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KELLY KILLOREN BENSIMON is a model, sportswoman, and designer. She's also the high-profile mother of two who starred in three seasons of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York. She has published three lifestyle books, including The Bikini Book. She is guest editor of AVENUE Magazine, writes for AM New York and was the editor of Elle Accessories. She lives in New York City and East Hampton, New York with her two daughters and three dogs.
To me, living well is the only option. What, after all, is the only alternative? Living badly? Who aspires to living badly? I want you to live well, and that's going to take some planning.
What are your goals for yourself? If you're going to make changes in your life, you need to have a plan, you need to prepare, and you need to take the time to get it right--so that you don't wind up wasting your time. This is my plan, and from now on it's going to be yours. Monday is going to be the day you make a HOT plan and prepare for the rest of your week. Let's get started together!
What are you going to be eating this week? I know we haven't talked about specific meals yet (we'll be doing that on Wednesday). For now, you just need to know that planning your meals in advance and shopping for the foods you're going to need for the rest of the week will help to keep you on track. If what you need or want to eat isn't there when you want it, you're likely to substitute something a lot less healthy and satisfying just because it's staring you in the face.
Another positive side effect of this is that once you've finished your food shopping you'll know how much money you have left over to spend on other things. And you're less likely to buy things you don't really need--so you might have some extra cash for a pedicure. This isn't just about budgeting your food; it's about budgeting your life.
Kelly's Cardinal Rule
This is not something you don't know, but--never go shopping when you're hungry. That's when you're most likely to make bad choices and find yourself finishing a whole bag of Peanut M&M's while you're surfing the vegetable aisle. You don't want to be that person who is snacking while you're shopping. That's not hot--period.
Staples I keep in my house
Dehydrated mangos, blueberries, pineapple
Unbuttered, unsalted popcorn
Organic fruit snacks
Wasabi-roasted green peas
Yogurt-covered goji berries
Breads, Cereals, Flour, And Grains
Bran and whole wheat cereals
Brown and white rice
Organic brownie mix
Whole grain croutons
Whole wheat pasta
I'm not a big fan of nuts in general, but I do love almonds, and they have many health benefits. They're packed with nutrients and monounsaturated fats that help keep your heart healthy.
Olives may be little balls of fat, but they're full of health-promoting, omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids as well as vitamin E and flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. Plus, black olives have more iron than any other food and there is research to show that olives and olive oil may be effective in the prevention and treatment of arthritis, asthma, and some types of cancer. They also satisfy your need for salt and combat cravings.
Fruits and Vegetables
Edamame (fresh soy beans)
Mixed salad greens
Dehydrated snow peas are the new edamame.
Try different kinds of milk for different flavors. See which ones you like best.
Unsweetened coconut milk/almond milk/whole cow's milk/soy milk/vanilla soy milk
Diet Coke (Yes, I drink Diet Coke but I don't drink gallons of it every day, and neither should you!)
Organic chamomile with lavender tea Peppermint tea
Pure white green tea
Tequila (my favorite is Patrón)
White wine (I like Santa Margherita's pinot grigio)
Canned tuna, packed in water Cinnamon, ground
Crushed red pepper flakes
Organic nonstick cooking spray
Vodka sauce (I use Newman's Own because it's tasty and the company is a great charity organization--my two favorite things.)
I like using sea salt instead of regular salt because sea salt has more flavor and is more concentrated so you can use less of it to get the same taste.
Many "diet" books will tell you not to drink because alcohol has empty calories and also lowers your inhibitions so that you're less likely to make good food choices.
Personally, I do drink beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. In fact, I love mixed drinks--particularly anything that comes with an umbrella--but not every day. When I was younger, I didn't drink beer. I didn't like it, and even one beer was too filling for me. My friends from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, used to drink Old Style when we went to Chuck's, a local bar in Fontana, but I always drank soda. I probably drank a liter of soda every Saturday night. No wonder I was so energized!
Even later, in my twenties, I didn't really drink at all. I was modeling, traveling around the world, and attending Columbia University, all at the same time. I barely had any "me time," let alone bar time. Studying and partying don't mix.
After I gave birth to my first daughter, my doctor told me that my breast milk would flow more easily if I drank a dark beer every day. Since I'm Irish, I went with Guinness. That's when it started; my taste buds changed, and it was actually beneficial to me. Once I stopped breastfeeding I started to run more consistently again. Beer was already in my diet, and it also was refreshing and gave me carbs after my daily runs.
