By Indu Kohli
How do you stay fit and healthy in today’s frenetic times? Take a cue from the regimens of the names, known and unknown, featured below.
Film star (81)
“I am aware that my lean body has helped me look agile, slim and good for the screen. My profession is like a flower, very short-lived, therefore I take care of my body. After all, my looks are my fortune.
“My daily regimen includes having many light meals a day. I do a little exercise every morning, and generally live life wholeheartedly.
“I have a light breakfast of fruit, cereal and juice. Lunch consists of two rotis, dal, and a green vegetable. I love dals and salads. If I am hungry in between meals, I have a few fruits and nuts. Dinner for me is light – two rotis and a vegetable. I try not to have both rice and roti in a meal. I dine early, and if I have to go out, I eat my dinner and go. Very rarely do I eat at hotels, unless I am living in one.
“I get tempted by food just like anyone else, but the discipline of keeping good health is far more important for an actor. I would hate to face the camera looking bloated. Smoking and drinking don’t interest me, though I do nurse a drink on a social occasion.
“A healthy mind creates a healthy body. I am so busy doing the work I love that health naturally happens.”
“I think I am pretty healthy and fit for my age and I would attribute much of it to my genetic inheritance. I was born into a family that did not suffer from diabetes or blood pressure or other conditions.
“As far as possible I avoid doctors and prefer to resort to the old traditional remedies that have worked for so long. For instance, I now have a cold which I m nursing by having food flavored with ginger, and by a concentrate created by boiling spices and ginger. Steaming also helps tremendously.
“I begin the day with warm water steeped in tulsi and honey. The mercury in the tulsi soothes my sensitive throat. I can eat like a horse, but I deliberately have smaller portions. Breakfast is one toast with tea. If I am hungry in between, I have fruits. Lunch consists of soup and steamed vegetables. At tea-time, I have a couple of biscuits with light black tea.
“Dinner is one meal without restrictions, though I know that is against nutritional wisdom. But I can’t go to sleep hungry. I have almost totally cut off fried foods. I avoid excessive fatty foods like pork or even red meat unless it is lean. I avoid refined foods like maida, sugar or salt. I substitute honey for sugar and lemon for salt”.
Channel V host and film actor (26)
“ I subscribe to the maxim of ‘early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’. I would attribute whatever I possess of these three qualities to that.
“For fitness, my favorite exercise is to cycle around Bandra, the suburb in which I live. I enjoy cycling and it also keeps me fit. I can zip past most other vehicular traffic.
“I eat at home as far as possible. Although the profession I am in calls for partying, I eat a simple meal at home before going out. Smaller meals, and mostly vegetarian, helps the stomach to stay light. I find weekend trekking trips help me unwind greatly.
“I practice meditation and vipassana and would highly recommend it to today’s younger generation because it keeps you calm and centered.”
Dr. Dilip Pannikker,
“I was a podgy child called Chubby, which most would not believe today. I realized over time that I do not respect my body if I treat it badly. The work I do as management consultant with Outward Bound programs ensures that I get my fair share of vigorous outdoor sport like rafting, trekking and rappelling.
“Thanks to that I am not too picky about what I eat. I do not eat a lot at a meal, and prefer frequent small meals. I had a 29” waist when I was 19, and at 41 I have a 31” waist. I don’t stint on drinks and food on social occasions, but I always balance out over-indulgence with moderation later.
Art and drama teacher, Theater actor (24)
“I am disciplined about what I eat. My preference is vegetarian, with an occasional helping of fish. I have lots of fruit. I do not mix carbohydrates – like having rice and chappati – at one meal. I jog at least four times a week. I love home-cooked food, so I carry my food from home every day.
“I love Indian deserts like gulab jamun, but do ensure that I have a light and early dinner. As a theater person, one could adopt an indisciplined lifestyle, but I consciously choose a healthy way of living. I must model a discipline for the children I work with. You cannot have unhealthy, sloppy teachers.”
Rashmi Uday Singh,
Food critic and health writer (50)
“I have lived long enough to realize that ultimately it is your mind and connection with the universe that gives you health – not the details of what you do or eat.
“Here, however, are the details.
“I do yoga at a 5.45 every morning outdoors. I live near the ocean and in the course of the yoga session, I see the sun rise, hear the birds twitter and feel a deep connection with the universe. I think pranayam is vital for good health because it is the link between the body and mind.
“I also do some cardio-vascular exercises like treadmill, swimming or weights at least three or four times a week. Exercise is very important to feel good and burn out stress.
“Every morning I have warm water between one to five cups depending on the mood. I follow it up with oatmeal consumed with jaggery and no milk. I also have eggs and brown bread toast for breakfast. For dinner, I am currently partial to cold soups. This apart, I don’t have too many food preferences and eat everything including ostriches and crocodiles! But the golden word is moderation.
“As a food critic, my job requires me to eat out, but I ensure that I have a full nourishing meal at home before going out. Not only am I more objective in my assessment, I am healthier!”
“My regimen has not altered for many years. I eat only fruit upto 12 p.m. An hour after that, I have a cooked meal comprising of salad and plenty of vegetables with a minimum of cereals. No wheat, milk or milk products. I always have a nimbu with it and these days a glass of vegetable juice. This could be either carrot, tomato or greens—a mixture of coriander, mint and ginger.
“Three hours after this meal, I have a fruit and pulpy dry fruits like dates.
“After this, I eat whatever I wish to as long as it is vegetarian – even temptations like cake and chocolate.
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