Meet the new foodie in town. Kareena Kapoor no longer believes in starving herself to get a hot bod. Instead, she is finding peace in gorging on rice and paneer. TWF correspondent Sreya Basu chats up with the actress in Mumbai. IBNS | 2 years ago

While most actresses prefer to stay away from food, you seem to have turned into a foodie.

Yes. I enjoy eating. Simple Indian food can make you so happy and at the same time it can slim you down ... it is something that I didn't know.

How often do you eat rice?

I eat rice every day if not every alternate day because that's a part of my diet. But all my close friends like Amu (Amrita Arora), Malaika (Arora Khan), my sister (Karisma Kapoor) and even my own manager (Poonam) refuse to eat rice because they are like "Oh! How can we eat rice? We can't eat carbs, we can only have grilled chicken." And here I am gorging on my rice and dal and feeling that peace of being a true Indian, feeling belonging to my soil and sleeping well at night. Like Saif (Ali Khan, husband) says: "Eat that which makes you happy from within." My dietician (Rujuta Diwekar) has not taught me to starve. She has made me a happy woman.

Aren't you scared of gaining weight?

It's a myth that eating rice will make you fat and bloated the next day. In fact, I feel light and slim after having rice. And there is a scientific reason behind it. Rice has certain essential amino acids which people believe are only present in meat or other non-veg food. And if you have a simple meal of dal and rice or khichdi and curry or pulao and raita, we get all the amino acids which we are looking for and at the end of the day we need a good balance of nutrients to really help us lose weight.

Is there a special diet plan when you are to shoot a dance number?

My dietician's favourite recommendation for the night before such shoots is always either pulao and raita or curry and rice. And being a vegetarian I enjoy eating a lot of paneer. Earlier, say six-seven years ago, I wouldn't like it at all. But today I find that even I am out on a dinner somewhere, the first thing I am ordering is something like palak paneer or matar paneer and eating the dish with two rotis or rice.

Is there another food that you used to dislike but now can't do without?
I never used to like bananas earlier. But now I can't do without it. After I wake up in the morning, I need to have a banana even before I take a sip at my coffee. Even a banana milkshake can make me feel full ... it is rich in iron, potassium ... it's great for my blood. I don't have to spend Rs 1 lakh ordering berries just because that's what everyone else is eating. Instead I spend Rs 2 on a banana and feel great.

What about having ghee?

Ghee is glamourous. I don't know why people don't eat that. For breakfast I always ask my cook to make aloo parathas and add a spoonfull of ghee to them. As of today, I can't eat a paratha without ghee. You must be wondering how I can eat aloo parathas for breakfast but then, they keep me full. Then, there are so many benefits of having ghee. I have suddenly started feeling it on my body, my skin and I know this is because that one spoon of ghee is entering my system every day.

Keeping in mind your present diet plans, how do you maintain your exercise regime when shooting or holidaying abroad?

The one thing that I like doing when I am out of India is a lot of outdoor walks. When I am back home, being a known face here, I can't walk on the streets.

(Posted on 31-07-2013)