What's Her Secret: Haylie Duff

As the actress and cookbook author prepares to launch her new TV series, 'The Real Girl's Kitchen,' she shares her thoughts on balance, pets and finding your own happiness.

Art by Tanya Leigh Washington

What does wellness mean to you? "I think wellness to me is really encompassing everything from how you feel inside to what your skin looks like on the outside to your mood, even. There's so much focus on what's put inside your body, eating well, eating green, things like that. But I think wellness also has to do with taking the time to just rest, not burning the candle at both ends and making sure you get a good night's sleep. I try to once or twice a week really make myself go to bed early, and I try to take care of that side of my life too. I feel like it makes everything else easier."

Any little personal health tips to share? "I try to drink a ton of water—I love lemon, I put lemon in everything. I'm also big into turmeric right now, I've been cooking with it a lot in my dishes and I also like to put it in my juices in the morning."

One thing I think has to do with wellness, too, is fulfilling yourself, making yourself happy and finding the things on your own that make you happy outside of relationships.

Speaking of food, please tell us about your new cooking show, as it relates to wellness and healthy eating. "The show's called Real Girl's Kitchen and it premieres on Saturday [on Cooking Channel], I'm so excited. One thing we really focus on is a balance between eating really clean and really healthy but also letting yourself have little indulgences and treats that make you happy, like a great dessert, or letting yourself have the burger once in awhile, when you feel like you really need a good burger, you know? Not really being too hard on yourself either way."

Right. Can you share an example of this sort of balance? "We have an episode we filmed in Malibu, and I have a bunch of my girlfriends out for the weekend, and we do, like, a detox weekend. We make green smoothies and eat special salads that have a lot of herbs in them, we make detox shots, we do a workout class. We really clean it up because in previous episodes, we were, like, eating burgers and making goat cheese and really kind of having a deep-fry love moment. So letting yourself go there and enjoy life, and not be too strict on yourself, but then also knowing when to reign it in and clean it up."

What's your workout routine like? "My workout routine is a little different all the time. I get a little burned out of just getting on the treadmill. There's a workout class that I love called Piloxing and it's a really high energy aerobic class, essentially, but it incorporates some dance, some boxing and some Pilates. It's lengthening but you also sweat a ton, which is obviously great for getting rid of toxins and making your skin look nice and pretty, and I love a good yoga class, and I love taking my dog for hikes."

Pets can offer such awesome and nurturing company! "I have two dogs who love to hike with me and roll with me out on the mountain. They have the ability to love you endlessly, till the end of time, no matter what you do, and it makes you want to be good to them, and take care of them, and feed them healthy food and exercise them. I was talking to a girl recently who said that her dog was prescribed to her by her therapist. And I was like, 'What are you talking about?' And she's like, 'Yes, my dog has changed my life, I was really battling a lot of anxiety,' and her therapist prescribed her to go get a dog. And she's like, 'Now I have this new outlook on things,' and I was like, 'That's cool. I never heard of that before.'"

What's Her Secret: Haylie Duff

Do you meditate? "Wellness, to me, has a lot to do with mental wellness as well. I meditate often, it's a big part of my life, and I talk about it in my book a little bit, that stillness is very important, I think. Especially because we're so over saturated with technology—we're just, like, overstimulated everywhere we look—to take a moment even if it's a small one each day. Sometimes if I don't have time to sit and do a full meditation, I'll just zone out, even if it's just when I'm washing dishes, and turn my phone off, clear my mind a bit, and just focus on what my priorities are. I know I'm getting a little too stressed out when I start needing to have the TV on to fall asleep, I know I'm too used to noise, and I know I need to, like, bring it back in now."

How do you feel relationships play into our well-being? "I just had lunch with some girlfriends, and obviously the topic of dating always comes up and I just got engaged and we were talking about that, and the conversation kind of shifted to my girlfriends who are dating, this guy and that guy… and one thing I think has to do with wellness, too, is fulfilling yourself and making yourself happy and finding the things on your own that make you happy outside of relationships. I think that's one thing that has made my relationship with Matt really strong, we're very independent of each other as well. And he has things that make him independently happy as well, as do I, and I think that's important to bring into relationships too: happiness on your own, which I think is wellness. Because we're women, for so many of us, our natural instinct is to take on that role of super girlfriend or super wife. We have a tendency to make our lives about whoever we're in a relationship with but we forget that its sexier to make our lives about ourselves, and let them be included in that, you know?"

Sure, it's sexier, and healthier for us, too. "One thing that's such an important part of my life are my girlfriends and being good to other girls and treasuring and nurturing those friendships—that's something that the show really shows. A lot of my girlfriends are on it, and I get to show them beautiful and funny and charismatic and talented and all the ways I see them. I think that's one of the things that's cool about the show, it really has a positive message for girls as well."

Real Girl's Kitchen premieres on Cooking Channel on Saturday, June 7 at 2 pm. Or, catch Real Girl's Kitchen at ora.tv/realgirlskitchen.

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