Actress Shailene Woodley, star of the new scifi film "Divergent," is not your average Hollywood actress. The 22-year-old, best known for her work in the television series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and opposite George Clooney in "The Descendents," is the first to admit that she subscribes to a greener lifestyle than some of her peers
. For instance, she tries to supplement at least 35 percent of her diet with "wild foods."
"Like I live in Los Angeles and I'll go an hour away into the mountains and I'll find stinging nettle and mugwart and a bunch of other herbs that you can use medicinally," she told Rachael Ray
. "Stinging nettle is so tasty, it's like spinach, it's so good for you too! It's very nutritional."
"I first heard about the benefits of eating clay from a taxi driver," she says. "He was African and was saying that, where he’s from, the women eat clay when they’re pregnant. Seriously—ask your taxi drivers where they are from and about their customs. You will learn a lot. So, I've discovered that clay is great for you because your body doesn’t absorb it, and it apparently provides a negative charge, so it bonds to negative isotopes. And, this is crazy: it also helps clean heavy metals out of your body.
"My friend starting eating it and the next day she called me and said, ‘Dude, my s**t smells like metal.’ She was really worried, but we did some research together and everything said that when you first start eating clay, your bowel movements, pee, and even you, yourself, will smell like metal."
Perform a brief search online and you'll discover countless articles on the health benefits of eating clay; a habit known as geophagy. Practiced for centuries by cultures all around the world, geophagy is credited helping a variety of maladies
; including "constipation, diarrhea, anemia, chronic infections, skin ailments such as eczema and acne, heavy-metal poisoning, exposure to pesticides and other toxins, arthritis, and stress.
"It is possible that the binding effect of clay would cause it to absorb toxins," Dr. David L. Katz, nutrition expert at the Yale School of Medicine and a medical contributor for ABC News, said in 2005
If you're really interested in learning more, there are plenty of resources online - as well as the book "The Clay Cure"
- to wrap your head around. As for sources of clay, it's generally not recommended that you take a spoon out to the backyard and start digging. You soil might contain heavy metals or other toxins that will do you more harm than good. Instead, track down "food grade" clay.
"You should obviously be careful about your source," Woodley recommends. "Bentonite clay is good, but Mountain Rose Herbs
has a great clay source."
Are you someone who has tried a clay supplement? Let us know you experiences below!