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  Celebrities & Lifestyle

April 2011
Ready for Asin’s lifestyle mantras?!
 
Superstar of Tamil and Telugu films, the true-blue Malayalee and above all an Indian, Asin Thottumkal, had a brilliant debut in Bollywood with Aamir Khan’s Ghajini. Big endorsements and big projects followed her footsteps. Now, just over a couple of years old in Bollywood, Asin is ready with her forthcoming film featuring Salman Khan as her hero – Ready – releasing this May-June.

Amidst her busy time-table, she spoke to the BPositive editorial team, sharing her thoughts on food, diet and health. Here is a girl who is very sure of what to do to be fit and stay healthy, that too following the simplest and yet the most effective ways.

1.A movie star’s life is hectic. Your schedules are very different from a regular person’s routine.How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
I believe that it has to do with very good planning and maintaining a strong sense of discipline in one’s lifestyle to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

I also feel that women are generally good at multi-tasking, as they have always managed to take care of their households alongside work. Women are very efficient in planning out such matters.

2. How careful are you about your food?
I am definitely conscious about what I eat. My mantra is: ‘Eat healthy, exercise well.’ As my mother is a doctor, this maxim was inculcated in me from the early childhood. My mother is a great cook. Even though we have domestic help, my mother cooks food at home that is extremely healthy with less usage of oil and preserving the nutrients of the ingredients. She also substitutes sugar with honey and jaggery, which are healthier options.

Editor suggests: Have whole grain or multi-grain flour instead of refined flour. Add oats to your diet. Start eating brown rice, it is a taste developed over time, that is well worth the health benefit.

3. Do you eat home-cooked food on the sets?
Absolutely. When I am in Mumbai, my mother sends food from home to the sets.

Editor suggests: Try and eat as much fresh food as possible at home. Don’t keep refrigerating and re-heating the food. Food should be cooked in quantities that can be consumed in 2 days or less.

4. Apart from home-cooked food, what is your favourite cuisine?
Indian cuisine tops my list. The sheer variety available in our cuisine, be it food from the north or the south, is great. Even in South Indian food, there are regional varieties like Chettinad, Malabar, Travancore, Kerala…in Kerala cuisine, the north and the south have distinct dishes…the variety overall is huge and there is much to choose from.

Editor suggests: Some Indian cuisines are high in calories, but the beauty is that each one has healthy options. Choose wisely!

5.Do you have any international favourites?
I love many cuisines from around the world as I love food. Chinese, Thai, Italian would be three of my big favourites.

Editor suggests: The salt content in Asin’s favourites is a bit high, which may lead to a lot of water retention. Try and drink loads of water to prevent water retention. Also try and eat at restaurants that do not add MSG (monosodium glutamate) in their foods.

6. Do you believe in the ‘no carbohydrate – more protein’ diet?
No, I don’t. A diet has to be balanced—carbs are essential, so are proteins. For the body to function properly, all nutrients should be taken in the right quantity everyday.

Editor suggests: If you want to shed a few kilos, try to stop eating carbohydrates after sunset. It has worked wonders for a lot of women!

7. If you need to shed a few kilos what would you recommend?
I follow a simple rule: ‘Spend more energy than your calorie intake’. One should exercise a bit more than usual to burn off that extra fat.

Fat cannot be dissolved overnight. So don’t exhaust yourself. Give your body that extra time to do its work.

Editor suggests: Don’t weigh yourself more than once a week when you’re trying to shed the kilos. De-stressing and de-toxing also enhance weight loss. Research suggests that green tea increases your metabolism. Try and drink 2 cups a day, if not – get the capsules.  

8. What is your stress buster?
My biggest stress buster is my family. I try spending as much time as possible with the family, whenever I get to do so. Apart from that, I enjoy reading a lot of fiction, listening to all kinds of music depending on my mood. At times, I catch the latest movie in town, or dine with friends.

9. What’s your mantra to beat jet lag and look good ASAP?
No particular mantra, really. I am somebody who has been travelling a lot since an early age, so I am used to the travel and the timings. I feel that your body clock adjusts after a particular time. However, to keep the body functioning properly and to keep the blood circulation going, one can do a few simple exercises in the plane. Also, it is important to drink a lot of water and keep yourself hydrated.

Editor suggests: Try and adapt to the eating patterns of the time zone you are going to. If you are going to land at dinnertime, be prepared to eat a light meal before sleeping.

10. What precautions should one take not to put on loads of weight on holidays?
Hey, this is the holiday season. So one should definitely indulge a bit and enjoy. But yes, everything needs to be done in moderation.

If you do enjoy eating a lot, then go ahead and do so. To shed those calories, you could engage in outdoor sports and activities. Then your calorie intake will definitely get compensated.

