Alicia Silverstone: Kind, Not Clueless

Published in Gourmet Live 03.16.11
The actress and Kind Diet author dishes to Victoria Recaño
Alicia Silverstone

Alicia Silverstone has made the jump from the big screen to the kitchen. The actress who delighted as Batgirl, won a Golden Globe nomination for TV’s “Miss Match,” ruled as Cher in the iconic 1995 Clueless, and has three new movies in the works, now has a second career as a New York Times best-selling cookbook author. The Kind Diet, a guide to eating and living vegan, has just been released in paperback. From anecdotes about her personal journey to a plant-based diet, to family recipes for animal- and dairy-free meals, the author and mom-to-be serves up lifestyle lessons alongside her Radicchio Pizza with Truffle Oil, Pecan-Crusted Seitan and Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake. Silverstone sat down with Gourmet Live to talk about her cooking-crazy friends, her penchant for peanut butter cups and how the whole world’s going a little veggie.

Gourmet Live: What is the concept of The Kind Diet?

Alicia Silverstone: I wanted people to have an opportunity to really be kind to themselves—once and for all, have everything they ever dreamed of, like the strongest immune system, the most beautiful skin, increased energy so they are just so vital, and reduced risk of illnessfrom the really scary ones like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis to allergies and asthma. The great news is that in that process you are also being kind to the planet and also kind to other creatures and also kind to children and people of the world who have no food. So it really just sums up what is possible through our food choices. That’s what I was trying to do.

GL: What is your blueprint for a good way to eat on a daily basis?

AS: It’s really about picking foods that are nourishing your organs and filling your system with pure life energy and not taxing it or exhausting it and making it all work harder. In the book, I divide it into sort of nasty foods versus kind foods, and we go through what those nasty foods are. And as long as you avoid those nasty foods as much as you can and add as many kind foods as much as you can, you really are on a good track. The main goal of this book is to inspire and excite people. There’s no pressure or judgment if you can’t do it or you don’t do it perfectly. Even if at the end of the book, you made a few small choices or changes in your diet, that could change your life.

GL: What are your favorite recipes in the book?

AS: You know I am never going to say no to my artichoke, mushroom and leek crostini with pesto, or my pumpkin bread, or my traditional English breakfast. Or this morning I had my quick oatmeal, which is done with dates, apples and cinnamon. Or peach crumble or the chocolate peanut butter cups. My God... they are so good.

GL: How did you select the recipes?

AS: I’ve been collecting them over the last 10 years. There are things in there I’ve been making from the time I made these changes in my life. For example, my mother’s granola—that was something I grew up on. When I was a little girl I remember waking up to that smell, and it was so incredible. She would make a huge batch of it once a week, and it was so good. I just made it a little healthier. So it still tastes as delicious, but I use better quality ingredients. My mom always loved cheesecake so I tried to make a really healthy cheesecake and just converted a regular one into a healthier one. And then some recipes are ones my husband and I have made up over the years. And some are ones I’ve been taught.

GL: Who taught you how to cook?

AS: I learned from needing to eat, and playing with different recipe books. But I also had a lot of friends that cook—my dear friends Woody and Laura, my friend Renee—they were always cooking so I would just cook with them. Juliano was a raw foods chef, and I would play around with him sometimes. I had a lot of friends that were very into cooking!

GL: What is your favorite dish to cook?

AS: All my favorites thus far are in my book, then I’m working on my new favorites for another book. But right now I do have some go-to meals for parties. Usually I make my Moroccan couscous with saffron with my lentil sweet potato stew and a cheesecake or a crumble. Or I might make my waffle sausage and cheese panini. They are so good.

GL: Has your pregnancy posed any challenges with your diet? Any odd cravings?

AS: No, not at all.

GL: Any plans to create a baby diet book like this?

AS: For sure.

GL: What are you planning for your baby’s diet?

AS: Well, I don’t want to talk about that stuff yet because it feels a little too personal yet to reveal. I would love to gush to you about it, but it feels like I should wait. It feels like bad luck.

GL: I understand, so what is the best meal you have ever had?

AS: That’s not even fair! I often wonder though. I should start keeping track of the menus of my favorite meals because I’ve had some incredible meals over the years. Probably it’s The French Laundry, a really, really fancy-pants restaurant. They do these incredible vegan menus. I’m making crazy noises throughout the entire meal, and I look around and feel bad for everybody cause they’re not having what I’m having.

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