After years of nonstop travel, building a food empire, and becoming a single mom, busy Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis suffered sinus infections, digestive woes, and fatigue that she says even a triple shot of espresso couldn’t cure. “On my journey to 50, it’s been a lot of work figuring out how to feel good,” the celebrity chef and author admits. One key? Decompressing. “Even a 30-second break reboots my system. Now, I feel better than I did at 35!”
One way she relaxes and recharges? Whether she’s walking her dog or taking a stroll on the beach, Giada makes sure to leave her phone at home. For her, these outings aren’t just for exercise: “They’re for slowing down,” she shares with FIRST for Women.
Read on for five more wellness strategies that keep Giada calm, energized, and confident!
Breathing deeply supercharges energy.
“I’d often feel tired and lightheaded in the afternoon and realized it was because I was not breathing fully,” says Giada. “So I learned to lie on my back with my knees bent, my feet apart, and to take deep breaths. It takes two minutes, and I feel better and the brain fog disappears!” In fact, research shows breathing deeply for one minute, keeping your exhale twice as long as your inhale, can sharpen focus by 50 percent for one hour.
An olive oil scrub encourages radiance.
“I make my own face scrub by mixing olive oil and rice flour together,” Giada says. “It’s my nightly exfoliator. Our skin gets drier as we age, but this makes mine glow. And you can also use pure olive oil on your cuticles!”
Castor oil compresses beat bloating.
“I’ve struggled with digestive sensitivity and constipation since childhood,” Giada admits. “There were times when belly bloat limited the way I moved through life. But my daughter’s sitter introduced me to this remedy: I saturate a piece of flannel with castor oil and place it on my abdomen for 45 minutes, topping it with a hot water bottle wrapped in a plastic bag to keep it clean. It has a seriously detoxifying effect and may also help with circulation, inflammation, and pain. Now, I just do it as needed, and it works wonders!”
A mirror pep talk boosts confidence.
“When I need to be alone, my zen place is my cozy bathroom,” Giada reveals. “I sit in front of the vanity and talk to myself in the mirror. I know that sounds weird, but I tell myself, ‘You’re strong. You’re smart. And you can conquer anything.’ It makes me feel empowered! Saying things out loud validates feelings in a way that saying them internally doesn’t.” Bonus: Hearing the sound of a spoken affirmation helps balance the left and right sides of the brain, creating relaxing alpha brain waves.
This magnesium mix deepens sleep.
“It is difficult for me to unwind at the end of the day. My mind is still going, still thinking, What did I forget to do?” Giada shares. “To relax my muscles and my nervous system, I supplement with a mix of magnesium, calcium lactate, and Min-Tran, a mineral complex (Buy on Amazon, from $28). You know that moment — right before you fall asleep — of total relaxation? Where you almost feel like you’re one with the bed? That’s how it makes me feel: It’s the complete relaxation that you can get from a hot bath. And it makes for the best night’s sleep ever!”
Check out Giada’s new gut-healing cookbook!
“I remember how 10 years ago, I was finally attaining professional success, but a lot of the time, I was too depleted to enjoy it,” admits Giada. “I relied on sugar and caffeine to keep my energy up when all I really wanted was the world’s longest nap.” That’s when the chef reminded herself: “It all starts with food!”
In her new cookbook, Eat Better, Feel Better (Buy on Amazon, $20), Giada shares the recipes and strategies that helped heal her gut and restore her energy. “My goal was to create a sensual experience around ‘healthy food,’” she says. “And these foods will be kinder to your system than anything you can get from a vending machine or a drive-thru.”
The book also features Giada’s go-to snack. “I make an easy seven-ingredient granola,” she shares. “It has quinoa flakes and maple syrup. I always take it in my bag, or I’ll munch on a handful of walnuts, salted almonds and dark chocolate chips for an energy kick — let the healing begin!”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.