In partnering with Mom’s Night Out, we got the pleasure of getting exclusive interviews with Sarah Drew and now Sean Astin on their eating habits and how their families get dinner on the table each night. Read below to hear from Sean about the struggles of eating healthy when you’re a traveling actor.
Lately, my discussions of food are tedious, because they focus almost entirely on nutrition and not on the fun results of great meals well enjoyed. Talking about Farmers Markets is like a new Rosetta Stone Language class for me. I can now, sort of, identify various vegetables that before turning 40 I didn’t know existed. If you are interested in suffering through my journey for a few minutes read on. Also, I’ve basically been observing a Vegan diet this year as I did for 7 months last year. My daughters are all vegetarians and my wife is the only, now infrequent meat eater. While I love a good steak, it seems to work best for me when I refrain.
How do you deal with kids, work, and eating healthy?
Answer: I have no idea. Thank heavens my wife is patient and tireless. I have found myself in recent years studying nutrition like a madman. But, studying and doing are distant cousins and as Marlon Brando said once in a film, they are not on speaking terms. Like many people, I binge on healthful approaches to nutrition, attacking the schedule and planning of such things with the focus of a military operation. Of course, that is unsustainable, and is generally followed by a period of unhealthy eating. The best thing in our lives is that at a base level, we are finally on the same page. I say “our” because one thing I’ve grudgingly accepted, is that eating is and can really only be a community endeavor. When I’ve struggled to balance my needs which are often different from wife & families, isolating myself backfires every time. We have discovered a common vocabulary with each other about food. We all seem to “get” what each others needs are and we’ve arrived at a place where there isn’t a lot of judgment. I guess the simple answer is that we have to work together.
Tips, tricks and advice?
Answer: I would say that it’s important to always challenge what we think we know about nutrition, to keep an open mind and proceed with a sense of perspective and a sense of humor. I got that advice from a friend named Paul and I think it applies well to food, cooking, eating etc… Also, the phrase “eating healthy” drives me crazy because for many of us, the things we think are healthy simply aren’t. Humility should be the first weapon in an arsenal of attacking nutrition.
How do you try to keep things in balance?
Answer: I have no idea. I suppose I have tried to develop the ability to identify the trends and cycles of my nutrition life. The word nutrition is my obsession right now. I’m trying to grow my understanding of what nutrition really is and allow some sort of balance to flow from it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Where are you succeeding?
Answer: I think I’m slowly evolving. When I slip into negative eating trends, I’m aware of them right way and thank goodness, because it seems to take longer to recover from periods of poor nutrition at this stage of the game. When I’m exercising well and in a good groove with eating well, I think that reflects a lot of experience and determination. I give myself credit for that growth.
Where are you failing?
Answer: I could write a book on this one, but if I had to pick two words, I would say “Refined Sugar.” Anybody who suffers from addiction knows exactly what I mean when I say that even one taste of it creates a negative spiral. When I’m at Marathon level fitness, I can hide the damage for a time, but refined sugar is a nasty demon.
What are your go-to meals on days where life is crazy?
Answer: Green “Juices’” Kale, Spinach etc… run through the Breville is my get out of jail free elixer.
What are your favorite indulgences?
Answer: See answer on “failing” and use your imagination.
What role does ‘meal planning’ play in your cooking and diet?
Answer: Lately, it’s an all consuming elephant in the living room. My wife has really been leading the way. Planning is a nightmare, because I move around (like Mrs. Morgan in the 8th grade used to say) like butter on a hot griddle. That said, she’s been a rock star, challenging her own habits and cooking beyond her comfort zone in search of my ever “evolving” sense of what we can be doing.
What are unique challenges of working actors?
Answer: Travel and bizarre shooting schedules wreak havoc on the body, mind and spirit. While it is an extraordinary privilege to get paid to do what I love, and whining isn’t an appealing quality, the absolute truth of the matter is that health requires some semblance of routine–at least some of the time–in order to establish normalcy when traveling on location, occasionally one seems, shall we say eccentric. Why for example, would a guest in a hotel for four days require their own blender and a half dozen other kitchen style amenities? Well, that four days, has been preceded by two days of travel, three days at another hotel, a day of travel before that etc… Even the well intentioned offers from folks along the way, don’t quite meet certain needs. So, trying to “get what you want” without offending anyone and risking looking like a princess (fine for my girls, not so much for me), can become a wee challenge.
How does your spouse support in the kitchen?
Answer: She does it all. I couldn’t possibly be more grateful to have a wife of 22 years who thinks more about me and the kids than she does about herself. While it’s not really fair for her, I shudder to think what would happen if we were left to our own devices. We’d probably manage, put I pray we never have to.
What are your kids favorite meals?
Answer: Cheese, Sugar, Pasta, Veggie Fruit Trays (they devour them nightly). As long as we have buttered pasta on hand, we can travel to any country in the world ***Honey, I’m just kidding with this answer I just thought the readers would get a kick out of it.***
Don’t forget that if you need help getting family dinners on the table, you can subscribe to eMeals.com for as little as $5 per month to get healthy meal plans sent right to your app or inbox.