Laura Prepon’s Journey to Health
Home Cooking, Organics and Massage Are Key
photo by Michael Simon
From That ‘70s Show to Orange is the New Black, actress Laura Prepon has long been considered by TV audiences to be a welcome image of health. Yet Prepon’s recent discovery that she’d been falling short in nourishing her body as effectively as possible has set in motion a complete redirection of lifestyle, from her diet to fitness routine. Now working on a book about clean living and eating due out next year, Prepon has rededicated herself to educating us just as much as she’s entertained us through the years.
How do you manage to consistently eat local organic food instead of fast food?
My mother was a gourmet chef and an advocate of organic food, so we always had amazing meals growing up. Eating organic produce that’s in season locally seems to help me assimilate nutrition more readily. Whenever I can, I also try to tap into biodynamic agriculture, which takes an even broader holistic approach to food production and nutrition. I view GMOs [genetically modified foods] as toxic to the system.
As a self-taught chef, I like to cook at least 80 percent of my food at home and bring meals to work so I don’t stress about food during the day. It feels good to get people together in the kitchen and I’ve taught friends how to cook healthy foods in simple ways, so they now bring their own meals with them to work. It’s all about preparation, so that you’re not just grabbing something on the run. Knowing what’s going into the food we’re eating is important.
Why do you include a lot of soup in your diet?
With all of the GMO food sprayed with chemicals in the typical American diet and the other environmental toxins everyone has to deal with, our gut flora, intestines and bodies in general are becoming compromised. Ten years ago, few had even heard of gluten allergies unless you had celiac disease, which was rare even then. Now, everywhere you go, there’s a gluten-free option.
I love eating soup because the healthful ingredients I use are broken down completely, so the body can immediately assimilate needed micronutrients, which help heal us from the inside out. I’m talking about homemade broth from grass-fed beef bones, so you get the marrow; I’m partial to knuckle bones. I always have soup broth in my refrigerator.
What’s key to your ability to naturally stay healthy and fit in the midst of an intense schedule of work and travel?
I love modalities like acupuncture, massage … all of that. I fully believe in keeping energy flowing to benefit the functioning of all our organs.
As school kids, we learn about the circulatory system and central nervous system, but who knows much about the lymphatic system? It’s extremely important, and people are starting to get the idea. Activities like yoga, swimming and bouncing on the trampoline can help.
Do you see society’s penchant for medicating as a way to avoid listening to and addressing our body’s real needs?
I do. That’s why I study Eastern medicine, because I feel that Western medicine treats problems and Eastern medicine prevents problems from happening. I grew up in a family of doctors and “full-on” Western medicine and respect the medical community. Unfortunately, these days, most people are continually medicated and they’re not getting better. As a society, we tend to just take a drug to handle a symptom instead of addressing the actual cause of the problem.
As a celebrity, do you see yourself as a conduit to facilitate a shift away from unnatural lifestyles?
Yes. The reason I decided to write a book was because I’ve been struggling with a bunch of different ailments in secret for a long time. When I began working with my integrated health coach, Elizabeth Troy, I started to heal for the first time in all the years of reading books on health, diet and fitness, seeing doctors, taking loads of pills and spending crazy amounts of money on all of these activities. I want to help people struggling to regain their health to get answers.
Gerry Strauss is a freelance writer in Hamilton, NJ. Connect at GerryStrauss@aol.com.