Not So Fast! Kathy Freston Sets the Pace at Overheated Cleansing Party

The downstairs area of Pure Yoga on the Upper East Side, where the lifestyle expert Kathy Freston celebrated the publication of her new wellness book, The Quantum Wellness Cleanse, on Wednesday, May 6, was a collision of important Manhattan men, many of whom were friends of her husband, former Viacom CEO Tom Freston.

While the women went off to mingle over cucumber cocktails and discuss Ms. Freston’s useful diet tips—pardon us, it’s not a diet book, it’s a cleanse—Mr. Freston huddled with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, Vanity Fair‘s Graydon Carter, the entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman and film producer Harvey Weinstein. The gentlemen, all wearing jackets and neckties, quietly talked into each other’s ears and occasionally said things like, “O.K., so I’ll call you about that thing next week,” loudly enough for the surrounding guests to overhear.

Nearby was Ms. Freston, an attractive, skinny blond in her 40s who used to be a model, wearing a slimming pink cocktail dress.

“This is not a fast,” she said of the book, published by Weinstein Books, that has already gained the approval of Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Mehmet Oz. The follow up to her first Quantum Wellness book, which came out just last month, instructs readers on how to carry out a 21-day cleanse by giving up sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten and animal products. “It’s basically a whole foods, plant-based diet. It’s medically sound. You don’t have to feel deprived and you still get all your nutrition.” 

Ms. Freston has been a vegan for a long time now. Her philosophy, she said, is to “lean” into the vegan lifestyle and give up one animal at a time. “I gave up steak, then pork chops, then chicken, then fish, and eventually became a vegan,” she said. Her husband, however, is not a vegetarian, but he’s made some progress. 

“Well! We eat vegan in the house because I’m in control of the kitchen, but when we’re out, he eats whatever he wants,” she said.

Mr. Freston, who in his 60s stands tall and handsome, described himself as a “partial veganist.” 

“I eat fish and dairy, but not meat so much,” he said. “Kathy always says, ‘Give up one animal at a time.’ So, I started with the little ones and worked my way up!”

The former CEO, who has been doing yoga for years now, has even tried the cleanse invented by his wife.

“It was not bad,” he said. “You know, it’s not like a diet where you’re not eating enough food and you’re hungry all the time. It’s hard the first week and then you get used to it. But I still found myself waiting for that 21st day. When it finally came, I made a big pot of coffee.”

Has his health improved since marrying Kathy?

“Yea-ha!” he said. “It’s made a massive improvement in my health and, hopefully, my life expectancy. I’ve always been in good shape, I think, and watched my weight, but my diatary awareness probably wasn’t as good as it should have been. She sets a firm pace and I’m just trying to hang in there.”

The photographer Patrick McMullan, who was not only shooting the party, but was also listed as one of the hosts, invited Ms. Freston to the front of the room to say a few words.

“Thank you, Harvey Weinstein, and everyone at Weinstein. I love being part of your family,” she said. “You are fierce and great at what you do.”

Then she turned to Mr. McMullan: “And Patrick,” she said, surveying the tightly packed room. “Boy, you call and they come!”

In the main room, there were yoga performers, practicing couples yoga as the guests surrounding them looked on in expensive cocktail dresses and tall heels. One thing the organizers of the party didn’t seem to account for is that yoga studios are generally very hot with minimal ventilation so as to allow for the complete sweaty yoga experience. And so, as the downstairs studio began to fill up, it became uncomfortably warm. (Mr. Wenner hung out by the stairs the entire time, never venturing too deep into the sweaty room.)

But Mr. Weinstein, who was making his way around shaking hands, didn’t seem to mind. His beautiful wife, designer Georgina Chapman, trailed behind in slim black pants and a candy-striped little jacket. 

“I’ve seen outlines of the book when they were working on it, but I haven’t read it yet,” Ms. Chapman told the Daily Transom. “But now I feel under pressure that Harvey and I need to try this.”

Ms. Chapman is a vegetarian, but her husband is not. The last time Ms. Chapman tried to do a cleanse—the so-called master cleanse that involves consuming only lemon, maple syrup, water and cayenne pepper for 12 days—it didn’t go so well. (Her husband didn’t even bother trying.)

“I gave up after a few days. It was awful!” she said. “I lasted three days and on the last day, I went to Waverly.”


Not So Fast! Kathy Freston Sets the Pace at Overheated Cleansing Party