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image courtesy Kimberly Snyder

Hollywood celebrities swear by fresh green juices to keep their skin clear and the stomachs flat. Nutritionist to the stars Kimberly Snyder has taught me to get my vitamins and minerals in right at the beginning of the day– for breakfast.

16 ounces, or 2 glasses, of the Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS) make up my (and my mom’s!) breakfast every morning. That’s it– and it’s as filling as a full meal! The reasoning behind drinking fruit and vegetable juice for breakfast is this: you must eat light to heavy during the day. The GGS is very light and easy on your body and is digested with minimal effort, leaving your body with more “beauty energy” to repair cells, clean out your blood, and carry out general body and beauty maintenance. Ever notice how you get sleepy after a heavy meal? Digesting heavy foods zaps your body of energy because it’s devoting most of its resources to breaking your food down, at the expense of the rest of your body– including your skin!

Eating light early in the day allows your body to continue the detoxification process that has been going on through the night as you slept, leaving you with more energy to expend in the morning and afternoon! Keep lunch simple– quinoa and vegetables– for example, and dinner can be your heaviest meal. This sounds contrary to popular thought today (eat a heavy breakfast, light dinner), but Kimberly’s logic makes sense: by evening, you’ve completed your day’s tasks, and you have the time to kick back, relax, get sleepy, and let your body expend some extra effort digesting dinner into the night. So try the GGS for a refreshing start to your day!

Not to mention, it’s so nice to get eating all those leafy greens out of the way early in the day :). For more on the GGS from Kimberly herself, click here.

P.S. Feel free to switch out your favorite fruits and fibrous dark green vegetables! Mom and I have tried kale, broccoli and mango as alternatives so far. Add parsley or cilantro for extra detox power, if you like. If you’re short on time, you can make the GGS the night before (it keeps up to two days in the fridge, longer if you freeze it).

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image courtesy Flickr

Hi all! Hope you managed to weather through winter without too much struggle. I went into a bit of a blogging hibernation, but the sun is shining, and Jolie Asie is back in action.

I recently read a book that I HIGHLY recommend: The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder. Kimberly is a celebrity nutritionist whose clients include Drew Barrymore, Hillary Duff, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Fergie. The Beauty Detox Solution is an amazing read and has really changed the way I understand how the food I eat is impacting my body– and it’s lead to a total overhaul of my diet. This one’s a life-changer that I will be writing a number of posts on. Request it from your local library today.

This first post on Kimberly’s beauty wisdom is her fascinating look at how our body is designed and why it makes sense for us to pursue a vegetarian diet, or at least, minimize the amount of animal protein we consume.

“The gorilla,” she says, “is a natural vegetarian [that] gets all its protein, vitamin and mineral needs from its plant-based diet and is in fact the strongest animal on earth, pound for pound.” The same goes for elephants, the hippo, the rhinoceros, and the buffalo– all plant eaters, who derive all their protein needs from the amino acids (building blocks of protein), in plants. Here’s an excerpt from Kim’s book on the topic:

One of the best ways to figure out where we belong is to look at the animal kingdom. The human body is most closely related to that of primates: monkeys, chimps, and gorillas. Our genetic makeup is more similar to that of chimpanzees than to that of any other species on the planet, with an estimated 99.4 percent of our DNA sequence shared.

image courtesy Google Images

Look down at your hands. Don’t they look similar to monkeys’ hands? Look at your nails, flexible fingers and opposable thumbs. Now grind your teeth back and forth. You’ll find that our teeth, like monkeys’, are flattened (except the front canines, which can be used to help open up the harder shells of some fruits). Our back molars are appropriate for grinding plants for easy digestion.

