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.
Body and Spirit
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."
Living the Dream
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!
Lauren's Natural Product Picks
"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.
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