Personal trainer Jillian Michaels is no stranger to speaking out about diet trends, especially the keto diet. "Don’t do keto," urged Michaels in an interview with People back in May 2018. At the start of 2019, Michaels again addressed the fad diet in a video interview for Women’s Health "Rant or Rave" series. She stated, "I don’t understand, like, why would anybody think [the ketogenic diet] is a good idea?" She added, "Bad plan."
Michaels’ comments apparently hit a nerve with many. Today show co-anchor Al Roker took to Twitter and slammed Michaels for stating her opinion about his diet of choice. Bravo’s Andy Cohen also took offense at Michaels’ comments about the trendy diet. "Don’t feel bad, keto diet," the host said in an episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen (via Us Weekly). "A lot of people think Jillian Michaels is a bad idea." Ouch. Still, Michaels hasn’t backed down.
Of course, since then, the question has been raised: What does Michaels believe in when it comes to healthy eating? You’ll want to keep reading to find out.
She once ate "fake diet food"
Although we all got to know Michaels as the intense, super-fit personal trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Michaels once battled with her weight. In an article for Women’s Health, the star revealed, "I was definitely on the chubbier side growing up, but I hit my heaviest weight around age 13, when I was about 170 pounds (I’m 117 now, for reference)."
At that time, Michaels’ parents also got divorced. Her mom decided to sign her up for martial art classes as a way for Michaels to manage her feelings. That’s when the personal trainer’s relationship with fitness really began. Michaels also altered her eating habits in an effort to lose weight.
"My diet changed a lot — but not necessarily in a good way at first," she explained. "I was eating a lot of fake diet food, like artificial sweeteners and low-fat versions of other foods." The personal trainer admitted that it wasn’t until she was in her 30s that she "got a firm grip on what a healthy diet should look like."
No juice cleanses for her
Michaels may have begun her weight loss journey with "fake diet food," but the personal trainer would eventually become a staunch supporter of real food, which involves avoiding most things that have added artificial sugars and chemicals and sticking to whole foods whenever possible (via Women’s Health).
Although plant-based and fruit-based juices certainly stem from real food, they’re not considered "whole." Thus, Michaels isn’t a fan of the ever-popular juice cleansing fad. "There’s no such thing as a juice cleanse," she said in an interview on the Long Story Short with Bobbi Brown podcast (via iHeartRadio). "What are you cleansing?" Michaels went on to explain how the body — through the kidneys, liver, spleen, and lungs — works to detox itself. "Not eating," Michaels revealed, "is not doing that." Although she’s not totally against people juicing their vegetables, she advocates actually eating, not drinking, your fruits. This way, you get the necessary fiber.
She avoids fast food
Because of the additives and chemicals in fast food, a Big Mac doesn’t exactly qualify as real food. Okay, it doesn’t qualify at all. Sigh. Michaels once told Shape she hadn’t had fast food in many years. Though, that’s not to say she’d sworn off all convenience foods. "I occasionally have a veggie sandwich from Subway when in a food [desert] area for work," she admitted. "I have had veggie burritos as well from places like Chipotle, but never a McDonald’s or Taco Bell kind of a place."
In an article she shared to her site in 2016, she admonished readers for eating at fast-food joints, saying, "If you do find yourself at a fast-food place — hopefully because it was the choice between that and eating nothing at all — your best bets are chains with healthier options (grilled fish tacos, salads) like Baja Fresh, El Pollo Loco, Au Bon Pain, Starbucks and Subway." She continued, writing, "Just remember to skip the condiments, dressings, and processed cheeses." The following year, she also encouraged packing snacks like dried fruits and raw nuts in order to avoid "crappy fast food" when out and about.
A coffee to start the day
Michaels has sworn off many of the foods prevalent in the American diet, but caffeine is not something she plans to give up anytime soon. "I’ll have coffee when I wake up at 7 a.m.," she revealed in an article for Women’s Health. In an article on her site, Michaels called caffeine her "one and only vice." Though, she feels the stimulant can actually be good for you — "in the right dose," that is. And she’s not wrong. Science has proved that caffeine can improve cognitive function and boost fat loss.
As for how Michaels takes her coffee, she prefers an organic cold brew. "[Cold brew] maximizes the polyphenols and antioxidants in the coffee bean (so you get the good stuff and the caffeine) while minimizing all acids and tannins," she explained on her site. She further revealed that she chooses an organic blend because "coffee is the second heaviest sprayed crop in the world — second only to cotton." In 2016, Michaels even bought the organic cold brew startup Lucky Jack, so she’s pretty serious about her commitment to this form of caffeine.
