This is a story of the transformation of the health and fitness of Rajat Wadhwa – from someone who had not participated in even one local marathon to one who regularly participates in long distance marathons, from someone addicted to vegan fast foods to one following a raw diet regimen – his story is truly inspiring. With advice from experts, meticulous planning, discipline and sticking to raw foods to give him the drive and energy, today he has successfully participated in many long distance runs. Read on..
39 years, IT Entrepreneur
Shifting to veganism
I am an IT entrepreneur. In 2007, I became a vegetarian. In 2015, I became a vegan overnight after I got exposed to the cruelty in the dairy industry. I consider myself to be an ethical vegan.
I, till date, actively participate in various activities to spread the vegan messages through presentations in schools and colleges, social communities, online and also by taking part in marches and rallies.
However, I was not really eating healthy. Till 2017, I was a big foodie. Chips, vegan bourbon biscuits and the like used to be my favorite snacks. Being a Punjabi munda, I loved vada pavs, samosas and other fast foods.
Stepping into raw
In 2017, I began consultations with THAC (The Health Awareness Centre, Mumbai) as my mother had diabetes and I was on the lookout for ways to reverse the condition. I had read about the benefits of raw food. Many other people I happened to meet like Dr Rashmi Menon, Anil Nagpal, Aditya Mehta, Girija Tiwari also advised on benefits of raw food. To help my mom step into the process, I decided to go raw as well.
My mother saw a great improvement in overall health and vitality and today her health is much better. Though I didn’t have any health issues, going raw significantly boosted energy levels in everyday life. I lost 20 kg too! I believe that raw food is the gateway to energetic freedom. I got to learn that that beyond 108 deg F, cooked food has zero nutrition, and weaning away from junk food was much easier after that. I follow the 80-10-10 guideline. 80 carbs-10 protein-10 fats (80% fruits-10% veggies-10% seeds & nuts) which is the magic formula for better health. I found that steering away from dense cooked foods as much as possible lightens up the energy flow in the body.
Staying committed on the path of raw food
Like the planet, our bodies are eco-systems comprised of trillions of bacteria, fungi & viruses living symbiotically in and on our body. Hence quality of our microbiome determines not only propensity for disease, but also mental disposition, cognitive function, and even specific food cravings.
Depending on whether the body is in alkaline or acidic state, it has a mind of its own to attract more of the same thing. So once one reaches a certain level of alkalinity for example by staying fully raw for 3 days or more, it makes a lot easier to keep on this track. Eating living foods causes one to thrive whereas eating dense foods produces a feeling of sluggishness. I try to stay committed on this path even when I am out socializing by generally carrying fruits along and eat minimally cooked foods, if at all. A work, I stock up the fridge with fruits and salads.
Diet and fitness planning for marathons
During the Ahimsa retreat in March 2017, I was inspired by vegan experts like Kuntal Joisher, Dr Rashmi Menon, Mayavi Khandelwal and a few others to attempt taking part in marathons. I had never even participated in any marathon – even local ones. Talking to them regularly strengthened my urge and gave me the motivation to participate in a 21 km marathon.
I started preparing for it with meticulous planning. I had only 6 months to prepare for my first 21k Tata Mumbai Marathon in January 2018. At first, I did not think I had enough time, but I started small with jogging for only 1km and increased the distance slowly. Initially, I would get breathless within 500 meters, so would take a break and pick up. This way, I steadily reached my smaller goals of 5km, 10, 15km and finally 21km. In the early stages of practice, I used to dip my feet in hot water with salt, to energize them
The first 10 days were the toughest, but with steady progression, I moved towards my end-goal. I knew from prior experience, that being on raw conserves a lot of body’s energy. Hence I first went raw for 21 days and then I became a fruitarian for the next 21 days since fruits are the easiest to digest among all food groups.
I steadily increased my running time from 1 hour a day to then 1.5 hours and 2 hours per day to slowly 4 hours per day, once a week. I also included stretching and sunbathing daily for half an hour amidst nature and my animal companions.
Eventually, I pegged it up a notch and on Saturdays, I would run from Vashi, where I stay to Andheri, or Vashi to Dadar, finish some work, do a vegan outreach and run back home to Vashi.
Over time, I have been participating in more such marathons
Vasai-Virar Marathon by India Bulls, Dec 2017
Tata Mumbai Marathon, January 2018
Navy run BKC, Dec 2018
Vasai-Virar Marathon by India Bulls, Dec 2018
Tata Mumbai 42 km Marathon 2019
My diet plan today
I stick to my regular 80-10-10 diet. Before a marathon, about 2 days prior, I eat adequately to not feel hungry, stay fully hydrated with juices / smoothies. One day prior, I have protein-rich raw sprouts / chick peas/ salad/ green smoothies / coconuts / fruits. During the marathon, I carry 1 litre of fresh juice, bananas, dates with rock salt. This essential nutrition ensures staying energized even post marathon.
I stayed in touch with my goals and I didn’t let weekend socializing get in the way of taking time out for my runs. Also, I kept a steady pace and measured my progress carefully. It’s important not to compromise on nutrition and never skipped a meal.
I believe in walking the talk – leading by example on veganism and health aspects for non vegans among my friends, family and work colleagues to spread the message of veganism.
We are what we eat. All food is a vibe ~ vibration. If we choose to eat animals, we are opting to consume their vibrations of torture, pain, cruelty, despair, horror. On the contrary, choosing a diet designed by nature that is whole plant-based, harmonizes mind body and soul, creates a sustainable eco-world, boosts positivity and wellness all around.
Attune to self love with compassion for all sentient beings because peace begins from one's plate - This is my mantra.
(About Rajat Wadhwa - Rajat is an IT Entrepreneur by profession. He is an ethical vegan and his goal is Animal Liberation via spreading the message of ahimsa or non-violence. He loves animals, nature treks, music, performing arts and travelling)
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