Do I encourage you to sit back and down a six-pack by yourself? Hardly! I don't drink beer (or any other alcohol) every day. Beer and I are now acquaintances, but not best friends. I don't lie around in front of the TV with a beer bottle on my belly. Everything with me is in moderation (except for how I love). No one ever looks HOT when they're drunk--even if they think they do--but if you don't have issues with alcohol, drink really good beer, wine, and alcohol. Bad alcohol leads to bad hangovers. And always, always, drink responsibly.
According to Forbes.com: "A vast number of studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol, including beer, may reduce the risk of heart disease--consistently the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. A 2006 study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health found that, among men with healthy lifestyles, those who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol had a 40 to 60% reduced risk of heart attack compared with heart healthy men who abstained." You heard it here.
And I read in the New York Post that Heidi Klum, ex-Victoria's Secret model and mother of four, runs four miles a day and drinks beer. If it's good enough for a former supermodel and for Forbes.com, it's good enough for me.
Interestingly, I've found that since I started taking care of my body and feeding it well, my metabolism works so efficiently that I can drink alcohol and metabolize it faster than most people. If you want to drink, my advice is to eat better and exercise!
I firmly believe that bland food makes you fat. When food is really tasty, you're satisfied with less, so what you want is food so flavorful that you want to eat it slowly and savor every bite. Your taste buds will be in gastronomic heaven after just a few bites.
One way to get more of that sultry savory taste is to use truffle oil as a flavor enhancer. I love it on pasta, eggs, meat, and fish. Seth Levine, who appeared on Season 5 of Gordon Ramsay's hit television show, Hell's Kitchen, gave me some insight on truffles and how to use truffle oil. According to Seth, white truffles are more exotic and more expensive than black, are gathered during the summer only in France and Spain, and are mainly used in dishes during the fall months. Black truffles are more common and can be found in Oregon, Canada, and all over Europe throughout the year.
Truffle oil is so full of concentrated flavor that a little goes a very long way. Put a few drops on your salad or on a pizza. Just never add it until your food has finished cooking. Subjecting the oil to heat kills the truffle flavor. What a waste of deliciousness!
Think and Plan!
When you shop for clothes you probably have a budget. Think of food shopping the way you think of shopping for clothes. A muffin from Dunkin' Donuts costs 480 calories. Do you have enough calories to spend on a muffin? Eat what you need and what you can afford, not what you have to burn off later. Don't incur food debt.
Plan how and when you're going to exercise. Get out your calendar or PDA. What does the rest of your week look like? Do you go to an office every day? Do you have morning or afternoon appointments? Evening activities? If you plan your workouts around your obligations (also including your fun activities) and write them in your calendar, you won't have any excuse for not doing what you planned. Then use your PDA to find the closest well-stocked market and go there. Making life easy for yourself is what it's all about.
When you go to the supermarket, dress to look good! Not only is the market a great place to meet people, but also, if you look good, you'll feel good, and you'll buy food that's good for you. You don't have to wear six-inch platform stilettos; just no baggy sweats or anything that looks like you slept in it the night before. Clean skinny jeans or a neat pair of yoga pants and a fresh white tank or tee shirt can be totally hot and totally appropriate.
Kelly's Cardinal Rule
Give HOT! your all!
What's on your social calendar? Are you doing things you love? If not, you should be. If you do things that bore you, you won't have any reason to be HOT, and ...
I honestly didn't know who kelly Bensimon is before I picked up this book. I saw this catchy title at the Dollar Tree and I thought I'd give it a try. I'm really happy I did. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am a big fan of the Real Housewives shows. Her recipes are pretty good and easy. Recipes are about half the book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by skychirp
I enjoyEd reading this book. Recommend it for the good ideas and yummy recipes!Kelly is down to earth. Buy it!Published 22 months ago by mrs> lisa wells
I think this book is a good start for someone who wants to start eating healthy and excercising. I would just use it as a book to read as you transition into more knowledgable... Read morePublished on October 19, 2013 by Scope99
Love this book, I finished it over the weekend and it has given me some great ideas for new types of food and recipes to try. Read morePublished on May 16, 2012 by Mizz Tahoe