Tulsi Kumar has an enviable diet, which is healthy and yet delicious. She has her cheat days but her exercise regime ensures she stays fit as a fiddle. The Free Press Journal caught up with the singer for an exclusive chat on her diet and fitness. Excerpts:
I begin my day: On a very healthy note. I start with a glass of lukewarm water that I have along with wheatgrass powder and another glass of warm water which is soaked with coriander seeds and jeera and I add a few mint leaves. Later I have a few almonds and one walnut.
My dietary preference: I am a pure vegetarian and my favourite vegetarian dishes are any paneer recipe. I really like my greens and I love broccoli. I also like different cuisines so vegetarian sushi, especially with asparagus is among my favourite dishes.
My favourite meal of the day is breakfast: I love eating my avocado toast. I prefer gluten-free bread whenever possible so either sourdough bread. I have plain toast with a little bit of butter and jam with a cup of tea. When I am in the mood to indulge I eat pancakes.
For my lunch: I love home-cooked food. It consists of rotis made with Amaranth flour along with any vegetable, preferably a green vegetable and a bowl of dal. I love my bowl of raita and a kachumber (salad) as well. On days when I want to pamper my palate, I love eating Asian food. Veg dim sums are my favourite.
In the summer season: Before my meal, I have a glass of buttermilk sometimes but otherwise along with my meal I definitely have a bowl of vegetable raita along with a kachumber which comprises finely chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumber and green chilli. I love the flavour of green chilli. I add a dash of salt and lemon to the kachumber.
My evening snack: A cup of tea with makhanas, sourdough crackers with a hung curd dip, I also eat boiled beetroot with hummus. I use almond milk in my tea because it just keeps it lighter.
My dinner: I usually have tofu and stir-fried vegetables. Or a bowl of khichdi. There are days when I have a mix of sweet potatoes, cottage cheese, capsicum, onions and pineapple grilled. And yes, malai broccoli for dinner is an option. I avoid roti and sabzi for dinner.
My favourite desserts: I try to avoid desserts but I succumb to anything chocolate! Whether it’s a chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream. In Indian desserts, I love gulab jamun and any kind of barfi.
To keep fit: I follow a combination of hitting the gym three times a week and going for a run the other three days. I try my best to keep my routine of cardio or weight training.
For health reasons foods I avoid: Anything that is excessively cold because it affects my throat and consequently my singing.
I can cook: Not really. A sandwich or a very easy cheese toast.
My favourite cook: My mum makes amazing paneer bhurji, excellent parathas and yellow dal.
My childhood memory of food: The food I ate at birthday parties. A plate of wafers, cake slices, sandwiches, pasta and French Fries. Sometimes I get nostalgic about my childhood and I make a plate for myself.
For a romantic meal: A candlelight dinner in a sea-facing Italian restaurant. A Virgin Mary along with Aglio e Olio pasta and a delicious pizza.
My favourite restaurants: I love Italian, Japanese and Asian food so in Mumbai, I would head to meet my friends at Soho house. They have a very limited menu but the food is very good for Japanese cuisine. I also like dining at Mizu, Olives and Table in South Mumbai. Abroad my favourite restaurant would be Zuma in Dubai and London.
I feel guilty after eating: Chocolates and any dessert to do with chocolate because once I start, I can’t stop!
The strangest combination of food: You get various kinds of dosas like Chinese dosa, and pav bhaji dosa but I prefer the regular masala dosa.
My favourite drinks: A guava-based concoction, coconut water and Pina Colada.
On a hot summer day: A platter of fruits, nariyal pani or a nimbu pani is ideal.
During winters: I relish hot chocolate with marshmallows.
During monsoons: I binge on samosas, jalebi, and vada pav with my cup of tea.
Advice to my readers: Eat whatever your heart desires but exercise, and also ensure portion control. Work out regularly.
Tulsi’s recipe for two pizzas
For the sauce
4 to 5 red tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 10 to 12 cloves of garlic (crushed), 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup, Salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon oregano, 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves
Method: Boil the tomatoes for 8 to 10 minutes in sufficient water on a medium flame till they turn soft. Cool and remove the skin of the tomatoes. Coarsely blend the tomatoes. In a pan lightly heat olive oil. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for a few seconds. Add the tomato purée and cook on a low flame for seven minutes. Add tomato ketchup, sugar, salt, pepper powder and oregano. Cook for a couple of minutes more. Switch off the gas. Cool and add shredded basil leaves. The pizza sauce is ready.