John Abraham looks the way he does because he follows a strict diet and sticks to it at all times. He speaks to the Indian Express about food, health and fudge.
How do you ensure that you do not put on any weight even between your movies?
To me, working out is a full-time occupation. I follow a very strict diet.The days when I allow myself to indulge are very few. I don’t see any reason to do that, because the food I eat is amazing. The idea is to check the nutritional value attached to your food, so a piece of fruit with natural sugar is far better than a dessert. I like vegetarian food, but I eat egg white and fish, as I need lots of protein to maintain my physique, and that is not possible on a strictly vegetarian diet.
When I was working on Force (2011), I had to put on some weight. So my diet would include oatmeal for breakfast and almost 30 eggs a day! But otherwise, my weight never fluctuates, and I ensure my diet is balanced. I eat a lot of proteins, but I haven’t totally cut out carbs.
What’s your breakfast like?
I combine oatmeal with egg whites and lots of fruits. I also drink protein shakes. I eat every few hours, and through the day I eat foods with a low Glycemic Index. Breakfast is the day’s most important meal, as it has an impact on what you consume through the day.
And what does John Abraham eat for lunch and dinner?
Could be lentils, quinoa salad, some fish, or jowar or bajre ki roti with rajma, or masoor or moong dal. Dinner is sometimes fruit and pulses, and I often have tea with honey. I don’t eat carbs after 4 in the evening. Discipline is important if you want to acquire the body you desire.
Which are your favourite restaurants?
I prefer home-cooked food. But if I have to eat out, then, in Mumbai, it is Suzette, a lovely little café in Bandra, for their salads, or Yoga House, again in Bandra. Royal China and Thai Baan, in Mumbai, are other favourites.
In Istanbul and Dubai, I like Zuma for their sushi. I like sushi because it has several essential nutrients such as fatty acids and proteins. Los Angeles is the food capital of the world. It is miles ahead when it comes to experimenting with healthy cuisines. Some of the best food I have tasted in LA were at Café Vida and Urth café. Jaya, a Malaysian restaurant in New York, has a fantastic ambience and great service.
And which are your favourite cuisines?
As far as Indian food goes, Parsi cuisine and food from Kerala. I like Thai, too. I am very fond of food from Kerala: puttus, appams, etc. Puttu is among my favourite dishes. I like my puttu with coconut milk.
What are your childhood memories about food?
I remember eating Dhansak, Patra-ni-Macchi and Prawn Patia at Parsi weddings. But my mother cooked very good vegetarian food. Her karela, seasoned with chilli powder and cooked in ginger-garlic paste, onions and tomatoes, is delicious. I ate a lot of vegetarian food when I was young: palak dal and masoor dal, particularly when cooked the Parsi way. We would have channa atta omelettes (chilla) for breakfast. Dhansak dal, Chicken Farcha, Salli Boti were also staples. My mom makes the most amazing avial and baingan ka bharta. I also remember all those unlimited thali restaurants that we visited: Purohit, Status, Panchvati!
What’s your poison?
I don’t like alcohol, but once a year I do drink some champagne. My sister-in-law is Romanian and her father makes this really lovely sour cherry brandy called Visinata. I love that. Otherwise, a cup of strong tea in the morning keeps me going.
You just told us you indulge very rarely, but what is it that you eat when you actually give in to temptation?
A brownie, maybe, or some fudge.