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Gwyneth Paltrow to Self: Healthy Diet Makes Me Feel "Lighter," "Emotions Get Smoother"

Gwyneth Paltrow, Self Magazine Cover Matt Jones/Self Magazine

Gwyneth Paltrow obviously has an amazing body.

But that's not the only reason the 40-year-old actress and mom is committed to eating healthfully. In a new interview with Self's April issue, the Goop goddess says her clean, unprocessed diet helps her feel better both physically and emotionally.

"A couple of years ago, I got really run down. I had to sing at awards shows, which was fun but stressful. I'd have a Guinness and a beta-blocker every time," she explains. "I also was constantly getting on airplanes, trying to knock myself out with sleeping pills and wine, waking up, trying to sweat it out with exercise and a steam, and then working really hard all day. Eventually, I had a panic attack. My body was like, 'What is happening?'"

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Then, per her doctor's orders, she "cut out basically everything: dairy, sugar, gluten, anything processed." The It's All Good author then set out on a quest to create a cookbook of "awesome food you're excited to make" that stuck to these dietary guidelines.

"Life is about balance," she says. "It's good to work in healthy food, whether it's five days a week or five meals a week…But never cut out the brownies or the wine."

While she "probably [eats] this way two or three times a year for three weeks at a time," the positive impact on many aspects of her life is profound and ongoing.

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"You feel lighter and your emotions get smoother," she says. "I also was run down because I had a lot of unexpressed anger. I made everyone else's feelings more important than my own.

"You're not learning anything unless you're having the difficult conversations," Gwyneth adds. "Dealing with things directly changed my relationships. Sometimes when you get clear about who you are, others get less comfortable because they liked who you were. It's changed my marriage [to Chris Martin], too, but he's up for the challenge."

Check out Gwyneth's best looks in our fashion spotlight gallery

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