According to Vogue, Anne Hathaway‘s Les Miserables diet consisted of “two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste a day,” but no one can really figure out what that means. New York Magazine says that her diet, if mysterious, was at least historically accurate, playing up the same justification that she’s hinted at for her extreme weight loss: “getting in character.” But aside from oats being something that poor people may have eaten in 19th-century France, they don’t really have any insight into what it was that 21st-century Anne Hathaway was eating, either. Preliminary research indicates that she was either lying, or has a really sadistic personal chef.
A quick google shopping search for ‘dried oat paste’ products yielded bath and skin products, dog treats, and dog granola. In hopes that Anne wasn’t eating any of the above, I started doing some hunting around in the diet and food world.
The first thing that came to mind was the Dukan Diet, that slightly sketchy-sounding (and French! like Les Mis!) diet that Kate Middleton & Co. used to drop weight for the royal wedding. It’s a high-protein diet, but one of the few carbs that you are supposed to eat is oat bran. Apparently Dukan recommends making “galettes” with the bran–basically, mixing up the powder with an egg white and some yogurt–but you can also buy oat bran bars and biscuits from the Dukan Diet shop.
Another, less-French option might be Scottish Oatcakes, which sound slightly more enjoyable, and a little closer to the description used in Vogue. The ingredients in Nairn’s Plain Oatcakes are: Wholegrain oats (84%), sea salt, raising agent (sodium bicarbonate), and sustainable palm oil, and each cake only contains 35 calories. (So basically, they’re like having some very plain crackers that happen to be made of oats instead of wheat flour.)
And finally, a quick search for recipes yielded, basically, homemade versions of Scottish Oatcakes. This recipe at least contains some herbs and olive oil, and the little squares look like a pretty cute snack. But again: “dried oatmeal paste” was nowhere to be found, strictly speaking.
Maybe Hathaway just isn’t a terribly reliable narrator (she was calorie-deprived, after all), or maybe something got lost in translation over at Vogue (when she told Chelsea Handler that she ate ‘kale and dust’ to play Catwoman, she was exaggerating for humor’s sake. Maybe “dried oatmeal paste” was her idea of a joke?
In any case, we implore you: DO NOT go buy a bunch of oatcakes and try to look like Anne Hathaway looking like Fantine; a character dying of an unknown disease that’s probably tuberculosis. Hathaway herself admits it was crazy, and any doctor will tell you it’s unhealthy. And let me reiterate: Fantine is supposed to be dying. That’s not a good look.