JCU Hosts Distinguished Alumni Lecture: "Eating Your Way to High Performance" by Chantal Di Donato

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Chantal Di Donato

Chantal Di Donato

On Thursday, June 18, the John Cabot University Alumni Association and the Institute for Entrepreneurship hosted a Distinguished Alumni Lecture featuring Chantal Di Donato, whose talk was entitled “Eating Your Way to High Performance. “

Of Italian and South African origin, Di Donato grew up in South Africa and graduated from JCU in 2003 with a degree in International Affairs.

As the author of the The Live Lean Health Plan and the founder of Live Lean Health, she first shared her personal story and then went on to discuss how to make healthier choices in our daily diet. After struggling with eating disorders for 16 years, Di Donato made a conscious decision to change her lifestyle and eventually became a certified health coach. She shared a study by Dr. Daniel Amen showing how the brain changes in relation to what one eats, using this evidence to support her statement that “everything in our body becomes us.”

Addressing students specifically, she stressed how important it is to focus our energies in the right direction and how eating healthy food helps us be the best that we can be. Comparing not putting the right foods into out body to not putting the right anti-virus in a computer, she explained how cooking and eating certain foods can greatly change our lives. She recommends using a 90:10 ratio when it comes to fresh produce versus junk food. Economically speaking, this system is cheaper in the long run because it helps people avoid medical bills due to an unhealthy body.

Di Donato, who is currently based in London, also showed how cooking food yourself is the best way to control exactly what goes into meals, given the lack of reliable labeling of many processed foods. When it comes to what one should eat, Di Donato’s recipe is simple: fresh, green, leafy vegetables, lots of water, plant-based proteins, and healthy fats. These foods provide energy so that “every day you wake up with the energy to fight a battle.”

Following the talk, Di Donato opened a Q&A session and the audience was more than willing to comply, asking about everything from Nutella to diet sodas to “superfoods.” Di Donato concluded the lecture with a power-point on superfoods that can easily be added to a diet. After the lecture, participants enjoyed a vegetarian buffet, catered by JCU’s Tiber Cafe.

*Special Events Assistant