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Mind and Body

Jordana Brewster's guide to the beautiful life

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Jordana Brewster is so stunning that she nearly causes a three-car pileup crossing a Beverly Hills street, but she truly has no idea she created such a stir. Sporting white printed pants, a black cardigan and thick-rimmed glasses, the 33-year-old Brazilian, who stars on TNT's Dallas and in the new wham-bam Fast & Furious 6, is much more comfortable chatting about her inner "nerdiness" than style tips. Over tea, the star—married to producer Andrew Form since 2007—shares her (not always) glamorous secrets to a happy life.

How I avoid stress eating

"It's so nerdy, but I pack my own lunches of grilled salmon and brown rice, because it helps me stay on track. Craft services [on-set catering] is hell. It's basically sugar and salt. Sometimes when I work long hours I have trouble with sugar; they'll keep passing me Tootsie Rolls."

What quiets my mind

Meditation. "I started about three years ago because I was feeling stressed, but now it's more of a spiritual practice. I do Vedic for 20 minutes twice a day. You learn a mantra that is specific to you. People think you have to have nothing going on in your mind, but it's OK to have thoughts come up; they are being released, so you don't have to deal with them anymore. When I'm shooting, I'll go on a different set and just sit. Sometimes it's embarrassing because they'll call me in and I'll be a little dreamy."

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When it comes to nutrition…

Mom knows best. "My mom was very into unprocessed foods. When I moved to New York City from Brazil at age 10, everyone else would have peanut-butter-and-jelly or bologna sandwiches, and I was like, 'Ooh, that looks so good,' but I would get, like, pasta pesto. I got teased: 'What are you eating? That's weird!' Now my mom's like, 'See? Michelle Obama's making it trendy!'"

…and yes, my mom was a swimsuit model

"My family is really active. My mom was in Sports Illustrated, and she was always going to the gym, which made me want to go. As a teenager, I used to sneak in with her and go to step class. I loved, loved, loved step, especially that move, the grapevine."

Must. Unplug. Now.

"I don't think I have ADD, but I definitely need to be stimulated on all fronts. When I run on the treadmill, I'll have a magazine, and I'll also be watching a morning show or listening to music. It's actually really sad. The other night I was watching House of Cards, eating dinner, and checking Twitter, and I thought, What am I doing? I should just be relaxing! I feel like it's rewiring our brains in a bad way. I find that then when I have to sit down and read a script or study lines, I want to be doing something else at the same time. It's really not healthy."

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My wedding-day confession

"Our wedding [on the beach at a Caribbean resort] was beautiful—and tiny. It was just us and our parents. I was never the kind of girl who wanted the huge wedding, so it was intimate and sweet. The only thing that got really screwed up was the music when I was walking down the aisle. Apparently they asked Andrew if I wanted 'Here Comes the Bride,' which I would have loved, and he said, 'No, she's not that kind of girl.' So instead they played Shania Twain's 'From This Moment On.' I had a moment when I was walking down the aisle thinking, Do I say something? Really, this is happening right now?"

Gotta-have gym gear

• Hand sanitizer. "I'm not a germaphobe, but when I start thinking about all the people sweating at the gym and your towel hanging on the equipment, it's like, gross!"

• Electric Yoga tops. "I have trouble finding tops I like that are sporty—and these are cute. It drives me crazy when I see people who aren't modest at the gym. It's like, I'm not at a bar. I really don't need to see that."

• New Balance sneakers

• Nike Cropped pants

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The one beauty product that makes me ridiculously happy

Au Courant face tanner. "I love feeling bronzy. I'll mix this face tanner with moisturizer and slap it on. Sometimes the makeup artist says, 'You need to blend better!'"

Hollywood's best bodies

• Gwyneth Paltrow. "She's very toned, and she's also long and lean and strong, so I think that's a great balance."

• Jennifer Aniston. "I mean, of course. Her body is insane."

Hair product I can't live without

Moroccan Oil. "My hair can take this oil—it doesn't get super greasy. If anything, it gets really dry. And this is gonna sound gross, but when I'm working, because it gets styled so much, I'll only wash it three times a week instead of every day."

A surprising stress buster

"I love making inspiration boards. I'm a total nerd! I cut and glue stuff onto poster board. It's the most relaxing thing in the world. Five years ago, I cut and pasted a kitchen—and now it's the kitchen I have."

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Don't believe the (vegetarian) hype

"I think a lot of vegetarian restaurants are not healthy. I'm like, 'This is delicious—it's like having nachos, just with vegan cheese!' It's hard to make Tex-Mex healthy unless you make it yourself. I make quesadillas with Ezekiel tortillas, low-fat cheese and organic turkey."

My biggest health regret

Smoking. "I smoked for just a couple of years, and that was dumb. I quit in college, years and years ago. I think when you're younger you think you're invincible."

Current food favorite

Reduced-guilt guacamole from Trader Joe's. "It's avocado cut with Greek yogurt. I'm obsessed. When I'm working in Texas, I have to drive 40 minutes to get to Trader Joe's because they don't have one yet in Dallas."

On kicking kooky diets

"I did the cabbage soup diet, which is so unpleasant. I also went through a phase where I ate only protein shakes and protein bars, with real food for dinner, which, again, is not sustainable. I've been on my trainer Harley Pasternak's 5-Factor Diet for six years. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. It works so well for me."

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My go-to (light) summer cocktail

Caipiroska. "This is a Brazilian cocktail. My version is vodka, lemons, limes and stevia instead of sugar. It's my own skinny-girl drink."

Gym tip

30 is the new 45. "I need to sweat at least six times a week, but I do stuff that's sustainable. Thirty minutes of cardio a day isn't a pain in the ass—it's totally doable. Forty-five? That starts to get a little annoying. Three days a week, I also do strength training. If I go to the gym with my husband, I'm like, 'Don't get on the treadmill next to me.' I can't run and talk at the same time. I'm on a mission."

Baby plans?

Yes, but... "We definitely want kids soon. But it's so funny, because you say one thing [to the media] about babies, then all of a sudden you're 'pregnant.' My mom was like, 'I was at the gym and everyone thinks you're pregnant.' I don't understand why people are obsessed with the pregnancy thing. Sandra Bullock once got asked by an obnoxious paparazzi guy, and she was like, 'How do you know that I can [have children]?' I thought that was so good."

This article originally appeared on Health.com.