Getting Healthy with Chynna Phillips
by Kim Henderson
Cover Story 16.6
Chynna Phillips photographed by Jeff Katz
at La Casa de Maria in Montecito, California.
Anyone over 25 surely remembers the uplifting vocal trio Wilson
Phillips. Wilson Phillips united childhood friends Carnie
and Wendy Wilson (daughters of Brian Wilson of the Beach
Boys) and Chynna Phillips (daughter of John and Michelle Phillips
of the Mamas & the Papas) for several chart toppers in the early
’90s. Last year, Wilson Phillips made a cameo appearance in the hit
comedy Bridesmaids singing their number-one single “Hold On,”
bringing about a Wilson Phillips resurgence. And Chynna’s turn
on season 13 of Dancing with the Stars simply added to the buzz.
Healthy Living caught up with Chynna this spring to talk about her
new reality series Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On, Wilson Phillips’
new album Dedicated and of course—health!
I met Chynna at the retreat center La Casa de Maria in lush Montecito by the
sea, where she and her actor husband William Baldwin and three children make their
home. The film crew for Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On was waiting when I arrived.
Our own crew arrived moments later, and we all made our way to a lovely Tuscan looking
house adjacent to an orange orchard. Inside, crew members bustled preparing
for the first setup while Chynna chatted with her longtime hair stylist and makeup
artist. I sat down with her for our interview amid the chaos.
I was a young twenty something when Wilson Phillips first hit the charts, and my
early childhood memories were colored by the songs of the Beach Boys and the
Mamas & the Papas. I was excited to talk to Chynna and had a sense that she would
possess a certain depth and wisdom that comes from having grown up in the wake of
rock ’n’ roll musician parents. And I was right.
“What did you learn about health growing up?” I ask Chynna. “Nothing,” she says with
a laugh. I quickly learn that Chynna is quite candid—and funny. She retracts her words
and tells me about her wonderful nanny named Rosa, who looked after her from the age
of 2 until 18 and cooked meals for her every day. “She made me pork chops, spaghetti,
chicken…always served with a vegetable and milk to drink. Not exactly healthy by today’s
standards, but they were home-cooked meals. It’s the polar opposite of how I eat now,”
she says. Chynna credits her mother for keeping processed foods out of the house.
“There wasn’t any sugar in the house. My mom was really serious about not having any
cereals like Trix or Cap’n Crunch or processed foods in our house ever. The worst it got
was maybe a fruit rollup or Kraft Cheez ’n Crackers. So scary! That was in my lunch every
day,” she explains.
THE RAW CULTURED DIFFERENCE
Finding the right kind of diet to support optimal health has been a process for Chynna
as an adult. She has followed many of the fads over the years. “I was completely
vegetarian for about six years, and then I was vegan for about four. Then there was a
time when I just thought screw it and ate everything on the menu and didn’t care,” she
says. But all the experimenting finally led her to a way of eating and living that works.
“I’m proud to say that I really feel like I’ve turned
a corner. The true test of whether or not you have
incorporated a new diet is your palate. Do you still
crave the old stuff? If you feel deprived, it’s not going
to last,” she explains. With her new way of eating,
Chynna has curbed the dreaded sugar cravings.
“I don’t need a big dessert or a piece of candy
anymore. I’m so grateful for that!” she explains.
So what’s her secret? Chynna credits The Body
Ecology Diet and the incorporation of raw cultured
vegetables into her diet as the major cornerstone of
her newfound health.
Although Chynna strives to get her nutrition from
her diet, she does supplement. First thing in the
morning, she flushes her system with mineralized
water. “The water we get is stripped of minerals—so
I drink water that has the minerals added back in,”
she says. Then she takes several probiotic supplements
and drinks a green drink with whey protein
in it. She also takes an omega-3 supplement and
CoQ10. If she feels like she might be getting sick,
she’ll take some buffered vitamin C. If her symptoms
are more cold-like, she takes Coldcalm. For
flu symptoms, she takes Wellness by Source Naturals
or the popular homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum.
“I can’t afford to be sick. I’m a singer. A
guitar player can still play if he or she is sick, but a
singer can’t,” she says.
Exercise can be tricky for Chynna as she has some
issues with her hips and knees. But she finds exercise that works despite her physical limitations. “I end up doing yoga, regular calisthenics and cardio barre (a high-energy/no-impact workout). I love
nature and take lots of walks on the beach,” she
explains. The problem for Chynna is getting a good
sweat. That’s not always easy with low-impact activity.