Carnivorous animals, like the tiger, for example, have short inflexible “fingers,” which are really protrusions to push out and retract claws. These claws are needed to rip into the flesh of their prey. The tiger and other carnivores have sharp fangs: even their back molars are sharp and pointed, perfect for hunting and eating raw meat. Without these claws and sharp teeth, it would be impossible for the tiger to feast on its prey. Our hands, teeth and bodies simply aren’t designed for hunting and devouring animals in the same way; we have to use tools, weapons and utensils instead.

image courtesy Save the Tiger Fund

Okay, so we look different. But it turns out that our digestive tract is built differently, as well. The human liver, for instance, has a low tolerance for uric acid, a by-product of digesting animal protein. In contrast, the liver of the carnivorous tiger contains uricase, which is an enzyme used to break down uric acid. This enzyme gives the carnivorous tiger’s liver about fifteen times the capacity to break down uric acid from animal protein than a human liver has.

Not only are our livers designed to digest plant foods, but our stomachs are, too. The stomach juices of the tiger and other carnivores have a very high concentration of acid. This high concentration of acid helps to quickly and efficiently break down the high concentration of proteins that make up the carnivore’s diet. Humans’ stomach acid, on the other hand, is much less concentrated. Carnivores’ stomach acid is at least ten times more concentrated, and some researchers believe it could be many times more concentrated than that.

And what is true in the liver and stomach is true in the rest of the digestive tract. The human intestine is extremely complex, and at around thirty feet, it is about twelve times as long as our torso. (The gorilla also has a long intestine–about eight to twelve times its torso length.) It is designed to be long so there is adequate time to absorb the minerals and nutrients of fruits and plant matter, which quickly break down and move through our bodies much faster than animal protein does. The carnivorous tiger, on the other hand, has a short intestine– only about three times the length of its torso. Its intestinal tract is designed for quickly getting rid of the acidic waste matter that is the by-product of animal protein….

Your long intestinal tract is simply not designed to process large amounts of meat. When you put large amounts of heavy animal protein in your long intestine, the protein just hobbles along as best it can, which isn’t very fast, since it has to pass through the winding corridors of so many feet of intestine. Because it takes so long in that hot environment, it can start to putrefy, or in other words, rot, causing unhealthy bacterial growth and toxicity. There is no other way to put it: waste from digested animal products is meant to exit the body quickly, as it does in a carnivore’s body, not linger in your long digestive tract.

Digesting protein creates all sorts of by-products in the body, like purines, uric acid and ammonia, all of which create acidity in the body. These toxins are absorbed into our bloodstream through the colon and circulate all around our bodies. When our blood is clogged with toxins, it can’t transport as many beautifying minerals, and these toxins can age and clog the skin cells of our faces.

This chapter goes on to discuss more health issues caused by body acidity and toxins. It’s an engrossing and thought-provoking read, and the book provides persuasive dietary and lifestyle recommendations for increasing energy and vitality, eating for beauty and detoxing. I’ll write more on these subjects soon.

‘Til then!

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image courtesy twitterNew Year’s has come and gone, and weight loss is on the brain for many. In the past few months I’ve had conversations with many male friends about their desire to shed a few pounds and get back in shape. So here’s an article just for you, guys! I’m going to provide some recommendations that’ll help you on your journey to a better body.

1. Read the How to Look Like Hrithik Roshan guide

The most popular post on Jolie Asie, the How to Look Like Hrithik Roshan guide gives you everything you need to know about this super fit Bollywood hero’s diet and exercise routine, including some tips from Hrithik himself. Read it, get inspired, and try applying some of his advice to your own daily routine.

2. EAT LESS!

Weight loss is 90% diet, 10% exercise. The key here is PORTION CONTROL. You can have any and all of the delicious, sinful foods you love– but in moderation. Your portion sizes simply must shrink if you want to lose extra poundage. Learn to serve yourself less at meals (but don’t starve yourself or diet! You’ll just rebound!).

image couirtesy google imagesMeat portions should be no larger than the size of your fist (and lean meats or fish are best). Have dessert, but in very, very small quantities, and not necessarily every day. Same goes for drinks. Eat until you are satisfied (80% fullness), not until you are stuffed.

