NATIVE NEW YORKER CLAIRE DISTENFELD is constantly on the go so keeping fit and healthy needs to be fast. “I do a bunch of swigs,” said the owner of the swank uptown boutique FiveStory. “I open up the fridge and swig from a bunch of bottles and walk out the door.” To wit, her fridge is filled with wellness potions from chlorophyll that “makes your whole mouth green” to the more elusive Noni juice, an age-old Tahitian remedy that she got from a friend of Miranda Kerr’s. As for how she describes her personal style? “Very balanced,” she said. “I love the idea of wearing something extremely feminine but creating a masculine vibe to it.” Bonberi caught up with Distenfeld on a sunny morning in Washington Square Park where she dished on her health secrets and “the most intense workout in the world”.
What health secret can you not live without?
Do you ever notice that my skin is always glowing and my hair is always shiny? [It’s because of] Noni Juice. My friend Naseeba put me onto it. It’s supposed to repair bacteria. My skin used to be so dry and my hair so frizzy. I don’t even put on moisturizer anymore. It really changed things.
How much do you take?
I swig two shots in the morning. They say one dosage is one fluid ounce. You’re supposed to take it on an empty stomach. It tastes like grape juice. I don’t even put it in a cup. Before I go to sleep I take two more.
Are there any foods off-limits for you?
I don’t eat dairy, almost ever. It’s really bad for our bodies. I can get really philosophical about it. Did you ever read the China Study? Anything with a face or a mother is subject to cancer. So if you stop digesting the things that are produced by animals, it’s rational that you can lessen your chances.
So no meat?
I’m not one of those people who can restrict everything. I’ll eat fish and chicken soup. Food is supposed to be enjoyable and you shouldn’t kill yourself over it.
Do you have a secret indulgence?
My weakness is Breakstones 2% cottage cheese. If I crack that’s what I’m going to have.
Do you juice?
I’m in love with Juice Press. I’ll probably juice during the days three times a week from when I wake up to dinner. I never follow people’s cleanses. I do my own thing. People get really miserable on juice diets because they are so pigeonholed. It’s more of a philosophy rather than a strict diet. It’s about how you feel.
What are your favorite juices?
Mother Earth and the Master Cleanse from the Juice Press. Then I’ll pick a sweet one. I get into chemist mode and combine all three. Sometimes I’ll throw in some Noni juice because it’s good for everything.
How many nights do you eat out?
Every single night.
What are your favorite restaurants?
Blue Ribbon or Sushi of Gari. I’m a huge creature of habit. I don’t really stray. If there is salmon anywhere on the menu I will order it. I’ll get like 12 salmon handrolls. I’ll start with a seaweed salad and I really like oshitashi. I’m obsessed with grilled salmon. Il Cantinori has the best. It’s not on the menu but they always have it.
Do you ever cook at home?
I actually really like to cook but this kitchen has like an easy bake oven. I use my microwave a lot. I steam vegetables in it all the time. I load a bowl with Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, spinach, put a little water and put it in for six minutes. Then I make this concoction of mustard, olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar and garlic. It’s amazing.
What time do you wake up?
Anywhere between 6 and 7. I usually wake up and go to Le Pain Quotidien because they have almond milk. So I’ll get my almond milk cappuccino and get dressed. I like having at least 45 minutes to an hour to have my morning.
What time is bedtime?
I like to be sleeping by midnight, ideally by 11. When I don’t go by my ideals, I really feel it. It’s just no fun.
What do you eat for lunch?
I’m a salad person. I’ll order an obscene salad with what I call negative calories— cucumbers, carrots, etc. I’ll either put avocado in it or almonds and I eat a lot of fruit. Mostly apples and pomegranate seeds with almond milk, like cereal. Sometimes I’ll eat that for breakfast. I also drink a lot of hot water and lemon all the time.
What do you have for breakfast?
I don’t really eat breakfast. Between my Noni juice and my coffee. I’m a total coffee person. I carry almond milk with me everywhere I go. I carry it around in a Poland Spring bottle. It’s so ghetto. The best coffee in the city is around the corner from my store, it’s called Bel Ami. It’s incredible, it’s like crack though. I walk over there, hand them a water bottle of almond milk and they make me a cappuccino. It’s a routine.
What is your sweet treat?
Organic Avenue has these chocolate bars from Fine & Raw. They’re $7 a bar. They’re called bonbons because they’re mushy. They are the greatest thing in the whole world. I also love Juice Press Gladiator Cookies.
What is your favorite exercise?
I do Punch three times a week. It’s the most intense workout. You walk down these stairs into this huge boxing ring and there are 10 trainers that specialize in different martial arts. Every time you go you’re with a different one but it’s centered around boxing. They condition you like a fighter. It’s one hour. I used to love spinning and classes but if I wasn’t in the mood, I was wasting my money and my hour. This you can’t really slack off.
Any other workouts?
I try to run once a week. There is something unbelievably meditative and healing about running in Central Park. You can always take a new path, find new things, people. You can run one mile or seven and you don’t know. I go in there with no expectations. It’s also very nostalgic because it was like my backyard growing up.
Do you meditate?
That’s my Achilles heel. I have no patience. I can’t do yoga. I don’t know how to relax. I need things to force me to stay in one place. Baths, massages. Really long taxicabs relax me.
Where do you go for massages?
I have a place that I’m obsessed with. It’s on Sullivan right off of Houston right across the street from Miss Lily’s juice bar. It’s communal. You get an hour massage for $50 and it’s amazing. If I feel decadent I’ll go to Exhale on Madison. I recently went to Aire, an Asian bathhouse in Tribeca. I got a 9pm four-handed massage there. It was amazing and the prices are so reasonable. It’s open until 11:30 at night.
What do you listen to while working out?
Spotify. The radio is really good. At Punch they have an in-house French DJ who sits in the corner playing Bob Sinclair and he’ll be like, “Claire! Ten more push-ups!”