Iconic actress Gena Lee Nolin is a longtime Scottsdale resident. She is known as much for her days dashing down a beach in a red bathing suit on Baywatch as she is for being a health advocate and author. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis herself, she is now a thyroid advocate. She’s also turned towards a healthy lifestyle herself. Here, she talks about being healthy, helping the planet, and her “edible backyard”—yes, even in the desert!
You’ve transitioned to a pretty eco-friendly lifestyle over the years. Can you tell us why doing so was important to you?
It was a slow progression of awareness, but we’ve seen firsthand what a difference one person, one family, a group of people can do to help our planet. I want my children and grandchildren to enjoy a clean and progressive planet that can make changes for a better life lived.
What types of eco-friendly or sustainable changes have you made in your lifestyle?
Goodness! (Giggles) We are consciously making an effort to eliminate single-use plastics in our home. We’ve also decided to purchase electric vehicles. While making a considerable difference to our planet, driving eco-friendly cars definitely has its perks.
We hear you have an “edible backyard.” What’s back there?
Yes! I have an incredible garden. We have eggplants, figs, oranges, lemons, peaches, green and red grapes, key limes, lemons, rosemary, mint, oregano, apples, carrots, kale, cucumbers, and strawberries… I think I got everything!
What do you love about being able to forage in your own backyard?
There’s nothing like cooking dinner and running out to the garden for a little organic zest. Don’t get me wrong—having a garden takes a lot of work, but when you see the fruits of your labor pay off, there’s truly nothing like it. The simple pleasures in life.
I get my children involved and they see firsthand the importance of a garden, composting, keeping it up, and witnessing the seeds they’ve planted turn into big strawberries. It’s so much fun to witness!
We hear you also have a celery juice habit! Why did you incorporate that into your routine?
Having Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune issues, I’ve found that celery juice has helped immensely. I juice it myself every morning on an empty stomach. It’s takes a while to get used to, but now I can honestly say, I look forward to it.
In addition to being an actress and author, you are a health advocate. Has your own health journey played into your lifestyle changes?
One hundred percent! Everything I’ve done in my career has taken me to exactly where I am today. Having thyroid issues for several years [undiagnosed] posed for some really tough times. Working through flare-ups, trying to diagnose myself, starting my Facebook and Instagram support page “Thyroid Sexy”… I learned quickly that I had to change my lifestyle in order to feel my best, and looking good was an afterthought! It actually was the last thing I thought of because I felt so horrid, and anyone out there who suffers from autoimmune disease gets it!
Going green and primarily eating plant-based, with the exception of some cheat days of course, has helped me beyond measure.
You’ve mentioned in previous conversations that you and I have had that you feel that modeling an eco-friendly/sustainable lifestyle to your children is important—why do you feel that way?
It’s so important! Our children pay attention when we least expect it. They’ve seen the changes and heard our discussions. I want them included in everything—their input, how they feel about our planet, what makes them happy, anxious, sad, excited. I am always looking ahead trying to find ways to create a sustainable, eco-friendly environment that ultimately is teaching them a healthy lifestyle while taking care of their true home, planet Earth!
To veer from this topic slightly—tell us what you’ve been up to and what’s on the horizon professionally…
I’m so excited to be writing my second book. I’m working with a brilliant doctor, Dr. Scott Gerrish, who treats all aesthetics in a holistic way. I love working—it’s purpose and my happy place.
It’s been a hard year for everyone, and we need to be especially kind and respectful towards one another.