Surviving In Hollywood On A Budget
Finding myself penniless and trapped in Hollywood, the wrong side of 40 was my worst nightmare and so the incentive to look as good as Sharon Stone, on a budget, was born. I had heard on the LA grapevine some really simple ways to not looking old before your time, like always sleeping on your back to prevent folds and wrinkles in your skin, rubbing an ice cube over your face daily in order to give your facial muscles a workout and drinking 8 large glasses of water everyday, religiously.
These tips all worked in the short term but in reality after years of too much booze, smoking and rock and roll late nights without a massive change in lifestyle permanently, my hopes of competing with the likes of Sharon Stone were soon dashed.
I had to decide once and for all if I wanted to look fabulous, healthy and desirable more than I wanted to continue eating and drinking like a pig. Once I had successfully answered the question which was of course to look like Sharon, I trained my brain to think differently about my bad habits. I was broke (after losing $11 million on the stock market in 2000) so giving up smoking, drinking and chocolate was quite simple. In reality I could not afford to indulge anymore, the biggest blessing about being poor.
With no money to spare I began shopping for food at my local farmers market in Hermosa and Redondo Beach at the end of the working day, this is the time when they sell off stuff cheaply to prevent it being dumped. I was so surprised at how cheap everything was, including 5 large avocados for $1 and the same with many other fruits and vegetables. I soon became addicted to bargain hunting and discovering new ways to prepare and eat this amazing fresh food. Salsa, chips and guacamole are staple diet foods in LA, simple, cheap, delicious, (vegan, not that I was working on that back then) and easy to make.
After two years of eating one avocado a day I began to notice some unbelievable positive results in my skin, hair and nails which were pretty dramatic. All the expensive beauty treatments I enjoyed at the Murad Spa in Manhattan Beach, had had to go. I began telling everyone I met who told me I was looking good for my age, to follow my routine. To my surprise I met resistance with negative comments like "avocado makes you fat", or "too many calories". This was way before avocado on toast became a thing. It was at this point convinced avocado was the secret to younger looking plumped skin, I did some more research where the results from my personal experience were explained.
One serving of creamy, delicious avocado offers nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and acts as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit. There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Avocados naturally contain many of these vitamins.
The best discovery about this miracle fruit had to be the fact it helped promote natural collagen production in my skin keeping it moisturised and supple, improving elasticity and long term water retention capability, the things you need to look younger. Yes it is high in calories but in wholesome good fat calories which in reality helps with weight loss because bad fat makes you fat and good fat keeps you from getting fat. The avocado contains a unique weight loss friendly carbohydrate called mannoheptulose, so stop listening to what others say and check it out for yourself. Now, 15 years on and still eating an avocado 3 times a week. I am living proof!
By the time I came back to the UK in 2005 I had absolutely no money and spent 6 months recovering from immediate surgery on the NHS. I had become homeless in Hollywood for a short time, got really sick in LA without medical insurance and an old business associate sent me a ticket to get home for life saving treatment. After surgery I was forced to sign on the dole, (unemployment benefit in the UK) it was a dark time. However I had already given up all my bad lifestyle habits in order to look healthy and feel fabulous in Hollywood, trying to reemerge after the stock market crash wiped out all my assets. My surgeon actually told me I was the healthiest looking person he had ever seen right after surgery, inspite of my experience.
Looking and feeling good after such an ordeal was the key vital component to begin my fight back to a comfortable lifestyle and I clung to it, my rock solid foundation to build on, so change the way you look at things, losing all my money, prepared me, my mind and body for all the abundance and joy coming for me down the line.
Photo by: Emilia Niedzweidzka