Ditch animal foods and integrate foods that are kind to your body. Start moving away from dairy and meat, and instead, get cozy with whole grains and plant-based proteins and veggies. Everything’s better when you do this! My first book, The Kind Diet, has tons of advice and recipes for how to do just that! I credit this diet 100 percent with improving my own health and wellness — from losing weight to skyrocketing my energy. Not too bad for saving animals and the planet!
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alicia Silverstone.
Alicia Silverstone is the co-founder of mykind Organics, the first ever food-based, certified organic, Non-GMO Verified, vegan vitamin line. A dynamic and well-connected fixture in the acting (best known for her generation-defining turn in Clueless), political, and scientific communities, Silverstone is also a dedicated activist and works to enlighten others about the benefits of clean living, veganism and a sustainable lifestyle. In 2009, Silverstone released her first book, “The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet,” followed by her second book in 2014, “The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning.” Silverstone recently starred in the Paramount series, American Woman and plays a key role in the new Netflix series, The Baby-Sitters Club, and she can be seen in the recently released films, The Lodge, Bad Therapy and Valley Girl.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
There are two major stories that come to mind. The first was being a theater nerd. My parents are British and when I was very young, we would visit England every year. My dad would take me to all these amazing plays in the West End and being exposed to this art ignited a deep love for theater. This passion ultimately led me to join an acting class and start working as an actress!
The second is going vegan, I watched the documentary “The Witness” and took a look at my dog Sampson and thought “if I’m not willing to eat you, how can I continue to eat these other creatures that have the same desire to live, are just as funny, and have the same reaction to pain as my dogs?” I went vegan for the animals but the health transformation I experienced and continue to experience was extraordinary. This revolutionized my world at 21 and shaped my life and career tremendously — from writing two books (The Kind Diet and The Kind Mama) to co-founding the first-ever vegan, certified organic, non-GMO verified, all food-based, vitamin line, myKind Organics.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I went vegan when I was 21 and this action most profoundly changed my life. This gave way to physical effects like healing my acne, increasing my energy levels, losing weight, and strengthening my hair but it also had powerful mental effects. I felt so much more empowered as a woman! The main takeaway for me was when you nourish yourself and prioritize healthy whole foods, there’s nothing mucking you up from achieving clarity or holding you back from really being able to listen to your inner voice and who you are.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh jeez…I am sure I made plenty of mistakes …Maybe I’ll put them in a book one day!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people who have shaped who I am in this life — those that encouraged me and also those that caused pain.
My dad took me to the theater as a child and after watching me perform in a play at age 12, enrolled me in an acting class. The acting class eventually led me to LA.
My mother had a deep love for animals, if we ever saw a dog running in the street that looked in need, she’d slam on the brakes and we’d hop out of the car to help. I’m still rescuing dogs to this day! She taught me the barebones of environmentalism since she was such a resourceful person! She never wanted to waste anything and was anti-materialistic in nature.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
When I went vegan so many friends, colleagues, fans, family members etc. expressed so much curiosity around my lifestyle that I ended up spending so much time individually emailing and following up with recipes and resources. I wished I could just hand over a book and say, “it’s all in here!” When I turned 30, I started writing The Kind Diet. As a food snob, I knew it had to have the most delicious recipes and also make it easy and accessible for everyone! The Kind Diet was a New York Times Best Seller and to this day I meet people out in the world that stop me and tell me how it changed their life. It brings me tremendous joy that on an individual level my diet helps make the world a kinder and more sustainable place, but it’s also beyond amazing to hear from so many people I’ve influenced around the world that have shifted to a kind diet. This impact is so inspiring to me and a great honor.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
1. Ditch animal foods and integrate foods that are kind to your body. Start moving away from dairy and meat, and instead, get cozy with whole grains and plant-based proteins and veggies. Everything’s better when you do this! My first book, The Kind Diet, has tons of advice and recipes for how to do just that! I credit this diet 100 percent with improving my own health and wellness — from losing weight to skyrocketing my energy. Not too bad for saving animals and the planet!
2. Eat these healing and blood cleansing foods on a regular basis: leafy greens such as kale, bok choy, collards, and watercress. Also, so important are seaweed, miso soup, cultured fermented veggies, a variety of whole grains, and adzuki beans. With these ingredients, you can come up with some seriously delicious, healing, and glow-y recipes. I love watercress with creamy tahini dressing and toasted sesame seeds; you can find the recipe in my book, The Kind Mama.