Consume more fruits and vegetables to promote satiety (feeling full). Drink plenty of water throughout the day for this purpose as well. Dehydration from lack of water can lead you to feeling drained, and you may try and make up for this by eating more than you would otherwise. You don’t need to live off of salads; you just need to eat what you normally eat in less quantity. Try to avoid eating out too much, as restaurant foods are typically highly caloric and most folks tend to overeat when they’re out. Ask for your food to be wrapped to-go so you can split one large meal into two or three.

image courtesy google imagesYou must avoid late night snacking. Don’t eat any additional meals after dinner, no matter how late you’re up (this goes for Saturday night after-party munchies and pizzas as well). If you are up late working and must snack, choose healthy options like fruit (apples will work wonders for keeping you awake!), nuts (excellent for keeping blood sugars stable), or lean protein (e.g. sliced deli turkey).

Watch how much alcohol you’re drinking. Alcohol weight usually goes straight to the jawline and face, and it’s almost instantly distinguishable. Limit your alcohol intake if you want to lose weight and regain a chiseled look. Avoid calorie-rich beer, sugary drinks, and sodas as a general rule.

image courtesy google images

3. Work out

Exercise is important not only for a healthy life but also for a toned figure. You will lose the excess weight through portion control, but you’ll build a better body through exercise. Do what you enjoy– sports, running, lifting, swimming. However, while it’s important to consume enough protein in your diet (via eggs, meat, protein shakes, etc.), do NOT overcompensate. Working out does not give you a free pass to overeat (or eat junk), no matter how much you burned. Also– you don’t need steroids or pills to develop a great figure, only time and dedication.

image  courtesy google images

4. Sleep

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep! That is: 7-8 hours a night. The body needs time to repair from daily wears and tears at night, and a well-rest body is a healthy body. A cup of tea or coffee every day will keep your energy levels up, which can motivate you to hit the gym or spend a few minutes in the kitchen whipping up a nutritious dinner.

That’s really all it takes! Just do it! Good luck!

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Welcome back to Meg’s Kitchen! Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for a drink I have nearly every day for vitality, strength, energy, health– it’s literally like spinach for Popeye!

My Beautiful Skin Drink Recipe consists of only four ingredients:

  • Spinach (a few handfuls)
  • One tomato
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Water, to taste
  • Optional: cilantro, salt, black pepper, cumin

That’s it! Blend it all in a small blender (NOT a juicer!) like the handy-dandy Magic Bullet. I promise you, the juice tastes SO much better than you think it does by the sound of it! It’s delicious! I’ve converted many a non-believer once they tried it. And because the spinach is blended, you can drink so much more of it than you would consume by eating a salad (which takes forever to chew anyway).

Vegetable juices are an amazing way to get part of your daily vegetable or fruit requirement out of the way with minimum time and hassle.

I drink my spinach juice about 5 times a week for clear and glowing skin. It also is an awesome energy booster, so it’s great to have as soon as you come home from work or school in the afternoon!

Tomatoes, rich in vitamins C and K, have anti-cancer benefits and support bone and cardiovascular health. The vitamin A in spinach is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it fights free radicals, keeping your skin (and the rest of your body) healthy and youthful. Because vitamin A is fat soluble, be sure to eat a small snack along with your spinach juice (a few dry roasted salted peanuts are a tasty option!)

Vegetable juices are hugely popular among celebrities ranging from actor Shahrukh Khan, to Hollywood actress Freida Pinto, to Bollywood legend Sridevi. Do try it and let me know what you think!

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A long, cold winter can leave you feeling chilled, sluggish, slow, and bloated. According to the ancient Indian medicinal tradition of Ayurveda, to fight these symptoms, one must stimulate the inner digestive fire, called agni.

This hot toddy recipe will do just that– it will warm your body, and your soul!

Now, different recipes abound for hot toddies, but I’ll share how I make mine. It’s a piping hot, super-healthy, antioxidant-packed drink that is sure to drive away the winter freeze, leaving you feeling both cozy and energized. I love to curl up on the couch with a hot toddy and watch my favorite movies. My mom always asks for one of my hot toddies when she’s feeling under the weather.

