While at the Sundance Film Festival I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bethenny Frankel, celebrity chef and co-host of Chefdance, the culinary "Alt Dance" of the Festival. But she doesn't stop there. In addition to being a natural food chef she's also taken the time to pen her new book Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting (on shelves in March 10) and launch both her low-cal cocktail line SkinnyGirl Margarita (coming soon) as well as her low fat, wheat, dairy, and egg-free line of baked goods BethennyBakes. She also happens to star in Bravo's reality T.V. show The Real Housewives of New York City and was a contestant on Martha Stewart's The Apprentice. Phew! Did you catch all that? This woman is not only charismatic and smart, but obviously possesses the energy and metabolism of a hummingbird; she's so petite I could fit her in my pocket. Bethenny started to co-host Chefdance (along with Kenny Griswold, Founder and President) five years ago, selecting the chefs, lending a hand in planning the four-course menus and attracting the celebs. The normally 10-night event (this year is was five nights due to her hectic book tour schedule) features 10 celebrity chefs and a cast of celebrity dinners. This year the likes of Mike Tyson, Hugh Dancy, Amy Irving and Brittany Snow were amongst the guest list. Before the event began that evening we sipped our Chardonnays and talked about her new book. The premise of Naturally Thin is so simple it will make you question why you never ate like this before. As she puts it, "Check yourself before you wreck yourself" or "Taste everything but eat nothing." To me that makes perfect sense: don't overload at the hors d'oeuvres table, but enjoy a bit of each offering. She says that food isn't our enemy and that we should view our daily intake as a bank account. If we only have, say, 1500 calories for that day and we snarf down a cheeseburger at lunch, then we need to deduct those calories from our "account" and eat something healthy for dinner, like a salad. It's not new science, by any means, but I like the way she encourages us to not beat ourselves up for what I previously referred to as "falling off the wagon." I also appreciate the fact that I can eat whatever I'd like as long as I keep track of it and keep it in check. No one likes to diet, and weight loss is achieved more easily if we just learn to balance. Her goal is to democratize health, meaning she believes everyone deserves to live a healthy and balanced life. We all can't afford private chefs or even organic foods, and some of us simply lack the education, but she wants to inform people on how they can stock their fridge, live a green life and maximize their health in quick and easy ways. I tell you, it's great motivation to get dietary advice from a tiny celebrity in a cute little knit dress. I enjoyed my Chefdance meal immensely and followed her rules to the letter. And you know what? It felt darn good. Stay tuned as I'll be writing more on Bethenny's new book on March 1o - there's a lot more you'll want to know and learn!
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