Nargis Fakhri loves experimenting with food. She grew up in New York and has been exposed to nearly every kind of cuisine, and while she has a huge sweet tooth, she knows how to indulge in moderation. She talks to the Indian Express about her daily diet and cheat days.
What are your meals like on a regular day?
I like to start my day with a glass of coconut water, some protein powder and a mix of things — goji berries, flax seeds, hemp seeds, even the flesh of a coconut or anything with a lot of fibre. I often add bananas, or eggs — fried or boiled — to my breakfast. I eat a lot of vegetables. Lunch could be anything — pasta, stir-fried veggies, a well-made patty, some grilled chicken or fish — I eat a combination of different things. I largely eat meat in restaurants; at home, I am pretty much vegetarian. I often replace rice with quinoa. You can cook it with rajma or carrots and broccoli. Sometimes, I just eat steamed veggies for lunch — potatoes, broccoli, carrots, etc. Sometimes, it is chickpeas with quinoa. Often, I add tuna to my meal. The point is to be experimental with our meals — snack on crackers; add avocados to your meal. Take a chapati, add onions, tomatoes, avocados and use hummus as a spread and eat it as a wrap.
You have often gone on very effective diets for a movie or an ad shoot. What are your mantras for losing weight fast, but in a way that it doesn’t affect your health?
There are some very simple rules — add fresh vegetables to your meals, if possible, raw vegetables. Also add pulses and grains to your diet for the right amount of protein and fibre. A clear vegetable soup and freshly made salads will keep you full for much longer. Keep your energy levels high by adding bananas and egg whites to your diet. Stick to dark chocolate when you are feeling like eating something sweet. Try and eat out as little as possible. Avoid sugar, and by that I mean even pasta and pizza because that’s ultimately sugar. If you feel like snacking, stock up on almonds, walnuts and cranberries. The trick is not to deny yourself anything, but to bring some discipline into your life.
Do you ever eat the food cooked on the sets?
I generally fall sick if I eat very heavy food. But I do try the food on the sets; I often can’t help myself from indulging. I have eaten really spicy north Indian food on the sets of Rockstar, which often made me sick.
Do you ever have days when you binge?
Of course, I love food. My guilty indulgences are butter chicken and dal gosht!
What’s your favourite cuisine?
I like Thai food. The soups are amazing. I love a bowl of Tom Yum soup at the end of a long day. Some time back, I ate Malvani cuisine for the first time in Pune and I remember tweeting about it. I like the coconut flavour and the way seafood is cooked in Malvan. I often add sardines with onions to my food. Japanese is another cuisine I am fond of.
Which are your favourite restaurants?
In Mumbai, it has to be Olive because of its vibe and its great Mediterranean food, and Wasabi at The Taj Mahal Palace because it is the coolest Japanese restaurant around. I also like all the restaurants in JW Marriott, Juhu. In Dubai, it is Blue Jade at Ritz Carlton because it serves wonderful pan-Asian food.
Are you a dessert aficionado?
I can’t resist red velvet cake or chocolates. I stock up on chocolates from across the world. Gulab jamuns, kheer, kulfi, Bengali sweets…bring it all on!
What do you like to cook?
Anything unusual. The other day I experimented with coconut yoghurt mixed with ice-cream, butter, oil and milk.
What are your memories about food?
When I was really young, we ate spicy Pakistani food at home. Mom cooked Pakistani food rather well. Then my parents split and mom introduced us to her kind of food. Czech food has a lot of meat and pork. I grew up in New York — and the city is multi-cultural — so I was exposed to all kinds of food traditions. I particularly love Southern American food.
What’s your comfort food?
Chocolates and cakes; nothing beats a sugar rush.
And your poison?
Coffee with coconut milk and honey. Or, Bulletproof coffee with MCT oil. It does some things for your energy levels.