Grocery Shopping Tips to Help Build Up Your Immune System by Dr. Lily Kiswani, MD

Grocery Shopping Tips to Help Build Up Your Immune System by Dr. Lily Kiswani, MD

Grocery Shopping Tips to Help Build Up Your Immune System

Interview with Dr. Lily Kiswani, MD
Integrative Medicine
Endoscopic Gynecologic Surgery, Author 

Brief Introduction:

I transitioned into Integrative medicine after three decades of Gynecology practice and Endoscopic surgery, having done my MD in Mumbai in 1982. I was the first female Laparoscopic surgeon in India. I have co-authored a textbook, Endoscopic Gynecologic Surgery. I have presented papers in national and International conferences. I have conducted workshops under the aegis of Bombay Obstetrics and Gynecology Society and also for my own teaching organization, Gynevision.

Now, after all these years, as I realise that I can help people regain their lost health, I find myself very excited and blessed to have this opportunity. Integrative medicine goes to the root cause of disease, and by doing that, we are able to reverse conditions like diabetes, hypertension, auto immune, skin, mental health, gastrointestinal disorders and many others.

The result is that the patient is healthy again, free of pharmaceutical medicines, free of all doctors (including me!) and free of fear.

How did you become passionate about healthy eating?

I finally understood that food is medicine and that we were not taught nutrition in medical school. I studied nutrition intensively and researched ways to reverse chronic illness through the right nutrition.

If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet during these challenging times, what would they be?

This is easy.

The three most impactful steps to take would be:

Avoid packaged foods

Avoid processed foods

Avoid refined foods.

Most of the world is practicing social distancing and working from home, how important is it to hydrate while doing so?

With nearly two thirds of our body being composed of water, lack of hydration affects the function of every cell. Clean fresh water is a must. If possible, add lemon, sea salt and turmeric to the water for detox benefit.

What are 3 at-home x kitchen must haves for people practicing social distancing?

If we have a good supply of eggs, vegetables especially green leafy vegetables and healthy cooking fats such as butter, we are sorted. We can conjure up tasty, healthy meals with these basic supplies.

What are 5 ‘must stock’ foods each of our readers should stock up on from the grocery store?


Lots of vegetables esp green leafy vegetables

Healthy fats such as butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and ghee

Healthier carbs such as ancient grains – quinoa, millets and some nuts for snacking

Organic grass fed meats

And we’re sorted.

What are some ways to boost your immunity?

Don’t forget exercise


Restful Sleep following the circadian clock

Healthy meals

Maintaining Social Connection through electronic media

Supplements such as Vit C, Vit D, adequate protein especially for vegetarians, Omega 3 fatty acids.

Any at-home detox recipes or secrets?

  • Start the day with lemon water to which is added ginger turmeric sea salt and black pepper. I make a concoction with ginger to which I the add the other ingredients and store in the refrigerator. I add a spoonful to my water every time I drink.
  • Followed by a green smoothie containing –protein powder for those not getting enough from the diet,coconut oil/milk/desiccated/greens
    • Hydrate hydrate hydrate

    What is your favorite snack?

    Homemade granola with Nuts and Seeds. No sugar. Healthy, flavorful and satisfying.

    What’s one simple plant-based dish our readers can recreate at home, less than 30 minutes and eat multiple times throughout the week?

    The simplest, with biggest bang for the buck would have to be a green smoothie. But of course we need the satisfaction of chewing.

    In India we have innumerable vegetable preparations which are very flavorful and moreish. Here’s one we have for breakfast regularly and can be eaten any time of the day, hot or cold:

    Vegetable Upma

    This recipe utilizes semolina, which is of course a refined food. But it can easily be adapted to utilize any ancient grain, cracked wheat or oats. The recipe here is with cracked wheat but feel free to use a whole grain of choice.

    This is a good recipe as it is quick, flavorful, healthy and a great comfort food which can be eaten frequently.

    • Preparation 10 minutes
    • Cooking 15 minutes
    • Makes nearly 3 cups.
    • Ingredients
    • 1 cup cracked wheat
    • 10-12 curry leaves
    • 1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
    • 1 medium tomato, chopped
    • 1 tbsp each chopped green beans, carrots, peas or other vegetables of choice – all chopped to the size of peas for quick even cooking
    • 4 tbsp Coconut oil or ghee – or other healthy fat of choice
    • 1 tbsp cashews, roughly chopped
    • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
    • Sea Salt to taste


    Heat oil in a large pan. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add curry leaves, onions and chopped green chillies. Stir till onions are translucent. Add all the vegetables and the wheat and cook over high heat, stirring together till wheat is slightly fragrant and browned, about 10 minutes. Add cashews and continue stirring till golden, another 2-3 minutes. Add salt and then 2 cups boiling water.

