Interview: Maneka Grover
Friday, 12 June, 2020
Tell us about what you do?
I’m an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and I work with individuals to help them develop a healthier relationship with food, overcome food struggles, and support clients to eat intuitively by listening to their body.
What led you to a career in health and wellness, how did it all start?
I’ve always had a passion for all things health and wellness since I was a teenager but never felt confident to take it forward. In 2019 I decided to pursue my career as a Health Coach to support people live healthier lives mentally and physically. I got certified with The Institute of Integrated Nutrition based in New York, and starting working with clients in 2020.
What is integrative nutrition, and how can it help improve health and happiness?
Integrative nutrition focuses on a holistic view of one’s life, it does not only focus on nutrition. When we think of health, we often think of food and/or diet and while they both play a huge role in how we feel and how our bodies function, integrative nutrition believes there is more to a healthy diet than just the food we put into our bodies. Simply changing your diet may not be enough to help you thrive if other areas of your life are out of balance. The bottom line is: when you are nourished and happy in the ways that truly matter, food becomes secondary.
In your opinion, what are some of the hurdles that keep people from improving their relationship with food and wellness?
The idea that it's too hard. Many people believe if they’re going to invest in their health it has to be an all or nothing mentality. They have to eat perfectly, exercise every day, and constantly restrict themselves. But in reality even small additions and changes to your lifestyle can make a robust impact. Secondly many people categorize food into good and bad; food is food there is no morality in food. It’s important we enjoy all foods to add variety and balance to our diets even those that many consider to be “bad” which include ice-cream, chocolates, and gluten.
What is one big food myth you can bust for our readers?
There are so many but I’ll focus on whether lemon-water can “detox” your body since I get asked this quite a bit.
So, drinking lemon-water is definitely a great alternative to sugary sodas, juices, and energy drinks. However the numerous claims you might have read about “detoxing” your body are mostly overblown and inaccurate at worst. The idea that drinking lemon-water can detox your body is a huge misconception as your body knows how to naturally cleanse itself; your gastrointestinal tract, liver, and kidneys all help you detox.
If you’re thinking of adding lemon-water to your diet to “detox” there is simply no need. There is no scientific evidence that proves these health benefits and the best way to clean out your system is by drinking water, getting adequate amounts of fiber, and keeping your digestive system regular. Drinking water is great for you as it keeps you well hydrated, however infusing water with lemon does not “boost” your body’s detoxification process, but it does include other health benefits such as vitamin C, antioxidants, and potassium.
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs?
I’m very much a new entrepreneur myself but advice I would give is to have mini-goals in mind as opposed to one. Be as proactive as you can, exhaust all options, no opportunity is too big or too small, and most importantly be proud of the work you are doing. Collaborate and network with others in your space, push yourself out of your comfort zone, but be firm and create boundaries. Be true and authentic but also learn to say no when something makes you feel uncomfortable.
Looking back at your time with Asia Society, what did you learn. Tell us about some of the most memorable programmes or projects you worked on?
Working at Asia Society was a huge learning curve for me. It’s a small team which meant all hands were needed at all times. I learned what it meant to work with a team in a positive environment, everyone was supportive, there was no ‘I’ everyone needed to contribute to make the team successful. Working at Asia Society helped shaped my opinions, thoughts, and beliefs both personally and professionally.
I worked on so many programmes, all of them were so special and unique in their owns ways. Nonetheless, I enjoyed working on the larger programmes for example with Raghuram Rajan (Former Governor, Reserve Bank of India), Nandan Nilekani (Former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India), and being part of the first Asia Arts Awards India for contemporary artists living and working on the continent.
Maneka grew up in Kobe, Japan and graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University of Nottingham. In 2019 she decided to pursue her passion in health and wellness and is now a full-time Health Coach certified through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. As a supportive mentor she works with individuals to help them understand how to fuel their bodies, and become the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves. She uses her knowledge for nutrition to support her clients develop sustainable healthy behaviours, attitudes, and habits through goal-setting strategies and accountability.
Maneka helps people to improve their health and achieve their wellness goals using a multi-faceted approach that considers each individual’s unique biology, history, environment, and lifestyle. She emphasises health beyond the plate with a deep understanding of everyone's unique lifestyle, emotions, and physical needs.
Maneka is passionate about helping her clients eat intuitively by listening to their body and end the trend of dieting for good. Maneka believes in the philosophy of nourishing a positive relationship with food, as healthy eating is simple and possible if you trust your body. Maneka provides one-on-one coaching to individuals based anywhere in the world. She also spends time trying to debunk nutrition myths on Instagram (@manekacgrover), while placing a strong emphasis on the harmful effects of diet culture.
About Summer Fridays
Summer Fridays is a brand new blog series by Asia Society India Centre, profiling established cultural influencers and rising stars in various fields. Each week we feature conversations, interviews, recipes, playlists, and more—on art, food, music, literature, and film.