One-on-One with Candy Crowley

A seasoned journalist makes news with healthful life changes.

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If it’s a person, place, or event of political significance in America, chances are that CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley has covered it. Since joining the network in 1987, she’s taken viewers inside campaigns, party conventions, and the White House itself. A vegetarian since the early 1990s, Crowley talked to VT from CNN’s Washington bureau, where she anchors the Sunday political-issues show State of the Union.

Q: In 2005, ran a photo of you that looks nothing like Candy Crowley today. What changed?

A: That picture was taken after the 2004 election. I was on the road constantly. A meal could be Twizzlers and pretzels in a 7-Eleven parking lot. Then, after the 2008 campaign, which felt like it was never going to end, I was exhausted. It wasn’t just, “Oh my gosh, I need to lose weight.” It was, “I just don’t feel centered.”

Q: Can you share tips for making diet and lifestyle changes in midlife, as you did?

A: I always think, “I wish 20 years ago I’d taken time for me.” Just promise yourself a year; there isn’t anyone out there who doesn’t know how quickly a year passes. You’ve got to find it in you. Say: “I’m going to do this.” It hit me after the 2008 election that if I could dedicate a year to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, I could have The Year of Candy. I made a concerted effort to get eight hours of sleep, and that helped regulate my appetite. Planning is also key.

Q: You’ve talked about how meditation has changed your eating habits, your health, and your life. How?

A: Women tend to be emotional about their eating. With me, it’s been anger. I’m much more able to let it go. I also think I’m better able to focus. This job is crazy. I can have a day where four different news shows will call and ask something like, “Can Candy come on and talk about Congress?” I have to keep up with all of it. You can get home wired and frustrated. And that’s been alleviated.

Q: A 2009 Los Angeles Times piece on you, highlighting your weight loss, noted that one “genius” blogger wanted to know if you’d be changing your name to Salad Crowley. Your thoughts?

A: Salads are still what people think of when they think of vegetarians. The funny thing is that salads are the least of it. So no name change is likely! I love tofu. I also love beans. And I like plain Greek yogurt.

Q: Food has entered the political dialogue: Michelle Obama advocated for improving how kids eat, and people are discussing how raising animals for food affects food safety and global climate change. What impact do you think this public debate will have?

A: I can’t see meat eating going out of style, but over time, things do change. I just came across a great story about a guy who sets up farmers’ markets in inner cities. You find all these mothers thrilled to have something accessible and good to eat.

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