    Cook till the upma leaves the side of the pan. Garnish with chopped coriander. Enjoy!

    As you can probably see, my cooking skills are pretty limited. So this means anyone can rustle up this dish without too much difficulty!  I have used peas, tomatoes and oats, which were what I had available. Oats are going to be a little porridge-y.

    This recipe is highly adaptable, adding or deleting ingredients to suit your palate and depending on whatever you have at hand. It contains fresh vegetables, fiber and healthy fats but what is does not contain enough of, is protein. So you do need to make up the protein in other ways. Or you could stir through cooked protein at the end if you like, though traditionally this recipe does not include meats.

    Plant based living is becoming more and more popular. When eating a mostly plant based / vegetarian diet, are there certain foods to focus on to make sure we’re getting enough nutrients and protein?

    Vegetables are rich in phytonutrients such as lycopene and resveratrol, which have excellent antiaging benefits. So a diet containing plentiful vegetables is an extremely healthy choice.

    Do you have any plant-based nutrition tips to boost your immunity?

    Tulsi (holy basil) is well known to boost immunity. Garlic, ginger, mushrooms, turmeric, moringa, broccoli sprouts are some of the beneficial herbs. And plant foods in general contain beneficial phytonutrients. These can all be added to the foods we cook on a regular basis.

    Speaking of plant based, what are some of the benefits of drinking chlorophyll water / benefits of liquid chlorophyll?

    Chlorophyll is an immunity booster and aids in detox. That is one of the reasons why a green smoothie is such a great idea. But if making a green smoothie is challenging, liquid chlorophyll is a simple short cut to obtain the benefits.

    What’s one of your favorite organic/natural supplements or vitamins you recommended?

    My top recommendation is an organically sourced Omega 3 supplement. Other supplements I recommend are Vitamin D, protein ( in India most of us are protein deficient) and an organic multivitamin.

    What are three things you are most grateful for during these uncertain times?

    I am grateful I did not travel out of the country over the past few weeks, nor come into contact with anyone who had.

    I am grateful for my family and friends with whom I am able to maintain a strong and supportive connection.

    I am grateful I have a strong immunity as I have been focusing on healthy habits over the last decade due to my Integrative Medicine learning.

    During these uncertain times how do you stay positive? What’s your secret?

    I can build for myself, and also help people build, a strong immunity, which keeps me secure.

    I read a lot of books on personal growth which have helped me change my outlook for the better.

    I have a strong, supportive community.

    I do not compulsively keep following the news.

    Any self-care, or self-development tips for our readers?

    Don’t forget to exercise.

    It is easy to become a couch potato (or a chair potato in front of a laptop!) so remember to take a little walk around every 30 minutes.

    Just 10 min of meditation a day will keep stress levels down.

    Grooming. Staying well groomed, even in casuals while working from home, helps maintain a positive, productive attitude.

    I love to read books from writers like Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Louise Hay and the like.

    Any favorite health / nutrition podcasts or books you recommend to our readers?

    I love listening to Dr Mark Hyman, Sayer Ji, Dr Gary Fettke, Gary Taubes and other experts.

    Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Facebook, etc)

    Dr. Lily Kiswani, MD

    Integrative Medicine

    Blog: Diabetes Destroyer

    Join my Facebook group!

    Follow me on Instagram!

    Anything else you want to add? Any other health, wellness or nutrition tips?

    Eat like your life depends on it, because it does. A cliché, but true nevertheless. I discovered the hard way that food is medicine, even though it was Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who first propounded this. I advised my patients to use pharmaceuticals to cure illness, not recognizing the power of nutrition to affect our genes. Our medical curriculum does not really include nutritional training. But we do have the power to take charge of our own health.

    I now personalize nutritional advice for my patients. The same patients whom I advised to stay off coconuts, I now advise to consume coconuts in all forms!! And I can see the results. Earlier we were taught that conditions like diabetes were chronic and progressive. But now we are able to reverse them predictably. Big Pharma and Big Food no longer control our destiny.

    So my advice would be to own your health.