Dramatically Different: Fernanda de la Puente, Chef & Nutrition Counselor

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In 1968, when Clinique introduced Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, the product was the first of its kind to offer super-light, unscented hydration for all types of skin, whether dry, oily, or combination. Crafted by a dermatologist (another first!), Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion—or DDML, as it soon came to be called—shook up the industry and the then-standard of thick, heavily fragranced creams. It was, in a word, different. Disruptive. Distinctive.

This year marks 45 years since the iconic lotion hit shelves. In celebration of DDML (and now, the updated version, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+), we partnered with Clinique to spotlight three inspiring, energetic, and determined women who are doing exactly what the butter-yellow bottle did so many years ago: changing the game. This time, we’re looking at Peruvian-born, New York City-based foodie Fernanda de la Puente, a chef and nutrition counselor who wants to change the way many women relate to food.

Name: Fernanda de la Puente, chef and holistic nutrition counselor

Her background: Born and raised in Lima, Peru; lives in downtown Manhattan

Her path: Studied nutrition in California; continuing her chef training at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York. Currently, sees private clients and counsels models through her website and Cleanse NYC.

Her passion: “Growing up in Peru, I was really so in love with food. When I was little, they called me ojo gordo, which is Spanish for ‘fat eye’ because everything I would see, I would want to eat. I always had a really good appetite, which is how I became interested in food. It started becoming a problem for me when I began to eat in excess, especially in college in the States. I was like, ‘Something’s off here. Something’s not right.’ I was studying nutrition and, at the same time, I was putting all this food in; it was weird… I think it was because of this mentality, especially in America, that we need to have all the vitamins and all the nutrients, and we become worried about eating. A part of me was loving food so much and getting so much satisfaction from it, and another part of me was so stressed out. Food is a stressful thing, and it shouldn’t be—it should be a pleasure. This realization made me want to really dive into this in my career, the relationship between food and psychology.”

Her practice: “I’m a nutrition counselor, which is about food, yes, but lifestyle, as well. That’s what I find so interesting. Women tend to have a very obsessive relationship with food. We’re either very passionate about food and we’re thinking about it a lot, or we’re kind of against it and have this ‘keep it away from me’ attitude. I’ve experienced both sides of the coin. I really work in the psychology of eating—meaning how we relate to food, what our eating patterns are, what we are doing while we’re eating. Are we spacing out on Facebook while we’re eating, half there? Are we present with our food? That’s the best first step to evaluate—people usually already know what to eat and what not to eat. Like, green juice is good for you, or you shouldn’t be eating fried or processed food; it’s common knowledge. But, at the end of the day, why isn’t your healthy eating working? Often, it’s because we have this obsessive relationship. Women have it more than men because we have a tendency to want to bring things in, even anatomically, to fill a void. With my clients, I go directly into that food-mind-body relationship first.”

Peace, love, and…: “I don’t consider myself a hippie. And I don’t like the word ‘spiritual.’ It just makes it seem like you’re putting yourself on some higher platform than everyone else. I like spiritual practices, like yoga, like dance. I think, at the end, that’s what holds me in the center and in balance.”

Morning shots: “I try to start my day with apple cider vinegar. I take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and drink plain water. I do that and I feel amazing—apple cider vinegar is alkaline, which is good for your body, plus it whitens your teeth and is great for your hair, skin, and nails. I wait a little bit, and then I’ll do a chlorophyll shot or have a turmeric tonic. Chlorophyll is basically like the chlorophyll in plants—it acts as an internal deodorant and helps bring oxygen into your blood. This organizes my body to absorb more food during the day. So, I’ll wait a little while and then eat, either a smoothie or something else, while I collect my thoughts on my bed: I lay down, get my computer, start working, drink my juice or smoothie, read, figure out the notes that I’m going to need for the day depending on what client I’m seeing, and then I head out.”

The best time to sweat: “I go to yoga around noon everyday because that’s when your metabolism is at its peak. Also, your energy levels are highest at that time because the sun is up. If the sun is up, you’re up.”

Hungry vs. dehydrated: “I probably drink five big bottles of water in one day. But you need it—that’s the most important thing for keeping your skin super moisturized, glowing. Water is key for minimizing cravings, too—especially in the summer, when you can confuse hunger with thirst.  Sometimes you really think you want to eat something, like ice cream, but really you’re just super thirsty and dehydrated.”

Staying grounded: “It all starts in the beginning of the day with how you wake up. Do you wake up and rush out of the house? Do you wake up and look at your phone? Lying down and maybe just taking six deep breaths and getting yourself ready for the day is so beneficial. I think breathing is actually the most healing thing there is.”

