Book Report: Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind MamaJuly 10, 2014 | Categories: Book Report, Interviews, Veg Celeb
When it comes to mindful eating and parenting, you know you are doing something right when your toddler likes to pluck shiitake mushrooms and daikon out of his mama’s miso soup. “At one year his favorite was bok choy. He would grab it with his little hands,” says Alicia Silverstone, when asked about her son Bear’s favorite first foods. When it comes to feeding your body—and baby—from pre-pregnancy to birth and beyond, Silverstone is anything but Clueless. On the heels of the release of her latest title, The Kind Mama, Silverstone kindly shares her advice for mamas and mamas-to-be.
A healthful, plant-based diet for fertility and pregnancy seems to be just as much about what not to eat as it is about what to eat. Can you offer a quick list of what foods to avoid and what foods to fill up on?
Eat your greens! Greens such as kale, bok choy, collards, and watercress are packed with a host of great things like vitamin B9, vitamin K, folate, calcium, and iron. Nurture your body with all kinds of veggies made in a healthy variety of cooking styles. Fill up on whole grains (brown rice, quinoa), beans (adzuki, black beans) and bean products (tofu, tempeh). You’ll find some seriously delicious and healing recipes in The Kind Mama, like Watercress with Creamy Tahini Dressing and Toasted Sesame Seeds. For the sweetest and most blissful pregnancy, avoid meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, and sugar.
Soy so often gets a bad rap. Can you explain the relationship between soy and estrogen? Do women need to be wary of their soy intake? And, on that note, are all soy products created equal?
Soy in its purest form has some amazing qualities: it can help protect you against breast cancer, rebalance hormones in post-menopausal women, and reduce the risk of fibroids in the uterine lining. Organic tofu, tempeh, miso, and shoyu are great for you. Asian cultures have been using soy for millennia and don’t experience the estrogen hype. This is because they eat small amounts of high-quality soy and are not indulging in processed foods that contain soy fillers and by-products. Consuming items such as soy ice cream, soymilk, chips and other processed foods daily or often is not healthy. When transforming to a healthier, kinder diet, allow yourself some of these replacement treats in moderation—they are all better than reaching for animal-based items. Once you become more balanced and comfortable with a plant-based life, think of these products as occasional treats.
What’s up with “pregnancy brain”—is that a myth or is it real? Are there foods that can help clear the foggy-headiness?
“Pregnancy brain” doesn’t happen to everyone but it can happen and for good reason! Your brain needs extra fuel during pregnancy since the crucial building block DHA (the omega-3 fatty acid that builds our smarts) is being funneled to your baby to develop its noodle. Your brain is also shrinking and restructuring itself during pregnancy since your metabolism is changing (don’t worry, it grows back post-birth). Then, toward the end of your pregnancy, you get an extra shot of the hormone progesterone, which has a tranquilizing effect. All of this can contribute to you feeling fuzzy or out of it. You can protect your neurons by eating plenty of omega-3 foods. DHA-rich plant-based foods include microalgae (chlorella and spirulina), sea plants, tofu, nuts (walnuts), and seeds (especially flax and chia seeds). Foods that help you metabolize these fatty acids are whole grains like quinoa, dark beans (black and adzuki), as well as dark leafy greens.
Did you have any pregnancy cravings? What were they and how did you satisfy them healthfully? On the flip side, did you have any food aversions?
I had a strange relationship with food— I didn’t like or want anything really, but did the best I could. Overall when it comes to cravings, the goal isn’t to be perfect, but to be resolved. You do your best but are flexible and compassionate with yourself if you fall off the path! If you’re craving something meaty, salty, or fried try the following recipes from The Kind Mama: Fat-Fried Udon Noodles or the Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash. Want something sweet? Try the Chocolate-Dunked Coconut Delights.
What were some of your son Bear’s favorite foods at six months, one year, and today?
At six months the baby still isn’t totally into complete meals, so it’s more about introducing gentle foods. At six months Bear was fed lots of whole grains. Whole grains help lay a strong but gentle foundation that assists in fueling development. He enjoyed brown rice and barley porridge. You can find some of these perfect first food recipes in my book. At one year his favorite was bok choy. He would grab it with his little hands. He also liked the shiitake mushrooms and daikon out of my miso soup. Mochi has always been a staple that’s quick and easy (the recipe can also be found in my book). Today, he loves cabbage, green beans, sushi with brown rice and avocado (or almond butter in place of the avocado), and of course sweet fruits like strawberries and apples.
