On March 14, Fox premieres your TV comedy, "The Return of Jezebel James." You play a workaholic New York City book agent who asks her estranged sister (Lauren Ambrose) to carry a baby for her. What intrigued you most about this role and its take on infertility?
"I want to have children so it's kind of a loaded question. I was playing someone who is in denial. She wants to have a baby because that's what "you do," which is something I think a lot of women feel. What mostly this show is about is about sisters and intimacy issues, high-achievers, and parents.
Would you ever consider asking someone to carry a child for you?
No ... I want to have a child in a partnership. At least that's where I am right now. I would love to be able to share that experience with someone, to find a man that is all the things that I'd want -- intelligent, spiritual, funny, likes to read. It's hard though because I don't know what's in the cards.
How old are you?
38. So, I have time -- you think?
With your movies and TV shooting schedule, do you find time to cook for yourself regularly?
I do cook a lot. I find it really grounding and nurturing to feed myself and make myself a meal. I just had this conversation with my grandmother who I was visiting in Louisiana, and we were talking about cooking for ourselves -- my grandfather has passed away -- and she asked me if I had trouble cooking for myself. And I did at first. I don't sit down at the table and light a candle and set a place mat and eat, but I do cook for myself and I eat in the kitchen. I don't really sit down and do the whole table-setting thing.
What else do you do to stay healthy?
I spent some time in New Mexico -- I was doing a movie called The Eye -- where there is the Ayurvedic Institute. I hit it off with them and sat in on some lectures, and it was fascinating. Your journey is to heal yourself through what your body is telling you. I hit it off with them and sat in on some lectures at the Institute, and it was fascinating.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system for healthy living in physical, mental, social, and spiritual harmony. Each person is believed to have a dominant body humor or constitution. What type are you?
Dosha Pita. It's small frame, quick mind, consume things quickly and forget just as easily. There are foods and herbs you can take to counter that. Your journey is to heal yourself through what your body is telling you.
Did you make the changes in your diet that they suggested?
I gave up wheat and sugar. And coffee. [I] have more energy, [am] not as tired, not taking naps, not moody, not lethargic -- since I [also] gave up red meat, and I eat the occasional chicken. I feel so much saner. And I'm obsessed with bitter melon.
Bitter melon? I don't think I've ever tried it. How did that come about?
I made two or three trips to the Ayurvedic Institute of New Mexico, and one time I was sick and they looked at my tongue and he told me to eat bitter melon -- that it would clean out my system and I was gagging -- it was the worst thing I ever tasted because it's so bitter. But you just keep eating it and eating it, and by the second time I had it, I was a bit more into it. And now I'm obsessed with it and I must eat it every week. It feels so good and I feel so much better after eating it.
Will you share your recipe with this bitter melon novice?
You slice it, keep the seeds in, and you saute it with sunflower oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, fresh ginger, lemon grass, cumin, mother Indian spices, and you sort of stew it. I eat a big batch of that hot.
Also, if you have the time, which I do when I am not working, I really enjoy the peacefulness of eating a meal -- not rush it. And if you're cooking for someone else it's even better.
What's your worst health habit?
Smoking. I gave it up in October 2006.
No cigarettes, no sugar. Come on: You're a New Yorker. How do you de-stress?
Yoga, totally yoga. There are so many great teachers and yoga studios in New York and I get into all of them when I am not working. Unfortunately, work can be so intense, so during the show I couldn't take as many classes as I would have wanted to.
What's your least favorite form of exercise?
Running is a little absurd to me. It's like running in circles without having a place to go. Serious athletes, of course, reach a level of the zone, but I can't get there. I would never run because it's like: what am I running from?
If you had to lose one of your five senses, which would devastate you the most?
That's a tough one. I think I would let taste go. Or maybe hearing -- it would be really quiet then. I would value sight the most.
What's your personal health philosophy?
Eat well, nurture yourself, feed your mind, don't entertain negative thoughts. I believe that what we think in our mind affects our body, definitely.
Originally published in the March/April 2008 issue ofWebMD the Magazine.