Q&A with Mena Suvari

I’m so thrilled to share my interview with American Woman cast-mate Mena Suvari! Mena is a recent vegan and plays my character’s best friend 🙂 We can’t wait for you to see the show (out June 7th! Paramount Network!). In the meantime, over to Mena!

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How long have you been vegan?

About 10 months now.
Why did you make the change? Following the shift, did you notice impacts it immediately had on you?

I’ve always been very health-conscious. I’ve ever done a raw diet for a while and 10-day juice cleanse. I guess it was a bit of a natural progression mixed with others influencing me, including you while we worked on American Woman. But the final kicker was watching the docu “What the Health.”  It literally gave me the choice to go fully vegan overnight.

I’ve noticed all kinds of “changes” that have occurred in the midst of becoming vegan… For me, a lot of it is energetic, spiritual even.  I believe that everything in this reality is due to perceptions of energies.  And to me, the “system” is sick.  Eating anything other than a fully vegan diet honestly made me feel unwell. Meat products resemble pain, horror, and anxiety. I simply didn’t want to incorporate into my being anymore.  So much of what I do is based upon these concepts.  I know that others consider living a vegan lifestyle simply for “health” reasons, but for me, it truly goes so much deeper.  I feel better, happier, more at peace and connected to the universe and to all beings.

How has your family, friends, and co-workers responded to your diet? Do you bring your own food to work or is it easy to find options on-set?  

Well now this is an interesting one, because being a sort of “newbie” to the vegan scene, I’m still encountering all kinds of obstacles and learning how to navigate. There aren’t a lot of people who know that I’m fully vegan now, and even cruelty free.

Sometimes, it’s difficult. I sort of don’t like how people think that veganism and vegetarianism are the same thing, because they’re not!  But, I’m finding my way.  At first, I would only eat at vegan establishments, because I didn’t even trust any other way.  But now, I’ve found that I’m branching out and learning how to simply ask for what I need.  And sometimes you come up against attitudes from others that feel you’re just being annoying, but for the most part people have been pretty accepting and accommodating.  I’ve even met people who then start up a conversation with me about what it’s like to be vegan and how they have thought about making the change!  So, that’s cool!

Working with you on American Woman was a godsend and a true eye-opener! The meals you arranged for us all to subsist on throughout a busy workweek were phenomenal!  You taught me so much about how it’s possible to still eat well and completely follow the diet you believe in through people and companies that help do that for us!  I’ve definitely stolen this idea from you and plan to continue it on all jobs!

When your diet comes up in conversation with non-veggie friends, do you have a favored elevator pitch to encourage them to eat more plants? If so, what is it?

It saddens me sometimes, but I think that a lot of people aren’t truly open to change. I pretty much try to stay true to what I believe in and how I like to live my life and just live by example. When and if people are curious, they will inquire. I don’t want to push my ideas on anyone too much so that they don’t consider new ideas.

What is a typical?

Breakfast:  Lately, I’m mad into my avocado toast I make at home. It’s sooooo yummy and beyond nutritious!

Lunch:  Anything I can fit in! Usually my lunches are pretty light, and some days I’ll even just have a solid green juice.

Dinner:  I love making creative pasta dishes. With Bolognese “meat” or truffled Japanese mushrooms!

Snack:  Maybe a hemp protein shake or some bean chips (loooove those!)

What are some of your favorite spots to dine at (in whichever city you spend the most time)?

I have to gush about Little Pine. Not only is the food to-die-for and super creative (like, who ever knew you could enjoy a croissant as a vegan!), but the owner Moby allows all the proceeds to benefits animal charities. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Shojin is a godsend too, because I’ve always loved Sushi. There, you can stay true to your beliefs and enjoy awesome creative Japanese cuisine. The staff is so lovely in providing gluten free options along with lists of ingredients for all their dishes. That’s special and very caring!

I also love Veggie Grill because it’s easy, fast, and awesome. There are several around the city and it makes it easy to eat anywhere quick!

And finally, I love love love Real Food Daily. I’ve always loved this place, even when I wasn’t vegan. Their food is delicious and the atmosphere is so positive and healing.. I love that!