Rima Fakih is a food-lover’s kind of pageant queen. Asked how she felt about being crowned Miss USA, she said: “Ask me after I’ve had a pizza.” After her victory ‘za, Fakih is back on a strict diet in the run-up to the Miss Universe competition on August 23, but she’s already excited about the prospect of downing some post-pageant French fries. “I’m just thinking to myself, August 24, August 24,” she says. “It’s always good to look ahead.” Fakih grew up eating Mediterranean food at her father’s now-closed Upper East Side restaurant, Maryum’s Kitchen. “We had one of the best Greek salads, we had really good hummus,” she recalls. “When I met the Miss USA security guards, they were like, ‘We know that restaurant! It’s great!’” Find out what she ate this week in the latest installment of the New York Diet.
Friday, July 30
I woke up in Detroit, where I was for an event. I ordered room service for breakfast and had oatmeal. I made sure I only ate a half cup, and no brown sugar, because [Miss Universe] is in a week. Normally I would eat it with brown sugar, but before a competition I try to cut out sugar; I eat very low-carb. I switch to Splenda in my coffee. I also had a strawberry parfait. On the plane back to New York I didn’t have the salty pretzels or nuts, but I ate a fifteen-grams-of-protein bar that I had in my purse.
For lunch, I was at Pazza Notte. It’s across the street from where I live, and it was one of the first places I had lunch with my relatives when I won Miss USA. I had the avocado salad and a flatbread margherita pizza.
I try to eat five times a day for my metabolism, so that afternoon I had an egg-white salad with veggies and a tablespoon of olive oil from a deli downstairs from my apartment, and a bottle of water. I’m not a big fan of water — usually I put sugar-free Capri Sun lemonade packets into the bottle. I keep them in my purse. Later I had some raw almonds as a snack — I keep those in my purse as well.
When I came home from the gym, my roommate wanted to order Mexican food. I had a whole-wheat veggie quesadilla with no sour cream, no salsa, no guacamole — they’re just too much. I got pico de gallo, though: minced tomatoes with onions and parsley. I had a diet peach Snapple to drink. We keep a lot of that at home. Snapple should really sponsor Miss Universe — that’s all we drink, me and the girls.
Saturday, July 31
I had three hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. I only ate the egg whites, plus some strawberries and blueberries.
For lunch, I had a spinach salad with vinaigrette at home. I marinated some salmon in olive oil, pepper, and lemon, and just put that in the pan and cooked it.
I had a whey protein shake from a corner shop by my gym, and later I met my sister for dinner at Chom Chom. We had sushi, but I had the rolls with no rice. I got salmon, and a crab roll with no avocado. I had some cranberry juice. I got hungry later that night, so I had pineapples and strawberries for a snack.
Sunday, August 1
I had a wheat bagel for breakfast, toasted, with a little bit of fat-free vegetable cream cheese from Daniel’s Bagels. I had some black coffee.
For lunch, I had a can of Bumblebee tuna with salad. Just lettuce, tomatoes, and Italian dressing. I had a little bit of a sweet tooth later that afternoon, so I had a strawberry-banana smoothie with a shot of wheatgrass at Jamba Juice.
Because it was Sunday, I wanted to sit outside for dinner. It’s a family tradition to eat outside on Sunday nights, and I’ve kind of always stuck to it. I went with my sister to Rue 57. I had calamari to start, and then we shared a seafood pasta. I did have some of the bread basket, but it was wheat bread, so that was okay. To drink I had lemonade. Because I’d had Jamba Juice earlier that day, I couldn’t afford dessert, but my sister had ice cream and a chocolate cake and of course I snuck a bite.
Monday, August 2
I had strawberries and blueberries with plain yogurt for breakfast, and half a cup of oatmeal.
For lunch, I had Per Se. It wasn’t like I ate there, though — it was kind of takeout. My sister brought it for me; she had eaten there for a company meeting. I had a four-ounce piece of fish with a little bit of brown rice and asparagus, and the ratatouille — it was tomatoes, basil, capers, olive oil, there was tofu in it. I only had the two courses. Most of the time when I go out, the things I want to eat aren’t on the menu, because I don’t eat meat, but they have a really good vegetarian menu at Per Se called Tasting of Vegetables.
I cooked dinner at home: four ounces of fish, four ounces of sweet potato, and broccoli. I try my best to measure my portions, and I’m so used to it now that it’s easy to just do it with my hands instead of a scale. After dinner I went to the gym, and I had a protein shake. When I got home I had a little bit of cashews, and when I say “a little bit” I really mean like a half a cup.
Tuesday, August 3
In the morning I didn’t feel like having the same old oatmeal and egg whites, so I had my favorite cereal, Honey Bunches of Oats, with skim milk.
I went to Tom’s Restaurant for lunch, where I got fish. I made sure they didn’t fry it; it was pan-seared with a little vegetable rice and some soup — I’d been coughing, so I thought soup would help. I feel much better now.
I had a Luna bar in the afternoon. I love those things. I go through phases with the flavors; right now my favorite is the chocolate and nuts. Before that it was the s’mores. Back at home, my roommate had ordered some food for her and her boyfriend, and they had a lot of sushi left, so I had some. I made my own edamame: You get the frozen bags, you boil it, dip it in some sodium-free soy sauce.
I went to a Yankees game that night, where I had some Minute Maid pink lemonade. It’s got a lot of sugar, but hey: It’s a game, at least I didn’t have a hot dog and fries! I was pretending I was eating fries, though — this guy near me kept putting his tray of fries down right in front of me and I was like, “Man, I hope the ball knocks it over.”
When I got home, I had some fat-free popcorn with no butter and watched Pretty Woman for the 30th time.
Wednesday, August 4
I wanted to have breakfast but I didn’t have much of an appetite. Still, I didn’t want to go all-out later, so I had some dried fruit: apricots, pineapple, some prunes, and some almonds.
I had a session with my walking trainer, Lou, and after we were done I passed by the new Shake Shack in Times Square. They have this thing called the ‘Shroom Burger for the vegetarians, which is just cheese inside a fried mushroom. Oh my God. I’ll be really honest, I think I got a little spoiled when we were doing my dress fitting earlier that week. One of our talent managers was like, “You can’t lose any more weight, because we can’t shrink the dress any more.” So I was like, “I can afford it,” and got the burger. I wanted a shake or frozen custard but I had an Arnold Palmer instead.
We got our Fresh Direct order that day, and because we had so many fruits, I decided to make a smoothie. I threw in blueberries and strawberries and this Middle Eastern mango juice that’s really thick, a little bit of honey instead of sugar, a little bit of skim milk, and a banana. That kept me full for like two hours.
We’re going to a restaurant opening this evening for Darryl Strawberry’s new restaurant. He invited us — he probably invited Miss Universe, too, but she’s out of town. The first time I met Darryl Strawberry was at the Celebrity Apprentice show with Mr. Trump, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again.