When Daphne Oz told us, “Instagram is beautiful and fun, but it’s also bullshit. You can’t compare your real life to someone else’s highlight reel. P.S. I love a good filter!”, we knew we were in for some fine girl chat.
We sat down with the 30-year-old healthy lifestyle expert, NY Times bestselling author, Emmy Award-winning co-host of The Chew, mom of Philomena (2.5) and John (1), and yes, daughter to Dr. Oz, to talk about her new “baby” The Happy Cook. (Get a copy ASAP, it’s truly brilliant and time-saving.)
In her third cookbook, the approach goes beyond following a recipe, “A happy cook is a confident cook,” she told us. “I want people to be happy putting out healthy, delicious meals the whole family will love. The lists of ingredients are short, but the instructions are detailed – what you should see to know if a sauce is ready, smell to know if a nut is toasted… I teach you how to use your senses while cooking, so it becomes intuitive, fun, and easy.”
The kitchen isn’t the only place where Daphne’s giving us all a boost, her take on motherhood and baby weight is downright refreshing:
“We juggle so much as moms, and we need to take it easier on ourselves. The pressure is on to fit back into your clothes the second you give birth, but you just GREW A HUMAN! It’s normal to feel disconnected from your body and for it to take a while to feel good and strong in your own skin again.”
Read on for the down-to-earth Manhattan mom’s new favorite workout, her must-have beauty products (have you seen her skin?!), and her current fashion obsessions (including the jeans she swears by).
Meet one of the most lovely people who exudes positivity and kindness in the most authentic way – Daphne Oz.
Do What Makes You Happy
Moms always ask me how I make time to cook. My answer is that I don’t do other things – like go to the gym or reply to emails – as much as I’d like. Something is always sacrificed, but cooking relaxes me and makes me happy, so I make time for it. Mealtime is how we bond, and cooking is a great thing to do with kids. My kids are little, so even if they don’t eat everything we make, I like having them be part of the process – it gives them some ownership.
I am not a short order chef. I want my kids to eat what we eat, so we try to have meals together as often as possible. Even if they’re not loving everything we have, they see that eating together is a privilege and something to be enjoyed. My hope is that they’ll start to mirror what we’re doing (and eating). My grandmother told me not to let what my kids eat become a battle where they are resisting me more than the food I want them to eat, so I try not to make too big a deal out of it. I crowd their plates with healthy options and try not to feel totally crushed when sometimes all they want is a bowl of cereal for dinner.
The Happy Cook Difference
Being a happy cook is about having confidence in the kitchen, but it’s also about keeping things easy on yourself.
- Figuring out what you can make ahead – big batches of lentils, beans, quinoa, or brown rice on Sundays – to use all week long in salads, grain bowls, and side dishes.
- Learning to deliver twice the results every time you cook – anytime I turn on the oven, I’m making two of everything (lasagnas, roast chickens, sheets of roast veggies), so I get double the meals with leftovers or throw the second lasagna in the freezer for later.
- Creating “build-able” meals: something simple for the kids and a quick garnish or condiment (I’m a big fan of easy gremolata) that will take it to the next level for the adults.
The Most Important Meal
Breakfast is a big deal in our house. The kids are happy and full of energy in the morning, so it’s a great time to cook together. We do little whole grain toast soldiers with soft boiled eggs, Warrior Waffles from the cookbook that are always in the freezer, and we make a lot of smoothies. Our go-to is half an avocado, banana, spinach, yogurt, and apple juice, plus some Omega-3 and vitamin D/C supplements. It’s our insurance policy for getting a big boost of nutrition first thing in the morning! (Tip: peel and freeze overripe bananas so you always have on-hand for smoothies.)
Confidence Is Everything
It is hard to figure out how to dress your body after you’ve had kids, and it can take me a while to find an outfit that I feel confident in. When I hit on something great, I buy it in as many colors as I can find! It takes time, but finding those clothes that give you confidence to put your best face forward and are comfortable enough to let you play all your roles throughout the day is crucial:
- I’m all about bodysuits right now – it snugs it all in but is loose enough to let me live. I’m obsessed with this one from Zara.
- Great jeans are key. For me, it’s J Brands – they’re just high-waisted enough that you feel lifted but not so much you’re back in 1985.
- And fashion sneakers – love my Golden Goose ones and classic Adidas. So grateful to not need a heel sometimes!
For daytime, I like to wear enough makeup to look like the best version of myself. Here’s my current 5-minute face:
- Milk Makeup Coverage Duo undereye concealer – the liquid part has a yellow pigment to cover dark circles and goes on via a rollerball that cools and smoothes, the other part is a cream with matte finish. It’s amazing.
- Kevin Aucoin’s new foundation The Etherealist – does the trick without being crazy heavy.
- Two coats of Cover Girl Lash Blast.
- A chubby lip pencil in a rosy hue. Loving Tarte right now.
- Quick pop of blush. Charlotte Tilbury makes beautiful ones.
The Struggle Is Real
I started The Chew as a size 6, by season 2 an 8, then I got pregnant and was a 14. I did Barry’s Bootcamp after Philo, which really worked for me (and I loved it). But this second time has been harder – I was 205 pounds when I gave birth to John. I’ve been doing Dance Body (so fun!), Ballet Beautiful, and some yoga (all a little easier on the body): I’ve lost 40 pounds but am not back to where I want to be yet. I just keep reminding myself it takes time. The goal is just to get back to feeling strong and flexible in my skin.
Carla and I went to the Daytime Emmy’s 2 seasons ago when The Chew was nominated. When we heard our names called as the winners, we looked at each other and burst out laughing and screaming. We went running up to the stage, and I went into a total fugue state up there – no idea what we even said! In that moment, you feel like such a kid. It was a tremendous honor for the cast to be recognized by our peers for doing what we love to do.
Going back to work 8 weeks after having Philo was a challenge. I was so happy to see my co-hosts, and it felt good to remember that professional part of myself. But I questioned myself constantly trying to perform well at work and be the best mother I could be at the same time. About 6 months in, I finally realized we have to just enjoy it all, even when it’s hectic. We can’t put so much pressure on ourselves to have it be perfect all the time.
My work-life balance is always being re-calibrated: Some days or weeks, I have to put work first. Most of the time, I’m lucky to be able to put my family first. Most of all, I know my kids are happier when I’m happy, so I try to crowd my life with the things that make that possible.
I really try to prioritize my husband. Our relationship is what led to having kids in the first place. It’s easy to take each other for granted and we both get so busy, but you don’t want to lose sight of the fun and intrigue that brought you together. I love when we go out for a date and I get to be his girlfriend again. And I think it also sends a really nice message to your kids that they are supported and can be confident in your partnership as the foundation of your family.
- Organic Turkey Jerky – my go-to snack
- Moonjuice – I grabbed some of the supplements and feel like my skin is glowing, and my hair is growing like a weed..
- My kids – They’re so much fun! They’re at such great ages.
- Golden Goose sneakers – comfortable and stylish
Relax & Unwind
- I love TV. I just wish I had more time for it.
- A 20-minute chair massage is my weakness.
- Radiolab podcasts and the spinoff More Perfect.
Photo courtesy of Brooke Fitts.