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What's Neha Dhupia's fitness secret?

Neha Dhupia believes in the philosophy ‘eat healthy, live healthy’

When Neha Dhupia decided to step into the world of showbiz, the first thing she did was to steel herself into not indulging in high-calorie food, especially sweets. The actor is health conscious and feels running is the best exercise “as it is therapeutic.” Her svelte frame belies her claim of ODing on Gujarati fare like theplas, khaman, khandvis and dhokhla-chutney. She agrees it is not easy to be a fitness fanatic 24/7, but it is not impossible if you watch what you eat coupled with some form of exercise. Neha’s New Year resolution is to “go beyond cooking corn cheese pies” while she tells us about her food habits.

Neha Dhipia
Neha Dhupia

Morning glory
I begin my day with a glass of warm water with half a lime squeezed in. This is important as lime has an alkalising effect in the body — it helps get rid of toxins. I follow this with a bowl of papayas after which I hit the gym. On some days I do yoga, otherwise it is pilates, running or cardio or a combination of all three. Your body stops responding if you repeat exercises.

Meal deal
Breakfast is a cup of tea, two poached eggs and oats cooked in water with honey. Around 11.30 am, I have a green juice — it could be any vegetable or fruit of that colour. Normally, it is spinach or broccoli with celery and a dash of ginger. Lunch consists of chapattis or brown rice with dal and vegetables or couscous with veggies. In the evening, I have a mixed bowl of nuts with green tea. It is a good snack. Dinner is light — often noodles and soup.

Neha Dhupia

Say no to sugar
I avoid food with high sugar content. Your body gets enough sugar from your meals, so your body doesn’t need processed sugar. Fruit juices have natural sugar, which is sufficient for your body. Sugar begets more sugar. If you have sugar, a few hours down the line you will crave for it. The fact is that if I had my way, I would eat chocolate fondue every day, but I know it will harm my system. So why inflict harm on the body? Health and fitness studies should be part of the school curriculum. Children should be taught about healthy eating from an early age. Diabetes is on an alarming rise and I wish people were more aware of sugar's harmful effects.

Going green
I was a non-vegetarian, but turned vegetarian for health reasons. I get my proteins from egg whites. I sometimes eat fish.

Check it out When I travel abroad, I visit the local food stores. I love eating organic food when in the US and the varieties of cheese in Europe. In Spain, I ate cherries the size of plums. Every home has a fresh orange juice maker. I wish we Indians were as health-conscious as those living abroad. Why do Indian women give up looking after themselves post marriage and motherhood? If you cannot resist that extra helping on your plate, how about walking the morning after?

Vietnamese rolls
Neha first tasted these rice paper rolls during her visit to Vietnam and got hooked to them. The actress states they are easy and quick to make and can be eaten as a snack as well. As they are not fried, they are healthy. You can add fresh veggies of your choice too.

Vietnamese rolls

Ingredients
>> 6 circular rice paper wraps (also called spring rolls skin)
>> 1 cucumber, chopped into fine long strips
>> 1 capsicum, cut into fine long strips (can use red and yellow varieties too)
>> 1 carrot, finely shredded
>> ½ cabbage, sliced thinly into shreds
>> 4-5 mint or basil leaves, finely chopped

Method
>> Submerge the rice paper into a container of shallow warm water just to soften one at a time for about 30 seconds or until rollable. Do not oversoak or it will begin to tear
>> Lay the wrap on a flat surface like a wooden board. Place the vegetables in the middle
>> Fold the sides in first. Then roll the opposite ends, the rice paper will stick to itself
>> Serve with any sweet-sour sauce or with soya or peanut sauce

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