Movie on a Mission: PlantPure NationApril 17, 2015 | Comments (1)
T. Colin Campbell’s groundbreaking 2004 book The China Study has inspired another film, this one closer to home. Campbell’s son, Nelson, is executive producer and director of PlantPure Nation, a film that documents the younger Campbell’s demonstrating the health benefits of a plant-based whole-foods diet in his hometown of Mebane, READ MORE
Movie on a Mission: InhabitApril 8, 2015 | Comments (0)
The result of a three-year odyssey in what director/cinematographer Costa Boutsikaris calls his “veggie-oil-solar-powered-filmmaking-mobile-unit” (a converted VW van), this film documents ecological design systems in action across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest. Here’s our chat with Boutsikaris. READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Carolina SarassaApril 2, 2015 | Comments (1)
Anchor/correspondent for MundoFox National Network News, this three-time Emmy Award winner is also co-author of the true-crime book Dancing on Her Grave: The Murder of a Las Vegas Showgirl. An animal lover who’s adopted two cats and two dogs, Sarassa went vegetarian three years ago and is now vegan. READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Marco Antonio RegilMarch 25, 2015 | Comments (1)
Helming Spanish-language versions of such iconic game shows such as The Price Is Right, this Mexican broadcaster currently hosts 100 Latinos Dijeron on MundoFOX. Regil went vegan in September 2006, after watching the PETA documentary Glass Walls. Here’s our chat with him. READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Elaine HendrixMarch 9, 2015 | Comments (0)
Best known for her roles in Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion and Disney’s The Parent Trap, this actress has a reputation as a matchmaker—a pet matchmaker, that is. So much so that she’s teamed up with Sideshow Network for The Pet Matchmaker Podcast. The vegan and animal activist here READ MORE
Budding Veg Celebs: PinkStrings & HotSauceMarch 3, 2015 | Comments (0)
Sisters Catherine and Bo Fortney’s cover of “Hanging Tree,” from The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1, put their musical duo at the top of the Music Audio Chart. Here’s our Q&A with Catherine, 14, and Bo, 17, who taught themselves how to play guitar (and are both vegetarian). READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Street Art Throwdown’s Justin BuaFebruary 24, 2015 | Comments (0)
Justin Bua’s art spans not just galleries and museums, but also the street. Additionally, he serves as host, co-judge, and executive producer on Oxygen’s Street Art Throwdown. A longtime vegan, he recently developed the Bua Bar. We chatted with him about making stone-ground chocolate, raising his daughter vegan, and more. READ MORE
Movie on a Mission: Open SesameFebruary 11, 2015 | Comments (0)
About 90 percent of the varieties of fruits and vegetables grown 100 years ago no longer exist. “Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds” explores efforts worldwide to promote crop diversity and help secure our food supply. Here’s our Q&A with the film’s producer/director, Sean Kaminsky, about the longstanding practice of READ MORE
Movie on a Mission: Black IceFebruary 4, 2015 | Comments (0)
When you think piracy, Greenpeace doesn’t immediately come to mind. Yet that was the charge leveled against 30 of the non-profit’s activists in 2013 by the Russian government—after Russian special forces seized the team from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise during its protest of the first-ever oil drilling operation in READ MORE
Movie on a Mission: ExposedJanuary 29, 2015 | Comments (0)
“Wildlife isn’t agriculture,” says Brooks Fahy, executive director of the non-profit Predator Defense. Sounds obvious, and yet the Federal government agency known as Wildlife Services falls under the authority of the USDA. Here’s our Q&A with Fahy about a new doc he co-directed and co-produced, which exposes the scandal that READ MORE
Q&A with Vegan Menswear Designer Joshua KatcherJanuary 13, 2015 | Comments (0)
Joshua Katcher has a reputation as a rebel wunderkind in the fashion world, thanks to the elegant and animal-product-free clothing he designs for his brand, Brave GentleMan. We asked him about how he got started in fashion, and what he loves to cook at home. READ MORE
Movie on a Mission: A Small Section of the WorldDecember 17, 2014 | Comments (0)
