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The Beautiful People's Diet

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Princess Luciana Pignatelli by Henry Clarke, 1966

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Luciana Avedon

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Princess Luciana Pignatelli by Henry Clarke, 1966

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Luciana Avedon

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Princess Luciana Pignatelli was a normal Italian girl who married into royalty at age 19, to a prince who was also an executive at Gulf Oil. After rising to the noble class, she embarked on a life of parties, socializing, raising children, divorce, occasional plastic surgery, and writing books. Her most famous, published in 1970, is The Beautiful People’s Beauty Book.

Today, we leaf through the pages of the follow-up advice book she published three years later, The Beautiful People’s Diet Book. By the time she wrote it, she’d gotten remarried to a cousin of Richard Avedon’s and changed her name, hence the byline. Still: once a princess, always a princess.

Pignatelli’s qualifications to write the book are as limited as they are credible: she is beautiful. Truman Capote described her as “impossibly serene and lovely,” with “every strand of golden hair just so,” In private, the Princess was a little tormented about her looks. But aren’t we all?

Here, a few tidbits from a very glamorous lady. ITG does not endorse this advice.

How to lose a few pounds: “My technique is to eat my regular breakfast, about half my average lunch, skip dinner and go to bed with an apple and a book. To go to bed in a quiet room and feel snug helps take your mind off food.”

Dealing with cellulite: “I rely on my gym instructor, who uses heat lamps followed by strong massage. I follow up at home with towel flagellations twice a week,”

Books as a weight loss tool: “One of the unsung merits of reading is that it keeps your hands so busy that it’s awkward to be messing about with food at the same time, especially in bed—you wind up with splotches on the book and crumbs in the sheets.”

On canned spaghetti: “Prefab spaghetti makes my blood run cold.”

On liquids: “I am a mineral water fiend, like most beautiful people; in my case it’s because I drink very few other liquids. Alcohol is poison to my life, although I do have wine or champagne when I go out.”

On alcohol: “Watching what you eat will not keep you thin if you drink yourself fat,”

On salads: “I see no reason for special dressings when olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and wine vinegar exist.”

On restaurant salads: “Why is it that in restaurants they are all jazzed up, the salad tossed with bottled dressings and other extraneous matter such as croutons, hunks of stale cheese, and garlic? Whatever happened to plain salad vinaigrette,”

On carbs: “ Must you have bread? OK, but have it as the French and the Italians do, without butter at mealtime—there is already enough butter and oil on the rest of the food,”

The anti-bloat formula: “Limit your fruit and vegetable intake to artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, avocados, and grapefruit to combat water retention.”

Zip it: “Never say you are on a diet. A pall of gloom will descend on the table as fellow guests realize that maybe they should be dieting too,”

The American diet: “When I do promotion tours in the United States, my eating gets down to a formula. For breakfast I have tea, as usual, plus an egg. If I have to grab a fast lunch out between appearances, I do not expect the mozzarella and tomato I would have in Rome. I order a hamburger with French fries, push off the bun, scrape aside the potatoes (they have to be there so I can snitch five with my fingers) and concentrate on the meat. No soft drink, no milkshake. If I am still hungry, thank God for cottage cheese,”

The Atkins Diet: “I think such diets should be embossed with the Stars and Stripes, because high protein is now the All-American way to reduce, and needless to say, the affluent way—quality protein does not come cheap,”

The C. Z. Guest diet: “I have been aware of what is fattening all my life, and I never eat it—I can’t stand fried food, and I always have sauces served separately. I like meat: I was brought up to eat roast beef, steak and lamb chops. Meat is what gives you strength and energy. I am not a dessert person. I never take sugar in coffee. For energy I often eat protein toast with honey and I have honey with my tea.”

The Merle Oberon diet: “Merle Oberon puts both protein powder and vitamins in her yogurt and has replaced coffee with herbal teas.”

The Francoise De La Renta diet: “Stay on [only] vegetable bouillon one day a week, it’s marvelous for you. You drink three quarts in 24 hours, preferably while resting, because lying down makes it more diuretic.”

Ugh: “If you watch slender people eat—people still slender past 30—you see that they demand both good food and little of it.”

You can be too thin: “I am over my adolescent longing for the down-to-the-bone model look. You can look fantastic in clothes, fantastic in a bathing suit when you have the freshness and supple skin of the early twenties, but there is a moment when the look turns dried-up and haggard. The thinness thing can go too far. It has gone too far when it has not only become unflattering but made you a nervous wreck,”

—Molly Young