If you follow Chef Saransh Goila on Instagram or Twitter, you might have encountered his #runtoeat hashtag. The once chubby chef is now a dedicated runner and occasional trekker and his posts are an inspiration to foodies everywhere. After all, the more calories you burn, the more you can gorge on!
Goila ran four half marathons last year, and is gearing up to run the 42km full marathon in Mumbai on Sunday. “I started running in February 2017. The #runtoeat hashtag was a natural progression for me as I like to cook and eat,” he says.
But when you look at his posts, you realise that he doesn’t run just to be fit – he really and truly loves it. “I guess I wanted to be fitter as I spend long hours in the kitchen and go out to eat often. But slowly I realised that running is much more than just being fit. It shapes your whole life,” the young chef says.
Goila’s post-run meals range from delicious Irani café spreads to melt-in-the-mouth dry fruit halwa prepared lovingly by his mom. “I still have to eat in a balanced manner but I don’t have to worry about the occasional indulgence,” he explains. “I don’t believe in dieting and regardless of what diet you are on, you have to work out and be fit. Eating more or less isn’t an excuse to work out or not do it.” Amen.
Having run so many marathons, Goila has learnt a fair amount about training for them. Sharing a few tips, he says, “They say diet is a very important part of training. You have to stay well hydrated and have a lot of heavy carbohydrates as you’ll be burning over 2000 calories while running the marathon. So when the body taps into its energy reserves, it shouldn’t come up empty. Have foods like sweet potatoes and pumpkin.”
With so many chefs jumping on to the ‘healthy food’ bandwagon we wonder if Goila won’t follow suit. Then again, his “Goila Butter Chicken” is hardly a poster child for health. The chef, author and TV host disagrees, “We don’t add too much butter to the Goila Butter Chicken. I have it twice a week. There’s hardly any cream in our version either – we use 10ml while the original recipe calls for 50-60ml.”
He adds, “People think Indian food isn’t healthy, it’s too heavy, but that’s now how we cook. And for me, healthy isn’t oil-free. Fat is also required by the body. I always tell people to add ghee in their food as it’s so important.” If Goila’s current physique is anything to go by, he certainly knows what he’s talking about.
So what would the chef’s advice be, for people who love to eat but also want to stay fit? “When you indulge, don’t overdo it. Have one gulab jamun; everything in the right quantity. Dinner should always be lighter in carbohydrates and fats. Maintain an active lifestyle. Walk or jog if you can’t run,” he suggests.
One thing that stands out in his Instagram feed is the positivity that emanates from each post. Where does that energy come from, I have to ask. “I was very shy earlier and I feel I could have done so much more. I wasn’t very bothered about my life so I try to keep catching up with my past. That’s where the whole idea comes from – I want to make the most of the present,” he shares.
Goila adds, “I used to be a plump kid – I weighed around 93 kgs when I was younger. All that adds up and you start thinking in a certain way.” With a book, several TV shows and a Limca Book of Records entry to his name, all by the age of 30, we’d say he’s done rather well.