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Alexandra Paul went seamlessly from Baywatch lifeguard to Ironwoman, competing in Hawaii’s World Ironman Triathlon Championships in 1997 and other endurance competitions. A dedicated environmental activist, Paul, 46, cowrote and produced Jam Packed, a documentary about overpopulation. The actress also appeared (as herself) in the 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?

Q What motivated you to become a vegetarian?

A It’s the best way each of us can save animals and save the environment. Now, over 30 years later, I also see a spiritual aspect to it: a reverence for all life and a consciousness that comes from making a decision not to eat just anything.

Q How were you introduced to vegetarianism?

A I read Diet for a Small Planet when I was 14, just when I was formulating my ethics and â??inhalingâ? new information. I wanted to be a good person and make a difference in the world. Vegetarianism seemed to fit both bills.

Q How are you continuing your efforts to live a greener life?

A I am very focused these days on simplifying. In February, my husband, Ian, and I each got rid of one thing each day of the month. And if we brought something new into the house, we had to compensate for that. Not having a lot of things is crucial to preserving resources, and removing the extraneous just makes life better.