by Dana Meltzer Zepeda
She first rose to stardom in the 1995 blockbuster Clueless, but in real life, Alicia Silverstone is the opposite of the film’s superficial lead character. During the past decade, Silverstone has emerged as an influential environmental and animal-rights activist, and became a celebrated author and healthy living guru, thanks to The Kind Diet, the 2011 New York Times’ bestseller that made a convincing argument for eating a plant-based diet.
Three years later, the effervescent mom to two-and-a-half-year-old son Bear can be found spending her days blending green smoothies, blogging about eco-friendly fashion and beauty on her social network The Kind Life, and of course, acting. The longtime yogini (who frequently indulges in “yoga dates” with her husband Christopher Jarecki) has dedicated herself to raising awareness about living a natural, vegan lifestyle.
Now Silverstone at it again with The Kind Mama, a just-released guide to fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood inspired by her own experiences.
We recently caught up with the 37-year-old, who shared how women with mindfulness on their “to do” list can become happier, healthier and, of course, kinder mamas.
Yoga Journal: What inspired you to write this book?
Alicia Silverstone: Some of it started in my prenatal yoga class. I would hear women tell their stories about hemorrhoids and swollen ankles, and I suspected it was because of their diet because I wasn’t having any of these problems. So I would end up giving “prescriptions” at the end of class, and everyone was so interested and excited. [The book came about because] I wanted to give all women the information they needed to be the most nourished, healthiest, and strongest they could be during that time, all in one place.
YJ: How did yoga fit into your pregnancy?
AS: My prenatal yoga classes with Rebecca Benenati at YogaWorks in West Hollywood were unbelievable. Her class is so gentle and warm and deep, so targeted and specific to what you’re going through at that time. You have to keep moving when you’re pregnant, and her class is a really safe place to be. [It was] a huge part of my pregnancy.
YJ: What do you think are the key ingredients to a happy, healthy pregnancy?
AS: Eat the foods you know will heal, nourish, and make you strong. The key is getting enough variety. Every plant has its own unique magical properties, so filling your plate with a wide range of veggies, beans, nuts, seeds and grains is how you make sure your body is completely fortified.
YJ: Is Bear picky or is he a healthy eater too?
AS: My son eats what I’m eating and he’s excited about it. He’ll say, “mochi!” or “daikon!” How many kids get excited about daikon?
YJ: How do you get a two-year-old to eat Daikon?
AS: So many parents say, “How on earth do you get your kids to eat greens?” And I say, “Well, it’s because I eat them!” Bear doesn’t know about other things but he’s not deprived. He’s blessed and happier and he feels better. That’s what the whole book is about, helping you understand that your moods and feelings and emotions, all of that is controlled by what you how you eat.
YJ: Does Bear practice yoga with you?
AS: Almost right after he started walking, he was doing Downward Dog. The other day I was driving and he kept saying, “Mommy, look back, look back!” I said, “I can’t look back or I’ll crash.” He just kept going and going. Then, all of the sudden, I did look back and he was in full Lotus in his car seat.
YJ: What is your go-to comfort food when the last morsel of yourself feels used up?
AS: I’ll have a bowl of squash soup or maybe some bitter greens with orange squeezed on top of them or some green juice. That’s what the whole book is about: helping you understand that your moods and feelings and emotions, all of that is controlled by what you eat. I also think that when you slow it down with food, you’re really available in those moments with your children—which are so fast and fleeting—because you’re not impatient and you’re not distracted. Your kids get all of that. They get to love life. It gives them the foundation for how to feel amazing, and then everything is possible.