Paris Hilton and Bethenny Frankel
Paris Hilton and Bethenny Frankel

As a natural foods chef, health and taste are my top priorities. I cook for several celebrities whose jobs depend upon their being fit. However, they’re used to the best, so the challenge is to make sure they are satisfied yet fit. We all are not as fortunate to be blessed with private chefs, trainers and nutritionists at our disposal. This is why my goal is to democratize health and bring those tips and secrets to all, so that everyone can choose a healthy lifestyle to meet their needs. Maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle is very challenging. Even celebrities struggle with their weight and health, so it is that much more overwhelming for the rest of the world.

Everyone has different schedules, incomes, needs, desires and personalities, so following a “cookie cutter” one size fits all diet makes absolutely no sense and is unrealistic. I will give you a glimpse into a few of my “beautiful people” clients and how they eat. Each of their lives is balanced and healthy in its own way but they could not be more different from one another.

We need to learn to be honest with ourselves about who we are and what we can adhere to, then we will first learn what works for us.

Mariska Hargitay, the gorgeous, healthy “Law and Order” actress, eats a largely Mediterranean diet. She is fortunate to love everything from meat to poultry to fresh seafood. She loves healthy grains, vegetables, fruits and the occasional indulgence, but one constant throughout her entire diet is that she eats real food. This is one of my most important basic rules for everyone. We consume so many chemicals in seemingly healthy foods that we don’t even know what we are putting into our systems. We are a nation that lives on protein shakes, energy bars, frozen yogurt and various other manufactured foods. If you take the time to read the ingredients, they will be an endless list of things you can’t pronounce or understand. Your diet is a bank account. How are you going to manage it? If your bank statement was written in a hieroglyphics, would that be acceptable?

“Health foods” such as packaged bread, peanut butter and cereals are loaded with chemicals. Eating real food means meat, fruit, vegetables, grains, chocolate, and hundreds of other foods that generally don’t come in a plastic package. Obviously we can’t be perfect and we are often on the go, so do your best, read labels and try to go for the items with the fewest unfamiliar ingredients. Our bodies can’t identify unnatural, chemical ingredients and thus can’t digest them.

How did we become a society that thinks that a protein bar is healthy, but a piece of fresh watermelon is forbidden?

Bethenny Frankel and Mariska Hargitay
Bethenny Frankel and Mariska Hargitay

Paris Hilton may not be thought of as the vision of health. Her relationship to food, yet so different from Mariska’s, is actually healthy as well. Unlike most people, Paris doesn’t view food as her friend or her enemy. Most of us self-loathe after over-indulging and praise ourselves when we refrain. She simply eats what she wants in civilized quantities (unless she’s ravenous) and finishes when she is satisfied. This is what I call: “Taste everything. Eat nothing.” This principle allows one to indulge without bingeing and allows us to experience a myriad of foods. The psychological nature of eating very often causes us to clean our plates, to eat when not hungry, to binge, to obsess and to beat ourselves up. Paris’ general carefree attitude and lifestyle contribute to a healthy eating personality.

Alicia Silverstone differs greatly from Mariska and Paris in her eating style. She is a lifelong, devout animal lover and vegan. She will never eat animal products. Like me, Alicia has practiced eating lifestyles such as raw, macrobiotic, vegan and various other healthy diets. Alicia is always healthy and looks great as a result of her diet choices which include vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits and other “superfoods.” Although she eats very healthfully, her regime is a bit more challenging for others to adopt because of its restrictions. Eating is often a social activity and having a limited diet might be overwhelming and impossible for the average person.

My eating lifestyle is an eclectic combination of these three clients. Like Alicia, I love all vegetables and eat very little animal protein. I enjoy a mostly vegetarian diet; it helps with digestion and I find it to be the healthiest way to eat for me. Some people truly crave animal protein and need it in their diets. I believe in moderation and listening to your body. When I have PMS, I often crave a few bites of steak and eat more like Mariska - a healthy, realistic Mediterranean diet. Like Paris, I practice a “taste everything, eat nothing” mentality. When I indulge I am not hard on myself, and I try to listen to my body and not overeat. I adore sweets, while others crave salt. How could we possibly think that everyone should follow one lifestyle? We cannot expect people to implement a “one size fits all” eating program.

Exercise is an important part of a health regimen. My clients incorporate some exercise into their lives whether it is yoga or walking or swimming, but the majority are not interested in obsessive, ultra-regimented workouts. Although spinning or running 10 miles is an amazing cardiovascular workout, for some people it is too quick and not very relaxing. It also tends to create ravenous hunger, thus causing people to consume more calories than they burn.

Bethenny Frankel, Celebrity Natural Food Chef
Bethenny Frankel, Celebrity Natural Food Chef

Like with diet, everyone’s exercise regimen varies with different lifestyles. For me, yoga is healing, strengthening and calming. It leads me to make wise food choices and eliminates the “Food Noise,” the voice in my head that is preoccupied with eating and diet. I also like unstructured, freestyle exercise so rollerblading, snowboarding and surfing are also my sports of choice. For some people, running is what provides them with the focus and relaxation they need. We need to choose what fits into our lifestyle. Whatever you choose, just make it realistic and commit to it at a level that you are comfortable with. I adore yoga! Sometimes I practice it every day. Sometimes I go weeks without it. What never changes, is that I always go back to it. It is part of my life. Find something that you connect with and invite it into your life at your own level.

The bottom line is that we need to become more realistic. We are the fattest nation and we keep sinking more and more money into dieting. If celebrities such as Kirstie Alley, Oprah and Britney (with all of their health entourages) have difficulty with their weight, how can an average working person expect to be thin? The answer is by not following diets and lifestyles of others but by figuring out what works in our own lives. What works for a stay at home mom is different than what works for a business traveler or a fireman. One person may need yoga while another needs to run to get motivated. Some people always clean their plates. They should eat lower fat foods, while others, like me want the ability to indulge thus making it necessary to exercise portion control.

The answer to a healthy diet is balance. Life should include indulging and experiencing while maintaining control.

As I mentioned, your diet is a bank account, you’re bank account! How are you going to spend your calories, exercise to allow for greater expenditures and balance the two? It is your journey and your life just as your finances are yours to manage. They won’t always be handled perfectly or on budget. Life throws us curve balls. How we respond is what shows what we are made of. Life and diet is a marathon, not a sprint. It is always about the journey and not the destination.

Take one step at a time and you will find your balance.

Bethenny Frankel is a celebrity natural food chef. She has created healthy meals for clients like Paris Hilton, Mariska Hargitay, Brooke Hogan, Alicia Silverstone and Michael J. Fox to name a few. She is currently penning her book entitled, "The Thin Book - The 25 Rules to Being Thin, Without Dieting." For more information visit