Vinita Contractor is a plant-based nutrition coach whose typical day involves consulting with her clients, experimenting with and preparing vegan food recipes, overseeing her family’s meals and snacks, and spending time with her husband and two sons.
Here’s how Vinita manages to do it all, along with a few tips she’d like to give to other vegans.
Her Morning Routine
6.30 am. Wakes up, makes breakfast for her sons and prepares their lunch boxes.
7.30 am. Sits in silence for some time once her sons leave for school.
8:00 am. Exercises every other day, through a yoga class or walk. The days she doesn’t, she spends time and chats with her husband.
9/9:30 am. Makes herself a green smoothie, with:
- Green leaves, for protein and fibre
- A fruit and 4 dates, for nutrient-rich carbohydrates
- Coconut water, for healthy fats and electrolytes
Her Work Schedule
9.30-11.00 am. Begins work, attending to her social media correspondence and daily administrative tasks.
11.00 am – 1:30 pm. Meets clients for consultations and follow-up appointments.
1.30 pm. Has lunch, made up of –
- one and a half jawar bhakri (or another whole grain), for a healthy source of carbohydrates
- 2 small bowls of daal, for protein
- 2 small bowls of (oil-free) sabzi, for fibre and micronutrients
- 2 small bowls of salad with additional steamed sprouts, for fibre and protein
2.00-4.30 pm. Resumes work, focusing on recipe development and food trials.
4.30 – 5.00 pm. Takes a break to spend time with her kids when they’re back from school.
5:00 pm. They all eat a healthy evening snack, getting a good mix of protein and fibre, both of which curb hungry pangs until dinner. They generally eat any 1 of the following options:
- Fruits/crackers/crudités with hummus
- A smoothie
5.30 to 7 pm. This is a busy time, where she works on recipes in the kitchen, oversees dinner preparations, helps her children with homework and drops them to classes/play time.
On Weekends: Vinita also conducts workshops over some weekends, where she teaches attendees how to cook with oil-free, plant-based whole foods.
Post Work Hours
7:30 pm. Has dinner, made up of –
- Roti (millet-based and stuffed with veggies) or brown rice
- 2 small bowls of daal
- 2 small bowls of sabzi
- 2 small bowls of salad (mostly raw with steamed sprouts)
To add variety to their dishes, Vinita makes dhansak, falafel, pizza or a stir-fry (all vegan) thrice a week.
8.00 pm. Does some reading; she recently finished an Ayurveda book about incorporating plant-based diets.
10-10.30 PM. Goes to sleep.
In Her Spare Time
- Likes watching documentaries and movies (recently watched ‘What the Health’ and ‘Okja’)
- Destresses by hanging out or playing table tennis with her kids on weekends
- Goes to a vegan café or a music event with her husband every fortnight
- Goes to the farmer’s market
Her Tips for Vegans
1] Eat plenty of whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, to get a wide range of macronutrients and micronutrients
2] Get calcium from sesame seeds and green smoothies
3] Get enough protein through daals, homemade tofu, sprouts, amaranth, ragi, nachni
4] Get enough iron from pomegranates, beetroot, dates and greens. Get vitamin C from lemon, amla and citrus fruits simultaneously, since vitamin C facilitates iron absorption.
5] Avoid non-native foods like quinoa and kale, and focus on local alternatives instead, for a better source of nutrients.
6] Check your vitamin B12 and D3 levels once a year, and aim for your vitamin B12 level to be 400+ (get a supplement if it’s lower).
7] A vada pao and soft drink is also vegan. It’s important not to be just vegan, but a healthy vegan.