Going back to basics: Shilpa Shetty on forgotten quality of desi spices

She also speaks about Hyderabad memories and her Bollywood days.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra needs no introduction. But when she does, the 40-year-old puts it quite succinctly: “I am a full-time mother and a part-time worker”.

Shilpa was in the city for an interactive session at YFLO titled ‘A holistic approach to life and a scientific way of being fit’. Clad in a crisp jacket and Louboutin heels, Shilpa looked every inch an international celebrity.

But it’s on closer inspection that one realises how grounded she still is in traditional values — a swastika tattoo and a holy thread tied across her left wrist that symbolises “well-being”. And it’s this sentiment that’s reflected in her book, The Great Indian Diet, which is co-authored by Luke Coutinho.

From a mother to a writer
“Throughout my life I have weighed 56 to 60 kilos. But with pregnancy, I suddenly piled on an extra 32 kilos. Even when it came to being on the panel of Nach Baliye in 2012, I couldn’t fit into anything. I called up Manish Malhotra at the last moment to send across some anarkalis, with a lot of kalis that would camouflage my flab,” says Shilpa, whose wake-up call came when she was out with her husband for brunch one Sunday.

“I overheard a group of women say, ‘Oh! She still hasn’t lost the pregnancy weight’. And that’s when it hit me — most women after pregnancy become complacent about their health and I had to do something about mine.”

And within three-and-a-half months, the weight was gone. “Everything comes down to discipline. I have been going to the gym since my Dhadkan (2000) days, eating right and doing cardio. I took up yoga when I started suffering from health issues.”

But the need to write a book came forth when her son had a mosquito bite “which I diagnosed as chicken pox after looking it up online”, she says, adding, “That’s what we do when we pick diet plans off the Web — incorporate details in our diet without having any knowledge of what the food is doing to us.”

Later, Shilpa met Goa-born Luke Coutinho, who suggested they work on a book. “Writing is not my forte. But ever since I lost weight, people have been interested in knowing how I did it.

And the trick lay in no fad or some exotic diet, but our Indian food. We underestimate the power of our spices and it’s the forgotten treasure trove that we hope to bring back in the spotlight with this book,” says Shilpa.

Lifestyle changes
Chew your water, drink your food and don’t have anything raw after 4 pm and no fruits after 6 pm. “Soy milk is great for women,” she says, adding, “I have two spoons of ghee every afternoon. Fresh grated coconut, haldi and a high fibre diet are also a must. Fasting is the best form of detox.”

Memories from Hyderabad
“When I was signed up for K. Raghavendra Rao’s Sahasa Veerudu Sagara Kanya (1996), Raghavendra garu told me, ‘You need to put on some weight Shilpa’. But times have changed. Actresses down South are as health conscious as in Bollywood,” she says.

Having worked alongside Venkatesh, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna and Mohan Babu, Shilpa has had good time here. “I love the food here, which unfortunately I can’t have anymore because I recently turned vegetarian,” she says, “But there are plans to open up ventures here, I have heard a few scripts but haven’t finalised any and a lot of my friends are from the city too.”

Did You Know?

Shilpa Shetty was 17 years when she signed up for Baazigar. A commerce student, Shilpa was supposed to take over her father’s small-scale business. “But I was paid Rs 50,000 and two other films. That’s a lot of money for a 17-year-old.”

Shilpa’s mother is an astrologer, and since Shilpa was a 10-year-old she predicted that Shilpa was going to become famous.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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