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Wellness Wisdom: Ranveer Brar’s seven-step recipe for a fuller life

He may be juggling between being a chef, TV presenter, judge, teacher and now an actor. But he never feels pressured and manages to smile through a busy day.

Chef Ranveer Brar is not just a citizen of the multiverse. When not cooking, he is busy learning the art from others, travelling, teaching baking to prisoners or perfecting his skills from him as an actor. Here are the simple, everyday rules that he has found his Zen through.

(1) Find one hour for yourself, no matter what the work pressure: This is most important to anchor yourself. It doesn’t have to do with a health regimen as such. There shouldn’t be a built-in compliance; then it looks like a routine. But find one activity or engagement, no matter how small, that really gives you joy and that comes to you naturally.

(2) Be confident about the food that you are eating: Food is the medium of personal wellness. Food is medicine for the body and soul. We have a comfort level with the kind of food we grow up eating and they have more nutrition than we think. Millets are still an unfolding story and with water being the new gold in times of climate change. Millets, not requiring much, will be the superfoods of the future. They are whole grains packed with protein, anti-oxidants and nutrients. They have many health benefits, helping lower blood-sugar and cholesterol levels. They are also gluten-free.

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(3) Understand well-being over fitness: Fitness is singular and one-dimensional. Well-being is the reason for existence. So be holistic about your approach.

(4) Disconnect from the screen, invest in real, sensory experiences: Just get on the road and go on a self-discovery trip by collecting experiences there. Traveling the length and breadth of India has given me so much perspective already, not only about food, but cultures, people and their philosophies.

(5) Try something new: Always challenge your fears, anxieties and limits. For example, I never ever acted in a school play. Over the years, thanks to my food shows, I became easier with the camera and people liked my screen presence. Still, I had never thought of acting though I had a lot of respect for story-telling as a craft and the protagonist as narrators of the human condition. That’s why when Hansal Mehta offered me a small role to play in one of the chapters of Modern Love Mumbai and it involved me playing a chef, I said, “why not?” But since it was not an easy relationship to portray on screen, I did get some discomfort in my stomach. That forced me to come out of my shell. I had conquered my own limits.

(6) Be giving and forgiving: I have become aware of what I give back to society. If you have good intent, you will find a way and feel good about yourself. It’s okay if you seem to have done nothing right. Forgive yourself and try to do something that feels right. Being a Lucknow boy, I keep going back to see what I can do for the city and its people. So, I am working with these model jails in Uttar Pradesh where prisoners who have some interest in reforming themselves are brought from other jails. This is like a transit point between their inner and outer worlds. The authorities approached me to train them in bakery so that they could start a food business of their own. The food business is an enabler because it doesn’t take a lot to start and has an easy-startup model. And in this case, the jail was running a bakery, taking just 10 per cent of the sales and giving the rest to the inmates.

I have started a culinary course for the inmates to upgrade their skills and diversify their products. I also helped them in getting their products picked up by hotels in Lucknow. Even I will be sourcing their burger buns and cookies.

(7) Look around for inspiration: I found it in an inmate who was a tailor and an expert in zari work. On his own, he trained eight people around him in zari embroidery and created beautiful, hand-crafted pieces. I helped them connect to a marketing platform. Imagine if he had lost hope and given up. There’s always a window for a fresh start.

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