Are You “Red Carpet Ready”?


Yep, it’s Oscar time. Grab your list of nominated movies and actors, and get thyself to a movie theatre pronto!

Oscar time is a favorite for the Sac Foodies – and not just because of our love of food or movies, although there is that. We love to speculate about which movie will win the big prize. Some of us even host Oscar parties – or at least that’s our excuse for cooking for friends and family and arguing over which movie or actor did it best. We love Oscar-time for these reasons, and also because sometimes we have the opportunity to work with people involved in the movie industry.

For the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the most innovative celebrity fitness trainer in the industry. Valerie Waters (who’s also a spokesperson for our client, California Raisins) is known for getting her clients “red carpet ready.” And what better time to talk about red carpets than the Oscars?  Some of Valerie’s most famous clients? Jennifer Garner, Cindy Crawford, Poppy Montgomery – you get the picture! Yes, Valerie knows what she’s doing.


She agreed to be interviewed by Sac Foodies for our “Ode to the Oscars” post. She promised us some red carpet secrets, plus a favorite recipe that tastes great AND is great for you.

Q: I know you love the movies. Do you have any favorites for Oscar season?

A: “Slumdog Millionaire” – I just loved it! It was such a rewarding movie-going experience.

Q: Are you getting anyone ready to “walk the ready carpet” right now?

A: This is the first time in about 10 years that I’m not getting anyone ready for the Oscars. Jen [Jennifer Garner] just had a baby, but I have other clients who are going to Oscar parties. Even though my clients stay in shape year-round, there is an emphasis during Oscar time on tightening up the diet – focusing on lean protein, veggies and some fruit. They’re still going to do their Red Carpet Ready circuits four times per week, but instead of 45 minutes of cardio they increase it to one hour.

Q: For those who don’t know the wonders of your Red Carpet Ready program, let’s fill them in!

A: Red Carpet Ready is a diet and exercise program that I use with my celebrity clients, and it’s now available to anyone as a downloadable e-book. We all have red carpet-type events in our lives that we want to look and feel our best for – a wedding, beach vacation, reunion – my book has the same diet and exercise principles that I provide to my celebrity clients. I also just launched my Red Carpet Ready Club, which is an online forum where I provide support and accountability, more workouts, recipes and videos, as well as my VIP club called the Diamond Club where I coach thirty women via online chats. I also have a web-based weekly show and a food blog.

Q: You have a lot going on! What sets Red Carpet Ready apart from other programs?

A: One thing that Jen and others have said is that my workout routines aren’t hateful. It’s not about deprivation. You learn to make choices and to have a strategy. I always tell my clients, “Strategy trumps willpower.” In Red Carpet Ready, you exercise consistently but not obsessively.

Q: What are some good tips for staying away from foods that aren’t great for you?

You have to get them out of sight! There will always be tempting foods, especially if you have kids and husbands that like foods you shouldn’t be eating. Find a substitute – something they like but that’s not a trigger for you. For example, cookies do not live at my house. Right now, I’m having a cup of tea and would love a cookie. But the cookies aren’t here, so I’m not eating them. Also, purge your kitchen of the unhealthy stuff and restock it with good choices – and do it regularly.

Q: If you were hosting an Oscar party, what would you serve?

A: Oh, that’s a good question.  I would serve a crudités platter with a healthy dip, like my artichoke/spinach dip or my healthy guacamole; roasted, warm spicy nuts; shrimp cocktail; chicken satay; and chocolate dipped strawberries.

Q: That sounds delicious. Do you have a favorite Red Carpet Ready recipe you’d like to share?

Everyone loves my black bean soup recipe (even the guys). It’s low in calories (100 cal.) but very filling and delicious.

Val’s Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (15 oz.) cans of black beans
1 cup of chopped celery
¾ large onion, chopped
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of finely chopped jalapeño
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1 (14.5 oz.) can of Rotel (tomatoes with green chiles)
Red pepper chili flakes to taste
Soy Bac-o-Bits (optional for garnish)


What to do:
1. Combine ¾ of the beans with ¾ of the tomatoes, and water in a large non stick pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and use an immersion blender to puree contents in the pot. *If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer mixture to a blender and pulse until well pureed.

2. Add the celery, onions, jalapeño pepper, garlic, cumin, along with the remaining beans, and remaining tomatoes. Season with black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover pot, leaving lid slightly ajar to allow the steam to escape, and reduce heat to low.

3. Simmer 25 to 30 minutes (or until vegetables are tender)

4. Serve soup while still hot, and top with Soy Bac-o-Bits (optional)

I think I’ll be serving Val’s black bean soup at my own Oscar party. Drop us a line and tell us what you’ll be serving for your Oscar party – and which movie you’re rooting for.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Christine | Feb 17, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I think I need to try the artichoke/spinach dip you linked to. Sounds delish!!

  • Liz | Feb 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Valerie’s Oscar party snacks sound awesome…who would have thought they’d be healthy too? Christine…if you need someone else to sample the artichoke spinach dip you know where to find me!

  • Gavan aka The Healthy Irishman | Feb 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I love this recipe. Black beans are one of my favorites, low fat, high protein and full of fiber. Brilliant.