While travelling for a photo shoot to Mauritius, Nargis Fakhri needed to flaunt an enviable bikini body. The actress did not starve for days or have her food morsels measured in grams for the right quantity to intake. Simply because the sexy and sensuous gal says she knows her body too well.
Nargis Fakhri with a prosciutto flat bread pizza, which she likes drizzled with olive oil
Ever since the half-Czech half-Pakistani began modelling and was a contestant on America's Next Top Model, she has been juggling pizzas and pastas with greens and fruit juices. Nargis feels if you respect and treat your body right, alarm bells will not ring when you step on the weighing scales. Avoid unnecessary gorging, and learn to cook the right stuff she says as she reveals her food habits and culinary skills...
On my mind
I eat whatever I want, but just not every day. Today I will have pizza and brownies for dinner, but tomorrow I will eat super healthy. I also have to get at least 30 minutes of a work out a day and drink more than two litres of water every day.
I normally begin my day having a plant-based protein powder supplement and coconut water. I also eat the coconut meat — it's super rich in vitamins and also fights diseases. I also have goji berries — these tiny scrunched up fruits are a great source of antioxidants besides flax seeds and hemp seeds. Later, I have a banana and two fried eggs. I top it off with two cups of coffee with manuka honey (instead of sugar) in homemade coconut milk. For lunch, it is homemade zucchini pasta with avocado cream sauce and for dinner it is stir-fry veggies or a veggie burger patty, but I avoid the bun to keep the carbs away.
When I was shooting for Rockstar (2011) with Ranbir Kapoor, I tried everything what was available on the set as well as wherever we shot on location — mainly in north India. Often, I would fall sick after eating. I ended up in the hospital at least six times during the shoot. It would play havoc with my system. My body doesn't agree with heavy dishes, but it never stopped me from trying. I had a great time shooting for Madras Cafe (2013) with John Abraham. It was awesome as we shot in south India. From the idlis to the spicy sambhar and red hot chutneys, I devoured them all.
By that time, my system could withstand all types of food. Main Tera Hero (2014) with Varun Dhawan and Ileana D'Souza was shot in Thailand. I admire Thai food, so of course ate everything — whether it was a fiery bowl of Tom Yum soup or Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken with cashew nuts). During the shoot of Main Tera Hero, I also went on a juice diet for six days. It is a detox diet where you consume only fresh fruit and vegetable juices. I had always wanted to try it out. In six days, I lost three kilos. Most people do it for a day or two though.
Big Apple days
I grew up in New York and it remains my favourite city. As it is a melting pot of cultures, I would indulge in all cuisines depending on my mood. The neighbourhood had African-Americans, so I had a lot of southern US style food. I love my collard greens (which is a staple vegetable of southern US cuisine), chicken and corn bread. My best friend was a Columbian who introduced me to South American food like Arroz con pollo — chicken with rice — which is loaded with spices, bell peppers and achiote seeds which gives it a nutty flavour.
Once I started modelling, I learnt to make healthier choices. I turned vegan for six months. It was an interesting phase and I never felt as good as I did during that time. I would love to go back to being a full-time vegan, but it's a bit hard here in India. The products are not available and neither are restaurants that cater to vegans.
Pots and pans
Staying in Mumbai by myself, made me cook. I do not cook Indian food, although I did learn a few dishes. I enjoy grains and pulses and trying out new dishes. I am more into salads, pastas and pizzas. I prefer the prosciutto flat bread pizza drizzled with olive oil. It is light and more healthier. I do not eat out too much any more though my favourite haunts are Joss, Wasabi, Smoke House Deli and Pizza Metro Pizza.
Zucchini Pasta with Avocado Cream Sauce
Nargis loves this dish for lunch. She says, "It is easy and quick to make." As it has cucumber, it is cooling, especially when the mercury is rising. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare.
4 small zucchini (cut into long thin strips)
1/2 cucumber (chopped)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons almond or coconut milk
7 leaves of basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the finely chopped zucchini in a bowl and keep aside. In a mixer, combine the remaining ingredients and process till it is of a smooth consistency. Pour the sauce over the chopped zucchini. Add the salt and pepper.
Take one tomato and cut into rings. Place on top of the mixture and serve.