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Shetty gives a sneak peek of her app. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche

Bollywood actress and fitness enthusiast Shilpa Shetty’s eyes lit up as she spotted a jar full of Ashwagandha and red sandalwood bark.

Her childlike glee could easily be misconstrued as the musings of an overenthusiastic celebrity on call to endorse a brand. She had just snipped the ribbons of Al Adil Trading in Abu Dhabi that prides itself on stocking all kinds of Indian speciality food products. But Shetty, 43, swears that her interest in Indian herbs and its greatness was deep-rooted.

“I even wrote a book called ‘The Great Indian Diet’. I am a huge believer and user of Indian products. I don’t just preach, I practice it too,” said Shetty as she wandered around the gleaming new supermarket. She even rattled off the digestive and therapeutic benefits of Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb, to prove her point.

“I am going to poke you with this if you don’t know about Ashwagandha now,” laughed Shetty as she waved the dried brown bark at this journalist’s face.

“I am hugely into health and fitness. We all have a purpose in life. I feel like I have found a calling in my life. I want to play a catalyst in this journey of fitness and nutrition… So on May 6, I am launching the Shilpa Shetty app.”

The wife of Raj Kundra and mother to Vivaan Raj Kundra, 6, is intent on helping all those who are struggling with fitness and nutrition through her new endeavour.

She even opened the prototype of her new app downloaded on her phone to give us a sneak peek and it revealed chapters like workout videos and nutrition tips by Shetty.

“My app is for all those people who think fitness and health is a difficult feat to achieve. It is not rocket science, guys. It is simple. You have to make small lifestyle changes to lose weight. You just have to have the will to do it and the discipline to carry it forward. You need discipline for any kind of success — be it weight loss or not.”

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Shilpa Shetty during the inauguration of Al Adil's new store, in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche

As she gears up for the launch of her app on iOS, here’s Shetty’s take on…

Gravitating towards all things organic:

“Going organic is not some fad. It’s all about going back to your roots. I am someone who really believes that we should go back to eating how people ate at least 70 years ago rather than 150 years ago. I remember the times when my grandmother used to carry the wheat to the chakki [mills] and sit there while my maid ground it to bits. By the time we were out of the mills heading home, our socks and our hair would be white. We were healthier back then. Many people these days are suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, because you don’t know how the wheat has been aged. It is supposed to be aged and then ground. I swear by all things organic.”

Going grocery shopping every week:

“I am a housewife first and I am a mother, too. My family’s health comes before everything else. I am huge into label reading. I do that every time with a lot of diligence. I am a stickler for good products and I buy products that I have used and tested for a long time. I will read the back of the pack. I prefer to shop on my own.”

On her pet-peeve while grocery shopping:

“Instead of going for things in a packet, I prefer doing things from scratch. About that [whether she should buy packed ginger tea powder], I believe we can make ginger tea from scratch. But something like a jeera biscuit, that would be a part of my Sunday binge. I remember eating those jeera biscuits as a kid. I love the sabudana chakli [tapioca pearl wafers].

The perception that women can have it all — career, family life, vacations…

“I don’t know how to answer that. I would sound very pompous if I say that I have it all. Nothing in life is easy. Ask [chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading] Mr Dhananjay Datar, opening 40 stores in this region may not have been easy. It takes a lot of discipline, sacrifice and goal-oriented focus. If you are not passionate about what you are doing. You won’t find success in it… Money is secondary. Whatever I have done in my life, I have found a certain passion towards it and my goals have always resonated with me. I can’t just preach without practising.”