Organic Living with Emily Deschanel


Jack GuyIts one thing to talk the eco-friendly talk. But as Bones star Emily Deschanel climbs out of her Prius, its clear that this is a woman who also walks the walk. Although her character, Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, is a buttoned-up anthropologist focused on the small, crime-solving details in life, Emily, 32, sees the much bigger picture.

The Los Angeles–born actress is a devoted crusader for environmental causes. She prefers organic cotton, hemp or vintage clothing, wears cruelty-free makeup, and rarely goes anywhere without her nontoxic SIGG water bottle. Emily spends much of her downtime speaking for a planet that cant speak for itself. Here, she shares her best eco tips and the simple pleasures that keep her so down to Earth.

Q: What are the most everyday ways youve gone green?
A: Ive been vegan for 15 years, and it turns out it makes a very big impact on the environment to eat fewer animal products, which cause more greenhouse gases than all of transportation combined. The United Nations did a study just over two years ago, and that blew my mind. I started thinking that if people are vegetarian for one day a week, that makes a huge difference!

Q: Are there any ways you wish you could be more green?
A: Well, I want to do solar panels on my house. I think its important to speak up for the environment because the Earth is not saying something. [Laughs.] I mean, it is, but it is saying things to us in its own way. It makes a big difference to recycle. It makes a big difference to use recycled products. It makes a big difference to reuse things, to not use the paper cup—and each time you do, thats a victory.[ pagebreak ]Q: Whats the best (and worst) part of living with your sister [actress Zooey Deschanel]?
A: The best part is I can just pop downstairs and have a cup of tea. The worst part is trying to figure out parking. [Laughs.] But shes traveling all the time and we have different schedules, so were not bugging each other unnecessarily.

Q: How would you say you two are most alike and most different?
A: We have a similar sense of humor, and we like to do the same things like hiking or taking a dance class or doing karaoke. Im three years older than Zooey. We fought like crazy when we were younger—like, we were physically fighting! Now, we can understand each others lives. I love having a sister. Its a great relationship that you dont understand unless you have one, I guess.

Q: Zooey is engaged [to Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard]. Are you the maid of honor?
A: Yeah.

Q: As a performer, does that still make you nervous?
A: Very nervous. Public speaking is the number-one fear … even over death!

Q: Whats your dream evening in?
A: Ahh, hanging out with my boyfriend. Probably getting takeout. I like Indian food. Last year for Valentines Day I tried to cook, and we didnt eat until midnight! I think its best left to the professionals.

Q: Whats your favorite way to spend downtime with him?
A: Weve been taking a lot of bike rides. Its nice to have something to do together thats physical. I think its important to remember that to exercise you dont have to run a sprint.

Q: Youve been inspired by fellow actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. What is the biggest lesson youve learned from him?
A: If I leave a light on in my house, which I try not to do, I always say, “Ed Begley, you gotta turn it off.” If I dont turn it off, my assistant or boyfriend will say, “Ed Begley!”

Q: Does he have any idea that you chant his name at home?
A: I havent told him yet. But hes a great example of someone really living the life. He has a very good book, Living Like Ed. Its so interesting to read about all these green products, like a master switch so you can turn off all your lights at once when you leave the house, but it doesnt turn off your refrigerator or whatever else needs to stay on … like your TiVo![ pagebreak ]Q: Going green can get pricey. Have any favorite thrifty tips?
A: Buying used clothes is cheaper. And going to a farmers market is a lot cheaper than going to a pricier health-food market.

Q: What would you say is your proudest green achievement?
A: Getting the head of Fox, Peter Liguori, to go vegan. We were at a party, and I said, ‘Youd make a big difference by just trying it for a week. I sent him food, and he really stuck to it.

Q: What is your proudest life achievement?
A: I guess doing this role and keeping a level head. It was hard at first. There was a lot of pressure. And I had a kind of a breakdown my first year—it wasnt a breakdown breakdown, but I became very upset.

Q: Is there anything you feel that youve learned from that tough period?
A: When I got upset, I realized that [it was because] I was put on The Pill. And that made me incredibly emotional. I had gone through a breakup just before I started this job, and working 15 or 16 hours a day was stressful. It wasnt like I was the same person under some stress.
I was a different person! Hormones can definitely affect your emotions.

Q: So you stopped taking The Pill?
A: I stopped it. You need to listen to your body. I think its so important to know yourself. For me, thats being as natural as possible. I personally dont like to take any medication, even if its, like, for a headache, unless I absolutely have to.

A: Do you have any natural remedies for a headache?

A: I always ask myself, “Have I had enough water?” Dehydration is a big cause of headaches. And I look at my tension: “Am I holding tension in my neck?” If so, Ill go out and get a massage.[ pagebreak ]Q: Youre vegan—are you an ideal eater?
A: Oh my god, Im not a perfect eater by any means, and I dont believe in starving yourself. I believe in eating healthfully and being balanced—and being balanced in your mind as well as in your body. Because I think you can become obsessed with being a certain size, but what is being healthy? Its exercising and eating well, but also not obsessing about those things!

Q: Whats your favorite natural beauty trick?
A: I tried something that a facialist recommended: You take a strawberry, bite off the end, and then rub the strawberry around your face. Its like a nice enzyme treatment, and theres a natural scrub from the seeds.

Q: Do you think our society puts too much emphasis on using artificial means to look younger?
A: Absolutely. I think its dangerous, actually, when people have this expectation of looking a certain way thats just not natural. Who cares what you look like if youre not enjoying your life?

Q: Do you plan to age gracefully?
A: I hope that I dont feel the need to look like somebody different, because no one ends up looking really younger; you just look … odd. But who am I to say what someone should do? And who am I to say how Im going to feel as Im aging? But [the TV show] Nip/Tuck makes me want to never go under the knife.

Q: When and where do you feel happiest?
A: When Im surrounded by my friends and family. Around the holidays I had some friends over, and we were in my dining room eating food, drinking wine, and sharing stories. I love looking at a beautiful sunset, too … and that sounds so cheeseball! But I like to be surprised by a sunset, I guess, when you never expect it.