Shahid Kapoor, one of Bollywood’s fittest actors, is an expert at making parathas, and has up to 10 cups of coffee a day. He speaks to The Indian Express on the challenge of getting a six pack on a vegetarian diet and his favourite cuisine.
You used to be a meat lover. How did you turn into a complete vegetarian?
Many years ago, my father gifted me a book titled Life is Fair, by Brian Hines. I read it on a flight, and never touched non-vegetarian food again. The book is about karma, rebirth and the ethics of eating meat.
You are also a teetotaller, but you drink a lot of coffee?
Yes, I can drink up to eight to ten cups of coffee a day. I buy gourmet coffee from across the world, but favourite brand is Davidoff. Since I don’t drink alcohol and, of course, stay very clear of substance abuse, I banked on caffeine to get into the mind of my character Tommy Singh for Udta Punjab. (The film will release on June 17.) I would drink several cups of coffee before giving my shots. However, in beautiful company, I don’t mind a glass of wine.
How do you manage to get six packs on a vegetarian diet?
It is difficult. I agree you need some sort of animal protein if you want to achieve a certain kind of body. But nothing is impossible. My diet is full of nutritious food like beans, spinach, fruits and fresh vegetables. I fuel my body with several small meals a day, so that my energy levels don’t dip.
I try and avoid food that is dense in fat or carbs, but that isn’t always easy. I also meet my protein requirement through whey protein and other supplements. When I was young I was really thin. I used to dance with Shiamak Davar’s troupe. One day Shah Rukh Khan dropped in, and when he saw me, he asked Shiamak whether he didn’t feed his troupe members well! Over the years, I have learnt how to get the best out of my diet and exercise regimen to achieve my fitness goals.
Which are your favourite cuisines?
Indian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese. But my all-time favourite dish is Rajma Chawal. I am a true blue Punjabi boy. My favourite kind of food is anything that’s cooked at home. Nothing can beat ghar ka khana.
What would you eat if you wanted to indulge?
During monsoons, it would be samosas and bhajiyas. At other times, chaat off the streets. Sometimes, when I am out at night riding my motorbike, I stop for a vada pav.
What’s that one dish you cook really well?
I am pretty good at making all sorts of parathas -— aloo, gobi, cheese, paneer.
Which are your favourite restaurants in India?
The Lotus Café at JW Marriott (Mumbai), for their coffee; and Ming Yang at Taj Land’s End (Mumbai) for their lovely Chinese food. Yukka at St Regis Hotel serves very good food such as Thai green curry and Jasmine rice.