She doesn’t eat breakfast right away
Michaels starts her morning with a cup of coffee, but she doesn’t have breakfast along with it. The personal trainer practices her "own form of intermittent fasting," as she revealed in an article for Women’s Health. Michaels does her eating in a ten-hour window and "typically [waits] 13 to 14 hours" between her last meal of that day and the first meal of the following day. Although she has her coffee when she first wakes up at 7 a.m., she waits until around 9 a.m. to begin eating. Despite drinking coffee two hours earlier, she considers 9 a.m. to be the end of her fast. So, just what does she eat when she eats?
Most days, she opts for "low-fat Greek yogurt with sliced bananas and crushed almonds on top." But she’s also a fan of overnight oats. One of her go-to concoctions includes cocoa nibs, almond butter, coconut milk, and greek yogurt. And, as she revealed on Instagram, it looks more like an "ice cream sundae" than a breakfast — and yet it’s healthy. Yes, please.
She makes a mean smoothie bowl
While she may not be one for juice cleanses, Jillian Michaels certainly loves a good smoothie — specifically, a smoothie bowl. "My latest obsession is the Blueberry Smoothie Bowl from my app," the personal trainer revealed on Instagram. "It’s super easy, you don’t even need the exact recipe." The bowl calls for a combination of vanilla extract, coconut milk, bananas, and frozen blueberries. The blueberries, Michaels explained, are the most important part because they’re "loaded with powerful antioxidants."
Smoothie bowls have also helped the star enjoy a popular starchy grain. "I hate quinoa but when it’s popped it has great crunch," she captioned a post on Instagram. Michaels says you can pop the grain like you would popcorn or buy it ready-made to easily top your smoothie bowls. In another post, Michaels shared a particularly stunning smoothie bowl "loaded with antioxidants and fiber" like giant blueberries, dragon fruit, and plenty of good-for-you grains. Hmm, but can you bathe in a smoothie bowl? Asking for a friend.
She still loves carbs
Carbs are not evil, but they’re also not all created equal, according to Michaels. In an interview for the Long Story Short with Bobbi Brown podcast (via iHeartRadio), Michaels explained, "There’s a massive difference between a piece of white bread and a bowl of quinoa. It’s like McDonald’s versus grass-fed organic steak by a five-star Michelin chef, like you can’t even compare the two." The personal trainer is a fan of "complex carbohydrates" or "carbohydrates in their whole form." But that’s not to say she doesn’t enjoy bread.
On Instagram, the trainer shared an image that read, "I f***ing love toast, what absolute genius took a bit of bread and was like, ‘Cook it again,’ Unreal." True that. In another post, Michaels joked, "I got 99 problems & they all involve carbs." Although Michaels may relate to those of us who want to eat all the carbs, she doesn’t agree with cutting out carbs — even bread — completely. In another Instagram post, she shared one of her favorite snacks: hummus toast. However, you’ll probably never catch her eating chemically-enhanced white bread.
A burrito a day keeps the doctor away
While you might not think of a burrito as the healthiest of foods, Michaels revealed in an article for Women’s Health that she actually tends to eat a burrito for lunch most days. Though, she does make some modifications. She said her go-to burrito is one with chicken, vegetables, and black beans. She makes it a point to exclude the rice.
Prevention shared one of the star’s burrito recipes from her app. According to the site, Michaels’ "BBQ Chicken Burrito" calls for a whole grain tortilla, as opposed to a white flour one. The recipe also includes store-bought barbecue sauce, but one that is organic. The star also shared a similar recipe as part of her meal plan called "Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30."
Michaels has been a fan of burritos since she was in high school, but they weren’t always the modified ones she eats now. "I remember my Taco Bell order," the personal trainer told NBC San Diego. "Three bean and cheese burritos, no onions, extra cheese, a taco supreme, cinnamon twists and then eventually I came to Diet Coke." Those days are long gone.
A Mediterranean dinner
Michaels certainly dislikes the ketogenic or "keto" diet trend, but that doesn’t mean she hates each and every popular diet out there. "The bottom line is that a Mediterranean diet has proven time and time again as the most healthy," she opined when speaking to Prevention. Still, she thinks it’s best to follow a modified version of the trendy diet. Michaels advised dieters to remain aware of their caloric intake and to include lots of foods containing antioxidants. Intermittent fasting, according to the personal trainer, is also a good idea.
