Practicing Kindness

Good Health Lifestyles Features

Best known for playing the multifaceted Dr. Addison Montgomery on television’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, the equally multifaceted Kate Walsh has spent the last year working on a number of film projects and an off-Broadway production. With such a demanding schedule, Kate makes health a priority. Discover the diet, fitness, and meditation routine that keeps her grounded, healthy, grateful—and most of all—kind.

Good Health Lifestyles: You look fantastic! What do you do to keep your body fit?

Kate Walsh: I do Pilates, I walk my dogs when I’m in Los Angeles, and I’ve started doing strength training as well, which has been very helpful in maintaining my muscle mass and bone density. I do hot yoga as well. It’s the workout I like to do when I’m on the road.

GHL: What’s your diet like? Do you have a particular eating plan?

KW: I’ve been a sometimes vegan. However, now I do a high “good fats” diet, and I include full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows. I like avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil. I eat lots of fat, medium amounts of protein, and lots of greens. If I do carbs, I do something healthy like quinoa. That being said, when I go out to a dinner, I’m going to have pasta or French fries. I really love food and I love wine—good wine. I don’t believe in deprivation.

I’ve found that what we put into our bodies affects how we function physically, psychologically, and cognitively. I had a physical a year ago and just had another one in December. My good cholesterol went way up and my bad cholesterol went way down. My bone density has increased (I was previously diagnosed with osteoporosis in my lower spine). The high-fat, medium-protein, ample-greens, and low-carb approach has been really helpful for me in terms of digestion, energy, focus, and internal health. That’s not just how I feel, but real numbers are reflected in my blood work.

GHL: So, what did you have for breakfast?

KW: I had a green-food smoothie. I use green-food protein powder and mix that with collagen powder. I blend up half an avocado, some almond milk, vitamin C, turmeric, and ice. It’s super healthy. I don’t put sugar in there because it defeats the whole purpose. So I put vanilla in and it always makes everything taste better!

GHL: What’s your favorite healthy indulgence?

KW: I like peanuts. I usually get a bag of unsalted roasted peanuts and then I get a bag of salted roasted and I mix them together so I am cutting back on the sodium a little bit.

GHL What’s your favorite junk food?

KW: Oh, potato chips, without a doubt!

GHL: You travel a lot. What do you take with you to make yourself more comfortable when you are on the move—that you are willing to share?

KW: I have a little stuffed dog that someone gave me a long, long time ago that I take with me. It’s so embarrassing! I take pictures of my loved ones. I take a candle or try to get a candle where I am. I bring a book or two of poetry with me too to read before I go to bed. It feels like it’s good for my brain and my soul.  

GHL: Do you meditate or have any kind of practice to keep your mind centered and calm?

KW: I love meditation. I try to meditate at least once a day for 20 minutes. I don’t always get to it first thing in the morning and I’m okay with that. I let myself off the hook. I am a pretty spiritual person and have a regular practice of waking up and writing down three things I’m super grateful for—if not ten! I try to always come from that attitude of gratitude and start my day that way. There’s also this book about meditation called Joy on Demand that someone recently recommended to me. The author suggests that if you don’t have time to meditate for 20 minutes, try it for 10. And if you’d don’t have time for 10 try for 5 or try for 3—start small. Some say the more crazy and chaotic your life is, the more you need meditation and I agree. But sometimes, simply inhaling to a place of gratitude and joy works. You can access that instantly. I will do that when I’m in my car in L.A. driving around in traffic or if I’m walking through the streets of New York now rushing through Times Square to get to my job. I just inhale and make it a mini meditation. It is actually great for your brain health. It’s great for all of your organs. There’s science behind it.

GHL: What do you do to feed your spirit? What brings you the most joy?

KW: A friend of mine recommended I write a happiness list. You write down 20 things that make you happy and then do 5 of them each day. They can be as innocuous as lying around with your cat, taking a nap, reading, doing the dishes, cooking, or dinner with friends. It doesn’t have to be dancing the tango—unless it is! I think in our culture, we are socialized to earn fun and leisure. We think we can’t have fun until we do our work. And what I notice about trying to do five things from my happiness list every day is that’s not true. You can cut right to the fun and still get your work done!

GHL: How do pets add to your life and health?

KW: Animals are my “go-to.” They provide comfort and unconditional love. Talk about spiritual! I was raised with animals. We always had cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds. I can’t imagine a home or life without them.

GHL: Can you tell us about your work with Oceana?

KW: Oceana is an international ocean conservation organization that does amazing things—everything from protecting our oceans from deep-water drilling to preservation of reefs to the prevention of overfishing and seafood fraud. They are the biggest conservation group that gets the most done in terms of enacting legislation. Beyond the gorgeousness and mystery of an entire world of water, it’s also the food source for a few billion people on the planet, so it’s critical to preserve it.

GHL: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

KW: I don’t know, maybe everything I’m telling you now! Maybe that I’m a very spiritual human. I don’t know if that’s surprising. I do value kindness. Kindness goes a long way, particularly at this time. I try to practice kindness every day.


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