Managing travel, multiple time zones and a demanding production schedule is no easy task. Not to mention your normal routines of healthy eating, exercise and sleep are completely thrown off! Luckily, we have an expert on hand to help us find the balance in life. Meet Lauren Bowles – a.k.a. the charming and witty Holly Cleary of HBO’s True Blood (Seriously, how many of you were ready to line up and slap Andy during the Season 5 finale?!). I am such a fan girl of the show – it is the hottest show on TV!
Lauren and I first connected through a mutual love of PALETA … and a shared love of what makes us feel well in Los Angeles, like gorgeous weather, as many yoga studios as Starbucks® locations and some of the best farmers markets in the country. I had a chance to catch up with Lauren a couple of weeks ago, after she returned from filming in North Hampton, Britain. The effort Lauren puts forth into a healthy lifestyle certainly shows, from her gorgeous skin & body to her phenomenal outlook and attitude toward life. She shares with us how she finds balance while at home, on the road and while in production mode, like filming episodes of True Blood.
On Finding Time for Exercise: “I had this teeny little hotel room [in Britain]! For me, any flight that’s over 5 hours – my body feels it! Just the sedentary nature of it all. I found an online yoga class that accentuated twists and practiced in my hotel room. I thought ‘okay after traveling and not eating perfectly here, I can use the detox’. You can pretty much do yoga anywhere which is why I love it.”
On Eating Abroad: “Even just going to Britain, trying to find my way of eating I think I ended up walking 3 miles one way to the one health food co-op that was in the outskirts of town. If you seek it out you can find it, but it’s definitely a schlep or a journey to get there! Here in Los Angeles I can walk down the street and be at my favorite raw or vegan restaurants. What I would do differently in the future: pack more protein bars and nuts. Even the convenience stores are sparse and when you find them they’re only selling candy. Eating is certainly the bigger challenge when on the road and traveling.”
On Healthy Motivation with her True Blood co-stars: “This is my joke about the show – the guys are the ‘chicks’! In their defense, they are shirtless for 80% of an episode. Anna is in phenomenal shape and works really hard at it. Rutina (Tara Thorton) – I joke, ‘does not earn that body!!’. She has those sculpted arms – she’s ripped! Rutina can get away with eating foods like burritos and craft services. She recently started Pilates and is taking class like once a week. And Carrie Preston (Arlene Fowler) is just a skinny girl! Not that they’re unhealthy, it’s just not a concept for them the way it is for the rest of us on the show. The guys – (Alexander Skarsgård/Eric Northman, Ryan Kwanten/Jason Stackhouse, Joe Manganiello/Alcide Herveaux, & Stephen Moyer/Bill Compton – we’re looking at you!) – you see them eating chicken and steamed broccoli the entire time. I don’t think they touch a carb when we’re in production!
Ryan (Kwanten) is a big yogi and I see him at class all the time [in Los Angeles]. I think we’re the only two [on the show] that are hard-core yoga people. When we started talking about our favorite instructors – like Sara Ivanhoe, Vinnie Marino, Billy Asad - and connected the dots, realizing that we were in the same classes, we started seeing each other in classes all the time. That boy is just ripped!”
Dishing on the True Blood Cast: “By the time I joined the cast of True Blood in Season 3, it was a bona fide hit. People were asking if it was intimidating to join the show. There are certain shows where it could be a nightmare [to join that many seasons in]. You get the best ‘skinny’ from hair and makeup, so when I sat down, I asked for the head’s up on the show and cast. The phenomenal makeup lady said ‘No drama. Everyone is chill’. And it’s true. You don’t last long on the show if you’re drama. It made joining the cast so easy. The camaraderie and support is great.”
On the Very Long Work Days: “[A day of production] can be as little as 5 hours, or up to 17 hours. In Season 4, with the witchcraft plot I had some really long days. You are literally seeing people on the show more than your family in those stretches.”
