I spoke with Purist about wellness, health, and more. Check out our q&a below!
You’ve been a vegan/vegetarian and committed animal rights advocate for a long time now. What first made you aware of the plight of animals?
I’ve been an animal lover ever since I was a little girl. My mom was the same way; if we saw a stray dog running in the street, we would rescue it, which I still do to this day! Because of this love for animals I flirted with vegetarianism throughout adolescence but it wasn’t until I was 21 that it really struck me profoundly and became all in. I watched the documentary The Witness and took a look at my dog and thought “If I’m not willing to eat you, how can I continue to eat these other creatures that have the same desire to live, are just as funny, and have the same reaction to pain as my dogs?” I had a realization that I was an animal lover eating animals and it didn’t feel right to be aware of the terrible reality behind the animal agriculture industry and condone them by actively participating in it with a non-vegan diet. I realized that until I stopped purchasing animal products, the suffering would never end. Little did I know, this diet would completely transform my health – ditched my asthma inhaler, weekly allergy shots, and acne.
It’s so much easier to eat a healthy and delicious vegan diet today than in years past, whether cooking for yourself or dining out. Can you talk a little about how you like to cook for yourself at home now and what restaurants you cherish (at home in LA or elsewhere in the world)—with some specificity about favorite dishes/approaches to cooking etc.?
My books The Kind Mama and The Kind Diet have some of my absolute favorite recipes! A couple highlights for me from The Kind Mama include Protein Packed Waffles, Veggie Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash, and Chocolate-Dunked Coconut Delights. From The Kind Diet some go-to dishes include: Quick Date-Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal, Artichoke, Mushroom, and Leek Crostini with Pesto, Bok Choy Drizzled in Ume Vinaigrette, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Other go-tos really depend on the season and what’s fresh in our garden. In the summer I make killer salads that Bear helps me put together. In the winter I love a warming soup.
Some of eateries I love in LA include Vromage; they have so many insane nut-cheeses and tasty sandwiches, and Crossroads Kitchen! Crossroad’s menu changes seasonally but delicious dishes I enjoy include the vichyssoise soup, Impossible sliders, truffle potatoes, squash blossoms, and the peach sundae! In New York, I frequent Souen, Candle 79, and ABCV. Soen has truly nourishing foods that has been a staple for me for the past decade – items like greens and daikon, kinpira, yuba soup, maze rice, and watercress salad. Candle 79 and the Candle Cafes have yum fun dishes like seitan picatta, seitan chimichurri, and peanut butter bliss. ABCV is out of this world, Jean George’s food is seriously next level. The beet carpaccio is insane.
Being a vegan and an environmentalist go hand in hand. Can you talk a little about how the two are related and your commitment to the causes?
Plant-based eating is one of the most effective ways to help save our planet. Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. It’s as if you have two meals of equal yumminess side by side – but one plate’s adverse for the earth, your health, and further’s world hunger. The other plate is harmless and healing. It’s a choice that’s a no brainer to me!
Was mykind Organics a natural progression for you, an extension of the kind of cruelty-free health regimen that being vegan is for you?
Yes! This vitamin journey began when I was pregnant with my son Bear. In order to grow the healthiest little human possible, I was already feeding my body with all the clean, nutrition-packed foods that had transformed my health years ago. But because these babies can be little nutrition vampires-and because some days were not all sunshine and kale – I wanted to have peace of mind that I was getting every health-supporting vitamin and mineral that my body needed during this special time. I embarked on a quest to find the cleanest prenatal vitamin possible, ideally one that was aligned with the way I eat: organic, Non-GMO, plant-based, and free of funky processed junk. I didn’t want a bottle of chemical isolates dressed up with organic fluff. The vitamin I wanted to take didn’t exist. So I went looking for a partner – the stars aligned with Garden of Life – and I co-founded mykind Organics. It is made from whole foods, Certified USDA organic, Non-GMO verified and free of synthetic binders and fillers.
