Though she grew up in a health-centric family (the name Oz sounds familiar?), Daphne struggled with weight throughout her childhood until college when she decided to harness her full potential by regaining her health. Daphne is committed to advocating for women’s health as the author of the national bestseller The Dorm Room Diet, writer of a syndicated newspaper column “Food for Thought,” and as co-host of The Chew, an ABC show. She also founded HealthCorps educating teenagers in 40 schools nationwide about nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal among others.
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: I grew up in an intensely health-centric family—most of the men are surgeons, and both my grandmother and mother have spent years learning and practicing complementary medicine—and yet I struggled with my weight throughout childhood. When I got to college, I realized it would mark the beginning of my adult life, and that I wanted to harness my fullest potential by regaining my health. I embarked on a journey to establish a healthy lifestyle, seizing the ripe opportunity that the freedom of college represents to form healthy adult habits. My first book, The Dorm Room Diet, allowed me to share the tips and tricks that helped me to prioritize my health even while enjoying the full college experience.
Learning the intricacies not only of accumulating health knowledge, but also of transforming it into action at a young age gave me an accessible platform to share my story as part of a book publicity tour with audiences around the country and on television. During this time, I began to identify my true passion for broadcasting information and engaging my peers to make positive, healthy changes in their own lives. I want to learn what “the good life” entails, reach for it in my own life, and share my findings with others.
In August 2010, I got married and auditioned for the pilot of a new ABC daytime talk show called “The Chew” in the space of a week. One year later, I am thrilled to be one of five co-hosts for the show, which will launch September 26, 2011, and to be celebrating my first anniversary! Marriage has added a whole new dimension to my thinking about creating a purposeful, happy existence, and has allowed me another arena in which to focus my expertise as I look to craft my position on the show as the resident practical tipster and healthy lifestyle advocate. My next book will center on practical advice for achieving the potential of each moment, and will launch in 2012.
Q: What are 3 characteristics that you believe define great leadership?
A: A clear vision of the company’s goals and the best practices to achieve them; a desire to identify and promote talented people around you; and an intimate knowledge of failure, so that you know how to regroup and succeed.
Q: What place in the world has the most sentimental value to you and why?
A: My favorite place on earth is my grandparent’s farm in Pennsylvania. My mother and I would drive there from our home in New Jersey whenever my father was on call—usually about three times a week—until I was too old to miss that much school, and then we would go on the weekends. I have so many wonderful memories there, surrounded by a huge, opinionated, loving family that helped shape who I am today. Each season is defined by something specific that gets repeated year after year: hot tea by a roaring fire in the fall; Christmas cookie-making in the winter; daffodils and baby animals in spring; and fresh-picked tomato sandwiches by the pool or stream in summer.
Q: What are the top 3 things you do to stay healthy?
A: Drink half my bodyweight in ounces of water every day. Take time to enjoy my food, so that I can indulge when I like and savor those experiences while eating healthily most of the time. Breathe! And find ways to get more steps into my day, even if I don’t have time to make it to the gym.
Q: What is the most valuable lesson your mother taught you?
A: The most valuable lesson my mother taught me is to appreciate the value of standards and the danger of expectations.
Q: Who are your favorite designers?
A: Milly, Rag & Bone, and Oscar de la Renta. Sadly, my closet has far fewer of these options than the basic white tees and yoga pants I wear every day!
ON Cooking & Food
Q: If you love to cook, can you share a favorite recipe?
A: Sally Clarke Herbed Lentils
This is my all-time favorite lentil salad recipe, from Sally Clarke’s in London. It is perfect over greens for lunch, or as a side with dinner, or even as leftovers for breakfast. It’s healthy, a protein-packed vegetarian option, and beyond delicious!
2 cups Puy lentils
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
⅓ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed to a cream with salt
1 chili, finely chopped, with seeds
1 tsbp chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped chives
Place the lentils in a heavy-based pan with the bay leaves and salt and enough cold water to cover to twice their depth. You can also add half an onion, left intact, studded with 4-6 whole cloves for added flavor.
Bring to a boil slowly and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until tender to the bite. The should NOT be soft, but should remain al dente and retain their form and a little firmness.
Drain and rinse with cold water until the liquid runs clear.
To serve, place the lentils in a shallow pan with the olive oil, garlic, chili, herbs and salt. Add a splash of water and heat gently for a few minutes. Alternatively: pour a light vinaigrette over lentils, chili and herbs, made up of 1 part oil, 2 parts red wine vinegar, dash of sugar, dijon mustard, and creamed garlic to taste, all whisked together. Finely chopped carrots, celery and onions are also an option in the finished lentil dish, either sauteed (for muted taste) or left raw and added at the end.
ON Cooking & Food
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could have an unlimited source of 3 foods (and calories were not a concern), what would they be?
A: New Jersey bagels with cream cheese, Duncan Hines fudgy brownies, and perfectly ripe peaches!
Q: What are the beauty items you could not live without?
A: Virgin Coconut Oil—I use it everyday as the ideal makeup removing cleanser, plus it moisturizes, is antibacterial, and smells divine. Pangaea Organics Turkish Rose eye cream—incredibly moisturizing and effective, and an all-natural solution. And my essential oil perfume that I mixed at a shop on Nantucket—it smells like the best day at the beach, with notes of coconut, vanilla and gardenia blooms.