Alicia Silverstone: Kind, Not Clueless

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GL: Was it difficult to cut out meat and dairy? How were you able to do it?

AS: It’s not hard when you have really strong motivation, not hard at all. I really want people to realize it’s not about making drastic changes. Ideally, what would happen in my fantasy plan is people would read the book and really become inspired. Do they want to feel better than they’ve ever felt? Do they want to look better than they’ve ever looked? Maybe they have some illnesses they are trying to tackle and they’re excited and inspired to really change that.

GL: What was your inspiration to write the book?

AS: There are so many different things. It had been years of me helping friends. I had friends who didn’t poo. They pooed, like, every 10 days. There are a lot of people out there who are closet not-pooers. They just aren’t doing it. They would tell me this, and I would go into shock. I’m like: what? And I would help them. Or there were people who had cancer, and I would try and help them by directing them to different counselors and trying to get them to eat differently. There were many different things, and I was seeing such positive results around me, seeing people changing constantly. I would give them all this paper work. And then once I got savvy with the Internet, I was giving them all these documents on email. Then people just kept saying: “This is a book!” I said I know but I couldn’t even imagine at the time taking the time to do it because it just sounded so epic.

GL: What is the most underrated ingredient?

AS: Umeboshi Plum vinegar. When I turn chefs onto umeboshi plum vinegar, they go into shock. It is so delicious. It is really, really an amazing ingredient. I always say it makes everything better. That and toasted seeds. Fresh herbs are so lovely.

GL: What is your guilty food pleasure? Chocolate peanut butter cups?

AS: Yeah... But I don’t even feel that guilty if I eat those. Though if I ate them everyday, I would feel very guilty!

GL: Are there any foods you always feel guilty for eating?

AS: If I ever have anything that isn’t vegan, I feel guilty. But, we live in an imperfect world. If my recipes were being made everywhere I went, I’d eat like a princess all the time and so would everybody else. But you know sometimes if you haven’t eaten and somebody made a lasagna or something... I’m making this up. I have no idea. In my 14 years, it doesn’t happen often.

GL: What are the top five ingredients that you always have on your shopping list?

AS: Well, I go to the farmers market every Sunday. I always feel like I have to have in the refrigerator: greens—collards or kale or cabbage. I always need lemons around. Lemons just make me really happy. I love to use umeboshi plum vinegar mixed with flax seed oil. I love to have sunflower seeds so I can toast them. You need good shoyu, Earth balanced butter and vegenaise.

GL: If you were planning the perfect dinner party what would it be?

AS: If it’s not my couscous or lentil sweet potato stew... We’ve had fun cupcake parties at our house, where everybody makes a vegan cupcake, and everybody shares and tastes different flavors. It’s super fun with champagne. I’d have an afternoon party with lovely new people that I’m really excited about who are warm and funny and passionate and truthful and interesting, and we could all share delicious food and maybe some yummy wine. And radicchio pizza with truffle oil!

GL: Is it ever a challenge to eat vegan on the road? What do you order from room service?

AS: Some hotels are so hip, they totally have soy milk or groovy ingredients or they’re making tofu scrambles. But if you’re someplace where the hotel isn’t so hip, you can’t go wrong with some really good sourdough toast, some avocado slices and maybe some tomato slices, but the avocado spread on the toast with some salt and pepper can be really yummy. You can’t go wrong with some oatmeal. We always just order some oatmeal in a dire situation, and that seems to do just fine. I can’t say that oatmeal makes me feel like I’m having the greatest meal in the world, but it certainly tastes good and feels good.

GL: What is your prediction for the next big food trend?

AS: I think we’re in it. I think it’s going to stay. When Bill Clinton said he was following a plant-based diet—and in the process he lost 25 or 35 pounds and he looked amazing at Chelsea’s wedding—I think when those kinds of big people in our culture are waking up to the potential of their health and seeing what’s possible. And Mario Batali is doing meatless Mondays, constantly encouraging people to eat more veggies, because I think he has got so many vegan friends. And there are tons of chefs who are doing it. And you start to realize it’s coming around, and it’s just getting more and more popular. The good news is the secret is out. This is how you do it. There are no more debates about it. Everybody knows this is the way.

GL: How has this diet affected your life?

AS: Everything about my life changing and me getting off an asthma inhaler and off of allergy shots and not needing a doctor anymore and not needing antibiotics for anything and having really clear glowing skin, which I didn’t use to have& Having really white eyes, having really strong nails that you cannot bend, these are all things I didn’t have before. I had acne. I was a little chunkier. My nails were really fragile and brittle, breaking all the time. My eyes were not as clear. You know, all those things are completely different now, and all because of my diet. I’m getting younger instead of older. I feel more vibrant. I feel more whole, and I know that is because of my diet. If you go to my website, you have people writing in everyday about how they got off their thyroid medication or their diabetes medication since doing this plan. I don’t mean they just threw it away. They went to the doctor and they had their blood tests and they went for their check-ups and the doctor’s like: You’re getting much better. What’s going on?

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