It seems next to impossible that actress Valerie Bertinelli, author of the new book Valerie’s Home Cooking: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes to Share with Friends and Family, is 57 years old. The television personality tells WomansDay.com that one of the reasons for her youthful glow is the fact that she’s living out her passion.
“I’ve been cooking longer than I’ve been an actress, so it’s a huge part of me,” explains Bertinelli, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Tom, and their six pets (one dog and five cats). “That’s who I am in my heart and my soul—I’m a cook. I like sharing and showing my love through my food.”
Here, the Food Network star shares her eating and lifestyle tips for looking (at least!) 20 years younger:
She starts her day with a high-impact jolt.
“I definitely enjoy my Bulletproof coffee in the morning!” says Bertinelli, adding that she was introduced to this high-performance beverage by a friend. “I brought all of my Bulletproof ingredients [to New York City] with me: The fresh coffee, the ghee [which can provide the body with energy, as well as boost brain health]—I buy vanilla ghee online—the brain octane fuel [which has been shown to balance hunger hormones], and the collagen protein [which can encourage muscle building, promote hair growth, and reduce wrinkles].”
She doesn’t stress over the number on the scale.
“Food is love for me,” Bertinelli told People. “Good or bad, bikini shot or not. I go up and down in my weight but I’m not going to worry about that because I share my love though food. I’ll go through times where I indulge way too much and then times where I pull it back. It’s about listening to your body.”
She tops her salads with homemade dressing.
“I make my salad dressings from scratch,” states the two-time Golden Globe Award-winning actress. “You will not find bottled salad dressings in my refrigerator. I like knowing what is going into my food. I like knowing what’s in my dressing, and I know by making it with fresh olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and fresh vinegars, that I’m not putting any preservatives in there.”
She opts for food in its most natural state.
“I try to make sure there’s no antibiotics in any of the meat or chicken I buy,” says Bertinelli, who chooses organic and free-range beef and poultry. “And when I’m searching for fish, I will try to find wild and not farm-raised.”
She loves roasting vegetables.
The New York Times best-selling author lists arugula, fresh tomatoes, lemons, and limes as her kitchen staples, and credits “any fresh veggie” as a go-to ingredient in recipes. “Almost any veggie I will roast,” she states. “It makes it easy—you throw the veggies into a baggie, then you get the oils, the flavors and everything else you want on there, put it onto a baking sheet and boom—you’re done!”
One of her favorite side-dishes is roasted radishes. “I love, love it—it’s so good!” continues Bertinelli. “I love the nice bite and flavor—that peppery bite from a radish—but sometimes I want it mellowed out. And the roasting, which usually enhances and fills out flavor in veggies, kind of softens the bite in radishes.”
Another beloved dish is her roasted asparagus and mushroom chili-lemon salt. “I make it a lot—I’ve been making it since I was a teenager. I like mixing flavors into my salts and sugars.”
While she admits to not always being “successful” at drinking the adequate amount of H20 each day, Bertinelli relies on technology to help her reach her optimum daily intake. “I use an app—the AddWater app that my brother actually invented—and it makes me keep track of all the water that I’m drinking,” explains the mother of one (her son is 26-year-old musician Wolfgang Van Halen). “I’ll have a bottle of water, I’ll put it in my app, and I’ll see how much I have to go for the day.”
She seeks inner balance.
Bertinelli, who is known by millions for her roles on One Day at a Time and Hot in Cleveland, finds a sense of peace by spending time in the room she refers to as “the heart of the home.”
“When I’m in the kitchen alone and I’m not doing my show and I’m just cooking, that’s kind of like a meditation for me,” she states. “It’s really zen. It’s my happy place.”
She dabbles in “traditional” meditation, as well. “And I’ll continue to keep trying it because I think it’s really good for you, but my mind wanders so fast,” she laughs. “But that’s okay—just the attempting of it chills me out and calms me down.”