Great people, good diet: “At the end of the day, your health comes down to balance. It’s not only the nutrition of what you’re putting in your mouth, but also the types of personal relationships you’re having. That, too, is a kind of nutrition: who you’re talking to throughout the day and what types of experiences you’re having. We absorb all of that. If you want to be healthy, you have to really be honest with how you’re feeling about yourself and others. You can be eating the most perfect diet, eating only whole foods, you can have it all in the perfect equation, but if you’re not happy with your relationships, you won’t be healthy and you probably won’t have amazing skin or glowing eyes. You are really a reflection of what’s going on inside of you.”

Favorite beauty foods: “First, radishes: they’re high in silica, sulfur, and vitamin C, which are the three main ingredients for beautiful skin and eyes. Next up is watercress, because it oxygenates your blood, improves your circulation, and allows you to release toxins, making you just glow. And finally, cilantro, because it is a great detoxifier, it’s really good for evening your skin tone, and you can put it in everything.”

—as told to ITG

Fernanda de la Puente photographed on July 28, 2013. Part 2 of a Clinique-sponsored series celebrating the launch of Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • MsDenbi

    This was a great read. Everything she said was spot on, and I completely agree that you can be eating really healthy foods, but if your relationships and moods are bad and unhappy, then none of it will matter.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Roberta Barros

    her hair and skin tone is sooo beautiful! and i loved her positivity and lightness. do a topshelf with her!!

  • kathS

    inspiring, love.

  • lena

    Apple cider vinegar is acidic, not alkaline, though some dieticians say it "alkalinizes" the body as a response to the acid.

    • Q

      Yes, it is acidic; however, it has an alkaline effect on the body when ingested

  • Registered Dietitian

    apple cider vinegar might be good, but is an acid... not alkaline
    and by the way anyone can call themselves a nutritionist

  • NESBY

    By far one of my favorite posts on ITG, beauty starts truly within ourselves and what we put into our bodies. I love reading about favorite make up and products, but hearing insight like Fernanda's is great too! More posts like this please!

  • http://thenakedcoed.blogspot.com/ Dana

    Usually I am quite callous to health and nutrition advice from beautiful people, but Fernanda and her holistic and down to earth approach are really appealing!

  • http://fancylauren.blogspot.com/ Lauren Ashley

    I love her perspective!

  • YC

    Chlorophyll. I've started taking it after the benefits of it was mentioned here on ITG, in some other article I cannot find at the moment. And I've never felt worse in my life. Stomach wise. I would have very painful cramps and none of the food I'd eat afterwards would get digested. It was very painful and stressing. Yes, I've tried to build up tolerance to it by starting with smaller doses but nothing works. I wonder if I could replace it with sth...

  • http://genuineglow.com/ Lilly

    This must be my favorite interview on ITG. I love her holistic approach to nutrition and life in general. Amazing, inspiring lady. Topshelf, pleeeeease!

  • Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie

    LOVE this! Just tried my very first apple cider vinegar shot. Wide awake! :)

  • http://enzaessentials.wordpress.com/ Kristina

    Great read, gorgeous pictures. She's clearly doing something right! Though I'm not sure I can do radishes.
    xx http://enzaessentials.wordpress.com

  • Marlon FB

    I agree with everything she has said about food and it always heartens me to see someone out there working to heal our skewed relationship with the way we eat, especially as women. She's also absolutely radiant and gorgeous! I was drinking apple cider vinegar to counteract a throat infection and realized it just made me feel absolutely amazing, so regardless of "acid/alkaline" it definitely seems to improve the health of those that take it. Top shelf please!!!

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt Blog

    I love this! What an inspiration and such a great attitude.

    The Grass Skirt

  • smd2111

    Where is the white crop top she is wearing in the video from?? Does anyone know?

  • Chantel

    Great post!

  • Jenny Martineau

    One of your best yet! Of course being a holistic health practitioner maybe I'm a teensy bit biased. :)

  • Verdun

    Lovely interview. In the mad smorgasbord of nutrition wherein there are as many opinions on nutrition as there are people talking about it, this intuitive and caring approach is just what I needed to hear. It's like a ray of sunlight through the clouds. Thank you!

  • kamo12

    Oh lord, I must start waking up a bit more before trying out ITG tips. I read the apple cider vinegar thing, though "cool, let's do it!" and stumbled out of bed to take a tablespoon-sized shot of it. Missed the part about mixing it with water. ROUGH. it's was rough, guys. Never again.

    • sashi

      oooh, ha ha. poor girl! Be careful!

  • dkewbe

    I love the idea of apple cider vinegar and I'm sure it's good for your body but I can't get past what it must do to people's teeth, even diluted. Definitely very bad for the enamel.

