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Refrigerator Look Book: Alycea Ungaro


Real Pilates' founder Alycea Ungaro runs a booming fitness brand that includes DVDs, iPhone apps, and a brand-new book called the Pilates Practice Companion. Yet this busy Tribeca mom still finds time to make jam and killer smoothies.

Alycea Ungaro, owner of New York City’s famed Real Pilates, has a schedule as hectic as her clients’—she’s taught everyone from Madonna to Christy Turlington. In addition to running her popular Tribeca studio, Ungaro films DVDs, creates iPhone apps, and just wrote another book that launches today called the Pilates Practice Companion. We took a peek in her fridge expecting signs of Whole Foods takeout: But somehow this busy mother of two finds time to make protein-rich breakfasts and jam with her family. That’s right: the homemade stuff.

Um, why do you have three types of milk?
We make a lot of shakes for breakfast. And because neither of my daughters really eats a solid amount of protein for breakfast, I make sure that our morning shake incorporates a variety of different proteins. So we’ll alternate between soymilk, almond milk, and regular 2 percent. The coconut milk is really for me. My family has some incidence of thyroid disease, and coconut is known to be very good for thyroid function.

Is that chlorophyll? What do you use that for?
The chlorophyll is for digestion and skin-care benefits, and because on many days, I simply don’t eat enough greens! The Chlorofresh brand has a mint flavor that I can tolerate—otherwise I have a tough time getting it down.

Okay, busy lady—are those really homemade jams?
They really are! We made them ourselves from raspberries we planted and grew on our land in upstate New York.  The grape jar you see is actually a jelly, not a jam, and made from Concord grapes, which grow wild on the property.

Weekends upstate always involve some type of cooking, baking, or planting. Jams and jellies don’t really take that much time.  We also sauté the apples from our orchard for a quick snack, and the cherries and blueberries we grow make for great waffles on Sunday mornings.

And what about the canister holding something green? Are those jalapenos?
Yes, my husband soaks up a jalapeno pepper mix (with vinegar, sugar, and salt) that serves as a garnish or just the right zest to accompany meat and fish dishes. It’s also great on rice.

I see some aloe vera tea in there. Are you a regular tea drinker or more of a java fiend?
I am a tea freak. I have over 50 types of tea in my cupboards. I’ve never been a coffee drinker. My girls have begun to ask for tea and we saw this mix at the local tea store upstate. It was delicious, so we continued to buy this one as well as the pomegranate variety. Aloe is good for digestion, and we all enjoy the sweet, fruity taste.

Mmm, sounds good. What’s a typical family dinner at the Ungaro house?
Most nights we eat at dinner table with my husband doing the cooking! He’s an amazing chef, and I’ve never seen anyone put a hot meal on the table in 20 minutes the way he does. It’s probably a little cliché, but we almost always have a protein, a carbohydrate, and a vegetable. Whatever lands on our table—and I mean whatever—is guaranteed to have some combination of garlic, olive oil, chicken broth, and just a touch of fresh hot red pepper.

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