American Way: What do you mean when you say “real” food?
Christine Avanti: I mean food in its natural form — food that’s as close to nature as possible. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, farm-raised and pasture-raised meats without antibiotics and hormones.
AW: What are your go-to healthy snacks?
CA: I have a list of really quick, grab-and-go snacks in my book, like roasted beets and goat cheese — that’s a great combo. The cheese gives you fat and protein, and the beets give you carbohydrates and are a real food. A handful of any type of nut with a piece of fruit is simple. Walnuts are always my first choice because of the Omega 3s in them. And I love Babybel mini-cheeses with fruit. Sugar needs to be combined with a protein or healthy fat to stabilize blood sugar.
AW: Can you share any favorite celebrity snacks?
CA: Giuliana Rancic loves Greek yogurt with berries and nuts, and Samantha Harris loves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s an easy snack. There’s an amazing fruit spread from Bouncing Berry Farms with apples, cranberries and a little bit of agave nectar [Gourmet Cranberry and Apple Fruit Delight] that’s great with natural peanut or almond butter on Ezekiel bread as a snack.
AW: You advocate sipping your way skinny. What is that?
CA: Studies have shown that people who increase their water intake eat fewer calories, feel less hungry, decrease their sugar intake, have fewer cravings and gain less weight. Most people do not drink enough water. I recommend adding mint to water. Studies show that when people smell mint or there’s mint in the meal, they eat fewer calories. I have my clients add mint to water with a slice of strawberry and orange slices.
AW: What are some great fat-blasting foods?
CA: Artichokes. They help you feel full and have an acid that helps detox and cleanse the liver.
Cinnamon. Adding one teaspoon to a meal actually helps your body metabolize and break down sugar 20 times faster, and it stabilizes blood sugar.
Ginger. Good because it helps people feel fuller.
Tea. Drink at least two cups a day. Any kind — white, green, oolong or black — has EGCG, which is an antioxidant that increases the metabolic rate in humans. It also reduces blood pressure and heart disease, fights off certain cancers, and it’s great for your skin.
Coconut oil and coconut milk. Both are great fat-burning foods. I have people add a teaspoon
of cold-pressed coconut oil to their tea in the morning. It makes the tea look oily, but it’s a great way to ingest it. And all of my celebrity clients swear by my detox tea.
(Makes five cups; zero calories)
3 ounces peeled fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bags of milk thistle tea
3 bags dandelion root tea
30 drops artichoke extract (equivalent
of one dose)
5 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions Bring water and ginger to a gentle boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and cinnamon sticks. Cover and steep 15 minutes. Strain into a large pitcher. Add artichoke extract and lemon. Stir and chill in refrigerator. Enjoy throughout the day. (Avanti suggests drinking at least two cups per day.)