If you're a human with eyes, it's not hard to see that Julianne Hough is doing something majorly right when it comes to her diet and fitness routine. I had assumed she scarfs down 24K gold-dusted tapeworms and flamingo bone broth flown in from Argentina in between Dancing With the Stars tapings. So, as infuriatingly likable as she is, I couldn't help but feel a little eyebrow raise-y when she told People she wasn't dieting for her wedding and would probably grab a beer and burger the night before the big day.
If that's her pre-wedding day meal, what do the rest of her meals look like? Not flamingo bone broth - but not daily burgers and beer either, I learned while Googling variations of "Julianne Hough diet" in the middle of the night (prime frantic Googling time).
In fact, at first glance, her diet looked downright reasonable - and a little necessary for me, considering I was doing said Googling while on vacation in Paris, typing with one hand and eating cheese with the other. As my love affair with baguettes was coming to an end, I decided I'd give her meal plan a whirl. Would I emerge with a freshly revealed 6-pack and dancers' legs, or would I find myself sitting in a kiddie pool filled with spray cheese and tater tots, a broken woman?
To find out, I started my new diet in a place far from all of my favorite unhealthy snacks but very close to a middle-aged man with little regard for armrest etiquette: seat 27C on an eight-hour flight back home to New York.
After 2 weeks of warm crepes, crusty bread, creamy cheese, and delicious wine, there's very little that's appealing about starting the day with airplane food. But surely Julianne Hough doesn't eat plane food anyway, right?
Oh, OK, she eats it "every time!" according to an interview she did with Huffington Post. "On a plane I will have a few bites to at least suppress [my hunger] so I am not pigging out on Mentos." (I think "pigging out" is pretty severe wording for a pack of Mentos, but I end most flights with half a cup of cookie crumbs in my bra, so what do I know?) After eating my way through Paris, "a few bites" of the soggy airplane pasta is about all I can take, so I consider my first Hough-approved meal a success.
When I get home, I stock up on Hough's staples: fruits and veggies for juicing, eggs, chicken, fish, low-carb wraps, and plenty of salad greens. But you know what they say about best-laid plans…they're often foiled by a plate of chicken fingers, which I devour when I take my cat-sitter out for lunch. The gods of clean eating don't immediately smite me, though - Hough is actually a big proponent of the occasional indulgence. "I have cheat days, but if I have a cheat day, the next day I'm really good," she told People. Of course, she could also just be one of those celebrities who says they have amazing, age-defying skin because they drink a lot of water, but I'll take it.
I wake up dreading breakfast. And not because it's the first one in weeks that doesn't consist of a croissant. Hough's a big fan of green juices, and I'm a big fan of chewing my food, so it pains me a little to cram fresh fruit and vegetables into my Magic Bullet blender. The upside is that she's pretty casual about it: "Whatever's in my fridge, I'll just throw in. I usually like it a little sweeter, less bitter, so I put in a green apple, some spinach, kale. Again, if I want it sweeter, I'll put some carrots in. But I love ginger and lemon, too, so I'll put that in. Cucumber, celery, anything green, really. Sometimes I'll add beets, depending on my mood." I throw in spinach, kale, unsweetened acai puree, beets, and berries, and prepare to choke it down.
It. Blows. My. Mind.
Ok, so it's no crepe the size of my head. But seriously though, this juice was so delicious and filling, I take back all the times I ever thought anyone claiming to enjoy juice as a legit meal was either lying or the victim of a terrible taste bud accident.
The rest of the day goes mostly smoothly - I'm already big on salads for lunch, so I make a version of one of Hough's go-tos, which consists of "boneless, skinless chicken breast, over mixed green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, hearts of palm, almonds, edamame, banana peppers, and olive oil and squeezed lemon." Dinner for Hough is baked salmon, spinach, and seltzer, but since baked salmon tastes like cardboard to me, I have mine in sashimi form.
