Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022

Balancing Act

Former beauty queen Shvetha Jaishankar on what models can teach us about healthy eating and living

 Eat Well, Look Great, Shvetha Jaishankar, Book on Heath and diet, Book on Health living, India news, National news, India news, national news, India news, National news, India news Shvetha Jaishankar

It took a few too many visits to the hospital for Shvetha Jaishankar to realise that she hadn’t been treating her body very well. “When I settled down in Chennai after my marriage, I put on weight without noticing, and then I started getting sensitive to the foods that I used to love,” says the former beauty queen and model, adding, “I was hospitalised a number of times because of how badly my body reacted against what I would eat. That is when I started looking at food in a completely different way — as a way of healing the body. I spoke to many experts and did a lot of research on this and slowly started trying out different foods that could help my body heal, and help me recover my balance.”

One result of her research was that she was once again her fit and healthy self. The other outcome is her book Gorgeous: Eat Well, Look Great, in which Jaishankar has talked about how she found her way back to a balanced lifestyle. The guiding wisdom of Jaishankar’s book — and of her lifestyle — is that of knowing one’s body well enough to understand what it is saying. She recalls how once, when at the peak of her career, she had 20 gulab jamuns at a friend’s wedding. “I do indulge my sweet tooth, but of course, I have to also remember that I am not in my 20s anymore and can’t do all the things and eat all the things that I did when I was younger,” she says.

Eat Well, Look Great, Shvetha Jaishankar, Book on Heath and diet, Book on Health living, India news, National news, India news, national news, India news, National news, India news The book; Gorgeous: Eat Well, Look Great

Arriving at the understanding that her body has changed as the years passed was tough to arrive at, Jaishankar says, “ I had taken my body for granted for a very long time. I had been getting by with minimal exercise and had kept a very lazy eye on what I was eating. I missed that I could wear whatever I want, and I missed that feeling of confidence that comes with it and in the way that the world looks at you. At some level, I didn’t want to go back to being as skinny as I was in my 20s.”

Her book also lists a variety of recipes that, Jaishankar hopes, will help others in the same way. These recipes draw on all kinds of inspirations — food from her childhood, recommendations from fellow models and culinary experiences from her travels around the world. “And it’s perfectly alright to indulge your sweet tooth once in a while,” she says, recalling how she celebrated Roger Federer’s recent win at the Australian Open with a chocobar. “The secret to a healthy life is balance,” she says.

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It might seem odd to those outside the fashion industry, but this stress on balance is one of the reasons why she decided to interview a number of her former colleagues from the industry and include their diet wisdom and recipes in her book. She says, “Food was an important part of our lives as models too. We would catch up over meals after the show, for instance, or enjoy the buffet during a shoot. We just used to be able to balance it out. Modelling actually gave us acute awareness of our bodies because models themselves are not dieting. I’ve encountered people who are not connected to the fashion industry and who go to extreme lengths in the name of dieting. I have never met a model who did such things.”

First published on: 09-02-2017 at 12:32:34 am
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