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Health & Balance

Cloris Leachman's Latest Chapter

The author, actress, and dancer talks about aging, cooking, her new book -- and why she never gets stressed out.
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How do you relieve stress?

I do not get stressed. People get stressed by the most amazing things. Breathing is crucial. Just slow breathing.

How about exercise?

I have some weights, if only I would use them. I am a bucket of noodles right now. But I am going to do it.

Obviously, the dancing helped get you in shape.

It did, but I have to keep it up. I’m going to have Corky [Ballas, her DWTS partner] meet me in Des Moines, I think. I’m going to do a one-woman show and I am going to put him in it. So, I guess it will be a one woman with a man show!

In Cloris, you write about a time in your life when you were around 35 years old and your health was very poor. You had asthma, arthritis, terrible hay fever, and you couldn’t sleep for more than 45 minutes a night. Eventually, you decided not to eat meat anymore.

I didn’t decide it, my body told me. I was reading a book on archeology and I looked up and I said out loud, “Oh, I guess I will not be eating meat anymore.” I have not had another bite since, and I haven’t missed it. I have a little fish once in a while and sometimes I will have chicken or turkey. But neither hog nor cow.

You made vegetarian chili for a dinner at which Elizabeth Taylor was a guest, and you offered to cook for Bill Clinton to help him lose weight.

I said I’d put a bag over my head so nobody would see me [laughing].

What inspired your interest in healthy cooking?

When I decided not to eat meat any more, I had to think more carefully about vegetables and make them tastier. I read a lot and really educated myself. I use everything fresh and organic if possible, and I use a lot of garlic, lemon, and spices like white pepper.

What’s your favorite healthy dish to cook?

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