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Shilpa Shetty shares health secrets with Dubai fans

Actress was in the UAE to promote her new book, ‘The Great Indian Diet’

  • Shilpa Shetty during The Talk Show at Grand Hyatt Dubai
    Shilpa Shetty during The Talk Show at Grand Hyatt DubaiImage Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
  • Shilpa Shetty during The Talk Show at Grand Hyatt Dubai
    Shilpa Shetty and Luke CoutinhoImage Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
  • Shilpa Shetty during The Talk Show at Grand Hyatt Dubai
    Shilpa Shetty and Luke CoutinhoImage Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra and nutritionist Luke Coutinho spoke about the importance of fitness at a talk show to discuss their book The Great Indian Diet in Dubai on Thursday.

Shetty Kundra, who calls herself a “catalyst” for helping create awareness about health and wellness in India, expressed concerns about the current generation not showing gratitude towards food.

“Today, everyone’s running from pillar to post, trying to get their jobs done. Everything else takes precedence but our health. People are eating on the go,” she said. “We have no gratitude for the food we eat and this attitude is slowly permeating into this generation and to our children. We’re not teaching them to chew food, not to watch television while eating, [not making sure] they understand [why they should] not [be] having aerated drinks and having a simple drink like nimbu paani [lemonade].”

Hosted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India UAE, the show commenced with its chairman, Pankaj Mundra, addressing the audience, followed by a light-hearted quiz about food. Shetty Kundra and Coutinho were then greeted by loud cheers.

Shetty Kundra said she wanted to write the book to “break the myths” and acknowledged Coutinho’s support in completing it.

“We wanted to simplify it for people. I have seen people suffer and I didn’t want to see that continue. I felt I wanted to do something that could be easy to follow, that could be simplified and that’s how I came up with The Great Indian Diet and I couldn’t have done it without Luke’s support, because we share the same philosophy; we share the same old school thinking.”

She also spoke about the usefulness of Indian spices.

“The beauty of Indian food is that it’s so easy and quick to make. Each spice has a reason why it’s put [in]. Spice has nothing to do with this misconception of being hot. There’s a reason jeera [cumin] and hing [asafoetida] are used for legumes. [And] curry pata [curry leaves] are great for the thyroid.”

Coutinho, a nutritionist and health expert who practices integrative and lifestyle medicine, spoke about an ideal diet, and raw food. “Your diet needs to be at least be 50-60 per cent raw. Cooked food only gives you energy. You stock up on fruits, nuts and vegetables. It takes three minutes to chop a carrot or cucumber. Top it with turmeric or sesame seeds and you’ve got a whole complete meal. You might be thinking where’s the protein? It’s in your vegetables and seeds.

“It’s raw food. It’s wholesome. We all have this mind pattern to eat and have this little snack, but if your body [has] to rely on food, it will sustain for three-and-a-half to four hours and you don’t have to be worry about a snack to have in between and wondering what you need to do,” he added.

Coutinho also suggested making “smart combinations”; junk food and light food; saying: “When you go to a restaurant, what are your best options? If you’re eating something bad, try to eat something good with it. Don’t give your body just the bad stuff. If I’m gonna have some junk food today because it’s my reward day, I’d add something good to it. If I’m gonna have a slice of pizza, let me get a portion of salad, or vegetable soup. So I’m not only getting that [pizza’s] calories, I’m also getting good calories and enzymes can help break down the food I want. That’s what you need to know when you’re having outside food. Order something good with it, or you could just chop some vegetables at home, it’s all about balance.

The talk show ended with a Q&A session where Kundra hinted that she is set to release a new book next year, about which she said: “Girls would love it.”

— Viraj Asher is an intern at Gulf News