Mutton biryani and Malaika Arora Khan. It’s not every day you see that combination in a sentence. But there’s a lot we didn’t know about the Mumbai-based actor who dropped into Chennai recently for the launch of former Miss India International Shvetha Jaishankar’s new book Gorgeous — a walk-through of what top models in India like to eat. For starters, she says that food and lifestyle influences bear a predominantly South Indian palate. “I love rice, fish and coconut oil,” admits the 43-year-old. The latter is a kitchen essential because it’s all she cooks with — unless you count an occasional drizzle of ghee.
Detox, don’t diet
“It’s a myth that models do not eat. Gone are the days in the 80s when you heard worrying things about anorexia and bulimia associated with models. Models and actors including me lead healthy, balanced lives,” says the former model and actor. Also did we mention, she doesn’t believe in diets?
And she hopes to send a message to young girls and boys who look up to those in the entertainment industry by reiterating this as frequently as possible. “I hope they hear this. I wouldn’t have the energy to do what I do if I didn’t eat,” Malaika points out. Instead, she likes to opt for a weekly detox. “You should know your body by now and if you have done things in excess during the holiday season, give your digestive system a break,” she says. That means on one day a week, consciously work in easy-to-digest foods, juices and smoothies. “I like to go completely vegetarian for a day. Although, I don’t like raw food,” clarifies the mother and entrepreneur who also has her own clothing line.
As for her workout routine, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of Malaika breaking a sweat at the gym. “My feel good ritual is that I kickstart my day with going to the gym followed by a healthy and delicious breakfast. Then I am ready to take on the world.” What you didn’t know is that she likes to weave in the occasional family workout to keep things fun. “I have grown up cycling. And then I taught my son to cycle. On weekends we often hit the cycling track with the local cycling club. Also,
I play tennis with him,” she smiles. Although fitness goals are a focused and regimented effort amidst hectic days that are often run extra long, for Malaika the key to keeping it sustainable is this. “I do not look at working out as a chore. It makes such a difference to your life, and brings a spring in your step. Why wouldn’t anyone take it up when such are its benefits?”
— Sonali Shenoy