Food Instead of Pills: Less meat, More Veggies, Fruit…

Recently, I was interviewed by a  Novi News and HomeTownLife reporter, Susan Bromley and here is the article.

You can also view the article on this website. This is an excerpt from the article.

Food as Medicine

Sprouted Moong Salad DemoAs a registered dietician and founder of Nutrition and Wellness Consulting, LLC, in Novi, Aarti Batavia uses food as medicine to develop individualized plans for patients struggling with allergies, diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular, gastric, hormonal and neurological disorders.

“I believe in food as medicine,” Batavia said. “We are what we eat, drink, think and touch. Eating whole foods and consuming more plant-based foods provides vitality and exuberance that we need to enjoy life. Food is not just calories. Food is information for your genes. It sends messages to your DNA, regulates hormones, your immune system, bacteria in the gut, neurotransmitters and even influences mood and behavior. … Consuming clean, less processed and unadulterated food and water, relaxation, movement, clean air and light are crucial for optimal living.”

Earlier this month, Batavia stood next to Novi Mayor Bob Gatt at a city council meeting as he read a proclamation declaring March as National Nutrition Month. The proclamation, she said, emphasizes the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

“Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” is this year’s National Nutrition Month theme and Batavia is taking it as an opportunity to educate and encourage everyone to experiment with herbs and spices, which provide not only flavor, but also nutrients, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, to enjoy food traditions and experiences and reduce sodium, sugar and saturated/trans fats.

Batavia believes the three biggest steps people can take to improve their nutrition are to eat mindfully, consuming whole foods, more vegetables and less processed foods while enjoying food flavors; knowing that food affects inflammation; and being aware that food speaks to genes.

The biggest mistakes people make in regards to food are thinking of it only in terms of calories; assuming that foods promoted as “low-fat” or as “diet” are healthy; eating quickly on the go without savoring food; and assuming that food is not related to mood.

Batavia is a vegetarian, but notes there is no one correct diet for everyone, as we all have individual preferences based on traditions, food availability and emotions.

“Eskimos have survived on raw fish/seafood in harsh winters, while the indigenous people of Africa have survived on root vegetables and little meat,” she said. “You can be a vegan/vegetarian and still be eating French fries and ketchup, while some Paleo folks don’t even consume two to three servings of vegetables.”

Decrease the meat, fish and eggs

Studies show that Americans tend to consume more animal proteins, Batavia noted, with recent dietary guidelines the suggest decreasing the amount of meat, fish and eggs consumed. She suggests turning to beans and whole grains as protein sources rather than animal foods, which do have vitamins and minerals, but lack antioxidants, crucial in preventing free radical damage, which corrupts DNA and is often cited as causing cancer. Antioxidants are present in fruits and vegetables.

“If you are consuming animal-based proteins, be sure that it is antibiotic and hormone-free,” she said. “The antibiotics used in animal farming do have an impact on our gut bacteria and the hormones can play as endocrine disruptors in our bodies.”

Krause notes that there are products available now that are plant-based substitutes for meat that taste very similar, but without all the hormones, saturated fat, cholesterol, and antibiotics found in chicken, beef, and pork.

When people ask Krause what he eats, he finds it to be the easiest question — he eats the same as he did before he became a vegan, but substitutes plant-based products where necessary. There is no chicken in his stir-fry, but there might be a plant-based chicken substitute.

There are even various plant-based milks now, he adds.

While he doesn’t dispute veganism is a big change for anyone who has eaten animal products all their life, he notes the human species “is very adaptable” and the switch will also save the cost of purchasing expensive meat, as well as cut the astronomical costs of health care in the long run.

Challenges are more to be found in family members who aren’t on board and restaurants where you may need to be more specific about your wants.

Helping smallest, pickiest eaters

Children’s growth is not affected by being raised as vegans, Krause said, and, in fact, they have a “head start” on healthy habits over those who begin life with a traditional diet.

To help children, both omnivores and vegans, like vegetables, Batavia suggests taking them grocery shopping and allowing them to choose new fruits or vegetables; make their plate colorful and pattern it with foods; do not force them to eat, but create positive experiences around food; and be a good role model yourself.

“You can’t ask your kids to eat fruits and veggies while you’re sitting with a bag of chips watching the television,” she said.

Krause admits although he is a vegan, he still eats “bad” when it comes to cookies, cake and even vegan ice cream. He finds himself wanting to lose about 10 pounds.

Batavia said there is no one best way to lose weight, as weight gain has multiple causes, including poor nutrition, hormones, toxins, inflammation, food addictions/sensitivities, gut health, lack of good bacteria, decreased physical activity, stress and more.

Both Batavia and Krause agree everyone can benefit from consuming more fruits and vegetables and choosing foods that help you not just survive, but thrive.

Sprouted Moong bean Salad

Recipe developed by Aarti Batavia MS, RDN, CLT, CFSP, IFMCP.


