What better way to kickstart the new decade than with Beam Health’s Alekha Engineer by your side. And with balance as her main mantra, she shows us the path to being a healthier, happier individual. It is the corner stone of her venture, BEAM—a health and wellness company that helps you achieve optimal health through nutritional therapy.
This new decade is less about fad diets and more about focus on self-care. “At BEAM we focus on bio-individuality, keeping in mind that each client’s nutritional needs vary and that based on our unique traits, we respond to food differently,” quips Alekha. She goes on to explain how this rings true for each client’s lifestyle, movement habits, the way their home is set up and other such factors as well. At BEAM they are therefor very careful in tailor making each plan so specifically that it is relevant, balanced and most importantly enjoyable as opposed to being a burden. The ultimate goal is to give people a sustainable approach to eating and staying healthy in life. Speaking about her own experience in finding the ideal, equiliberalised formula to wellness Alekha explains, “I spent a lot of years in the cycle that a lot of people find themselves in today—trying extreme diets or very gruelling workout regimes to reach that aspirational target weight or size, and I never quite felt satisfied with what I had achieved. It took me a long time to learn to appreciate food for what it can do for you, to feel proud of the things my body
can achieve and to think about health in a long-term and balanced way.” And it was this personal experience and realisation that propelled Alekha to introduce this kind of paradigm shift with BEAM—by really focussing on improving the quality of people’s lives through nutrition and movement. She gained experience in the fitness industry for a few years and went on to get certified as a nutrition therapist, forging the foundation of BEAM, and its beginning.
Alekha operates with a multi-pronged approach towards achieving a healthy lifestyle, staying conscious of the fact that finding balance is an ongoing and evolutionary process. “Our lives and priorities are always changing, and so it is really about deciding that health is a priority and finding ways to improve it at every stage is paramount,” she exclaims. She believes that balance means something different to each person depending on where they are in their lives. It could be small adjustments like incorporating more walking, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting up and stretching at regular intervals, finding ways to build more whole foods into your diet by swapping packaged snacks for something fresh or even sleeping an extra half hour—small habit changes go a long, long way. “One of the things I always tell clients is that if your health routine is causing you stress, it’s time to reassess,” says Alekha. While making changes towards better health is not always easy, it should definitely give you a sense of happiness or satisfaction. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, but according to Alekha, there are still a few universal things that would work well for most people.
“IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO LEARN TO APPRECIATE FOOD FOR WHAT IT CAN DO FOR YOU, TO FEEL PROUD OF THE THINGS MY BODY CAN ACHIEVE AND TO THINK ABOUT HEALTH IN A LONG-TERM AND BALANCED WAY.”
ALEKHA’S GOALS FOR 2020:
1. To eat mindfully: take time to chew, appreciate the food I eat and recognise when I am full.
2. To work on strength and posture: particularly in smaller muscles and areas I haven’t paid enough attention to in the past.
3. To stick to a morning ritual of movements and mindsets: I recently listened to a great podcast about how to incorporate this each morning, whether I have five minutes or an hour, and I am determined to make these a habit
ALEKHA’S UNIVERSAL APPROACH TO HEALTH:
Homemade food for the win:
Try to eat home cooked food wherever possible. To make it interesting, try out a new recipe or cook with friends instead of eating out.
Spend at least 10 minutes stretching in the morning, walk whenever possible, try a standing desk at work. Incorporating regular movement into your day will make a big difference to your overall health, and you won’t even need to worry about hitting the gym.
Sleep is everything:
If you don’t already, change your sleep habits so that you get seven uninterrupted hours of sleep. Put away all electronics and dim the lights one hour before you want to sleep. Initiate a short meditation practice if you’re inclined. Better sleep always leads to better stress management and subsequently, better health.
Not a big fan of fad diets or any plan that arbitrarily rules out food groups, Alekha’s deduction is that what works for one person may not work for the next, and if you follow a one-sizefits-all approach, it often will lead to nutritional deficiencies or will exacerbate them. According to her, the best way to eat is by paying attention to your body, understand what works for it and enjoy a wide variety of food within that. “Personally, my favourite recipes are any that are easy and delicious. I most often dry roast a nice selection of vegetables, and then dress them with a tasty quality avocado or olive oil and some pink salt. This method helps retain nutrients and ensures that I am not going too heavy handed on overheating the oils,” quips Alekha