“Sugar was a crutch to get my energy up,” she said. “Sometimes it would be as basic as taking a sugar cube, dipping it in espresso and eating that directly. I ate jam directly from a container…Over time all of that and those cravings, once you’re introduced to sugar it’s very difficult to break. It’s like a drug.”
“I started feeling tired, really tired, really foggy. Interrupted sleep, where I couldn’t sleep for hours in a row, lots of bloating and sinus infections,” she said.
After two years of taking antibiotics for reoccurring sinusitis, she says she began having digestive issues. That’s when De Laurentiis says she began to eliminate sugar, dairy, gluten and refined sugars from her life.
“I started to slowly decrease those things in my diet,” she said. “I told myself, ‘I’m going to start for three days, then slowly re-introduce it.’ Almost immediately I realized what inflames my body and that sugar and dairy really inflame my body.”
In her new book she encourages her readers to do her three day reboot.
“Most integrated doctors will tell you it takes at least a week, but I found three days is a really great way to feel relief,” she said. “In the three days, it is food. I’m not saying to go on a cleanse and have liquids all day. It’s just so your body has a minute to breathe.”
But how does a chef, who’s Italian recipes made her a household name, find substitutes for those cheesy dishes?
“I knew I can’t cut out cheese! I eat parmigiano with almost every meal,” De Laurentiis said. “What I did was find ways to enjoy it but minimize the amounts I was using.”
The celebrity chef says the book, which is on sale now, took three years to write.
“The recipes were hard for me,” she said. “When you’re so used to cooking a certain way it’s not easy to streamline things. ‘How am I going to flavor this chicken and not use anything that’s pre-packaged?’ Your crutch as a chef can be a lot of stuff that’s pre-packaged and you don’t even realize it.”
But for De Laurentiis, she wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
“If I look back, would I have changed some things? No,” she said. “Because that’s the journey. I got to know myself more now between 40 to 50. Am I saying I only eat this way from this point on? No. I had to learn how to adapt to a new version of me.”