The hot toddy is filled with anti-inflammatory, repairing vitamins and minerals that will stimulate your immune system, kickstart your metabolism, and vanquish stuffy noses, headaches, sore throats, stomach aches and more. To get the best results, use fresh ingredients! Also, be sure to use manuka honey, as opposed to the processed honey usually found in your cupboard; manuka honey has incredible healing health benefits and can be found at your local health food store.

Meg’s Hot Toddy

In a small pan, combine:

  • 1 round slice or wedge of lemon (with flesh and peel)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cubes fresh cut ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • water

Let the water simmer for five to ten minutes (without bringing to a full boil). In the meanwhile, in a mug, combine:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy
  • A few teaspoons manuka honey, to taste

After you have finished simmering the water, turn the heat off, remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool for 3 minutes. Then pour the water through a strainer into the mug, stir well, and enjoy! (To make a non-alcoholic version, skip the brandy.)

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Dr. Mehmet Oz had fitness trainer and author Jorge Cruise on his show (“The Dr. Oz Show”) to discuss ways you can jumpstart your energy every day in simple ways. Here are his five ways to boost energy in under five minutes:

1. Morning Skinny Microwave Muffin: Make this quickie muffin-breakfast in a coffee mug!

In a coffee mug, add:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packet of stevia (natural sugar-replacement sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Stir nicely with a fork and microwave for 50-55 seconds. The muffin will rise in the mug. Slip it out when it’s done onto a plate, top with just a touch of butter, and enjoy! The goal for maximizing energy and health is to eat under 15 grams of sugar every day— and this breakfast has zero sugar, and is filled with nutritious vitamins and minerals, along with protein and omega-3s!

2. Sip citrus throughout the day with this delicious lemon-limeade recipe. Even the smell of Vitamin C stimulates alertness in the body! This drink is nutritious, yummy, and provides mental and physical stimulation.

Combine:

  • 4 lemons
  • 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon stevia
  • Fresh mint (to taste)

3. Use natural blue light for renewed energy! Purchase daylight-simulating lights from the store, only around $6. These blue light bulbs simulate the light of the outdoors. They are also famous for enhancing mood and beating winter blues.

4. Try alpha lipoic acid (ALA) supplements. Consume 200-400 mg/day in the morning; ALA helps cells metabolize energy more effectively. You can find ALA for around $15 online or at health food stores.

5. Try the superman stability pose. Assume the “plank” position on the floor. Lift one arm, keeping it straight in front of you (similar to the famous flying Superman pose). Hold the position for one minute, lower the arm, and raise the other arm. Hold for one minute. Get to your feet, and feel the energy pulsing through your arms, core, and back! The superman stability pose is great for promoting good posture throughout the day.

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Here’s a candid interview with Sonam Kapoor on diets, weight loss, body image, and more, courtesy TOI:

Oh my God! Who says that?’ was the refrain that ran like wildfire through a very swish Delhi audience on Sunday. Sonam Kapoor had just finished half-an-hour of a jaw-dropping, candid conversation about her journey from fat and ugly to fit and fab, which she started almost teary-eyed.

With the capital’s who’s who and what-not going from delighted surprise to disbelieving admiration, Sonam, among the thinnest people in the room that day, narrated how she got there, working her way through adolescent obesity, starvation and a depressing lack of self-confidence, to reach a healthy and sustainable figure. And for the record, she’s probably not wearing a bikini in her next – she says she has too much saggy skin from losing so much weight! Excerpts:

I had hair on my face
I’ve battled my weight since I was 12. My parents took to us to New York once, for a holiday, and there I’d buy fruit loops from a 24×7 shop and sit down with my books. I never played, I wasn’t that kind of kid – I just read. I ate chocolates like peanuts. I was 86kg till I was 19. Sanjay Leela Bhansali (the director of her debut, “Saawariya”) told me, ‘you have a beautiful face but neck down, you’re like an Ajanta-Ellora painting.’ He was sweet enough to wait for me, but he said, ‘you have to wear a backless choli, you can’t have rolls of fat showing through.’ I had all the health problems that come with being overweight – I was diabetic, I had to take insulin tablets. I had hair on my face and I blamed my dad for it! My mom told me, ‘you don’t have hair anywhere else, you’ve done it to yourself.’