Editor suggests: Remember to burn off the indulgences as soon as possible. You’ll feel less guilty.

11. What is your fitness routine?
Nothing really…for us, movie stars, it is difficult to maintain routine. I try to eat right and maintain proper eating hours; try to get proper sleep, and put aside regular time for exercise. I always try to incorporate these activities, but I must admit, I do find it difficult to perform all these activities given the working hours we need to follow.

Editor suggests: It is important to have a fitness routine that changes every two weeks. Exercising for a minimum of 5 days a week for 30 min/day is a must.

12. Do you believe that beauty is only skin deep?
Beauty is definitely not skin deep. It is about one’s personality. Beauty is also about dignity and integrity of character. A person with a beautiful heart and character is beautiful.

13. If cosmetic surgery can boost an individual’s confidence/career/relationship, do you think they should get it done?
I firmly believe that it is each one’s personal choice. I wouldn’t go for a surgery, as I believe in keeping things natural; however I feel it is each to his or her own.

14. Can you suggest some household tips to stay healthy?
Well I am not the best person to give such tips (laughs)…but yes, a proper lifestyle is of utmost importance – eating right, sleeping well (try to get about 8 hours of sleep).
Being healthy is a lot about being happy and having a positive state of mind and attitude as the mind controls the body.

Editor suggests: A lot of Indians lack vitamin D. Make sure that a lot of light enters your house. You may be in the sun quite a bit, but it is worthwhile to check your vitamin D levels.

15. In today’s time a number of young girls are staying far away from home and seeking careers elsewhere. What is your advice to them?
Pursue your dream till you achieve it. Work hard. I believe in the saying: ‘Never let success get into your head, and failure into your heart.’ Keep faith in your family, as it is the most integral part of one’s life. Family is the truest form of love and support and one should cherish that love.

16. How is your mother your strength?
Oh…in a lot of ways. She is the person who has given me my life. She is a doctor and so has always taught me the values of healthy living. She has taught me to be independent, to take my own decisions. I feel protected because both my parents love me and believe in me.
 
17. April 7th is World Health Day – what is your message to the people of India?
I believe moderation is the key. Don’t do anything in excess. Eat and exercise well, to be in good shape and health.

18. Did you and your mom have a complete ‘master health check up’ in the past year? Do you do this on a regular basis?
I am so glad you asked me the question. As a matter of fact, mom has insisted on regular health check ups always, and I have got them done since my childhood. Even my dad is a health freak (laughs), so health is in safe hands.

I definitely recommend everybody to get health check ups done, at least on a yearly basis.

Editor suggests: Try the health check up plans of Apollo Hospitals like Apollo Well Woman Check Up (which includes breast examination and pap smear test among others) and Apollo Future Check (which does a complete analysis of all profiles like liver, cardiac, renal, diabetic, blood, etcetera).

19. Are you fond of food? Do you like cooking? Please share a healthy recipe with us.
Oh yes, I love food. However, I am not an expert in cooking. I mean, cooking is an art, and I have never found the time to really master it. Though I can cook for myself so that I don’t starve.

Also, whenever I am at home, my mother cooks her signature dishes and I obviously don’t complain…after all, I am pampered with all the lovely dishes.

For a healthy recipe, I guess I will have to ask my mom…(smiles)

20. Do you recommend a good dietician for our readers to meet?
Not really. I have never consulted anybody in particular, so I couldn’t possibly recommend somebody.

Actually, my family is so disciplined that I really didn’t have to consult anybody outside. As I said, health is a top priority in my family.

Editor suggests: Try going back to the basics, you may find a dietician in you!

21. Obesity rates in India are on the rise. Suggest a few easy tips to keep obesity under control.
It is indeed an alarming health condition, primarily aided by the lifestyle these days. The fast food culture is fast growing: eating out, takeaways, are becoming increasingly popular. My suggestion is, eat as much food at home as possible, and make sure your fast food intake is minimal. Cook your own food if you stay away from home. That will also give you an engaging activity to spend time. Cook in ways which will retain the nutrients, like steaming, boiling and grilling; instead of frying.

Exercising is as important; and if you are not somebody who enjoys going to the gym, try out alternative ways like cycling, dancing and jogging. Make sure you exercise for your body as well as heart.

Editor’s suggests: Globally, more than 1 billion adults are overweight. At least, 300 million of them are clinically obese. If current trends continue, by 2030, the estimates show that 58% of the world’s adult population – 3.3 billion people – could be either overweight or obese. In India, it is a growing epidemic, especially among the affluent classes, about 5% of the adult population is clinically obese.


    
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