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Updated: June 25, 2013 18:08 IST

Don’t wait for the alarm

Harshini Vakkalanka
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In a happy place Lisa Ray. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
The Hindu In a happy place Lisa Ray. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Says Lisa Ray to make healthy lifestyle choices; rather make it a lifelong practice

After launching Rado’s new Hyperchrome Collection across over five cities (and recently in Bangalore) in less than a week, Lisa Ray went back to Canada for an awareness walk for Mutiple Myeloma, a rare form of cancer.

She will then be shooting for Season 4 of Canada’s Top Chef after hosting Season 3 which was recently broadcast.

“The third season was great, it was successful and it gets bigger and better every season,” Lisa said.

“I’m particularly fond of this because we had an Indian food challenge. This is important because India is going mainstream. Though in North America in particular, people are not as exposed to modern India. So I find that I have become an ambassador when I’m there. I share a great relationship with the team. It’s very warm and it’s important for me at this stage that I’m enjoying the experience,” says the Canadian model and actor.

Lisa, who is part Polish and part Indian, went back to treatment earlier this year, for her condition, multuple myeloma, which was first diagnosed in 2009. She was declared cancer free in 2010.

“It is considered incurable. Since the beginning of the year I have adopted a healthy diet. This time around apart from the drugs, I’m also paying attention to my diet. It has been proved that you can boost your immune system through your diet because ultimately if your body can fight, that is the best position to be in. I have turned vegetarian and cut out sugar as it has been linked to feeding cancer. I have also cut down dairy and I eat sprouts which we have a lot of in India. I would encourage everyone to return to our traditional wisdom.”

On managing her hectic schedule and health Lisa says: “When you’re travelling it is challenging to stick to your regular lifestyle choices. Fortunately India is home for me, I have friends wherever I go and I call them. That keeps me emotionally grounded.”

Films are now definitely on her agenda but at the moment the focus is on her health. Still Lisa loves what’s happening in the Hindi film scene right now. “I always wanted to be an actor as opposed to a star and theatre is a differentiation. A lot of my films were about disappearing into a character, they were independent films. Even though I was offered mainstream films, I said no. I have been lucky in my career because I have always taken unusual choices. I am unconventional, so it matches my personality.”

Talking about getting through the time when she was diagnosed with cancer, Lisa says: “There is no easy answer to that. It is complex because the idea of healing happens on so many different levels. There is no doubt that by going public I got a lot of support, and writing (in her blog) was therapeutic. There is a lot of healing that is ongoing. This year I went for meditation and Ayurveda retreats. This is a lifelong practise and I would encourage everyone to do that. Don’t wait for the alarm bell of having a disease. So educating myself about cancer and at the same time using my imagination and really believing that I would get through it was a very important factor.”

Lisa looks at her condition as a catalyst for change, and for great personal growth.

“There is no magic formula to it. But the point of life is to enjoy everyday moments. It has changed me in a way, made me stop and realize there are everyday miracles. So the little things don’t stress me out now and the little things also make me happy.”

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