At 18, I was seeing someone very loving. He told me then that I love you the way you are, but you need to lose weight! I took two years to lose it all. I did yoga, I followed starvation diets and that’s why I have bad acidity – and at this age. I can’t wear bikinis because I have loose skin from losing so much weight!

Dad named me ‘Latina papita’
Like fat people are called Tuntun, I was called ‘Latina papita’, and my dad started calling me that! I told him, ‘come on, I’m your daughter!’ It was because all my weight went to my bum, and he said you look like those girls in the Bronx who walk around wearing tight jeans.

Indian junk food is my sin
Once, one of my friends had to remind me during a film that I’d eaten 20 samosas. You don’t notice na, what you eat during a film – that’s why they have popcorn, which is healthy. Indian junk food is my sin, even though I pretend to like Japanese.

A fit family is irritating!
My mom owned gyms – would you believe it? My dad is known for his fitness. Having a fit family is very irritating. My sister eats everything and doesn’t gain weight, my brother is an ectomorph (people with a high metabolism who find it hard to gain weight).

My motivation: clothes
My motivation to lose weight was clothes. I look at Kate Moss and I think, ‘I want to be a waif’. But I didn’t throw my old clothes after I lost weight, because I never know when I’m going to have to wear them again! Also, some of them are just too expensive to throw away (laughs). I work a lot with Anamika (Khanna, designer) and she has a separate section to just keep altering my clothes all the time.

The pressure keeps me on track
I look at myself in the papers every day. I look at my competition – most of them are models, one is a badminton player, another is so skinny that everyone thinks she has a problem. She actually doesn’t – I know her, I’ve seen her eat, but she’s so skinny people think she does. It’s the pressure. I’ve landed up in hospital because of bad eating habits, but if I have to look good on magazine covers and in films, I have to be thin. Do I pray for thinness? No, my mother is quite religious, but I’m very superficial. I’m very clear – I need to fit into those shorts because I need to look hotter than her!

I refuse to wear a bikini. I have a saggy bum, I have cellulite, I said in an interview recently that my tits and ass are not very nice so… I recently fit into a size 2 dress, which is great because I was size 16 once.

In “Aisha”, there were Lisa Haydon and Ira Dubey, and there was a scene with all of us wearing swimsuits. So Lisa and Ira wore swimsuits, and I had to wear boyfriend jeans over mine, in the Rishikesh heat!

Delhi is my cheat city
It’s my secret cheat city because I love coming to Delhi, and I only talk about food here! (Sonam was in the city on Sunday to launch Kalli Purie’s book “Confessions Of A Serial Dieter”). All my interviews are about food. In Chandni Chowk, you get this chhole bhature, and you get this kulcha where they put the chhole inside the kulcha and you eat it – gasp! (Slurp) Oh baap re! At that time, nobody knew who I was na, because no one recognised me in that completely different avatar after “Saawariya”. I’d walk up and down Old Delhi eating!

Soulmate diets, crazy diets
On whether she’s found a diet that fits her so well it’s like finding a soulmate: No, but I do Bikram yoga – and in Delhi, that’s, like, walking outside in the summer. I also do pilates, because I’m a broad girl so weights are not for me. I eat every two hours, but my cheat day is Sunday, which is today, and I’ve had two dosas and some walnut cake since morning. And now I’m pulling my tummy in and wearing Spanx (body-shaping underwear)!

The craziest diet she’s tried: The pineapple diet. Pineapple has bromelain which apparently burns fat. So I had some pineapple before every meal. I did lose weight on that diet, but probably because I was so full from having the pineapple that I ate less.

My heartbreaking fatty moment
During “Delhi-6”, I had to put on about 5kg for the role. I put on 10 instead, because i used to eat gajar ka halwa. During the shooting, I also did a press event wearing a western dress, and a publication drew lines showing how I’d gained weight! They even put before and after pics. I realized then that I’m an investment, there are people putting their money on me, and I have to be fit.

