Next up in my 2011 Veggie Girl Power Interview Series is Kathy Freston, one of the most inspirational vegans of 2011. From major media appearances (Oprah, Ellen, Martha just to name a few) to the successful launch of her best-selling book Veganist – Kathy has represented vegans in a mainstream spotlight all year long – and she sure has made us proud! Get to know Kathy!…
Making Vegans Proud. There are a handful of vegans who have the opportunity speak to a very large, very mainstream audience about what vegan is all about. Kathy is one of those ladies. And with that opportunity comes an enormous amount of pressure to represent both your fellow vegans with pride while still communicating effectively and appealingly to the non-vegan critics.
Sounds like a very fine tightrope to balance upon. But Kathy never fails. She waltzes through these moments in the spotlight with confidence, knowledge, passion, appeal and grace.
O P R A H. I can’t even imagine the pressure Kathy must have felt when Oprah asked her to lead her entire 378-person staff in a “week of vegan.” The pitch went like this: “No meat, no milk, no animal anything. Oprah and 378 Harpo staffers go vegan for one week.”
But there was Kathy, warm smile on her face and a full arsenal of vegan facts and figures in her head. Ready and willing to take on even the toughest of meat-loving critics. If you watched the vegan Oprah show, you know how much Kathy inspired not only Oprah and her staff – but the entire world really.
Veganist. Kathy’s best-selling book Veganist is a must-read for vegans, veg-curious and even vegan critics – this book is packed with information, inspiration and amazing recipes. Buy it here: Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World.
2011 Veggie Girl Power Series Interview: Kathy Freston
Q1: Sunrise, what is the first food and/or drink you reach for to start your “Veggie Girl Power” day?
Kathy:I have a glass of water, first thing. Then 2 or 3 cups of tea – starting with yerba mate, and ending with black. Then I usually have brown rice with chopped dates and almonds with hot almond milk on top.
Q2: As a Veggie Girl Power trailblazer you inspire many girls, who or what has inspired you?
Kathy: I’m inspired by the animals themselves. They are so lovely and innocent that the thought of them keeps me pushing forward.
Q3: When you first went vegan, what was the most challenging aspect of your new lifestyle? How did you overcome those obstacles?
Kathy: Most challenging was that my husband wasn’t interested in eating v, and we entertained a lot. So I had to make the food really super delish so that nobody felt deprived or disappointed. It worked! My husband is leaning in, and most of our friends now eat a lot less (if any) meat themselves, and they look forward to the healthy food they get at our house.
Q4: When people ask you why you ‘went vegan’ what is your usual response?
Kathy: I was playing with my beloved dog Lhotse one day, and as I was rubbing her belly laughing at the smile on her face, I realized that she was no different than any other animals… it’s just that I knew her. I was suddenly horrified to think I was eating animals who were just as lovely as her.
Q5: What is the one message that you always try to project to your fans/followers?
Kathy: Just “lean into it”. It’s not an all or nothing endeavor, and if you just keep taking small steps, you’ll find your way. Progress, not perfection!
Q6: Vegans love to share their knowledge about food and nutrition, what is an interesting food fact you love to share with people?
Kathy: This is always stunning to people: cholesterol is manufactured by animals (including humans) , and there is no cholesterol in plant foods.
Q7: Vegans don’t live on carrot sticks and hummus alone, give us your most creative/delicious vegan snack idea!
Kathy: Where to begin?! For something hearty, I whip up a quick pizza … just pour tomato sauce on a whole wheat pizza crust and sprinkle a bunch of vegan cheese (I like Daiya) on top; pop it in the toaster and I’m in heaven! For something sweet I make a root beer float with Zevia soda and some Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana ice cream. Sigh.
Q8: Words to live by: what is a favorite life tip or quote of wisdom?
Kathy: As overused as it is, it’s still my favorite: “Be the change you want to see in the world!” -Gandhi
Q9: How do you respond to negative comments from those critical of a vegan lifestyle – both online and in the real world?
Kathy: With patience and compassion. I was not always eating this way, and I understand the resistance to change. Being nasty or militant doesn’t win anyone over, so I’m as kind and informative as I can be.
Q10: What vegan ingredients and/or vegan products have you discovered that you simply couldn’t live without?
Kathy: My hands down favorite MUST HAVE is Silk Soy Creamer. Makes tea and coffee so delicious, and I use the Vanilla flavor to pour over rice for a little dessert treat!