Francia Raisa says her diet had to change after donating a kidney to Selena Gomez: 'That was a very huge concern for me'

·Senior Lifestyle Editor
·5-min read
Francia Raisa says since donating a kidney to Selena Gomez in 2017, she's had to decrease her protein intake and increase her water intake. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Francia Raisa says since donating a kidney to Selena Gomez in 2017, she's had to decrease her protein intake and increase her water intake. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.

When she played high school bad girl Adrian Lee on the Secret Life of the American Teenager in the late 2000s, Francia Raisa was a teen herself. The now 34-year-old actress admits that, back then, she had trouble differentiating between herself and her character.

"Adrian kind of married into my personal life," Raisa tells Yahoo Life. "I didn't know how to compartmentalize and separate the two, so I was a wild child. The fact that I didn't get caught and was under the paparazzi radar is crazy because I was out in the clubs when I was under 21 — I'm just going to admit it."

Today, Raisa, who stars alongside Hilary Duff in Hulu's How I Met Your Father, prefers a slightly earlier bedtime. "Now I'm grown and my idea of a good time in the evenings is going to yoga, having dinner with some friends, winding down and watching a movie with a cocktail," she says. "I go to sleep at 9:30. I have friends who will start a party at 9:30 and I'm like, 'Oh, see the thing is, I can't.'"

When she does head to a grown-up gathering, there's a special dish she takes along with her: Fresh salsa.

"I've been becoming famous for it lately," she says. "I wasn't very good at it but now, all of a sudden, my mom says my salsa's better than hers. My sisters actually prefer it."

In fact, so do her HIMYF co-stars. Raisa says she took it to a pool party at Hilary Duff's home, where it was a big hit not only with Duff, but with co-star Tien Tran and Duff's children.

"Hilary was like, 'Girl, you have to jar this,' and I was like, 'What are you talking about?'" Raisa recalls. "I started bringing it as gifts to people. It's a famous recipe for me now."

But what's in this beloved salsa? Raisa isn't talking. "A little Francia sauce goes a long way," she jokes.

Raisa donated a kidney to long-time friend Selena Gomez, who has lupus, in 2017. Since the procedure, she's had to change the way she eats. "Because I have one kidney functioning and it acts as a filter to my body, I can't consume as much protein," she shares. "I eat a lot — I know I'm skinny, but I chow down — so that was a very huge concern for me when I talked to the doctor."

Today, Raisa can only eat three to five-ounce servings of protein at a time. "I just have to monitor that," she says. "And I have to drink at least two to three liters of water a day. I can feel the difference if I don't. I get nauseous when I get dehydrated and it's just not good. I feel clammy."

How does the Grown-Ish actress stay on top of her water consumption? "I have a Hydro Flask that's 64 ounces that I carry as my purse — I'm not even kidding you," she says. "I will go into a boujee restaurant in Beverly Hills with my water bottle and I do not even care."

Raisa spoke with Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting Ketel One Botanical, a line of sugar-free flavored vodkas infused with fruit and botanical essences. She says working with the brand was an easy choice since she credits the line with making her appear to be an impressive cocktail-maker.

Raisa says she's not much of a bartender, but has learned a few cheats along the way. (Photo: Ketel One)
Raisa says she's not much of a bartender, but has learned a few cheats along the way. (Photo: Ketel One)

"I'm not a bartender. I have no desire to be a bartender. But I love a good cocktail," she says. "With these, all you have to do is literally add soda water and a garnish and it is so good. And, you literally feel like a princess just drinking it."

"As women, we've gotta be a chef, we've gotta be a bartender — I'm like so over it," she adds. "We've gotta stay in shape, do our hair — and like, I choose not to learn how to make a drink, but now I can pretend that I do know how."

Something Raisa does know how to do is cook, although getting there was a bit of a bumpy road.

"I grew up a little privileged," she admits. "We had a cook in our house every single day, so all I knew was home-cooked meals and I would beg for fast food. I move out of my house, and I'm like, 'Screw this I can do what I want. I'm going to eat takeout every day.' Like a lot of us, I got over it very quickly."

The only thing Raisa cannot master in the kitchen is rice. "My go-to is Minute Rice because I'm actually a pro at that," she says. "But everything else I'm like, 'Oh God.'"

"My family makes rice and chicken thighs in one of those cast iron pans and I was brave and had a date coming over and was like, 'Let me make dinner,'" she recalls. "Don't ever try to make something for the first time when you have a date. I burned it and I had to explain it. I was like, 'I swear I can cook, I just tried a new recipe today and it was a fail.'"

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