Today we have a wonderful interview and giveaway with our friend Kathy Freston. She is the author of many wellness and healthy lifestyle books such as The Quantum Wellness Cleanse, The Veganist, and her newest, The Lean. Check out the giveaway below to win a goodie bag of The Lean and other vegan foods.
What first inspired you to go vegan and help others transform their life with food and lifestyle changes? Did you make the change overnight or gradually to a vegan lifestyle?
I came in through the “feeling” or ethical door… I was playing with my little chi chi one day, rubbing her belly and thinking how much I loved animals. And then a little voice inside of me asked, “If you love animals so much, why are you eating them?” Yikes. That sort of started me on the trajectory of moving toward a vegan diet. I thought I would get fat and probably die 10 years earlier by not eating animal protein (there is so much misinformation out there!). But the more research I did, the more I realized that you actually lose weight and get super healthy by forgoing animal products. I was so excited about what I was learning, I wanted to share it.
Personally, I could have never made the transition overnight. It was too hard and overwhelming to give up all my traditional favorite foods. So I decided to set my intention and then lean into it. Within a year or two, I was eating a purely plant based diet and feeling great. The “leaning in” approach was really successful with me, and I encourage people to go that route so that they can find their footing easily and comfortably.
If someone is a die-hard skeptic of how delicious vegan food can be what meal would you feed them? Don’t forget dessert right?
There are so many fantastic vegan meals! I suppose I would go with everyone’s favorite: pizza. Made with nondairy cheese and veggie sausage… no one would know the difference. And of course dessert! There is NO dessert that can’t be equaled or bettered by a vegan version. I love chocolate cake (made with no eggs or milk) and vanilla (soy or coconut) ice cream; you can’t go wrong with that!
Who’s work do you love in the vegan/health world? Who inspires you?
The doctors: Ornish, Campbell, Esselstyn, and Barnard; they are the rock stars of medicine and healing; they are bringing forth the science that saves lives. Tal Ronnen is my dear friend, and the chef who taught me that plant based food could be just as exquisite and hearty as the meaty stuff I grew up loving. And I love all the animal activists who are showing us how lovely animals are, and why we might rather not eat them!
What does a typical day in your life look like and what kind of meals are you eating?
I am a hearty eater, so I eat 3 squares and a few snacks.
Breakfast: I start out with brown rice for breakfast (I make a big batch of it 2 or 3 times a week and keep it in the fridge), with some chopped dates and raw almonds mixed in… heated soy or almond milk on top with a drizzle of agave.
Snacks: nuts and goji berries. Bittersweet chocolate. Power smoothie after a work out.
Lunch: Black bean burrito and salad, or lentil soup and cheesy toast, or whole grain pasta with broccoli, veggie sausage, and sundried tomatoes.
Dinner: Gardein chik’n with roasted potatoes, asparagus, big salad.
And I always have an apple a day!
What are five vegan staples that everyone should have in their pantry?
I’m a creamy, cheesy FREAK! So I couldn’t live without
– Daiya cheese (for pizza, grilled cheese, or melted atop anything);
– cashew cream (super easy to make by soaking raw cashews in water overnight, and blending at a high speed) for pasta cream sauce or creamy soups;
– Silk soy creamer (plain for coffee and tea; vanilla for more desserty type stuff)
– Earth Balance (because life should not be lived without butter.. this is just a healthier, nondairy version of it)
– Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana soy ice cream. Need I say more?
Ok, maybe those aren’t typical staples like vegetable broth or yeast flakes, but I’m just telling you what MY staples are! J
What is your favorite restaurant in the world to eat at and why? Favorite dish there?
I love Candle 79 in New York because everything it’s really fine dining at its best. The food looks like any other fancy restaurant fare, but it’s all vegan. It’s fulfilling in every way, and so fresh and delicious. I can take any one of my carnivorous friends or business associates there, and I know they will be blown away. I love the Seitan Picatta, followed by their unbelievably fabulous cannolis!
What is in store for you? Do you have any speaking engagements this year and new books on the horizon?
I don’t do too many speaking engagements because I have to leave my pooch behind too much, and that kills me! I’m putting out a daily newsletter of advice and insight called The Daily Lean. You can sign up for it by going to TheDailyLean.com. And I’m beginning research for a book on children’s health. I so love that we, as a culture, are moving in the direction of awareness around food, and I want to do as much as I can to be a part of that forward motion!
Now for the giveaway!! Enter to win through Rafflecopter below!
Inside the bag you will find:
The Lean book
Sun-Dried Goji Berries
Vegetarian Hamburger Mix
Clif Vanilla Almond Builders Protein Bar
Bobo’s Oat Bars- Peanut Butter
UliMana Dark Cacao Truffles
Weinstein Books bag