The host also reveals how much weight she actually gains eating all of the delicious dishes on the reality competition.

Padma Lakshmi
Credit: James White for Health / Courtesy of Health

Padma Lakshmi is one of the most recognizable faces in food television. The host of Top Chef, who isup for yet another Emmy Award as one of the executive producers of the reality competition series, recently sat down with Health to talk about some of her favorite simple recipes, how she manages to stay in shape while eating all of the delicious food contestants serve up on the show, and, specifically, her detox routine after each season.

“It’s no sweets, no red meat, no wheat, no alcohol, no fried food, no dairy except for cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt," Lakshmi said. "But this is a milder version—like, I can fall off the wagon one day a week.”

You read that right, she said “milder.” Apparently the host and former model used to go a little more hardcore, saying “it’s a more relaxed version now because I don’t care as much [as I used to].”

Lakshmi spoke to Health shortly after filming the finale of the most recent season of Top Chef, which will take place in Colorado. However, this round of competition wasn't as taxing as past seasons. "[I usually gain] 10, 15 pounds—the maximum I’ve gained is 17. This time I only gained eight,” she explains. The reason? Working out more (with a personal trainer and pilates instructor, no less), including activities like boxing and lifting weights. Altitude sickness also played a factor while filming in Colorado. “I didn’t feel like eating. I had to get through the food on camera, but off-camera I wasn’t eating full meals.” (Though, we hope altitude didn't get in the way of Padma or anyone else enjoying this year's Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.)

Lakshmi also dishes on her healthiest go-to meals, an herbaceous tomato and cottage cheese snack, and a savory smoothie she uses to pre-game for parties (that is, to have something other than alcohol in her stomach before drinking).

You can read the full interview with Padma on