“I Don’t Go For Things That Come In Can”: Zoe Saldana On Healthy Eating And Raising A Vegetarian Family
Zoe Saldana is featured front and center on the cover of the June issue of Shape. The wife, mother of three and star of the recently released hit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 talked to the women’s health publication about how being diagnosed with a thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, has changed her eating habits drastically. But when it comes to exercise, the 38-year-old doesn’t bite off more than she can chew with her busy schedule.
“Between travel, meetings, and shoots, schedules are rough for me,” Zaldana said. “I try to work out three times a week, but I don’t believe in getting on one machine for 30 minutes. If I do a lot of cardio, it usually just means I’ll be dragging my feet for the rest of the day. And when I’m shooting, I really don’t like to be strict with my workout, since I’m already putting in 16-hour days. So I do 20-minute intervals either at the gym or at home, where I run in place for 30 seconds, then do squats, then carry a heavy medicine ball a few times in a row until I get my heart rate up.”
And when she can’t make the time to improvise with her workouts, Saldana can rest easy knowing that at least she eats a clean diet. Because this whole health and fitness thing is a majority food, right?
“I can’t work out regularly, so I compensate by eating a lot healthier than I might otherwise,” she said. “Once you have relatively healthy eating habits, your workout can become playing with your kids, strolling around the neighborhood, playing airplane, or just changing diapers.”
And as for diets, Saldana doesn’t mess with them. She believes in balance because, like the rest of us, when she tries to deprive herself of a certain type of food, her body doesn’t react well. However, she opts for goodies that are lower in fats, and her family doesn’t touch dairy and gluten.
“I don’t believe in cheat days because I don’t believe in diets. I try not to deprive my body of anything, because the moment I have just salads and protein for a few days, I crave carbs,” she said. “But when I eat everything in balance, I think less about food and more about everything else. It’s about eating to live, not living to eat.”
“I like food that is fresh,” she added about her tastes. “I don’t go for things that come in can—and I’m losing trust in things that come in plastic. And we’re starting to move in the direction of becoming a vegetarian family; society has a very violent, dysfunctional, and wrong relationship with how we cultivate and produce meat. So if I have to pay more to eat better, then I’ll just balance my checkbook better. For example, I’d rather get the dark chocolate with goji berries than the milk chocolate packed with saturated fat.”
Zaldana is just as selective about her meals when she goes out to eat with friends and family, which doesn’t make her the most exciting dinner date. Still, her focus is on avoiding having issues with her thyroid disease.
“I know I’ve become a very boring person to take to dinner, but I’d rather be that way than deal with health issues,” she said. “When you have an autoimmune condition, you have to stay away from foods that cause inflammation.”
So aside from avoiding canned food, dairy, things high in saturated fat and the many other delicious things the rest of us can’t seem to part ways with, what does she actually like to eat? Homemade dishes made with love by herself and husband Marco Perego.
“My husband and I love to cook,” Zaldana said. “I’m going through a phase where I’m making a lot of beans and quinoa. And I love ceviche and stews. But my favorite type of food is Asian. No matter how north or south in the Pacific, I love the spices, the vegetables, and the ways they cook them. Lately my husband and I have been learning to cook with Asian spices, like turmeric, and ginger, and we’re having a blast.”
Image via WENN