By Liz McNeil
Updated March 09, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: D Dipasupil/Getty Images
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If there’s one enduring mystery about Top Chef, it’s how does Padma Lakshmi, the show’s host and executive producer, stay so slender?

“I’m the only person on Top Chef who consumes every single thing that’s made,” says Lakshmi, who sat down with PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle to talk about her revealing new memoir, Love, Loss, and What We Ate.

And when she gets to the point where she has to take action, she uses her own home remedy: Cranberry Draino.

She describes the drink as “revolting.” Still, she adds, “it is very useful for me.”

“When I’m working on Top Chef, often I’m consuming thousands of calories a day,” she tells Cagle. “And I’m doing this every day, for weeks on end. And so, you feel just drunk and full of food.”

The recipe for “Cranberry Draino,” which is included in her book, requires pure unsweetened cranberry juice, green tea brewed with honey, fiber powder, a vitamin C packet and water.

“It all gets stirred up and handed to me two or three times a day before I go on set or right after I come off set to keep the pipes clean,” she says.

Watch more of The Cagle Interview with Padma Lakshmi on all week.

Then once a season wraps, she goes into what she calls “food detox.”

“That means after Top Chef, I cut out alcohol, sweets, all dairy, except non-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, red meat, all things fried and all sugar,” she notes. “What’s left is vegetables, lentils, fish, chicken and rice. And no flour.”

It’s always been hard, she says, however, “It’s harder now with a child at the house because I can’t throw away her goldfish!”

Episode Recaps


Top Chef

Tom, Padma, and Gail tell the cheftestants to pack their knives and go.
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