How I avoid sending out the wrong message (concerns about encouraging anorexia)
I’m honest. If someone asks about my weight loss, I tell them I have five people working on me, plus there’s Photoshop. I tell them I can’t eat everything and look good. I was unhealthy when I was fat, and now I’m a normal body type. I’m not special, I’m just an actress, and boys and girls are intelligent enough to recognise that.

On the candour, so unexpected of actresses
I’m never careful about what I say. I just think I owe it to people. I’ve faced a lot of demons. People say she has everything, but there are a lot of things I go through that most people don’t know about. I don’t think it should be that way, because if a young girl aspires to be like me, she can’t have unnatural goals. Because of that, I’ve made it a point – since I’ve entered the industry – to be extremely honest.

I don’t think it’s a rare trait, but it requires a certain amount of courage, self-respect, and you need to love yourself. The age group who are my… fans – I hate using that word – the people who like seeing my movies are, say, pre-teens to early 20s, and mostly girls. That’s important, and I’m grateful for that, but I need to be a correct role model. I need to tell them that everybody goes through these battles. When someone says something about my weight etc, at first I’ll be like, oh, so what if they said it, but eventually I go back home and I cry.

Your weight defines the course of your life
People ask me, don’t you get stressed out that you have to get ready all the time? They don’t know that till I was 21, I battled my weight and couldn’t wear the clothes I wear now. So for me, it’s an absolute joy to dress like this, get ready, do my makeup, my hair. It’s an absolute joy, you know what I mean? Like the best gift. Many people make fun of me because I’m always so dressed up, but they don’t understand that there’s a little girl inside me who always wanted to be that dressed up, but never got to do that because I was always a certain weight.

Your weight even rules your relationships
You become hyper-sensitive. Everything that anybody says affects you because you already have a complex about who you are and what you are. You are lazy, lethargic, don’t want to go out too much, don’t want to socialize… it’s a constant battle. When you’re constantly fighting something, you’re not easy, then relationships become harder. You need to be in a happy place.

My looks have been an issue in all my relationships. Men, when they see someone like me… they expected me to be one thing earlier, and now it’s even worse. Now they expect me to be ‘Sonam Kapoor the fashion whatever, blah blah blah’. But all my relationships, there’s always been… they admire other girls. Men admire other women, you need to understand that. Like many women, I admire other men, and men do that as well. For me, it’s a little hurtful. Not that I don’t do that, but they look at other girls and they have their “Playboy” and whatever, and you’re just like… (pauses) I need to be a certain body type to be attractive to him. But at the same time, if someone is with you, they’re with you because of who you are, so you should never forget that either. But yes, weight is a constant issue in everybody’s life. Men are also in the gym every morning.

My cousin went through it too
My cousin Arjun (Boney Kapoor’s son) has become an actor now – he’s the lead in a Yashraj film. He was, if anything, way fatter than me. His life has been a battle and he is now a thin, gorgeous-looking boy. I’ve seen him go through all that. He’s exactly my age, 15 days younger than me, we’re like Siamese twins, and I’m so, so, so proud of him. We were always on a diet together.

I want to wear a bikini on screen someday
I guess it’s fashionable to wear a bikini these days – everybody’s wearing one, which is really annoying! (‘Ok, maybe I shouldn’t have said that!’ she adds.) I want to do it, hopefully I’ll get to a point where I can, but right now it’s a battle. I know I’m hot and sexy, but I know I can be hotter and sexier!

Wearing a bikini in Bollywood doesn’t mean you’ve arrived, it just means you’re a certain body type and you’re uninhibited about taking your clothes off in front of a billion people in India. I don’t know if it’s aspirational, but for me, it’s the body type – a fit body – that you can look fab and healthy and beautiful wearing that. For me, Bipasha Basu in “Race” is the perfect example, because she didn’t look like she’d starved herself; she looked like she’d worked out and eaten really, really well. She looked beautiful. She’s OMG. She is really inspirational in terms of – I’ve seen her eat. She eats. But she exercises like a beast, and she’s very healthy. She’s not anorexic, she’s not bulimic, she’s healthy. And that should be the goal – to be a healthy body type.

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