Dr Rupy Aujla talks to Optimum Nutrition about his latest book 3-2-1, nutrition and healthcare

How did you become interested in nutrition?

“I’ve been taught by my family to appreciate different cuisines and we’ve been hooked on food programmes since as early as I can remember. But at the age of 12, I witnessed my mother take control of her medical condition, which had baffled multiple physicians, by changing her diet and lifestyle. She used to suffer random anaphylaxis attacks; the worst form of allergy where your airway can close and your blood pressure drops. No cause was found and as a last resort, doctors recommended lifelong allergy medications. Unfortunately, these have a range of side effects.

“Not content with being reliant on drugs which weren’t completely working, she decided to make radical changes to her daily routine. Her Indian upbringing had instilled in her the value of food. I watched her completely overhaul her diet and lifestyle; her daily ‘prescription’ included a wholefoods diet packed with vegetables, a good sleep pattern, exercise and meditation. She became more confident, stronger and gradually came off all medication with the support of her doctors.

“It was my mother’s experience that drove me to want to be a doctor and to appreciate food and medicine.”

How is 3-2-1 different to your first two books?

“3-2-1: three portions of fruit and vegetables per person, two servings per recipe (just double the ingredients for a family), one pan. [It] is an easy-to-follow health prescription. This daily dose of fresh ingredients, quality fats, whole grains and plenty of fibre lowers the risk of disease.

 “My core principles of healthy eating remain the same — keep plant-focused, eat lots of fibre, plenty of colourful vegetables and whole foods. As a busy doctor, I know that one of the main reasons people choose not to cook at home is lack of time as well as the effort to cook it. In my new book I promise you flavourful dishes that consistently look after our bodies, helping to beat illness by optimising our food choices.”

Is 3-2-1 the formula for how you eat?

“It’s important not to look at food too prescriptively. Rather than looking at food like a pill, see it as part of a process of putting your body in the right environment that allows it to look after itself. The body has an incredible ability to maintain balance and function. We just need to feed it the right fuel and food is a very important part of lifestyle change that can achieve some incredible things.”

Read the full interview in the summer issue of Optimum Nutrition, available for free here.