She looked stunning two days ago on the red carpet at a screening of The Other Woman. Move over Gwyneth, Cameron Diaz is our new celebrity health crush. Emma Reynolds steals some tricks
Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book took me by major surprise. I was well aware that Cameron kicked some serious butt on and off the big screen, but her realistic approach to health had me thoroughly caught off-guard, and totally loving each page. Not only is this an incredibly easy (and funny) read, but Cameron provides her own tips on how she maintains that killer figure. The best part? She is a self-proclaimed food lover. Cue a sigh of relief.
In addition to her love for food, Cameron writes about the importance of educating ourselves about our own body and learning to love what we got going on – a seriously Healthista idea too (fancy guest-editing sometime, Cam?). ‘Educating yourself about your body is one of the most important things that you can do,’ Diaz says. ‘Because nutrition and fitness and awareness and discipline are not just words: they are tools. They are power,’ she said. We love her. Here are some of the ways she maintains that hotness.
1. Make a third of your plate protein
1/3 of your breakfast bowl, lunch and dinner plates should include some type of protein. Eat two eggs (12g protein) for breakfast, a serving of salmon (22g protein) at lunch, and an 85g serving of turkey breast (26g protein) for dinner. Snack on edamame during the day for an additional 12g of protein.
Other ways to serve protein:
- One handful of almonds (7g)
- 160g of Greek yoghurt for breakfast (11g)
- 1 soy burger (11g)
- 30g of cheese (Cheddar or Swiss) (7g)
- 100g of cooked lentils (9g)
2. Know your grains
Swap white rice and white flours for brown rice, steel-cut oats, or quinoa. These carbs are healthy energy that hasn’t been stripped of their nutrients like white carbohydrates, Diaz says. She suggests having 25 grams of fibre a day. Porridge for breakfast, an apple mid-morning and a bowl of black bean soup for lunch gets you halfway there.
In the morning, Diaz makes porridge with a ‘yummy’ concoction of steel cut oats, sautéed courgettes with spring greens, caramelized shallots and egg whites (are you brave enough?). For lunch, she often has quinoa pasta and sautéd spinach with fresh tomato and garlic and shallots.
3. Carb-load on vegetables
Vegetables are the healthiest kind of carbohydrates as they provide energy, nutrients and few calories. Some of Diaz’s favorites? Kale, spinach, grapefruit, tomatoes, apples and sweet potatoes.
4. Replace salt with lemon
Nice tip. Diaz says that adding lemon to her meals contributes a slightly salty flavor but without the artery clogging benefits of salt.
5. Replace sugar with spices
No, really. Instead of sugar, use nutmeg or cinnamon, she says. It’s great in yoghurt, smoothies and porridge. Cinnamon has even been shown to help keep sugar cravings at bay.
6. Use one yolk for every three eggs
Egg yolks are the most fatty and cholesterol-filled part of the egg, Diaz says. To preserve the taste, use one yolk for every three eggs. Additional flavour can come from tossing some kale and Parmesan alongside your eggs – great for omelets or frittata.
7. Fill up a bottle of water before bed
Diaz recommends filling up a large bottle of water and setting it on your bathroom counter to drink right when you wake up in the morning. Once the bottle is finished, refill and continue to drink throughout the day to keep your mind clear and body in motion. She says that water should be our most important nutrient.
8. Choose your fats wisely
‘Think of fats being like a group of people at a party. Some are wonderful and some are jerks,’ Diaz says. The jerks include trans-fats present in hardened fats, like take-aways and crisps. The wonderful ones you want hanging around your healthy party include olive oils, avocados and nuts. Having them in each meal will satisfy your appetite as fat helps the body realize its had enough to eat. Healthy fats provide us with Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for a healthy heart and brain.
Don’t be afraid of the glistening sweat that covers your arms and sports bra after a spinning class or a run. Not only is sweat essential for cooling down our body, sweat is what our bodies are designed to do. Diaz says, ‘Sweating is how you know you’re doing something right.’
