By Radhika Bhirani
Title: Gorgeous – Eat Well, Look Great; Author: Shvetha Jaishankar; Publisher: HarperCollins; Pages: 175
If you happen to think that all top models have gone through their phase of anorexia and bulimia, here’s something to break the myth — they eat well, and, well, still look great and gorgeous.
Former beauty queen Shvetha Jaishankar, who was crowned Miss India International in 1998 and continues to be fit as a fiddle, in her debut book, recounts how she was repeatedly questioned if she ate anything besides carrot sticks to be a model.
“It pains me that there is such a strong association in many people’s minds between denying oneself food, and being gorgeous,” she writes and tells us how one of the most exciting parts of her work as a model was to travel all over and sample a variety of delicacies.
A bout of illness began taking a toll on her and thus began her journey exploring healing foods like cold-pressed coconut oil, chia seeds, quinoa, amaranth, red bananas, apple cider vinegar, et al.
The book takes the reader through innovative recipes using ingredients that are healthy and beneficial, with colourful pages full of “What’s Cooking With…” — which are experiences shared by some well-known models who have written about their experiences of staying gorgeous with food and fitness.
It’s interesting to discover that they dig into their desires — without feeling guilty — because they do it the right way.
Model Waluscha De Sousa, for example, shares that she eats every two hours and likes to eat clean, but doesn’t believe in diets that involve giving things up. She loves chocolate and cheesecake, but exercises every day. She replaces usual carbs with better carbs like sweet potato and bananas.
The reason for Malaika Arora Khan’s svelte figure? She never eats after 8 p.m. and follows the rule “Anything white is not always right”, so she avoids rice, pasta and cakes even though she’s a rice lover. Her indulgence? Mutton biryani every day if she could!
Supermodel Nayanika Chatterjee, who has been in the industry for over two decades, reveals that the key to maintaining her figure lies in eating “good food in proper quantities and combinations”. She also cooks in mustard oil — refined oil is only reserved for guests.
Even Milind Soman, who is now an active fitness promoter and a marathon runner, says he has never bothered about his calorie intake and eats a lot, including three kilos of fruit every day. One thing he avoids is foods that contain processed sugar.
London-based Nina Manuel, once the darling of India’s fashion designers, opens up about how she can eat butter croissants every day if she had to eat the same thing over and over again. She even shares a special Gujarati recipe of Dal Dhokli, made of split pigeon peas (toor dal), jaggery, kokum and other ingredients.
Dotted with such interesting anecdotes from people who have for long defined “gorgeous” on the ramps, Jaishankar’s book is divided into healthy recipes for breakfast, soups, salads, mains, rice, rotis and other starches, chutneys and dips, drinks and sweet treats.
For a person who likes to be in the kitchen and pamper their loved ones with treats, this book turns out to be a wholesome, tempting treat.