Carol Alt is one of the original supermodels. In this interview I chatted with Alt about: her Fox channel show, A Healthy You & Carol Alt; her healthy raw food lifestyle; and her love of Canada.
Carol Alt is on a mission. For 17 years, the model/actress has been committed to healthful living, adopting a raw food diet and doing everything she can to learn about what we’re eating. Last September, Alt took to the Fox channel with A Healthy You & Carol Alt, her alternative health show and way of disseminating the knowledge she has accrued.
With her effervescent and sweet personality, a conversation with Alt is like a chat with a good friend. She is warm and quick to talk about the things she is passionate about like, surprisingly, Canada. “My boyfriend was the bad boy of Ottawa,” she jokes, referring to former Ottawa Senators centerman Alexei Yashin, whom Alt has been dating for 15 years. Besides the capital, she has soft spots for Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. She has shot movies in all three and has attended Formula 1 in Montreal. Among her favorite Canadian to-dos are dining at the “really great raw food places on Cumberland” in Toronto and going for rides on the back of a tractor in remote destination Goodsoil, Saskatchewan, a unique landscape for Alt, who grew up in New York City. She is such a Canadaphile that she reminisces about building her own apartment in Toronto, seeking woodwork for said apartment in Kitchener, noshing the sushi in Vancouver (which she calls “the best sushi in the world”) and even traveling to the Yukon Territories.
Of course, Alt’s many jobs necessitate abundant travel and she has been all over, not just the great north. She tells me she lived for a year in Africa and another in Alaska, and has traveled extensively elsewhere. Among her favorite destinations are Russia and Italy. “Saint Petersburg is gorgeous,” she gushes, telling me that she often travels to Mother Russia to spend time with Yashin. As for Italy, Alt’s tip-of-the-tongue shopping must-have is olive oil straight from the vineyard, which fills her suitcase on the return trip.
Though it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling, Alt simplifies the task by good-naturedly packing her own raw onion slices and olive oil. The latter is such a staple that she even brings it to restaurants when she dines out, along with salt, as stores and restaurants skimp on quality. I ask her if there’s an art to dining at someone’s personal home and walking the fine line between being a gracious guest and sticking to your dietary guns. While you want to be polite, Alt explains, you have to retain the idea that “health is the most important thing” and not be embarrassed by your needs – a trap many people fall into. “Most people who know me know my regime… and they are very gracious about it,” she says, adding that she is the first to make fun of herself, even before her friends do. Sticking to her diet is such a non-issue for Alt that in 17 years of eating raw, there have only been two places she couldn’t eat, one of which was legendary restaurant Mr. Chow, where they fried everything down to the garnish on the plates.
By now you’re probably wondering what the secret is to a healthy you. According to Alt, “people think that health is something that they’re owed and it’s not. It’s a luxury that you work for and it’s not something that comes easily.” She believes the way to maintaining your health is by educating yourself on an ongoing basis and keeping abreast of phenomena that affect our food. And back to olive oil, Alt demands you take it home post-purchase to stick in the fridge for three days until it solidifies. If it doesn’t, it’s not olive oil, she warns, and absolutely insists you take it back for a refund. Her personal favorite brand? If she doesn’t carry it home from Italy, Alt buys Bragg.
Alt’s message is simple: don’t be one of the majority of people that doesn’t know what they’re eating. And beyond that, don’t subscribe to a culture that pushes us toward taking drugs to combat every situation. Sometimes a change of diet can make all the difference. And sometimes it takes a supermodel to give super advice.
Originally published in Luxury Report Magazine, Issue 25, March 2014.