Tiffani Thiessen's quietly cursing her husband right now. They're two weeks in on a month-long detox where they're giving up sugar, processed foods, alcohol, and starches. Within days, he'd lost 8 pounds. She's only down 3 1/2.
"I'm like, 'Damn you,'" she laughs, jokingly shaking her fist toward the French doors, where her husband and kids are playing outside.
They started this low-sugar, high-fiber diet as a way to feel healthier and drop a few pounds, as Thiessen prepares to shoot her first cookbook — tentatively titled Pull Up a Chair — and she's refreshingly honest about the fact that it's not all sunshine and rosé. (In fact, it's zero vino at all, given the no-alcohol rule.)
"The first three days are the worst," she admits, wiping down the matte black counter of her kitchen island. "You get headaches — it's horrible — but then your body adjusts and it gets better. Now, I'm totally fine with it."
It's especially been a lifestyle adjustment because Thiessen loves food. Not a "once a year, after an awards show, I'll have In-N-Out" kind of love — it's part of her life to such a degree that it's spawned a second career for her. The star might be best known for playing girl-next-door Kelly Kapowski on "Saved By the Bell," but these days, fans are used to watching her whip up goat cheese-stuffed dates, fried chicken, and tequila peach tea on her Cooking Channel show, "Dinner At Tiffani's." Each episode features her inviting friends over for dinner around a themed menu, which isn't just a gimmick — it's something she loves to do. So we jumped at the chance to stop by her Los Angeles home and try her favorite detox-diet-friendly snack, citrus guacamole.
She's Saved By the Bell (Pepper)
"I grew up in Southern California, where guacamole is a staple, so I made it a little healthier by adding citrus to it," she explains, carving into an avocado.
Instead of the classic lime juice, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and tomato, Thiessen reaches for a softball-sized ruby red grapefruit. She knows what you're thinking — but you've got to give it a shot.
"The citrus really brightens the guacamole," Thiessen says.
She uses the grapefruit in two parts: one-quarter of the fruit chopped, and one-quarter juiced. The juice keeps the avocado from browning, and the diced pieces add texture. Together, they provide a tangy kick you wouldn't get from typical guac.
I have a philosophy: I really try to eat clean during the week and have a little fun on the weekends.
Her recipe contains a few of the dip's mainstays: salt, chopped cilantro, lime zest, and minced garlic (Thiessen uses a microplane so the latter is very finely chopped, so every bite's loaded with flavor).
The real surprise, though, is the final garnish. Roasted sunflower seeds add a little crunch, which helps when you can't slather that spread on tortilla chips. Thiessen goes for fresh vegetables instead, surrounding the spread with carrots, sliced bell peppers, radishes, and cherry tomatoes.
"The bell peppers are really perfect for this, though, because they hold up like a tortilla chip," she explains. "You can get a good scoop."
Outside of the month-long detox, Thiessen tries to eat in moderation.
"I have a philosophy: I really try to eat clean during the week and have a little fun on the weekends," the star says. "During the week, I really try to be inventive with what I make."
She'll Give Mario Batali a Run for His Crocs
That creativity — and fun-loving nature — carries over to everything Thiessen does. While filming her recipe, the actress paused: "Have you seen that salt guy online? You know, the one who does this?" she asks, curling her arm up by her chin and wiggling her fingers.
She's referring to Salt Bae, the Turkish chef who became an Internet sensation after a video of his exuberant meat-salting technique went viral. The man became a meme, getting the attention of Leonardo DiCaprio (who beelined it to try the chef's food) and sparked a Food52 video where Amanda Hesser and Mario Batali face off to see who can come up with the most creative way to salt a dish.
Thiessen stops to pull up the video. "You need to see Mario," she says, fast-forwarding to the moment Batali winks at the camera and takes off his signature orange Crocs, only to send a cascade of flaky sea salt out of it. A jumbled chorus of "nooooos" soon meld into "no waaaaay."
"Should I try it?" she asks.
Before long, we're down a YouTube rabbit hole, as Thiessen pays homage to Salt Bae through iconic dances. First, she whips and nae naes, sending salt flying all over the table.
"It didn't even hit the guac!" she laughs. "Maybe I should try something else."
She's taking requests, karaoke-style, and when her hairstylist throws out dabbing, she pauses.
"What's that?" she asks. Before anyone can explain, she's whipped out her iPhone, pulling up videos. Her daughter yells for her from outside, where she's been coloring. "Hold on, Harper — Mama needs to dab!"
She watches a few videos, before landing on the technique. "Oh, it's like you're sneezing!" she announces. Thiessen grabs a pinch of salt, tucks her head into the crook of one arm and stretches out the other, releasing the mineral like she's dropping a mic.
That attempt's a little more successful, but by now, she's on a roll. "Let's do one more," Thiessen says. Everyone on set is laughing at this point, and shouting requests. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" wins out.
As she lifts her arms from side to side, swaying to the beat of the song playing from her phone, salt goes flying all over the table. Again, barely hitting the guacamole.
The method's not very effective from a culinary standpoint, but it touches on what Thiessen does best: making everyone feel at home and having a good time, together. Her guac's good, but that's the real fountain of youth.
Get her recipe here.