Upasana Kamineni of the Apollo family gets actor Samantha Akkineni on board for her recently launched online wellness platform
Upasana Kamineni claims she is two steps away from being a vegan, and it is all thanks to Samantha Akkineni. The Chennai-based actor is one of the many stars Upasana has got on board, apart fromactor-husband Ram Charan and stylist Tanya Ghavri for her new wellness portal, UR Life.
During the pandemic, with the general populace putting a greater focus on health and fitness, the vice president of Apollo Life has revamped her magazine B Positive, which she had been running since the past 14 years. This April, the magazine was transformed into an online platform, curating all aspects of well being, from fitness and diets to sleep, self care and healthy relationships.
Upasana, who was recently in Chennai to visit her grandparents, says, “My grandfather (Prathap C Reddy, founder of Apollo Hospitals) always maintained that it is our moral responsibility to keep people away from hospitals. ‘Yes, we will treat them when they are sick but it is our job to empower them’, he would say. That’s why I named this platform UR Life, because you are in charge of making your life better.”
The team at UR Life features dietitians, psychologists, fitness trainers, dermatologists and so on, from across India and not just Apollo, emphasises Upasana.
This month, UR Life has Samantha Akkineni as the guest editor. “Sam is a big believer in leading a sustainable life, so she fit the bill perfectly. As the guest editor, she helps us curate articles from her circle of influence. For example, she is vegan and grows her own food, so we have focussed on vegan diets this month. She has also helped burst myths about women weightlifting,” says Upasana.
Samantha joined Upasana in the kitchen to cook recipes recommended by dietitians. Since Samantha is from Chennai, the recipes they featured were Tamil staples, given a healthy twist: oats and carrot idli, and thakkali sadam. “I don’t find regular idlis easy to digest but not nutritional enough, so we switched to oats or millets instead. Similarly, we use brown rice for the thakkali sadam and made desserts using sabja and tulsi seeds, all of which are native to this area.”
Upasana, who frequents Chennai, acknowledges that there are many commonalities between Tamil and Telugu cuisines, but says, “Tamil tiffins win hands down, but no one cat beat the Nizami biryani.”
The one good thing that came out of the pandemic, she adds, “is that people started understanding the value of their health a lot more. We are no longer taking it for granted.”
As for her family, she says that the time she and Ram Charan take out to exercise is their ‘me-time’. “His routine is much more demanding and I can’t keep up with that. But yes, we always go on walks together.”