For a certain generation of fans, Alicia Silverstone, 37, will forever be Cher from the 1995 classic Clueless. She's also a producer, Broadway star, blogger, and New York Times best-selling author of the 2009 ode to veganism, The Kind Diet -- plus a devoted mother to Bear Blu, 3, with husband Christopher Jarecki. Her son serves as inspiration for her latest book, The Kind Mama, a nutrition-and-lifestyle guide for women who want to get pregnant, who have a baby on the way, or who just want to eat more healthfully now.
"You have to be in the moment. When you have a baby, it prioritizes everything. You have to cut out anything that doesn't work; there's no fluff time. All the fluff time you want to spend savoring your child. Time just goes."
Q: What is a "kind mama"?
"It's not just about being kind to your baby, although of course there's that, too. It's about being kind to yourself. Getting yourself as healthy as possible, to fortify you and make you available for every precious moment."
Q: Why do you think a vegan diet is so beneficial for pregnant women, and everyone?
"I want to be the most nourished, the healthiest, and strongest I can be. During my pregnancy and birth I was reminded every day about how 'hard' pregnancy is. With this lifestyle, and these kind recipes, my pregnancy was easier. When I eat the way I eat, I sleep better, which makes me more patient, more present. I want to provide for women a place to learn about all the thing things we're told are unavoidable during pregnancy but are not -- bloating, fatigue, etc. -- to know their options, and to empower them."
Q: Saying no to "empty" foods is a challenge because they taste good, or serve as quick pick-me-ups. What's your advice?
"Set a date. Tell yourself, 'I'm trying for 30 days, or even just a week, to see how I feel.' Not forever, just a trial period. Do a science experiment on yourself. If you can't have ice cream, you might instead turn to [my recipe for] Chocolate Coconut Delight made with maple syrup. That's not a healing choice, but it's a kinder choice. At the core, once you start incorporating kind foods into your diet, you're adding so much good stuff, your body is so nourished and balanced, you don't crave the bad stuff anymore."
Q: You write about how your own labor didn't go as planned. How did you feel about it?
"I labored at home but had to go to the hospital at the very last minute. My feelings around that are complicated. I had some sad feelings, but I was also thrilled because I did have a natural birth. But you can't help but feel: 'What went wrong?' My friend saw a pregnancy chiropractor the day before her birth, and I thought, 'I should have done that, too.' Then I thought maybe I'd been working too much. Ultimately, it's hard to know."