence no Health Journey should be construed as a "cure". The views expressed by the user in the above Health Journey are his/her personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.


01:20 PM | 30-07-2020

Follow ur dreams is something few do.. i admire uoo.. i think too that a simpler life including diet is wat earth needs. I can't at present but think fruitarian & veg is probably the best way for self and others.

Reply

11:48 AM | 30-07-2020

Wow it's so inspiring. Would love to follow your path.😊😊😊

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03:21 PM | 22-08-2019

Thanks for sharing your story ....can guide me about excercises you started with or how a beginner start ...I'm on vegan diet as of now ....my next aim is to tone my muscles and get my round back fixed and build confidence in me. Pls guide

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05:25 AM | 25-05-2019

VOW!
I know of very few Women Ironman. Happy to know one now and your journey! Keep it up as you help in busting myths relating to stamina building based on non veg and dairy based diets!

Reply

04:42 PM | 08-05-2019

Amazing journey and learning

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