10. Avoid antibiotics whenever you can
Don’t get in the habit of asking your doctor for a prescription of antibiotics every time you sneeze. Antibiotics can be beneficial in killing the ‘bad’ bacteria that make us sick, but can also kill the ‘good’ bacteria that promote healthy immune systems. Scientists from South Dakota State University are also researching how antibiotics and human obesity are related after livestock producers noticed weight gain in cows that were injected with the antibiotic, penicillin.
11. Multitask some fitness into your day
Even daily chores, such as doing the dishes and vacuuming, can increase our level of activity throughout the day. Here are some of Diaz’s tips for adding a bit of fitness to your everyday activities:
- Do push-ups on the counter while waiting for your toast
- Park farther away and walk to the office
- Walk/run the stairs at work
- Butt squeezes while brushing your teeth
- Lunges while waiting for coffee to brew
- Calf raises while waiting for the train
- Do sit-ups while dinner is in the oven
12. Eat snacks
Starving yourself is counter-productive as it can lead to over-waiting at the next meal. Whenever you feel that tap on your shoulder from your body telling you it needs some energy- feed it, advises Diaz. Have a handful of almonds or some apple slices. More on healthy snacks
13. Do sitting squeezes
‘Squeeze your butt muscles, while you’re sitting,’ says Diaz. ‘Pull your abs in, too, while you’re at it. Hold… now release. Squeeze and contract any muscle in your body, and you can get stronger.’ Worth a try? Squeeze, now release, squeeze again…
14. Change up your workouts
As a daily exerciser, Diaz changes her workouts each day to stay agile and responsive. By switching your workouts each day, she explains, you are isolating different muscles that engage your full body.
15. Engage your abs in each workout
Our cores are the center of our strength, so Diaz tries to work her abs in each workout session. Even contracting our abdominal muscles while sitting at work is beneficial.
16. Accept pain as your friend
One of Diaz’s favorite sayings is, ‘Pain is weakness leaving your body.’ Her martial arts master from Charlie’s Angels, Cheung-yan Yuen advised Diaz to accept pain as her ‘new best friend.’ He’s talking about the kind of pain that hurts-so-good after a workout of course, not the sharp, ‘Oops I think I have pulled or fractured something,’ kind of pain.
17. Stretch throughout the day
Stretching engages our muscles and enhances regulatory breathing. Practice stretching 5-10 minutes three times per day. Diaz incorporates stretching as a daily part of her routine to keep her muscles awake. ‘I find myself stretching throughout the day, even if it’s just dropping over to touch my toes, or doing head rolls to stretch out my neck while cooking eggs in the morning,’ Diaz says.
Stretches to try:
- Drop over to touch your toes
- Take a deep breath and release
- Head rolls to stretch out your neck
- Lie on your floor, twist and turn your body, breathing in and out
- Bring your knees to your chest and take deep breaths
18. Load up on B6
This is a great supplement to take in the morning to ensure balanced energy levels, says Diaz. It’s also found in dark green leafy vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains, nuts and pork. These foods will provide us with more natural energy vitamins, such as thiamin, niacin and riboflavin.
19. Lay out your workout clothes the night before
Set out the necessary clothing and equipment for your early morning workouts the night before and lay it by your bed, she advises. This will prevent you from forgetting anything as you quickly rush out the door the next morning. It only stares you in the eye when you open your eyes silently screaming, ‘Get up or we’ll make you feel guilty…’
20. Meal prep on Sundays
Use Sundays to meal-prep for the week, suggests Diaz. Make all your chicken breast for salads, quinoa for your side dishes, chop up veggies to sauté for your sides, and cook a pot of lentils and rice. Keeping these foods in the fridge – holding the dressings – will last all week long without going bad or getting soggy. Simply heat up the food whenever you are ready to eat it over the next week.
21. Take probiotics
Consume these good bacteria to regulate your digestive tract and fend of illnesses. They’re also associated with weight loss and fat-burning. Just one serving of plain Greek yogurt with berries for breakfast contains healthy probiotics and 11g of protein. Alternatively, take a supplement such as this.
The Body Book by Cameron Diaz (Harper Collins, £16.99)
Pick up more tips & tricks to get fit and healthy at Be:Fit London – the women’s health & fitness festival taking place at London’s Old Billingsgate Fri 28th -Sun 30th March. Tickets are on sale now from befitlondon.com
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