Paul Nagaoka: Being fit doesn't mean cutting out fats
"Every day is a cheat day for me," said Singapore-based Paul Nagaoka.
The 1.85m-tall actor-model, who looked like he had just stepped out of a fashion magazine, said he eats almost every kind of food. He also said there was a misconception that eating fat is the main cause of weight gain.
He told The New Paper: "I love eating food rich in fat, such as salmon and olive oil, which have healthy fats that improve your brain function."
We sat down with the US-born Nagaoka at Shiraz at Clarke Quay for dinner. The restaurant had authentic Persian ambience with warm lighting.
The 32-year-old ordered the Salad Shirazi, Chef's Signature Platter, Shandiz (marinated lamb chops), Jujeh Kebab (chicken skewers), Mosama Bademjan (braised chicken stew), Olives or Feta Cheese with Basil, Mint Leaves and Pita Bread, and a Rainbow Lagoon drink.
Nagaoka, who is half-Japanese and part English and Irish, proclaimed his love for lamb, so it came as no surprise when the Shandiz was his favourite dish.
He said: "It tastes like I am in a Persian village, where the wise man butchered a fresh lamb for me. This lamb is so tender and marinated really well."
Nagaoka, who is starring in the TV series, Tanglin, on Channel 5, said acting was not something he had in mind when he moved to Singapore.
Nagaoka, who also owns a real estate investment company in the US, realised he was meant to be an actor when auditioning for roles, which can be boring, was still fun.
He said: "When the tedious part of the job is still thrilling, you know you have found something you love."
He also has an upcoming HBO Asia comedy drama, Sent, which will air in August, and a YouTube channel, in which he gives fitness and style tips and posts vlogs.
Do you have people asking you for advice on dieting?
All the time. That is why I started my YouTube channel as it is a way for me to help a lot of people at the same time.
I was in a car accident six to seven years ago, and I was bedridden for a year, barely able to walk. All the muscles in my body had to be rebuilt, and that is when I started to have a real passion about health.
I set this goal that I wanted to be the healthiest and fittest I have ever been in my life. I started to help other people in fitness. I love to figure out ways on how to help people in that.
I have been interested in fitness my whole life, but my accident was the catalyst that forced me to live it out.
Which cuisine did you grow up with, and are you a fan of American food?
As I am half-Japanese, I grew up eating Japanese food, and it is really good. I remember eating this dish called tamago kake gohan as a child, where you crack a raw egg over rice and mix it with soya sauce and natto.
I do not like American food very much because it is so plain. I would pick Asian food over American all day.
Do you cook for your family?
I have a helper at home to cook for us. I used to cook at home, and my wife does not really cook either. I don't really like doing it as it takes forever. I lived off hawker centres, got as many healthy foods I could and put it in the freezer the first few years when I lived in Singapore.
I do a lot of things in my day and it is packed, and I also try to be a great husband and father to my two-year-old son so that takes up all of my waking hours.
Are you on a particular diet to maintain your model figure?
I don't diet short term. I keep my diet simple so I can maintain it while indulging in the occasional Hokkien mee.
I eat two meals without carbohydrates, and then in the third meal, I eat whatever I want, and avoid drinking calories.
Living here, it is really hard to eat clean because the food is so good (laughs).