Our Q&A with Lesley Chilcott, producer and director of the documentary film A Small Section of the World, about the Asociacion de Mujeres Organizadas de Biolley (ASOMOBI), a group of women coffee suppliers in Costa Rica. READ MORE
TV Talk: Fox’s Cause for Paws, An All-Star Dog SpectacularNovember 19, 2014 | Comments (0)
When you’re feeling all warm and glowy after feasting with family and friends this Thanksgiving, consider tuning in to this show, which spotlights rescue dogs. Here’s our Q&A with executive producer Michael Levitt. READ MORE
TV Talk: Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao MingNovember 13, 2014 | Comments (0)
Premiering this Tuesday on Animal Planet, Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming doesn’t flinch from showing the mutilation perpetrated by poachers of ivory and rhino horn. But it also offers hope in the form of animal survivors of black market profiteers, and the people committed to rescuing them. Using the READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Matt LauriaOctober 30, 2014 | Comments (0)
Appearing in NBC’s Parenthood, Matt Luria also co-stars in the DirecTV series Kingdom, another family drama, but with a difference: it takes place in the hard-bitten world of mixed martial arts. Debuting this fall, Kingdom has already been picked up for additional episodes, airing in 2015 and 2016. READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Charles HalfordOctober 22, 2014 | Comments (0)
Co-starring in the new NBC series Constantine, Charles Halford appeared recently in HBO’s Emmy-winning drama True Detective opposite fellow vegan Woody Harrelson. Also a detective show—though with an otherworldly bent—Constantine is inspired by the DC Comics series John Constantine: Hellblazer. The show debuts this Friday, just in time for Halloween. READ MORE
Veg Celebs: Theodore Melfi and Kimberly QuinnOctober 9, 2014 | Comments (0)
Married couple Theodore Melfi and Kimberly Quinn both have producer credits in the much-buzzed-about film St. Vincent, opening in theaters October 17. Both also follow a plant-based diet. Here, the two answer questions about eating vegan, as well as about the film, which Melfi wrote and directed, and in which READ MORE
TV Talk: Years of Living DangerouslySeptember 18, 2014 | Comments (0)
Not known as a bastion of treehuggers, the Pentagon earlier this year noted threats to national security from global climate change. Climate change has also been implicated in the recent ebola outbreak. So, the title Years of Living Dangerously isn’t all that much of an exaggeration for the nine-part Showtime READ MORE
Movie on a Mission: CowspiracySeptember 11, 2014 | Comments (2)
An inconvenient truth for environmental organizations, according to the documentary film Cowspiracy, is animal agriculture’s role in despoiling the planet. “It is their job to know these things and inform us,” says filmmaker Kip Anderson about the silence from “green” groups, such the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, in the face READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Alexandra PaulAugust 22, 2014 | Comments (0)
Alexandra Paul may spend plenty of time behind the camera, producing eco-themed documentaries such as Jam Packed and The Cost of Cool, but the former Baywatch co-star’s acting career continues to purr along. In the fall, she stars in FireQuake for the SyFy channel: “I play a scientist who has READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Linda PerryAugust 7, 2014 | Comments (0)
Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project puts other talent reality shows to shame in that it truly is unscripted. Authenticity was one of the requirements for songwriter-producer Perry to sign onto the VH1 show. Debuting this summer, Make or Break follows the co-writer of such hits as “Get the READ MORE
Veg Celeb: Q & A with Patricia de LeonAugust 1, 2014 | Comments (0)
Patricia de Leon’s career in front of the camera began with her work as an anchor and reporter in her native country, Panama. Then Hollywood beckoned. De Leon has appeared in films as well as on TV, including the Starz series Magic City. A vegetarian, she’s taken a real-life role READ MORE
Book Report: Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind MamaJuly 10, 2014 | Comments (1)
When it comes to mindful eating and parenting, you know you are doing something right when your 1-year old toddler likes to pluck shiitake mushrooms and daikon out of his mama’s miso soup. “At one year his favorite was bok choy. He would grab it with his little hands,” says READ MORE