Sophia Bush had one main goal for 2022. That it would be year she decided to stop eating out of convenience, or as she affectionately put it, having the diet of 'a 4-year-old on vacation' and start fuelling up properly.
While she’s ordinarily no fan of the influx of gym and diet resolutions that crop up around the start of a new year, Sophia made a promise to herself that has helped her body heal from the inside out, as we edge towards the year's halfway point.
The 39-year-old actress and activist said her asthma was becoming difficult to manage, so she finally took the advice of her friends, who had been telling her for years that she could decrease inflammation through her diet.
What has followed is a whole new relationship with food, the One Tree Hill star told Women’s Health in an interview.
Shehe attributes her newfound confidence around eating foods that address her unique needs to her work with Dr. Will Cole, a functional medicine expert - often seen on Goop - and the author of The Inflammation Spectrum.
Anti-inflammatory eating for asthma: is it legit?
Just one thing to flag: the NHS doesn't endorse asthma sufferers eating an anti inflammatory diet to reduce symptoms, saying that most people with asthma can have a normal diet.
However, they do emphasise the importance of those with asthma identifying possible asthma triggers 'by making a note of where you are and what you're doing when your symptoms get worse'.
According to their experts, the most common food sensitivities that can trigger asthma symptoms are histamine and suphites. So, what are they?
Histamine is a naturally produced ingredient in some foods such as yogurt, mature cheese, smoked meats and in alcoholic drinks like wine. It's actually the same substance that’s released in your body when you have an allergic reaction, for example to pollen.
Sulphites are used as preservatives in foods such as dried fruits, processed meats and pickled foods. These are also found in drinks such as wine, beer and cider (but larger retailers will generally have sulphite-free options, just expect to pay a bit more).
What's more, researchers have underlined the positive impact that certain dietary interventions - such as the Mediterranean diet - can have on asthma symptoms, and called for greater integration of nutrition principles in clinical practice.
So, upshot: while Sophia's protocol might not get the stamp of approval from mainstream health authorities, there's evidence to suggest her practitioner (remember, a functional medicine practitioner isn't medically trained) could be on to something. As we all know, health can be individual. And the way Sophia tells it? It's really working for her.
'I hate diet culture so much,' said Sophia. 'But working with [Cole] made me realise that continuing to eat the things that are bad for your health isn’t freedom.'
Here's what her daily food intake looks like at the moment.
Breakfast is usually quite a busy time for Sophia, especially while she’s filming her show, Good Sam. But she still makes sure to start her mornings with three beverages: a big glass of water, a cup of DIY bone broth, and coffee.
'I keep a brown paper bag in my freezer and if I make an animal product, I put the bones in there to use later.' Her diet is about 50% plant-based, so she still usually has some animal products to work with.
After her bone broth, Sophia gets her caffeine fix with some coffee topped with frothy oat milk.
Sophia typically eats her lunch on set, and when she’s working 16-hour days, it’s not always easy to make time for movement and fresh foods. She used to be a big fan of eating whatever was provided on set, but not this year.
Now, the actress spends 20 minutes of her 30-minute lunch break doing Pilates to help strengthen her core and spine. It helps her move her body and take some much-needed 'me time'.
This mini-workout is followed by a vegetable-heavy meal, which she packs and brings from home. She's a fan of adding hemp hearts, a protein that comes from the soft centre of unshelled hemp seeds, and sources her produce locally.
'The more local you can keep the supply, the better it is for your environment,' she tells WH.
Sophia also appears to be cutting back on alcohol while she focuses on her anti-inflammatory diet. 'A lunch date with my dreamy fiancé — who lets me smell test his wine while I’m on this clear-up-my-asthma protocol that means a sniff is all I get for a while — and lots of laughter all day,' she wrote in a recent IG caption.
Sophia is, in her own words, 'a baby Martha Stewart'. For her, that means picking fresh veggies out of her garden to make a delicious and nutritious dinner for herself, as well as for any friends and family who stop by her Los Angeles home.
One of Sophia's favourite dishes is rosemary and garlic-stuffed branzino. (Uh, yum!) She cooks the whole fish, seasoning it herself before serving it with some basil and Swiss chard. (BRB, salivating.)
When it comes to comfort food, Sophia is Italian all the way. So when she’s feeling a bit more indulgent, she’ll whip up a carbonara.
Sophia’s favourite snack is seaweed. 'I’m totally addicted to it,' she said. An added bonus: seaweed, a form of algae, is great for thyroid health, is high in nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals, and can even support gut health, according to Healthline.
For something more satiating, Sophia prepares a small rice bowl with two soft-boiled eggs. She is - by her own admission - not much of a sweet person.
Her favourite indulgence? French fries.
'If I could have a bowl of french fries for dessert every night, that would be the best,' she said. We hear you, Sophia.
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