Rachael Ray knows a thing or two about putting people at ease. Her secret? Getting to know someone over a good meal. "When people eat, they're much more relaxed," says the 38-year-old Food Network star. Here, Ray reveals more about her down-to-earth approach to life.
Shape: So what kind of workouts do you do to burn off all that EVOO [extra-virgin olive oil]?
RR: My favorite home morning routine is 100 crunches, 100 butt lifts and at least 20 push-ups. I live in New York City but have a cabin in the mountains, so I do a lot of hiking and walking, especially with my dog, Isaboo. I do belong to a gym, but I can't get there as often as I'd like. I think a lot of women struggle to fit in exercise. That's why my new talk show is going to feature a Better Than Nothing workout segment. The idea behind it is to do the absolute minimum to maintain your weight and health -- and to make the routine simple, no special equipment required.
Shape: What's your definition of healthy eating?
RR: I don't believe in counting calories; eat in moderation and you won't have to worry about the numbers. I eat pretty much everything. Flavor is really important. If you peeked into my fridge and pantry today, you'd find almonds, cashews, goat cheese, Pecorino, salami, bacon from upstate New York, olive oil, pasta, tuna, an open bottle of white wine, tomatoes and beans. Truly relaxing during meals and enjoying the foods on your plate also matters. I make it a point to sit down, have a glass of red wine and savor my supper every night.
Shape: Workwise, you certainly have a full plate. how do you stay energized?
RR: I really love what I do. In fact, even after a full day of taping cooking shows, I'll come home and head straight for the kitchen. Cooking helps me unwind because it's so meditative. I focus on what I'm doing, not my worries or my to-do list. While I'm making dinner, I'll listen to music: anything from the Foo Fighters or Tom Jones to my husband John Cusimano's band, The Cringe. And I'm a Law & Order addict, so I'll often listen to it while I'm cooking.