I'm coming down with a cold so I'm especially excited to start the morning with juice today. I play around with ingredient proportions a bit, blending in short spurts - god this thing is SO LOUD - until everything is smooth and everyone in neighboring apartments both hates and envies me.
Her post-breakfast smoothie (Greek yogurt, almond milk, a banana, and an apple) sounds easy enough, but I'm not hungry and not up for more blending, so I skip it. Lunch is a breeze and a delight - I follow in Hough's footsteps by making a "healthy wrap with a salad-type concoction within the wrap that's salad and chicken and stuff like that." The post-lunch snack is an orange, perfect for keeping the hangries away until the evening. Hough says she'll "usually do, like, chicken or fish with some sort of vegetables" for dinner, so I follow suit. So chill! No weird ingredients! Total reasonable!
…And then, at the bottom of her meal plan, I see it. Dessert: four dark chocolate-covered almonds.
Four. Four dark chocolate-covered almonds. Is this Hough's idea of some kind of sick joke? Is she trying to usurp Hemingway as the author of the saddest six-word story ever written? Surely no one can find four dark chocolate-covered almonds remotely satisfying. Eating four dark chocolate-covered almonds is only maybe - and barely! - a step above smelling four dark chocolate-covered almonds. Why even bother including it in a meal plan - is Hough paid to promote almonds four at a time by the Almond Alliance of California? I could forgive that, I think. But pretending four dark chocolate covered almonds in any way resembles dessert is like handing someone a wine menu that lists "House Merlot: lick the rim of the wine glass twice."
And yet here I am, bag of dark chocolate-covered almonds in hand. I set four almonds on an actual plate like some sort of alien trying to mimic believable human behavior. I eat one at a time, praying for kind of mindful-eating euphoria to wash over me. It doesn't. It is terrible.
I wake up still STUFFED from those four dark chocolate-covered almonds. Ha. No. I wake up and make eggs with sliced avocado and tomato, Hough's other favorite breakfast (on her workout days, she does the juice pre-workout, and the eggs after). I'm not a huge fan of eggs, certainly not enough to figure out how to steam them over easy like Hough does, so soft-boiled it is.
The rest of the day goes like the others. Lots of salad and protein, and not much else. I'm starting to regret blowing my "cheat day" - I hate that term - on the first day, but I do get inspired to get more creative with my protein and veggie choices, digging some frozen shrimp out of my freezer and adding shredded cabbage for some crunch. Factor in her pizza and pasta "cheats" and Hough's day-to-day diet is actually simple to follow…and not super restrictive compared to my usual diet (Parisian baguette extravaganza excluded).
Even eating out is pretty easy, as long as you don't mind spending the entire dinner entertaining some very intense, borderline-sexual fantasies about the bacon mac 'n' cheese on the menu. For dessert, NOT four dark chocolate-covered almonds. In fact, Hough sometimes prefers a drink. "It's funny, I used to be a huge dessert person, but now I'd rather have a glass of wine than dessert," she says. Sorry, did you say two dirty martinis? I heard two dirty martinis.
If reading about the endless parade of salad and chicken and fish is boring you, imagine how I feel. After juicing my breakfast and accepting that I've become a person who uses "juice" as a verb, I head out in search of more variety.
Mission accomplished. I end up at a Russian supermarket and load my cart with cheesy egg salad, salami, chicken liver in both chopped and pate forms, herring, and, for dessert, a little bar of frozen sweetened farmer's cheese covered in chocolate. Most of my haul doesn't deviate too far from Hough's daily lowish-carb menu, but it's admittedly no boneless skinless chicken breast either. Will my stomach ever look like Hough's instead of like a loosely packed beanbag chair? Maybe not. But I'll also never again put the words "four dark chocolate-covered almonds" immediately after "dessert" unless I'm on my death bed and decide I want to haunt my loved ones forever with a confusing and deeply upsetting final utterance, so there's that.
Follow Redbook on Facebook.
You Might Also Like