3. Take a healthy B12 supplement: B12 is known as the “memory vitamin.” We need it for mental clarity, healthy neurological function and to combat stress. No matter how much good stuff you’re eating, B12 is one vitamin that’s tricky to get entirely from whole foods. And it’s not because the diet is incomplete! It’s due to changes in our Western lifestyle and in how we source our food. Our Mykind Organics B12 spray tastes delicious, my son Bear is obsessed with it, he thinks its candy! This spray is super handy and great for an on-the-go energy boost.
4. It is wonderful to be able to grow your own vegetables. I love having my son Bear pick peppers or help me tie up tomato plants. I love to cook — I make stir fries with kale, beans and rice with lemon, shoyu, garlic and olive oil. Or tacos with pinto beans. I also love going to the farmers market on the weekends. My son and I bring containers and utensils, so if we get food, we don’t have to take a plastic fork. We bring refillable water bottles, our own cloth napkins and Tupperware. When we were allowed to eat at farmers markets…awwww back in the day…pre-April.
5. Exercise is an important part of my lifestyle. I love yoga, circuit training, Pilates and walking in nature. My son Bear and I enjoy hiking together with the dogs and dance parties definitely happen on a regular basis around here! Getting movement in my body helps me feel energized and refreshed.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Make the switch to a plant-based diet! Plant-based eating is one of the most effective ways to help save our planet. Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. It’s as if you have two meals of equal yumminess side by side — but one plate is adverse for the earth, your health, and furthers world hunger. The other plate is harmless, healthy, and healing!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- How to eat the kind diet so I felt in control of my health, wellness and looks. Switching to a plant-based diet rocked my world. I credit this diet 100 percent with improving my life — I’ve ditched my asthma inhaler, stopped my weekly allergy shots, lost weight, energy boosted, and found my skin and hair to be more radiant than ever. Releasing the grip from certain foods immediately healed and freed both my body and mind! And as a major foodie, it exposed me to a world of crazy delicious foods. My first book, The Kind Diet, has tons of advice and recipes.
- Trust my instincts by listening to myself first, over others. There’s no better example of this than when I was pregnant. I was feeding my body all the clean nutrition-packed foods that had transformed my health years ago. But under the instruction of my midwife, she suggested I take a prenatal as an ‘insurance policy’. I embarked on a quest to find the cleanest prenatal vitamin possible, one that fit with the way I ate. After countless research, a voice inside of me echoed that nothing on the market met truly healthy and transparent standards. I trusted this instinct and sought after making one. The stars aligned and Garden of Life and I co-founded myKind Organics. Together, we created an entirely new kind of vitamin line that is Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and free of synthetic binders and fillers. Seriously — made with nothing but whole foods and love!
- I wish I had known sooner about the way animals were treated and tortured for food. I could have started my journey much sooner! Food shouldn’t come with such an incredible cost. The benefit to plant-based eating is not only so animals won’t suffer, but the earth can heal. Animal agriculture is responsible for more global greenhouse emissions than the whole transport system combined, and it is the major driver of deforestation. Animal agriculture is going to make this planet uninhabitable for us. The 2 million who die of hunger each year would have food if we didn’t take it and feed it to animals, which produce only a tiny fraction of calories. These animals are extremely inefficient converters of food, as they eat much more than they produce. We lose 90% of calories when we convert from plants to meat and feeding 30 calories to a cow converts to 1 edible calorie of meat.
- I wish I choose Organic sooner as these plants are grown in richer, purer soil. They contain more minerals than conventionally grown, chemically enhanced foods, making them tastier and more nutritious. When you choose organic, you are voting for healthy soil, nutrient-rich produce, clean water, and ecologically sound farming. I wish more Certified Organic products were available to me sooner, as these plants are grown and produced without chemical pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides, and are not genetically modified. They are grown in soil free of sewage sludge and are free of antibiotics or hormones.
- When it comes to parenting, I wish I knew about elimination communication before my son Bear was 6 months old. I would have done it right from Birth! The Kind Mama has a whole chapter on this. It saves you from ever needing to potty train!!! An amazing game changer!
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
All of these topics are dire to me and underline the significance of a plant-based diet. You eat three times a day and each plant-based plate can positively impact your physical and mental well-being and also earth’s sustainability. A plant-based diet is the number one thing you can do to dial down your impact on the earth’s precious resources (energy, land use, greenhouse gas emissions, water, and more)!
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
– Instagram & Facebook: @aliciasilverstone
– Twitter & Pinterest: @aliciasilv
– Website: thekindlife.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights!