Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Roll Camera
As her best-selling memoir hits the big screen, the globe-trotting author tells WebMD what it's like to be played by Julia Roberts (!), plus her best and worst health habits.
Q: What do you fear most?
A: Conflict, misunderstanding, severed relationships -- losing somebody because of hurt feelings or irreconcilable differences. Nothing causes me more anxiety. I am haunted by every friend I've ever lost and spend a great deal of my life tending to the relationships I have. I have a large network of people in my life, and I feel the tremors very deeply when somebody falls out of that circle. I do a lot of nurturing to keep that garden of community healthy -- but of course, there are always problems anyhow because we are human. But nothing breaks my heart more, and nothing causes me more distress.
Q: Eat, Pray, Love covers your experiences living in Italy, India, and Indonesia. Which of these three "I" nations' cuisine is your favorite?
A: It's funny -- as much as I praised (deservedly, of course) Italian cuisine, the truth is that I prefer Indian. Italian food is a representation of pure decadence to me, but Indian food is a marvel of complexity, a health-mind-body-spirit alchemy -- and the most amazing flavors. I was spoiled because I spent four months in an ashram where 10 middle-aged Indian women in a beautiful kitchen worked together the entire day -- while singing sacred chants -- to make the most amazing and healthy food I've ever experienced. Each meal was a revelation, and all of it was good for me. I'm not sure a mere civilian like me could ever learn how to cook anything close to what those angels turned out on a daily basis, but that is the food of my dreams.
Q: What's your guilty-pleasure, your oh-I-really-shouldn't food indulgence?
A: Anything that combines peanut butter and chocolate. That combo is pure crack cocaine for me. Just mentioning peanut butter and chocolate makes me want to run out and pawn my jewelry in order to buy some.
Q: What's the best health advice anyone has ever given you?
A: My friend Suzanne once told me, "Remember this forever, Liz: Just because you can do anything does not mean you can do everything." I have never forgotten it. I think it's something every woman needs to hear. It's time to back off from the crazy-making expectation that we should be able to do 7,000 things at once. Back off. Drop most of it. Let it go. It's an inhumane pace at which most of us live, and it will make you sick -- and make everyone around you sick, too.