An Oscar Punch

An Oscar Punch

The trick to effective diets is to know what to adopt and what to ignore

Actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook It’s All Good is now available on Flipkart (Rs 1,630). The perplexing question is why would a to-the-manner-born Oscar winner,who’s married to a rockstar,want to write a cookbook on healthy eating? But,Paltrow provides an entirely new perspective on food and lifestyle-related beliefs. Beset by migraines and stress,she discovered she was sensitive to many foods and came up with recipes that don’t include coffee,dairy,alcohol,sugar,shellfish,eggplant,corn and wheat,a long list of other no-no’s and of course,everything processed.

While anyone’s first reaction to this drastic elimination diet is to dismiss it as ridiculous It-Girl neuroticism combined with wacky narcissism,it’s safe to presume Paltrow would have consulted the best nutritionists and chefs to come up with delicious recipes despite such a challenging and frugal ingredient list. The biggest problem for anyone who’s trying to change their eating habits is the huge compromise they feel they have to make,on taste. I often think that diets fail not because people can’t stick to eating less: if you’re replacing honey-glazed spare ribs with boiled chicken you can bet your motivation isn’t going to last very long.

So how do we eat healthy,yet tasty,low-calorie food? In her wonderful book Italian Khana,chef Ritu Dalmia says,never to compromise on the quality of the ingredients. If your taste buds are satiated,dieting becomes a lot easier. Similarly,all the punch hasn’t been taken out of Paltrow’s meals. Her yogurt tahini dressing would take precisely 10 minutes to make and is quite divine. While most of us don’t hold ourselves up to Paltrow’s level of fitness,it’s interesting to know the investment she makes in her own svelte shape. Her greatest achievement in It’s All Good is that every recipe is not more than three lines long,and seems absurdly easy to follow. Some are also available for free on her website Yes,she recommends using a really expensive brand of honey

but like all amateur cooks everywhere in the world,you can easily adapt it according to what works for you,or rather what you’re willing to spend on.

Figuring out food allergies and the havoc they create within is painstaking work. Most of us are eating foods that we shouldn’t be. Thirty-three per cent people are lactose intolerant but every kid who’s parents can afford it is forced to drink two glasses of milk a day in India. The five C’s — chocolate,coffee,cheese,Coke and cigarettes — are infamous as migraine triggers but it’s only by eliminating them first and reintroducing them back into your diet after an absence,that you can be sure they’re your triggers. Paltrow’s cookbook may be a bit extreme and difficult to follow 365 days a year,but it is an intelligent diet plan that requires planning and preparation. But you can inculcate some wisdom from it and discard whatever sounds too crazy.