Dominique Chenot is the wife of Henri Chenot. She is also, like her famous husband, a nutritionist and the co-author of their method of bodily revitalization. We met Madame Chenot in the Chenot Palace Health Wellness Retreat Weggis that has opened recently in Switzerland.
– Dominique, when I look at you I want to talk about beauty and health, because as I see it these two issues are inseparable for you. What do you think beauty is?
– First of all, it’s the state of your health – radiant eyes and skin and the body’s general condition. How you present yourself and how people see you. And this is of course a matter of joyful energy and the radiance of your soul.
– But you still need to take care of yourself. And to all appearances you do take care. Tell me please, how do you manage to keep your face in such excellent shape?
– Every day I clean my skin with milk and tonic and apply a face mask every two days. I like products with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. We’ve got advanced and efficient equipment and technology in our center and I make use of it, of course.
– There are hundreds of concepts for healthy nutrition, and thousands of diets, and millions of expert opinions… I know that for many years you have been keeping to the same diet. Could you tell us more about it?
– In our hotels we have many guests from around the world, and each and every one has their own opinion on this issue and their own principles they consider to be correct. For a while a protein diet was popular, and many people genuinely believed that such nutrition helped to lose weight. Other people were sure that a vegan diet was the best. But the truth is that healthy nutrition is a balance between vegetables and proteins, like a golden mean. A little bit of everything – this is the main principle that allows me to stay slim and gives me energy.
– And what about carbs? It is an open secret that a basic foodstuff in Italy is pasta, but Italian women are still surprisingly slim.
– There is no universal food. All people are different and they digest carbs differently. Of course we need carbs every day, because our muscles depend on them. Carbs also empower our brain. The most important thing is, do not eat them together with proteins. And do not eat too much, of course.
– Could you please describe your day? What do you have on your dining table, from morning till evening?
– As soon as I wake up, I drink a big glass of lukewarm water – the water gives moisture to the body and removes toxins that have accumulated during the night. After that I do sports on an empty stomach. For example, I can do a six- or seven-kilometer long walk and go to the gym or to the swimming pool afterwards, because I love swimming. For breakfast I have some fruit and green tea. For lunch I have fruit and vegetables, and three times a week I will combine them with carbs like pasta, rice or quinoa. I start my lunch with a big salad – in this way I fill my stomach and avoid feeling hungry. Then I eat some plant proteins or carbs, leaving animal proteins for the evening.
For dinner I usually have fish or chicken soup. I prefer fish, although it accumulates heavy metals. That’s why you need to find out what kind of fish it is and where it was caught… for me this is the most important information before I make a food choice. You can only eat quite small fish like sardines without any worries. In order to be absolutely sure, we breed our fish ourselves, and we never serve big fish in Chenot Palace.
Sometimes I make an exception and treat myself to something else – I go to a restaurant and try something new. The type of dish doesn’t matter – a simple one or a combination of various products. I can eat pizza, for example. But it doesn’t happen often, only on certain occasions.
– I noticed that Chenot Palace serves dessert prior to the main dish. Does it somehow stimulate the digestion? What is the point of this ‘reverse order’?
– Fruit prepares our digestive system for food. But if you serve it after the main dish, it will cause fermentation.
– Are there any dishes that you would never ever eat?
– There are no such dishes. I can try everything, but if I had Swiss fondue that, as you know, isn’t very healthy, the next day I will have to give to my body the right food in order to restore balance. That’s why I try to control my everyday nutrition and do sports. In this way you can prevent unpleasant consequences.
– What do you think is most important when you prepare meals?
– The quality of products and oil is crucial. In Chenot we always pick the best from approved vendors. But it’s still not enough – you need to know how to prepare those products. You can take the best cold-pressed olive oil and overheat it, and it will not be useful any more, and even become harmful. But if you do your best, you can preserve its healthy properties.
– Which products can be characterized as bad from your point of view?
– Sugar. White sugar destroys our cells and doesn’t allow muscles to build up, making them weak…
– In Chenot Palace you offer your guests a diet that is limited to 10 to 12 days. Why not extend it? For example, I gained some weight and I would like to lose it – such a diet suits me well, I feel great. Can I keep to the same diet after I have returned home?
– This is a very low-cal diet not suitable for everyday life: it’s only 800–900 calories, no more. You can follow it in Chenot Palace, where there is no stress. But back at home the job kicks in, and socializing, and sports – your life changes dramatically.
When you go on a diet, your energy level drops on approximately the third day. Sometimes people even interrupt a diet for this reason, which of course is wrong. But after a while the body begins to generate new energy, looking for it in fat deposits. And the energy will rise again… there are two main principles involved in a week spent in the Chenot Palace – a deep cleansing of the body and an increase in energy. Weight is not the most crucial issue. If your body weight is low but you are lacking in energy, you can’t be efficient. The best possible thing is, of course, to have the ideal weight and good healthy energy, because our whole life is the energy we radiate.