So she uses an infrared sauna. “I go in my
infrared sauna every night for 25 to 30 minutes and
I get a really great sweat. After a lukewarm shower,
I go right off to bed. It’s very relaxing and detoxifying,”
NATURAL PRODUCTS FOR HOME AND BODY
A California girl through and through, Chynna goes
all natural when it comes to products used on her
skin and in her home. “I love Youthology plant-based
products for my skin,” she says. Like most
products Chynna uses, Youthology’s have no parabens,
are not animal tested and are made from natural
ingredients. The same standards go for cleaning
products. “We use natural cleaning products for
everything in our home. Living as green as possible
is really important to me. I want to create a compost
and grow my own vegetables. I want to have an
electric car and live in a house of hay walls,” she
says laughing. But the truth is, Chynna is moving in
this direction with small everyday choices.
It’s hard to fully talk about health without addressing
how we tend to our spirits and emotions.
Chynna finds her balance through her
faith. A Christian, she says her “higher power”
is Jesus. “I’m praying constantly. Jesus is my
rock. I’m in constant dialogue with the Lord all
day long. And I take time each morning to read a
little bit of scripture,” she explains. It’s clear that
this relationship with her higher power is central
to her ability to be compassionate and forgiving
with herself and others. “No human is perfect and
I can be particularly hard on myself. And that’s
not what God wants me to do. God wants me to
be really gentle on myself and to remind myself
that he bore all of that for me. I’m forgiven. I’m
a beautiful child of God,” she explains. As we sit
in the room with everyone around, I notice it has
become very quiet. Although the crew members
are busy setting up, I’m aware that they are all
listening. There’s something very beautiful about
this faith—moving, whether Christian or not. The
kind of acceptance she speaks of is certainly an
important piece of health.
Chynna pays it forward. She works with an orphanage
in Tijuana, called Los Angelitos (“The Little Angeles”).
And in some ways, her choice pays homage
to the lovely Latina nanny who cared for her for
so many years. Nearly fluent in Spanish, she is able
to use that skill and contribute to those in need,
which in turn fills her soul.
HEALING POWER OF MUSIC
Chynna’s faith extends to her music. In 2009, she
teamed with singer/songwriter Vaughan Penn to
form the duo Chynna & Vaughan and debuted a
Christian album titled One Reason. But more recently,
she joined her Wilson Phillips bandmates to
record a special album called Dedicated, a compilation
of covers of the most well-known (as well as
some lesser-known) songs penned by Brian Wilson
and John Phillips. It proved to be an emotional journey
for them all—and a surprisingly healing one for
Chynna. John Phillips died in 2001. Recording his
songs brought up grief as well as the joy of celebrating
the legacy of her father’s music. Chynna explains
how for her personally, it helped bring levity and
healing to a deeply dark period. “Singing his songs
brings him back. And it makes me feel his essence
again. Of course, I enjoyed songs like ‘California
Dreamin’ and ‘Monday, Monday’—but the obscure
ones moved me the most. They reflect him working
through his own struggles. ‘Got a Feeling’ is one of
those,” she explains. She also alludes to the dark
period that began at the end of 2009 and continued
for nearly a year, when her sister, Mackenzie Phillips,
alleged a long-term incestuous relationship with their
father. “I think also with the traumatic year that I had
with all the allegations from my sister about my dad,
it was so refreshing to be in a positive space and
celebrate his music—and his life. Instead of focusing
on something that was so dark and ugly. It was
nice to be doing something that honored him—the
beautiful aspects of him.” The recording of Dedicated
is documented in the reality series Wilson Phillips:
Still Holding On. Chynna is pretty excited about the
show. “It’s cute and entertaining. It has integrity and
yet it still has the dramatic essence to it that will keep
viewers watching,” she says.
It appears Chynna is on an upswing. And health
is at the foundation of it all. She doesn’t mind if people
laugh or think it is strange that she carries raw cultured
vegetables or supplements with her. She knows what
she needs to be healthy, strong and centered—and
able to give to her family and community. I’d say there’s
a lot of depth and beauty to this California girl.
Chynna Phillips’ Favorite Natural Products
We use Wave Auto
Dishwasher Gel in our
home. The Lavender
scent is great. Why use
a conventional chemical
brand when there’s Wave,
which has no chemicals at
all and works just as well?
