If you're looking to lessen your impact on the environment, adopting more plant-based eating habits can be a great way to do so. After all, it's predicted that if everyone in the United States reduced their consumption of beef, pork, and poultry by a quarter, we’d save about 82 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
But, of course, making that reduction a reality is easier said than done, as many of us have become accustomed to consuming animal products as a source of protein. In the latest episode of Good Together, Laura Wittig, Brightly's CEO and co-founder, hopes to make that transition easier through her conversation with actress Alicia Silverstone.
The dedicated health and wellness activist (and yes, the star of the cult-classic film Clueless) runs her own healthy living blog called The Kind Life. And in 2011, she released a book called The Kind Diet, which tells the story of her own journey toward a more conscious way of eating.
Continue reading to learn more about Silverstone's sustainability journey and her tips for plant-based eating.
Why Alicia Silverstone Became Interested in Plant-Based Eating
Silverstone's inspiration to become vegan really started with animal welfare. "I was one of those people who loved animals, but ate them," says Silverstone. "And I did that for a long time and struggled with it."
After learning more about how animals are raised for food, Silverstone says she was heartbroken. This sparked her interest in veganism. It wasn't until later in her journey, though, that she discovered the larger environmental impact of her dietary choice.
"There are so many reasons to be concerned about the Earth," says Silverstone. "There are the simple things, like selfish joys of seeing the beauty in this world and seeing it get ruined. But then there's also the immediate life and death threatening aspect, whether that's children and people who are dying from pollution, or the imminent danger of the sixth mass extinction."
This desire to help animals, the planet, and live a healthier life came projects such as Silverstone's blog, books, and her latest endeavor: Her mykind Organics vitamin line, in partnership with Garden of Life—the first-ever food-based, organic, and non-GMO vegan supplement. Most recently, she released her new apple cider vinegar gummies. Each of these projects help her inspire others to live a more plant-based lifestyle.
How to Eat a More Plant-Based Diet
Taking Alicia Silverstone's completely vegan approach to eating may not be realistic for everyone. However, that doesn't mean you can't reduce your intake of meat and dairy, too. Silverstone has some tips for those looking to ease into the transition.
1. Incorporate Vegan Swaps Into Your Favorite Meals
Transitioning to a more plant-based diet doesn't necessarily mean giving up your favorite meals. From plant-based burgers to vegan cheeses, there's a seemingly endless amount of plant-based swaps you can incorporate into your meals. And don't worry: You don't have to give up on taste. Silverstone says many of the vegan alternatives have come very far in terms of taste and texture.
"10 years ago, I would tell you just don't bother with any vegan cheese," says Silverstone. "But we have the most incredible cheeses now. I mean, there's really no taste sacrifice anymore."
So maybe you start by substituting cheese in your favorite pasta recipe, but you just can't bring yourself to give up eggs or dairy milk. Or maybe you can only commit to plant-based meals once a week. Regardless of what you can't do, remember that what you can do still counts.
"Being plant-based a few days a week—imagine if everybody did that," says Silverstone. "If everyone tried, instead of just saying no."
2. Offer to Make Vegan Meals for Gatherings
Another big hurdle to adopting a plant-based diet is your family and friends. Often times, those around us don't have the same perspective when it comes to sustainable diets. To help with this, Silverstone encourages people to put on their chef's hats and get to work in the kitchen.
"If I was going to someone's house, and they weren't vegan, I might say, 'Hey, can I bring something? Because I'm vegan and I want to make something delicious and not hassle you,'" she says. With this approach, Silverstone says people tend to react one of two ways: They either get excited and offer to make everything vegan, or they take you up on your offer, giving you the opportunity to introduce everyone to a delicious vegan meal.
"I think just when [meat eaters] start to eat delicious [vegan] things and they see how easy it is and you feel good, you are well, you're healthy... I just think it kind of inspires, naturally," says Silverstone.
Ultimately, incorporating plant-based eating into your life is a change, and you have to be kind to yourself as you make that change.
"It takes work, and it takes practice, but it's really worthy," says Silverstone. "And celebrating every little step in the right direction is massive."
Love this interview with Alicia Silverstone? You can watch the entire video on our YouTube channel.