Question and Answer

What do you eat?
I happily follow the eating plan outlined in my newest book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches (formerly published under a different title), which means I construct every meal as a ‘5 piece puzzle’ using fixed portions of produce, a whole grain, lean protein, plant based fat, and natural seasonings (no counting of calories, grams, points, etc.). This strategy provides structure, balance, and perfect portions, but also lots of flexibility, so from meal to meal I can include foods, flavors or textures I’m in the mood for. The book contains 100 clean, simple meals, including some of my staples, like my Cherry Almond Green Tea Smoothie and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Jalapeno Guacamole. But I also try to eat as much variety as possible within each 'puzzle' group (wild rice one day, red quinoa the next and lots of different types and colors of produce, etc.). And I eat local, in-season foods and buy organic as often as I can.

What foods do you avoid?
I avoid anything artificial (no artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives, etc.) as well as processed foods. Generally, if a food contains ingredients I wouldn’t or couldn't use in a recipe in my own kitchen, I don’t buy it. 

What’s your workout routine?
Varied! I was an avid runner, but it started aggravating previous injuries, so I retired my running shoes. Now my favorite forms of exercise are hiking, dance, cross country skiing, fun group fitness classes, strength training without weights, and my absolute favorite: walking. In S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches I devote an entire chapter to falling in love with walking. 

Do you ever splurge?
Yes! I’m a believer in splurges, as long as you’re savvy about it. Not giving into cravings just causes them to linger, and can lead to overeating other foods or just feeling perpetually unsatisfied. My #1 can’t-live-without splurge is fresh cut pommes frites cooked in olive or peanut oil. My newest book includes a strategy for exactly how to build in a splurge without derailing your diet (diet simply meaning a way of eating), but some of the key foods in the plan are those that satisfy me the most - foods I actually I recommend eating every day, like almond butter, avocado, olives, and dark chocolate (in the S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim eating plan a Daily Dark Chocolate Escape is mandatory).

Do you like to cook?
I guess that depends on how you define cooking! I have made many things from scratch, from whole grain pasta and sushi, to salsa and vegan desserts, but cooking complicated dishes with lots of ingredients and steps isn’t my passion. I love creating quick, simple meals made from high quality natural and organic whole foods, or whole foods paired with healthful convenience items (like a jarred sundried tomato pesto). My favorite “recipes” are simple and seasonal. In my latest book you'll find 100 easy and complete meals, including vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore meals. I created and tested each recipe myself, and love coming up with new '5 piece puzzle' combinations.
 
How do you stay motivated?
I want to look better and younger like everyone else, but it’s really all about how I feel. Day to day, feeling energized (mentally and physically), lean, and fit is worth the effort I put into eating healthfully; but honestly, once you get into a routine, it doesn’t feel like a lot of effort. Another thing that really motivates me is knowing that what I do today will help me live more independently later in life. When I’m in my 80s and beyond I want to be able to travel and take care of myself. In New York City and Los Angeles where I live, and in my travels to Japan and Europe, I’ve seen people well into their 80s who are more active and look and act healthier than a lot of people I know who are in their 40s! I’m in awe of that.

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