by Kim Henderson
Lauren Bowles bubbles over with delight and enthusiasm for life. She's open, approachable, warm and wise. Fans of HBO's True Blood know her as the Wiccan Holly Cleary, but some may also recognize her from films such as Hall Pass or The Heartbreak Kid or any of the numerous hit television shows she has appeared in. The half-sister of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she first earned her Screen Actors Guild card on Seinfeld. But that was many moons ago. Today, married to actor Patrick Fischler, she thoroughly enjoys her newfound success as well as being mom to her three-year-old daughter, Fia. On an unusually humid and overcast Los Angeles summer day, we were fortunate to catch up with Lauren on break from shooting to talk about one of her favorite subjects—health.
Basic health tenets like physical exercise, good rest and sound nutrition were taught to Lauren by her mother and father, who at ages 79 and 81, respectively, are thriving. However, her understanding of nutrition has evolved dramatically over time. "Of course, in the '80s, our understanding of nutrition was different. We had to drink milk at every meal. Today, with what I've read about the dairy industry and milk consumption, water has become the new milk," Lauren explains. Instead of juice or milk, Lauren gives her daughter water or whole fruit and finds other sources for calcium.
While studying at New York University in New York City in her 20s and even after she moved to California, she says she didn't eat very well. But at 35, she read two significant books that made a major impact—The China Study and Alejandro Junger's Clean. By doing 21-day cleanses, Lauren discovered how much better she felt when she eliminated certain foods. She has been eating a mostly vegan diet ever since, and buying organic is a priority, both for health and the environment. Yet Lauren has an ease and imperfection about her health choices. They don't limit her. "My husband and I are big foodies. When we go to a restaurant and I know where the meat is from, I indulge every now and then. I'm not committed 100 percent to any prescribed diet. But most of the time, we follow a vegan diet—maybe 80 percent of the time. As an avid baker, what surprises me most is how delicious you can bake incredibly healthy food," she says gleefully. "I really perfected the sugarfree vegan chocolate chip cookie! Super overripe bananas and date paste provide all the sweetener you need, and they provide a little moisture that works well with no egg. Instead of butter, I use virgin coconut oil. And I use spelt flour. It's very digestible, high in protein and has less gluten than regular flour. Then I add the vegan chocolate chips and sometimes some dried cherries. Pure heaven," she gushes.
Lauren takes her exercise, yoga and meditation pretty seriously. Thankfully, the shooting schedule for True Blood allows her some days off, and she's able to work out about five days a week. "I've become gym rat," Lauren admits. She tries to get to yoga a few times a week as well. "When I get five workouts in and three yoga classes a week, my body is humming," she says. The biggest challenge is getting up just a little earlier for her meditation. "When I take the time to be still for a half hour or so before my daughter wakes up, the entire trajectory of my day changes," she explains. Lauren says that meditation teaches her to take a breath and pause before reacting in any given situation. It allows her a moment to choose what's best. With a laugh, she explains, "But I do that like 5 percent of the time. I'm so not perfect!" Slow steady progress is her goal. "I'm hoping that 5 percent will eventually turn to 10 percent. The big joke is that you can meditate anywhere. I could be in a line at a drugstore and close my eyes and take a deep breath and even that would make a difference."
In describing what it is like to be a cast member of True Blood, Lauren uses words like "delicious," "a dream" and "I'm so lucky." Lauren's outlook is not too different from that of her True Blood's character's Wiccan beliefs. "Funny, on paper we are so different. Holly is a struggling single mom with a different background. But the Wicca religion is very beautiful. It is about honoring and worshiping nature—looking for the divine in everything. And that's how I live my life. There are similarities," she explains. I get the sense that Lauren fully relishes and appreciates the beauty in motherhood, work, married life and healthy living. On a foundation of health, she's living the dream!
"I am a big believer in omega-3s. I take a fi sh oil supplement every day. There are several quality brands. I just learned about PotentSea's Wild Alaskan Sockeye Omegas made from sustainably harvested wild Alaskan sockeye salmon. It's very pure, which I like and rich in the antioxidant astaxanthin. And we can all use more antioxidants! The company also makes a great supplement from nutrient and antioxidant-rich red, brown and green marine algae called PotentSea Sea Vegetables. Some of the longest-lived people in the world have a diet that incorporates sea vegetables. I'm looking forward to trying it.