‘We demonize food’

By: The Gup Cup
Jun20, 2022

When you think about someone who develops recipes, who plays around with mouth-watering flavors, makes everything on the plate look appetizing and of course is a foodie herself, what do you think the person must be passionate about?




I thought the same. When I finally met her and decided to have a little GupShup I was surprised to know that kitchen wasn’t her kingdom from the word go.



Riyana Rupani, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and founder of Ri’s, is a name you will not miss if you are talking about ‘healthy and happy food’ in Singapore.


Healthy, because it is wholesome, it is nutritious and it is packed with goodness. Happy, because it will not fail to entice you with its presentation. She surely knows how to captivate all five senses.


Riyana’s journey from the corporate world to becoming a nutritionist was not an overnight one. Dealing with her own health issues, she began to explore more sustainable lifestyle options for herself.


“We are in a culture where we demonize food and we need to understand that our body needs everything,” she continued as she talked about her 20-year old self. “If I could go back in time the most important advice I would give myself is to listen to my body. We are in an autopilot mode and we are told that the changes we are going through, like period cramps, mood swings, or acne, are normal. But that is not the case. It is our body’s way of telling us something.”


“I wish someone had told me to listen to my body to try to find out why this is happening and get to the root of the problem as opposed to just medicating it, putting a band-aid on it and moving on.”


Perhaps that explains her passion towards one of her most popular programs, Clean-in-15™. A huge hit across the island, it was conceptualized keeping in mind that there are so many people who face similar health issues and bringing them together would empower them. Riyana wants to grow the program further by taking it to a bigger audience.


“The first one I did was with a group of friends, very similar to the current program. I was sharing recipes and they were sharing how they felt. Some of these friends didn’t know each other but it gave them a platform where they ended up feeling better, physically as well as connecting with people who were facing similar issues. In a way they hadn’t expected,” she added.


Now, you would think that in a world where everyone subscribes to being healthy, it would be a smooth sail for Riyana and her company. Right?


Not quite.


She shared with us a time when a popular restaurant turned her food down for being “too healthy”. “It was like someone stabbed me in the heart. I was like it’s healthy but it tastes good. Then I realized that while some people will love your stuff, others will not. One just has to keep going.”


“Even when restaurants list my recipes on their menu, it is very hard to translate from a home kitchen to a restaurant kitchen. It involves educating the staff, making them understand the ‘WHYs’ behind the differences, and teaching them to address the questions that will be asked by the guests.


While she does admit that as an entrepreneur it is very hard to turn off and not work, she feels that over time she has learnt to disconnect from things to get that spark back. And what is her favorite way? Spending time with her three beautiful boys.


“I am a mom. I love being a mom.”


“I am also an introvert and love being at home, watching TV,” she added to my surprise.


Watch my GupShup with Riyana Rupani as she talks passionately about her journey and lets us take a peep into her beautiful world.

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