Lynn Chen is an actress who started a food blog called “The Actor’s Diet,” about what actors eat to stay looking camera ready! With a focus on healthy living and positive body image, the blog explores Lynn’s daily adventures as an actor, and how she deals day-by-day overcoming a lifelong eating disorder.
FG: Why did you feel it was important to start TheActorsDiet.com?
LC: I began blogging because I wanted to hold myself accountable when it came to binge eating and anorexia. I figured if I channeled my obsessive mind about food in a public forum, there would be no hiding. I certainly hoped that I would be successful and inspire others, but when I initially began I had no idea what was going to happen. I felt it was important to show that if somebody whose career depended on how they looked could come to terms with the truth – that size/weight/outer beauty isn’t important- be honest with herself, fall down and make mistakes, and still persevere, then maybe that would inspire/help someone who was struggling with food as well.
FG: What kind of foods can you eat following TheActorsDiet.com?
LC: Well, I have to make it clear that by “diet” I don’t mean a set of rules about what you can or cannot eat. My definition is what I choose to eat on a daily basis, and that changes constantly! For the most part, I stick to whole foods – organic/local and hormone-free if I can get them – with real ingredients. But that’s very difficult to do (and I’m a total foodie and enjoy everything from gourmet to hole-in-the-wall places) so I try to balance out the times when I’m eating something very heavy or artificial with days of fresh, home-cooked meals. Most of the products I feature on the site are sent to me for free by companies, and I try to sample the ones that are minimally processed and naturally sweetened whenever I can.
FG: How do you go about planning what restaurants you are going to feature on the site?
LC: I read a lot of food blogs and restaurant reviews so I always hear about places. I’m also scoping out vegetarian places, since my husband is one. Right now I’m on a quest to find “The Best Vegetarian Sandwich in Los Angeles” so I enlisted help from chowhound and yelp readers, compiled a list, and am happily checking places off!
FG: How do you come up with your recipes?
LC: I read a lot of cookbooks, health food blogs, and watch A LOT of cooking shows. All of these techniques/ideas seep into my brain and I like to just make stuff up, depending on what’s available and what I’m craving.
FG: What are some of the lessons you have learned about starting your own food blog?
LC: There’s a wonderful community of bloggers out there – just by visiting each others sites and commenting, I’ve made terrific friends, which was an unexpected bonus.
FG: What tips would you give to people who are interested in developing a healthier diet?
LC: Everyone’s body is different and experiences foods differently, so it’s important not to compare – what works for me may not work for someone else. For me, personally, it’s not about taking away anything from my diet, but adding more nutrients. When I add the vitamins and minerals from produce, I naturally crave less sugar and fat. Not that there’s anything wrong with sugar and fat – I don’t deprive myself of that, ever! I just don’t make those things the basis of my meals every single day.
FG: How do you balance your blog and your acting career?
LC: There’s actually a lot of free time – especially on set, waiting around for shots to set up – so it’s not difficult. If I’m especially busy, I will just do a “leaner” post – mostly pictures, fewer words. Takes about 5-10 minutes, which I always have!
FG: How many of your business decisions are based on know how vs. your intuition?
LC: Seriously, I don’t know anything. It’s all about weighing my options and following my gut.
FG: What do you consider to be some of the major highlights of your career thus far?
LC: Going to film festivals like Sundance and Toronto were definitely surreal moments that I savored and am grateful to have had the experience. I’m very proud to be an active part of the communities I’m involved in – both the Asian American Entertainment industry, and the health food blogging one.
FG: What is a spiritual mantra or philosophy that you live by?
LC: Don’t compare yourself to others – and that includes previous versions of yourself. Just deal with what’s in front of you right now and don’t worry about what’s happened before, or what may or may not occur.
FG: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
LC: I like Julia Child’s quote “Life itself is the proper binge.” That pretty much sums up my entire eating disorder recovery, and is pretty inspiring to me, considering the woman she was, and everything she embodied.
FG: What would you tell your younger-self if you knew then what you know now?
LC: Don’t care so much about what others think; nobody knows the answers to life – so listen to yourself.
Finish this sentence….
FG: Women should stop complaining about______ and start doing _____________
LC: Women should stop complaining about what they don’t have and start doing things to make them feel appreciative, healthy, whole, and alive.
FG: If your life came with a soundtrack, what would be the top three songs (and please indicate the singer or band)
LC: “Summer Highland Falls” by Billy Joel, “My Baby Just Cares for Me” by Nina Simone and “32 Flavors” by Ani di Franco.
FG: What project(s) do you have coming up?
LC: I just finished shooting a movie called “Surrogate Valentine” which should be doing the film festival circuit next year. In the meantime, I have 4 indie films releasing – 1 on-demand (“White on Rice”) 2 on DVD (“Why Am I Doing This?” and “X’s and O’s”) and 1 in theaters (“The People I’ve Slept With”).
Visit my website, www.lynnchen.com for links to my blog, my facebook/twitter, and all my contact information.