On Balance… “We’re really a a pretty ‘well-oiled’ machine [as a family] in understanding that every day is different. And the bonus of True Blood is that I may have a 17-hour day, but it isn’t 5 days a week. It’s a show with a huge cast. So the days I have might be long, but I definitely have long breaks in between. By no means have I felt like I ‘oh I’ve missed watching my daughter grow up.’ I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with her, and so has my husband. The crazy hours are really only hard if one of us in out of town for work.”
On Travel… Lauren shared how she loves the ‘gypsy’ element of acting, from the locations to the varying plots and roles she gets to play. She finds the adventure no matter where work may take her, from exotic locations to not-so-hot tourist spots, like Detroit. She considers herself to be a “built-in tourist machine” finding the joy and fun no matter where the job takes her.
On Meditation… She’s been practicing routinely now for over 4 years. If you want a meditation resource in Los Angeles, Lauren recommends InsightLA. She went through the mindfulness-based child birthing classes at the center and continues to take classes and workshops as time allows.
On Nutrition… “Let food be thy medicine”. Lauren loves and reads nutrition books (yes!). “Become conscious and aware of what you put into your body. Know your food.” Lauren and her family’s diet is 80% vegan. Her favorite nutrition books include Clean by Alejandro Junger and The China Study. “I used to be obsessed with US Weekly and it’s completely been replaced by Whole Living and Yoga Journal!”
On Sleep… ”I joke I could be a professional sleeper, if I could find someone to pay me. I am a deep, deep sleeper. I have noticed as I get older I have a night once or twice a month where I cannot fall asleep. … and I’m not one of those people who can function well on too little sleep. Being more tired the next day makes us more apt to make bad choices. I try to avoid the snowball!”
On the ‘Necessities’… Lauren’s include yoga, meditation and nutrition. She has teachers she loves in L.A. and her favorite spots to grab a class, but also loves yoga because she can take it on the road. An ideal week would include 4 yoga classes for Lauren, with a minimum of one yoga class a week. She also loves to hit up cardio conditioning classes to stay in shape. Even more cute? Her little girl has been taking yoga classes since the age of 18 months.
On Defining Wellness… “Wellness is much more of an inner thing than an exterior for me. What we feed ourselves effects our inner well-being. Wellness is about having a sense of calm and be in the present moment.”
On Inspirations for Living a Healthy Life… “My daughter. And my husband is my cohort. We have a very health-minded household. My husband is no fool! He knows that I’m my best when I have time for yoga and eating well. These things keep me happy!”
On Love and Marriage… marry your best friend. She and her husband were best friends for 9 years and dated for 8 more years before getting married. You can catch her hubby, Patrick Fishcler (Lost, Mad Men) on upcoming episodes of ABC’s hit show Scandal.
On PALETA… Lauren was wrapping on a week of the PALETA cleanse when we spoke (my absolute favorite cleanse because you can EAT real food!). She raved about the delicious food created by Kelly and company, calling her a “genius”. More kind words from Lauren (yes!): “I can’t extoll PALETA enough. It’s incredible. Really incredible! And every dish is so flavorful!” Check out PALETA by searching through this site or go straight to the source.
On Cafe Gratitude… “When the westside location opened, I jokingly told my husband ‘there goes our daughter’s college fund’! We are such hard-core Cafe Gratitude groupies that we would trek across town, in L.A. rush-hour traffic, to grab a meal to bring home.” Want Cafe Gratitude no matter where you live? Check out Adina Niemerow’s book “Super Cleanse” for great recipes from the holistic nutritionist who helps with the menus and leads cleanses at CG!
On BabyCakes… “When I got to meet Erin McKenna of BabyCakes I felt like I was meeting Angelina Jolie!” Lauren considers herself a foodie and loves to bake, especially using the BabyCakes recipe book. “I am a chocolate chip cookie master. I can make them in any variation. I am a chocolate chip cookie afficianodo!” Lauren’s favorite chip? The Whole Foods 365 brand vegan chocolate chip. Check out the BabyCakes blog for fun and try your hand at a vegan baking recipe at home!
I hope you enjoyed the interview with the lovely and talented Lauren Bowles! I found her to be such a fun, energetic person, exemplifying what it means to live life well. Have a question for Lauren? Leave it below and I’ll get an answer for you!
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