At 49, Kelly Ripa is luminous, svelte and every bit as energetic and focused as someone half her age. Considering her grueling schedule as a morning talk show host, wife, friend, mother of three, dancer, fitness enthusiast, and about 1,000 other roles, how does she do it?
Well, her 99% plant-based diet may very well be the fuel that allows the television star to throw herself so actively into all of her endeavors. Since 2015, Ripa has been following the nutrition and wellness routine of chiropractor, Dr. Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutritionist, and alkaline diet expert.
We caught up with Gioffre to help us learn more about Ripa’s diet, including how the star motivated him to create a product for coffee lovers, and his best tips for going plant-based. We can’t promise you’ll get Kelly’s famously toned legs, but we think you’ll learn some helpful wisdom if you keep reading.
Kelly’s Plant-Based Diet
On Gioffre’s plan, 99% of her diet is a clean, plant-based alkaline diet, brimming with green vegetables and healthy fats, and moderate protein intake—mostly plant-based sources with the rare wild-caught fish thrown into the mix. Ripa also abstains from alcohol and keeps her diet very low in carbs, sugar, and grains.
FYI: An alkaline diet centers on the idea that what you eat impacts your body’s pH levels. This concept is based on how acidic or alkaline foods are, and the diet emphasizes alkaline-rich foods like produce, tofu, nuts, and legumes. For more on this theory, you can pick up a copy of Gioffre’s book, Get Off Your Acid.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working with Kelly?
A: “Here’s what I love most about Kelly–she defines balance! She lives an 80/20-balanced lifestyle, where she eats alkaline 80% of the time, and never more than 20% acid-forming foods,” explains Gioffre. What he means by that are the majority of foods are plant-based.
Indeed, many starting out on a plant-based diet may find this principle helpful for making the shift away from animal products. Consider eating vegan foods 80% of the time and giving yourself some wiggle room 20% of the time. With time and the positive feedback loop that emerges as you eliminate dairy, meat, eggs, and more from your diet, you’ll likely be able to whittle that 20% down to 10%, then 5%, then…perhaps channeling Kelly it’ll just be that occasional salmon dish at a special occasion dinner. To jumpstart your progress, try our easy and delicious 2 Week Clean Eating Plan.
Q: How do you think Kelly achieves such balance?
A: “Our motto when working together with her demanding schedule is it’s all about moderation, not deprivation, says Gioffre, adding that none of his clients’ “diet” per se, versus making their nutrition plan a lifestyle. “I find a working balance for [my clients’] lifestyle that gets them in their healthiest and most energetic state,” he adds. “When it’s a lifestyle, it’s sustainable.”
Though Kelly may now be 49, she recently tested in Gioffre’s office at the biological age of 32, a pretty amazing testament to the power of a plant-based diet. “She has literally turned back the clock on aging with her diet and lifestyle, and workout routine,” says Gioffre.
Q: How has working with Kelly left you personally moved?
A: “Everything she puts into her body, she is always trying to turn into a better version, which will, in turn, make her a better version of herself,” Gioffre marvels.
Several times, Kelly had teased Gioffre that try as he may, she is never, ever going to give up coffee (we hear you, lady). “The day she said this, I learned so much as a health coach. How can we make any food we are eating, or beverage we are drinking, the very best version of that food?” recalls Gioffre. This idea, of course, to riff on Kelly’s ethos, can transform you into the very best version of yourself.
Encouraged by their exchange, Gioffre got to work. “That day Kelly inspired me to launch acid-kicking coffee alkalized powder you add into your coffee to neutralize all the acid in the coffee so that you can enjoy all the upside, minus any downside,” he says.
For Gioffre, this a-ha moment is what being healthy boils down to. “Every day, the little things that you can do to drive more health into your body, become one big geometric change,” Gioffre reflects. “So if 80% of my diet and lifestyle is healthy, it gives me some wiggle room to enjoy my life. At the end of the day, this is sustainable, and will last.”
Q: What’s your best tip for adopting a plant-based lifestyle?
Through years of practice, Gioffre has seen it time and time again: Just because you’re vegan, doesn’t mean you’re healthy. As you make the transition towards plant-based eating, it’s important to strive for a wholesome diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and more nutrient-dense choices. Remember, after all, french fries and Oreos are “vegan.”
“I have so much respect for vegans and their philosophy towards animals, in fact, my wife is vegan. But I coach a lot of vegans, and when they come to me, many are more inflamed than meat-eaters, and why is that? Because they are carbotarians, and pasta-tarians, and they are pumping up their body with sugar all day which is the most acidic toxin for the body,” offers Gioffre.
Instead of someone who avoids animal products, Gioffre likes to define vegan as someone whose diet centers on vegetables, healthy plant-based keto and omega-3 fats (like avocados, almond butter, and hemp hearts), plant-based proteins, green juices, smoothies, and soups. “[These kinds of vegans also do] their best to avoid grains and processed foods loaded with sugar, which spikes insulin levels, causing inflammation,” he adds. For many, making these changes leads to speedy changes in energy levels, weight loss, health metrics (like cholesterol and blood sugar), and more positive results.
Kelly, if steering clear of sugar and loading up on the fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and plant-based protein that make up the bulk of your diet is what stands between you and us mere mortals, perhaps achieving your sculpted calves is closer than we think.