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Women's Health

Julianna Margulies: Working Mom, ALS Advocate

How this busy actress takes care of herself and those with Lou Gehrig's disease.
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More Healthy-Living Tips from Julianna Margulies

The busy actress and mother says she's committed to a healthy lifestyle by keeping it simple, fun, and consistent. For instance:

  • "I don't leave the house without sunblock. I put on L'Oréal's RevitaLift and then dermatologist Patricia Wexler's Intensive 3-in-1 Day Cream with SPF 30 and facialist Tracie Martyn's Firming Serum. On my lips I use an Australian product called Lucas' Papaw Ointment."
  • "I worked out with a trainer for a movie once and he said, 'Whatever it takes to get yourself to the gym, whether it is new sneakers or a playlist, do it.' For me, it's Pandora on my iPhone and its endless music lists, especially the '80s workout."
  • "It's a rare exception for me to have dessert or carbs since they don't give me energy, but I don't look at it as being on a diet -- I look at it as the way I live. And once a week, it's fine! You have to enjoy yourself."

Margulies and Project ALS

One thing Margulies always makes time for is Project ALS. The nonprofit was launched in 1998 by theater and film producer Jenifer Estess and her sisters, Valerie and Meredith, after Jenifer was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 35. Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. People with the condition eventually lose the ability to move their muscles, which are controlled by these nerve cells or motor neurons, and over time become unable to move, eat, speak, and breathe.

"Jenifer used to say to me, 'My mind is sharp as a tack but my body is shutting down, and it's torture,' " Margulies remembers. "I watched her struggle to walk, and then 6 months later she couldn't brush her hair because she couldn't lift her arms. In the end, she had a breathing tube."

Her friend passed away in 2003, but Project ALS is now a leading force behind finding a cure. With a mission to fund top researchers and encourage them to collaborate, Project ALS opened the world's only privately funded stem cell research lab, named after Estess and housed at Columbia University.

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