Mung beans (green gram seeds) are commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking- India, Thailand, China, Burma, Japan and Korea. It is an excellent source of protein and is almost free from flatulence-causing factors. Because of this, mung beans are preferred for feeding babies and those convalescing. The seeds contain a higher proportion of lysine than any other legume seeds. The seeds are processed and consumed as cooked whole beans or splits (dals), sprouts, immature seeds, and flour and are used in various recipes.

You could sprout moong beans and use it in salads, stir fry them with vegetables or cook them as a vegetable or daal adding mustard seeds, tomatoes, turmeric and other spices with a dash of lemon. You can serve it with rice, chapattis or any millet tortilla. Mung bean vegetable soup can be consumed as a meal by itself.


1 cup sprouted moong beans

1 small diced carrot

1 small diced cucumber

½ cup diced apple

½ cup halved grapes

½ cup blueberries

1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

¼ tsp black pepper powder

¼ tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp salt

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (optional)


1. In a bowl add sprouted moong beans, diced carrots, cucumbers, apples and blueberries.

2. Add pumpkin seeds, black pepper powder, cumin powder, salt and add freshly squeezed lime juice.

3. Mix all the ingredients and garnish with cilantro.

4. Serve in a bowl and savor the flavor!


a. Add tomatoes and avocado.

b. Instead of fruits, add onions, tomatoes, olives

c. Add a variety of beans either sprouted or cooked or from a can ( rinse canned beans )

d. Add ¼ tsp chili powder if you enjoy spicy foods

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Savor the Flavor of Eating Right #NNM

The 2016 National Nutrition Month theme – “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”

This month kickstarted by receiving a Proclamation from Mayor Bob Gatt – Novi.Yay!!!
It was such an honor and privelege to receive the Proclamation on behalf of Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

So what is a Proclamation?

– a public or official announcement, especially one dealing with a matter of great importance.

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Mayor Gatt of Novi, Michigan announced March 2016 as National Nutrition Month and  March 9th as Registered Dietitian Day.  He encouraged all citizens to join the campaign and become concerned about their nutrition and the nutrition of others in the hope of
achieving optimum health for both today and tomorrow.





How about you trying a new herb, spice, fruit, or vegetable that you have never tried before to celebrate your National Nutrition Month?

Have you tried sprouted mung beans? Let me introduce you to this humble bean.


Mung beans (green gram seeds) are commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking- India, Thailand, China, Burma, Japan and Korea. It is an excellent source of protein and is almost free from flatulence-causing factors. Because of this, mung beans are preferred for feeding babies and those convalescing. The seeds contain a higher proportion of lysine than any other legume seeds. The seeds are processed and consumed as cooked whole beans or splits (dals), sprouts, immature seeds, and flour and are used in various recipes.
You could sprout them and use it in salads and stir fry or cook them as a vegetable adding mustard seeds, tomatoes, turmeric and other spices with a dash of lemon. You can serve it with rice, chappati or any millet tortilla. Mung bean vegetable soup can be consumed as a meal by itself.

Here is a recipe to get you started.

 Zesty Mung Sprout Avocado Delight


Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Chopped ginger – 1 tsp
Chopped garlic – 1 tsp
chopped cabbage – 1 cup
Mung sprouts – 1 cup
Tomato (diced)-1
Lima beans (boiled) – 1 cup
Spinach – 1 cup
Avocado (sliced) -1
Lemon -1/2
Sage – 2 leaves
Thyme – 1 small

1. Heat oil in a pan. Saute ginger garlic for a minute.
2. Add the finely chopped cabbage and saute for another minute.
3. Turn off the heat and rest of the ingredients.
4. Finely chop the herbs.
5. Squeeze lemon juice and mix all the ingredients.
6. Eat fresh, stay healthy!

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Testimonial- Impact of West Nile Virus, Boosting Mitochondrial Support and Functional Medicine

Meet Michael :

Michael, a retired veteran and tool and die- maker enjoyed his wood -work and summer hours working outdoors.  Last October, he started feeling exhausted, followed by body aches and fever. His wife then saw a rash on his body and since she had heard and read about West Nile Virus, she suspected the same.  Over a next three days, doctors confirmed the diagnosis. West Nile virus is commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. It can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

Within a span of three days Michael’s life had changed. From being a normal active individual he was on the bed all day unable to move.

An episode of pulmonary embolism followed two weeks after his fight against West Nile Virus and during his nine week stay in the hospital he combated MRSA, C.diff and pneumonia.  Michael’s case was severe.  Most individuals who are infected do not experience such symptoms and when they do, it can be crippling, taking away all the joys of mobility leaving behind headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and a frail body.