Michaels herself eats very similarly. In a Women’s Health article, the star revealed that she usually opts for "a Mediterranean salad with olives, feta cheese, and veggies, and salmon on the side" for dinner. If you follow the personal trainer on Instagram, you’ll know that she’s a believer in some other Mediterranean diet favorites, like hummus, avocado, and poached eggs.
Her diet doesn’t include this popular beverage
Throughout the United States in 2017, the sales of kombucha and other similar fermented drinks were up over 37 percent. If you’ve yet to try the hip drink, kombucha is essentially fermented tea. The drink has an added zing because, thanks to bacteria and yeast creating carbon dioxide (via Healthline), the tea becomes carbonated. While plenty of people enjoy the beverage, there are others who think it’s just plain gross. Michaels is in the latter camp.
On Instagram, she shared a post which read, "Quick question for people who like kombucha: Have you ever tried any other drink of any kind whatsoever?" She continued in the caption, writing, "Any drink with a ‘mother’ and a ‘scoby’ is questionable in my opinion. Thoughts?" While some fans chimed in to share why they loved the beverage, others agreed with Michaels. "I’ll get my probiotics elsewhere!" wrote one fan. "I love you even more for posting this. Can’t drink it … just can’t," wrote another. You like what you like, and, it seems, you dislike what you dislike.
She drinks wine on the regular
Although you won’t find Michaels sitting down and unwinding with a glass of kombucha, she does prefer another fermented beverage. In an article for Women’s Health, the personal trainer said she generally has "a glass of red wine" alongside her Mediterranean-style dinner.
And there’s a reason why Michaels opts for red as opposed to white. When interviewed on the Long Story Short with Bobbi Brown podcast (via iHeartRadio), Michaels explained that "dark alcohols like red wine, whiskey, and dark beer" have the most health benefits. While she said vodka and tequila are "fine," it’s the "antioxidants and the polyphenols" in the darker alcohols that make them a better option.
While she’s a personal fan of the darker wine, she still doesn’t endorse drinking it in excess. "First rule of thumb is to limit your intake to two drinks a week," she wrote on her site. "Pick a night, make it your wild one, and have up to two drinks."
She’s given up "straight sugar treats" for these foods
Who doesn’t love sugar? Michaels herself admitted on Instagram that she struggled to "give up straight sugar treats." What eventually helped? Fruit. Specifically, exotic fruit. "My favorite is passion fruit," she revealed, "but dragon fruit, kiwi, and lychee are also top of my list." Eating ripened mango and passion fruit atop organic vanilla yogurt is one of the snacks that helped Michaels conquer her addiction to treats with added sugar.
Michaels told Well+Good that sugar is one of the worst foods for a person’s metabolism because it causes your blood sugar to spike, which, in turn, raises the levels of your cortisol and insulin hormones. "Hormones work in a symphony, and there are tons of them," Michaels explained. "So ultimately, when we’re looking at metabolism, we want to make sure that we have the right hormones working for us, instead of against us."
Don’t forget the cheese
Even though she does have a sweet tooth, Jillian Michaels doesn’t only love sweet snacks. "People always ask me what my go to treat food is," she captioned an Instagram picture in January 2018, "and here’s the answer: CHEESE!!" Yes, Michaels loves the dairy product. The personal trainer specified that she enjoys organic cheese and, when paired with wine, it’s "even better." Cheese has long been a fave snack of the personal trainer’s, as she’d previously revealed to Shape that she often paired "organic string cheese" with a "whey shake with chocolate macro greens."
Still, we’re sure Michaels doesn’t exactly sit down and work her way through a block of cheese. According to the rules of the Mediterranean diet, cheese is listed as a food that is meant to be eaten in moderation, whereas fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are fair game for more regular consumption.
This is one of her other favorite snacks
There was once a time when Jillian Michaels couldn’t "go a day without having" a candy bar. Granted, they were Unreal chocolate bars. "They make classic candy bars like Snickers, M&M’s, and peanut butter cups, but without any chemicals or crap in them," she revealed to Shape. While she has since cut out most excess sugar these days, she’s still a fan of healthier forms of sugary snacks — and not just fruit.
Michaels shared a post on Instagram which read, "I won’t be impressed with technology until I can download snacks." Um, same. She added, "I’d download peanut butter. Lots and lots of peanut butter."
That’s not to say Jillian Michaels won’t eat a snack that’s not completely healthy. "I allow 20 percent of the foods I eat to be less healthy, but even then I try to go chemical-free," she explained in an interview with Parade. "There’s no reason to have a peanut butter cup with trans fats when you can have an organic one." Or, you know, just peanut butter, right? She added, "It’s about being on a balanced path."