After discovering yoga, Lauren Imparato left a high-power job at Morgan Stanley to open her own studio, I.AM.YOU.
Since then, she’s made a name for herself, and the studio, among the city’s elite, working one-on-one with professional athletes and celebs, and bringing yoga into the corporate world. If yoga studios were restaurants, I.AM.YOU would be Balthazar.
Except that Imparato’s diet is not all croissants and cappuccinos—though they’re definitely represented. “My fridge balances my fast-paced New York lifestyle,” she says. And it contains a few surprises.
Here’s how she stocks it:
You left Wall Street for yoga. Did your diet change when that happened, or did you always eat this healthy? My diet changed massively, in a really simple way that will surprise you. I was a vegetarian the whole time I was on Wall Street, and I’m not a vegetarian anymore. I know that’s a shocking message in the yoga world. But I think it’s one that needs to be heard.
You’re right. That’s the opposite of what I expected. What prompted you to eat meat? Well, I originally became a vegetarian because of yoga, and I was young in the city and I was saving money. I felt amazing for the first year or two, and then I didn’t. Between my gynecologist, acupuncturist, and mother begging me, I finally bit the bullet and went back to meat.
Interesting. So, why don’t have any meat in your fridge? Because I hate touching it! I don’t cook it because I don’t like to touch it. But I’ve always been like that, even before I became a vegetarian.
I get that. Do you cook at all? Well, if there are 21 meals in a week, I cook anywhere between a third to half of those, depending on the week. For breakfast, I usually get a croissant and a cappuccino. But I gave them up for Lent, so I’m on cooked breakfasts right now, which is forcing me to cook more.
You have a ton of fruit and veggies. How do you eat them all? Greens are my favorite, and I think they’re the best thing for you! I’m like the green machine. Salad is my favorite food, but I’ll also sauté kale with garlic or spinach and egg whites. I’ll throw vegetables in a huge wok—like kale, spinach, onion, broccoli—and let it all really cook and then eat it like that or then throw it in the blender and puree it so I can eat it like a soup.
What’s in the foil on the second shelf? That’s actually pita bread for the hummus. The hummus is from a friend of ours who makes it homemade.
What about the white container next to the garlic and the box on top of it? The white container usually has cheese in, and the box on top is See’s Chocolates. They’re from California, where I grew up, and they’re the best chocolates in the States! I get them from my mother in a care package.
Speaking of indulgences, are you a sparkling wine aficionado or are you celebrating something fabulous? I do love champagne and good red wine, but the box on the top shelf is actually empty. It was a gift from my landlord when we moved in over five years ago. We drank it on a special occasion, and now we just keep the box in there for good luck. The magnum was a gift from a student, and most of the others were gifts, too. I don’t like beer though—that’s for my boyfriend. —Lisa Elaine Held