Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia
How she stays slim surrounded by food
-Francine Segan, Betty’s food+home editor
Donatella Arpaia, the dynamic attorney-turned-restaurateur is an influential force in the dining scene. Not only a food expert and authority on entertaining, she is also a successful businesswoman who has created a string of New York’s hottest restaurants including Anthos and Mia Dona.
Recently, I had a chance to chat with Donatella on how she keeps trim. Here are Donatella’s thoughts on staying fit:
1. I mostly drink water and tea. I have cut back mostly all the way on coffee (I do need a cup from time to time – I am Italian!) but I don’t use any sugar or artificial sweeteners. As far as alcohol, I try to limit it to two drinks per week.
As for food, it’s really all about portion control. American portions are just so out of whack. I detest large portions. In fact, if I eat out, or in my restaurant, I will order two appetizers (one as a first and one as a main), or just one main course.
I’m lucky that I don’t crave sweets, but my weakness is carbs. I love pasta, bread and potatoes. As a rule, I tell the server not to bring me bread because if it’s there it will tempt me and I don’t want to be tempted. I despise “diet foods” like bars, shakes and drinks. I wish women would see food as I do: something to respect that can nourish and that can be delicious. I truly respect food I try to eat slowly and mindfully savoring every bit.
2. Growing up, I ate a largely Mediterranean diet which consists of a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. My mother never cooked with butter, only olive oil.
3. Splurges: I eat out a lot, and chefs often send me extra courses and usually dessert. If they do, I simply have a bite, maybe two, and that’s it. If I overdo it one day, I try to be extra strict the next day to balance it out.
4. I walk everywhere, and work out three times a week. I focus mainly on cardio and strength training. Also, every season, I go on a raw vegetable juice fast for three days. It cleanses my system and gives my digestive system a needed break.