FearClear is a homeopathic
remedy. Lately, I carry it with
me in my bag. When I feel
anxiety, which stems from fear,
I put half a dropper under my
tongue. That may be more than
is recommended! A calm comes
over me five minutes later. The
fearful thoughts dissipate. I give
this one a thumbs up!
I chew Spry Cinnamon Xylitol Gum all
the time. It’s absolutely my favorite. The
kids like the Fresh Fruit Xylitol Gum the
best. I like Spry because it is sweetened
with xylitol, which my nutritionist says is
perfectly safe and is a great sweetener
substitute for sugar. I make use of it after
every meal. It takes care of my sweet
tooth. I’ve heard good things about
xylitol—that it helps prevent cavities too!
I love the Aubrey GPB Glycogen
Protein Balancing Shampoo.
I love Aubrey products because
they have only natural, vegan
ingredients. The Rosemary
Peppermint is probably my
favorite scent. Unlike some other
natural shampoos, it actually
I love that Barlean’s offers
organic Evening Primrose
Oil. I think it’s essential for
any woman. It helps with
balancing your hormones—
and is especially helpful with
menstrual cycle cramping.
I still get cramping even at
44 years old. I need to take
lots of evening primrose oil
to help temper my cramps
because they are horrible.
I love Sovereign Silver
spray for immune support.
A few sprays into my
mouth makes such a
difference. It’s fantastic for
killing off microbes. It’s
great added protection for
travel. I just love it!
I’m a fan of Spry Non-Fluoride
Xylitol Cinnamon Toothpaste.
I don’t like fluoride, and I love
that it’s sweetened with xylitol. I
really like the flavor.
Barlean’s Organic Flax
Oil is my absolute favorite.
It’s the best. I make sure I
get four tablespoons a day. I
don’t even take it like a lady.
I just open the bottle and
squeeze it into my mouth
like a drunken sailor! It may
sound shallow, but I even
love the black packaging.
I take Bone Density
Maintenance from Nature’s
Rite every night before bed for its
5,000 mg of vitamin D as well as
calcium and magnesium. I need
to be careful because I’m fair and
have the beginning of osteopenia.
Bone Density Maintenance is
totally natural. It stimulates bone
growth and helps increase bone
density with a combination of
herbs, minerals and vitamins,
rather than with drugs.
Bragg’s Organic Raw Apple
Cider Vinegar is my favorite.
I religiously drink it diluted
with water—about half a
bottle. I take swigs of it before
bed and in the morning. It
keeps me alkaline. A lot of
people don’t understand the
healing properties of raw apple
cider vinegar. It just does so
much for the skin, digestion
and helping the body to a
more alkaline state. Also, it
helps the body fight colds and
fl u. It’s fantastic!
I finally found a gluten-free bar
that I actually love! I like to carry
a MacroLife Macro Greens bar
with me. It’s the perfect snack!
I just took one with me to the
airport. It got me through the
flight and was perfectly filling.
Unlike other energy bars, it
doesn’t have a paste-like taste.
It’s delicious and has loads
of greens in it! There’s also a
delicious chocolate cinnamon
and berry flavor.
I have Barlean’s Organic Coconut Oil sitting at the side of my stove. I use it to make sautéed vegetables and to make scrambled eggs. I take a spoonful of it every single day raw. I put
it in my mouth and it melts beautifully. It’s so sublime. It melts
nice and has that hint of coconut flavor. It’s almost like a healthy
pudding in a way. It kind of satisfies the fat craving I have. Since
I started my new diet (a lot of people would not be breaking
out violins for me for this), but I lost a lot of weight. I almost
looked unhealthy. My nutritionist recommended that I have virgin
coconut oil before or after each meal—three teaspoons a day.
That helps me keep the healthy fat on. I think a nice womanly fat
is sexy. I want that on my body. I don’t want to be a stick.
I love Episilk Facial
Scrub. I’m always looking
for a moisturizing scrub
with lots of granules. This
one is loaded with granules
that help remove dead skin.
I love the scent. Scrubs are
an essential part of skin
care. I’m obnoxious about
my scrubs—I use one
Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On airs on the TV Guide channel.
Dedicated is available online and in stores now.
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The Power of Fran: The Happily Divorced Star’s Cancer Prevention Mission and Personal Health Secrets Revealed!
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Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.