After being discharged from the hospital, Michael had spent almost four months in rehab. He had also undergone hyperbaric oxygen treatment therapy and it helped regain mobility. He could now walk using a walker but was still dependent. His ability to drive by himself, lift even 5 lbs of weight was still a dream.  His health –care practitioners were not sure how much function he would regain. Michael had hit the plateau that and that’s when his wife Kathy called to set-up an appointment with me at Nutrition and Wellness Consulting LLC.

At Nutrition and Wellness Consulting, I use a functional medicine approach to manage chronic conditions. Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Instead of asking, “What drug matches up with this disease”, functional medicine asks – “why do you have this problem in the first place? Why has function been lost, what nutrients are you deficient in and what can we do to restore function?” In other words, functional medicine looks to find the root cause or mechanism involved with any loss of function, which ultimately reveals why a set of symptoms is there in the first place, or why the patient has a particular disease label.

We looked at Michael’s nutritional, biochemical and inflammatory markers, identified his food sensitivities and got a stool test done that provides an insight into his gut microbiome.  Within a fortnight his blood pressure medications for cut to half and then eventually stopped. Initially Michael could not lift 5 pounds and at his follow up visit i.e.  10 weeks later, he mentioned curling 8 pounds– 3 sets of 15! Whoa, this is motivating, isn’t it? Not only that, he then mentioned about driving Nebraska for a family reunion and being physically more active, climbing stairs up and down!

Here is Michael’s story before he came to see me –

Michael continues to maintain his exercise and supplement regimen and follows an anti-inflammatory diet protocol as per his test results.  I wish him the best in his recovery and I am happy to be a part of this journey.


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Carrot Beet Probiotic Beverage aka Gajar Beet ki Kanji

Gajar Beet Kanji/ Carrot Beet Probiotic Beverage

A couple of months ago, I was consulting a client from Delhi and we were discussing probiotics and fermented foods. During our conversation Rahul mentioned about this drink called Beet ki Kanji that his mother makes. I experimented making at home and it was an instant hit with my husband and friends. This is the very same reason that I am sharing this recipe with you. May you enjoy the kanji and the health benefits of the good bugs, and the power of phytonutrients from beets, carrots, mustard seeds and green chili.

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In North India deep purple colored carrot is fermented along with crushed mustard seed, hot chili powder and salt for a few days to get a popular drink called Kanji, which is considered to have high nutritional value and cooling and soothing properties.  According to the Indian Journal of Microbiology, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) aka probiotics play an important role in the fermentation of vegetables to improve nutritive value, palatability, acceptability, microbial quality and its shelf life.

What got me interested in this drink is the probiotics ( 18 different strains of lactic acid bacteria were isolated in the study mentioned earlier) and their immune enhancing value that it brings to our tables. One other reason is that I love beets…they are YUMMM!

There are various studies that discuss  the role of how probiotics may:
• Enhance your immune system (70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, which means that if your gut is overrun with bad bacteria, there’s a good chance your immune system will not be functioning at its best)
•  Prevent infections after surgery
• Treat acute and chronic diarrhea
• Relieve inflammatory bowel disease
• Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Protect against cancer development and progression
• Prevent eczema in children
• Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
• Help reduce systemic allergic responses. For more information on probiotics and health, check this blog

To make your own Carrot Beet Probiotic Beverage, here is the recipe:


Water – 8 cups
Carrots (orange or purple) – 2 medium, peeled and julienned
Beetroot – 1, peeled and julienned
Green Chilies – to taste, slit.( I added  1 small)
Powdered Mustard Seeds – 1 1/2Tbsp
Salt – 11/2  Tsp or to taste
Red Chili Powder (optional)– 1 Tsp

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1. In a clean pitcher or bottle with a lid, preferably glass or ceramic, add all of the ingredients and mix well. Do not use plastic bottles or pitchers.

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2. Cover and keep the pitcher in the sun for 3-4 days, stirring at least once daily with a clean spoon.

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3. Once fermented, taste the kanji. When it’s ready it gives a tangy and fermented taste. I taste it daily just to understand the change in flavor, its food chemistry in action! Store the kanji in the refrigerator.

4. Serve chilled. Mix before serving. Carrots, Beets and Green Chilies can be eaten.

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Healthy Summertime Fruit Popsicles

These popsicles are just like summertime on a stick .  Made with real fruits, you can have them guilt free .

Summer time popsicles


4 cups watermelon puree ( about ¼ to ½  of a watermelon)

1/3 cup fresh blueberries

1/3 cup fresh strawberries

2 kiwis, peeled and sliced

1 mango, diced big

1 peach, diced small

A handful of fresh / frozen cherries, pitted and chopped

Cut watermelon into big chunks and then puree it in a blender. Set aside.

Take 1 dozen popsicle molds (amount needed will vary depending on size of molds). Fill each one with the chopped fresh fruit. Pour in the watermelon puree until each mold to the top. Slide a popsicle stick into each one. Place into freezer and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours.

Photo Credit :


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