When Ileana D’Cruz confessed her love for Australian photographer-guitarist Andrew Kneebone on Twitter in July, his response on the micro-blogging site was, “Ladies love a man who can make a decent Latte, cook a meal and do single-arm push-ups”.
Ileana’s reply was, “Ha ha ha, is it any wonder why I love you?” Interestingly, Andrew’s Twitter profile states, “I have a BBQ for a desk.” The Aussies are known to be fond of red meat and barbecues, needing no excuse to fire it up. However Ileana is a fitness freak and certainly believes in eating right. She watches every morsel that goes into her mouth and when she lets go, she makes sure she spends an extra hour working out.
The actress moved from doing South films to Bollywood with Barfi! (2012) and was later seen in Phata Poster Nikla Hero (2013) and Main Tera Hero this year. Ileana spells out her diet and fitness regime and how she curbs those cravings for chocolate:
For Ileana D’Cruz, cheat food spells pizza
Rustling up a meal
I live by myself in Mumbai as my family is based in Goa. I refer to myself as an experimental Masterchef who can cook to survive. I detest the thought of having a 24/7 househelp at hand — it is like being constantly under surveillance. Every move I make, someone is watching me. So when I’m not travelling for shoots or promotions, I make a decent meal — it may not be fancy, but I can cook dal, subzi and and salad. I also make decent tiramisu.
Something which I cannot overcome is my midnight craving for food. If I am out in the evening, and get home, I have to eat something again or I won’t be able to sleep. Or even if I am asleep, on most instances I just wake up, munch something and go back to bed. It is highly unhealthy and the craziest thing to do, but I can’t curb my midnight craving. Sometimes I have a glass of milk or munch a fruit, or at times it is a bar of chocolate. I will be wide awake and at peace only when I eat.
When camera calls
Just before a film schedule begins or during the shoot, I get extra cautious. It is strictly no-carbs, no-sugar with a strenuous work-out routine. You have to look fit to carry out the various looks in a film. So sometimes I have to literally starve myself. For instance, in my upcoming film, Happy Ending, I had to strip for a scene to hitch a ride. We were shooting on the Pacific Coast highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. For two months before the shoot, I was on a controlled diet. Initially, I had freaked out, but then fitness trainer Yasmin Karachiwala helped me. I would work out like a maniac for two hours every day and do cardio, pilates and yoga coupled with a strict no-sugar, no-carb diet. It was all worth it when I saw myself on the screen. I can make up my mind not to eat, except for those midnight cravings.
I have a major sweet tooth. Actually, I dream of chocolate. I know that even if I have a piece of chocolate, I will have to work out for two hours to burn it. So whenever I eat, I work out rigourously. Shooting involves a lot of travelling and eating outside food, but I know when to stop and when to indulge. I sip on fresh fruit or vegetable juices when I am travelling and have brown bread vegetable sandwiches. Pizza is my cheat meal, but I try to eat for the farmhouse ones which are loaded with veggies.
Breakfast is usually a bowl of cereals with flax seeds as it is highly nutritious or sometimes it is egg whites and fruit juice. I used to go overboard on coffee, but no longer. For lunch and dinner it is usually dal, a chicken dish and veggies. I particularly like sweet potatoes. I also like to eat couscous which is made of semolina. As it is steamed, it is healthy. My sweet cravings are taken care of by chocolate bars and chocolate-based desserts, but I know when to stop.
My home is at Parra in Goa. I remember during festive occasions like Christmas the family would get together and feast like there’s no tomorrow. My mother would lay out a spread of goodies from homemade marzipans to fruitcakes. She is a good cook. Whether it is Chinese or Mughlai, she knows it all. When I am in Goa I have, as the locals say susegad — a relaxed, laidback attitude. That’s the only time when I let go of my diet and hog.
Salad in a jiffy
Ileana D’Cruz loves salads. “They are light, filling and easy to make in a short time,” she says. She shares her version of a Greek salad which she loves with a liberal dose of olives.
>> 2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into slices
>> 4 tomatoes cut into pieces
>> 1 capsicum, cored, seeded and chopped
>> 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
>> 4 ounces feta cheese, cut into cubes
>> 1/2 cup olives
>> 6 tbsp olive oil
>> 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
>> Salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk together olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum, onions, feta cheese and olives and toss to combine. Serve immediately.