Good genes are a big reason many celebrities look as good as they do, but many swear by “eating clean”—meaning consuming whole, organic foods and eliminating alcohol, caffeine, sugar, unhealthy fats and all processed foods—as essential to their beauty. Simply put, if you want to emulate the following stars, all of whom have said they eat either organic or clean, go for foods that are as close to natural as possible; avoid the dreaded “white” foods (rice, bread, pasta, sugar); get essential fatty acids; drink plenty of water; and keep in mind both the environmental and animal impact of what you eat.
Actress Olivia Wilde, star of this spring’s film, “Better Living Through Chemistry,” was once a strict vegan, but opted to give it up. “I admire vegans, my sister is a diehard vegan, and many of my friends [are], and I think it’s a wonderful lifestyle,” Wilde, who’s due this May with her first baby with fiancé Jason Sudeikis, tells YouBeauty. “Just for my own specific nutritional needs, I added some other things into my diet.” Wilde says there’s no question that an animal-free diet is a boon to looking her best. “When I eat a clean diet, I certainly see it in my skin immediately. I think the more nutrients you take in, the more you glow—inside and out,” says Wilde. “It sounds so obvious when I say it out loud, but yeah, I think absolutely that I looked and felt great when I was totally vegan, and I still eat in a pretty clean way.”
The Academy Award winner’s enviably slim figure and radiant skin are no doubt a huge reason Paltrow has a large and devoted following on her site Goop and its Facebook page. A self-described long-time foodie, it was a health scare that drove Paltrow to try a diet that cut out coffee, alcohol, wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, meat, soy and all processed foods, she writes in her newest book, “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great.” Paltrow recently told Self magazine that while she now doesn’t eat such a restricted diet all of the time, she does do it for stints of three weeks at a time, several times a year: “You feel lighter and your emotions get smoother.” Paltrow, who used to follow a macrobiotic diet, told Epicurious magazine: “I still eat organic food and I still eat lots of whole grains. I eat locally. I eat seasonally.”
A lot of celebrities clean up their diet, but few go so far as to build a company around healthy living. Jessica Alba co-founded The Honest Company to give parents more options for safe, eco-friendly and affordable products for their babies and children. In her 2013 book, “The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You,” Alba writes that her path to healthier eating and living first started as a result of her own childhood, which included frequent illnesses, severe asthma and allergies and even surgeries. Becoming a vegan as a teen (she now eats meat) led Alba to experiment with cooking with nuts, fruits, vegetables, beans and herbs, and she told Health magazine that she continues to choose unprocessed, mostly organic foods. “To me, knowing that if you eat unprocessed fresh food—it doesn’t all have to be organic, but try to have the least amount of GMOs [genetically modified organisms] and pesticides—you have energy, aren’t starving and don’t have to count calories.” Alba also swears by mineral makeup, in addition to natural beauty products and a clean diet, to keep her trademark glow.
Alicia Silverstone—still seemingly wrinkle-free 19 years after immortalizing Cher Horowitz in 1995’s “Clueless”—not only eats a clean, organic diet, but she’s also been a vegan for over a decade and is the author of the best-selling “The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet” and the forthcoming “The Kind Mama” (out in April 2014), a guide to healthy living for women trying to conceive as well as pregnant women. No question, Silverstone is a great advertisement for the benefits of her eating plan, which she asserts “will give you tons of energy, mental clarity, gorgeous skin, and a zest for life.” In fact, in her book she credits a macrobiotic diet—a sort of personalized approach to healthy eating that typically emphasizes organic, locally grown, whole foods, especially fruits, vegetables and whole grains—with clearing up her cystic acne.
Twenty years of heavy makeup, long hours and travel can do a number on anyone’s skin, and as a model, YouBeauty lifestyle columnist Lonneke Engel had to find a better way to eat and live to preserve her skin. That now includes eating organic and choosing locally grown, seasonal foods whenever possible. “Eating healthy and living a green life makes me feel better and makes me look better from the inside out,” says Engel, who is also a certified health counselor. “So for me it’s a no-brainer to live green and to eat organic. Organic is the only way to go. Who wants to eat harmful chemicals, antibiotics and hormones anyway?” The former Dutch supermodel and founder of lifestyle site OrganiceYourLife.com also credits one other healthy habit for her flawless skin: at least eight hours of sleep a night.
Supermodel Miranda Kerr calls her skincare line Kora Organics an extension of her “passion for living a healthy, organic lifestyle.” The products include noni (a fruit native to the South Pacific), rosehip oil, chamomile and lavender, and are made in Kerr’s native Australia, where she once studied nutrition and health psychology. In her 2012 book, Treasure Yourself: Power Thoughts for My Generation, Kerr notes that though she once craved chocolate, fried chicken and ice cream, after she cleaned up her diet the cravings went away. A devotee of noni juice since the age of 13, the Victoria’s Secret model writes that it “contains a large number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that I believe boost the immune system and leave my skin feeling beautiful and soft.” She also applies the juice topically to sunburns and pimples.
Is there a beauty who exudes radiant health more than the supermodel’s supermodel, Gisele Bundchen? In 2010, she launched her eco-friendly skincare line, Sejaa (the word is a play on “seja,” which means “to be” in Bundchen’s native Portuguese), and in 2014, she was named to the board of directors of the Rainforest Alliance in 2014, adding to her well-established environmental cred. “Your skin is your biggest organ, so everything you put in it, it goes directly to your system,” she says. When in Los Angeles, meals often come from Bundchen’s organic “kitchen” garden. She told “Architectural Digest” that she and husband Tom Brady grow 85 percent of the fruits and vegetables they eat, and the property features a chicken coop. “It’s a blast to pick up fresh eggs for our breakfast in the morning,” she says. If her Instagram account is any indication, she’s a big fan of green juice and coconut water, too.