shailene woodley is putting up a good fight

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Photographed by Hilary Walsh

Whether she’s battling erudite antagonists or a stomach bug, Shailene Woodley does so with quiet strength, a lot of heart, and a massive pot of bone broth.

A mysterious creature is eating at Shailene Woodley. This is not a metaphor but an actual medical condition. Hunched over a table at Venice's hippie chic café Gratitude, ground zero for Angelenos on fasts, cleanses, or raw diets, Woodley tells me she has some kind of bacteria attacking her small intestine.

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you,” she continues with a laugh. “I’m so glad I’m telling you all this three minutes after you sit down.”

Her illness, she explains, is why she canceled our plans a week ago to visit Vital Zuman, an organic Malibu farm. Due to her fatigue, she wasn’t feeling up to picking lemons and harvesting honey, but now we’re in the right vegan restaurant, where the waiters seem like they might take our order in crow yoga position, for subduing toxic forces of the gut. Café Gratitude’s menu is packed with elixirs and healing tonics with optimistic names like Beaming (carrot, orange, and the Chinese medicinal root astragalus) and Enlivened (live blue-green algae and rosemary oil). During the course of our nearly three-hour talk on a rainy Saturday, Woodley and I collectively consume five brews for the soul (Golden, Luscious, Enriched, and a double order of Calm) until we’re practically levitating.

Disappointingly, there’s no Dauntless to be found on the menu. But like the vulnerable yet courageous Tris, the Dauntless faction heroine Woodley portrays in the Divergent series, Woodley isn’t about to surrender to her enemy without a fight. In a rare turn to conventional medicine, she’s agreed to take antibiotics, but because she’s studied herbalism and nutrition on her own, like many a California girl, she’s also lined up an arsenal of homeopathic weapons to combat the little buggers. In addition to the turmeric-and-almond milk blend she nurses for the first hour of our chat, Woodley, right on trend with nutrient-obsessed foodies everywhere, has been on a bone broth kick. 

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