  • Aubrey Green

    I just read this, maybe this will help clear some confusion on the acidic vs. Alkaline...here is the link where it came from:

    http://altmedicine.about.com/od/applecidervinegardiet/a/applecidervineg.htm

    7) Alkaline Acid Balance

    Some alternative practitioners recommend using apple cider vinegar to restore alkaline acid balance. The theory behind the alkaline diet
    is that our blood is slightly alkaline (with a normal pH level of
    between 7.35 and 7.45) and that our diet should reflect this pH level.
    Proponents of the alkaline-acid theory believe that a diet high in
    acid-producing foods leads to lack of energy, excessive mucous
    production, infections, anxiety, irritability, headache, sore throat,
    nasal and sinus congestion, allergic reactions, and increased risk of
    conditions such as arthritis and gout.

    Despite being an acidic solution, some proponents of apple cider
    vinegar believe it has an alkalinizing effect on the body. As such, they
    recommend one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water as a
    daily health tonic. Although this is a popular remedy, its effectiveness
    hasn't been researched.

  • Violaine

    I love this post! Love her philosophy.

  • Guest

    Love the dress! Where is it from?

  • Mopsy

    Interesting read, nutrition and a healthy diet is important in so many chronic conditions. Also love that her superfoods are not mega obscure and ultra expensive. Only thing I would not agree with-chlorophyll produces oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, it will not be oxygenating your blood.

  • Lauren

    I really enjoyed this post! Especially the part about you relationships also being a form of nutrition, I thought that was really poignant.

    Not that I am an expert, but I did notice that having read the article and then watching the video, the video didn't offer any different info that what I had just read, so it felt some what repetitive. Maybe that is just me but I felt like I was hoping to learn something extra from watching the video?

    Thanks all the same for posting great content like this so regularly - I cant get enough!

  • Miss Y.

    A friend of mine is a doctor and she says that more than 1.5-2 litres of water per day is actually bad for your body: it makes your cells swell up because they retain the water (giving you massive headaches!) and also messes up your digestion because you sort of "flush" out most of your food, including vitamins and minerals. So to then read that someone would drink 5 large bottles (assuming one bottle is 1-1.5 litres), it just sounds too much for me. Plus, wouldn't you have to pee every 10 min if you drink 5-7 litres a day?

    On the whole I just find some of Fernanda's ideas a bit strange and wonder whether they would actually work. Chlorophyle? Come on, we are not plants and we *inhale* oxygen. I've never heard of chlorophyle in the blood. I would like to hear a real scientific/ medical point of view of some of these things she is proposing.

    • 808kate

      I'm a diet tech at a hospital (not a registered dietitian .. yet! ;) disclaimer) but for many adults (not everyone) the standard is 35mL fluid per kilogram body weight. That hovers around 1.5-3 liters daily for most people, & doesn't take into account water needs for exercise. 5-7 liters seems excessive, but maybe she's into hot yoga and goes 3x/day so who knows. If you are low in electrolytes (like sodium) and drank a ton of water all at one time then you could have some problems like what your friend said.

      A person wouldn't necessarily be retaining fluid from consuming extra water throughout the day, because healthy kidneys can process about 15 liters per day (not all at once of course). It just depends on a lot of different factors like body size, physical activity, climate, organ function, diet, etc, etc, etc.

      Chlorophyll .. I'd have to get back to you on that one. haha.

      That all being said I like her all-encompassing view on nutrition and that you can't isolate healthful food from living a balanced, happy life and expect good results.

      • Miss Y.

        Thanks for the explanation!

        I like her general philosophy as well, but I try not take things I read for granted. This is a beauty blog, not a scientific one, after all ;-)

  • http://www.annakhachiyan.com/ Anna Khachiyan

    I like her point that "spiritual" is kind of an icky word—it's the kind of word people apply to themselves when they want to advertise their identity to others. But with all due respect, who has the time to have a spoonful of apple cider vinegar...do a chlorophyll/tumeric shot...make a smoothie...drink a smoothie...collect your thoughts on your bed...read...go to yoga in the daytime??? It's hard to micromanage your nutrition and stress levels when you're actually employed. We'd all have glowing skin if we had that schedule!

  • stonecoldcuddlewhore

    Does anyone know of a nutrition counselor in LA who has a similar approach to Fernanda??

  • Anais

    So inspiring ! Perfect lifestyle, totaly in love with this woman ! A beauty portrait maybe ? Kisses from France..

  • Lindsay Sue

    I love her outlook on life and nutrition. Super inspiring.

  • platinum

    I have to say my life is much better since I started drinking water with lemon every day before breakfast. I saw a change in my skin and I lost 5 pounds. Plus, it keeps me hydrated. A must-do!

    Amazing article

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