What do you hope to inspire in people with mykind?
mykind Organics hopes to inspire the gift of empowered health. When diving into the world of vitamins I found time and time again, the vitamin market is just like the processed food racket: producers can market themselves as natural without meeting any major criteria. They can also pile a whole bunch of chemical isolates and synthetic fillers in there, put a pretty green leaf on the label, and call it a day. mykind Organics provides truly healthful farm to bottle supplements!
What are you most proud of about it?
mykind Organics’ leadership in innovation, transparency, and sustainability! From utilizing organic farmers, inventing Clean Tablet Technology which binds our capsules with organic plant material (not artificial funk), sweetening our gummies with only organic fruit and using fruit pectin (made from organic oranges and apples) instead of gelatin (boiled animal skin and bones), extracting our herbals with water and organic Non-GMO alcohol – not hexane or GMO ethanol (like everyone else is doing), and enclosing our supplements in packaging with mostly post-consumer recycled content!
There are supplements for many common ailments—from disruptive sleep (Sleep Well) to daily stress (Adrenal Daily Balance) and seasonal colds with your Oil of Oregano drops, etc. Can you say a few words about the range of products and why it was important for you to help people deal with these issues, rather than only offering a multiple vitamin?
Multivitamins cover your bases and in my life serve as a great insurance policy. While a multi is incredibly powerful to have for nutritional supplementation, I’m thrilled we also offer targeted nutrient supplements (B12, Vitamin C, Iron, D3, B-Complex, Plant Collagen) and 16 herbal blends because each of our bodies and day of the week is unique! When I’m working long hours and feeling run down, the Adrenal Daily Balance offers a much-needed extra boost. If I’m feeling like a cold is coming on, I reach for my Elderberry Syrup/Gummies, Vitamin C Spray, and Turmeric Golden Milk. If I’m travelling or have a lot on my mind, the Sleep Well R&R spray comes in handy for peaceful restorative sleep!
What is one thing you would recommend taking every day? And what are the herbal supplements that you personally can’t survive without everyday, and why?
Before we made our own truly clean mykind Organics supplements I didn’t want to take anything on a regular basis. Now that mykind Organics exists, I try to take our B Complex, B-12 Spray, and Vitamin C Cherry Tangerine spray. I also take our 40+ Multivitamin Gummy as a sweet treat that’s also good for me! Some herbal supplements I use as needed include mykind Organics Sleep Well R&R Spray, Ashwagandha, Adrenal Balance, and our delicious Elderberry Gummies.
What’s on the horizon for mykind?
We have so many ideas in the pipeline. Stay tuned!
In what ways did having a child of your own deepen your commitment to the health of the planet and its inhabitants?
Given our food’s immense impact on the planet and it’s biodiversity – if we love our little ones, we must care for the home they inhabit by showing respect, love, and compassion for all that’s in it: every resource, every creature.
What kinds of physical fitness do you enjoy/do regularly, and please talk a little about what it does for you physically/mentally…
I love yoga, circuit training, pilates and walking in nature. Bear and I enjoy hiking together and frequent dance parties! Getting movement in the body helps me feel energized and refreshed.
Do you have a meditation practice or another way of staying grounded on a regular basis?
I meditate but not on a strict daily basis. Sometimes when I walk I try to meditate by listening and being present with the sounds of nature, smelling the air, and feeling my steps. My diet is really the core to feeling grounded. It leaves me so much more clear-minded, present, openhearted and connected to the earth. I try to eat slowly and chew, chew, chew! Present with every nourishing bite. Lots of tips on this stuff in my book The Kind Diet!
What kinds of roles/stories do you find most enlivening at this point in life, and what upcoming acting projects are you most excited about?
Juicy characters that have depth! It really depends but typically I love roles that I can sink my teeth into, ones that are complicated, contradictory, and interest me. Recently I was the lead in two indie films, Judy Small and The Pleasure of Your Presence. Both roles were so much fun and great interesting parts to play. Last year, I really enjoyed played Bonnie Nolan on the TV show American Woman. Bonnie was a feisty mama in the 70’s time period. Overall, I’m excited about working with filmmakers like I did on The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos) and most recently, The Lodge (Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala).
The Lodge premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. Can you tell us about working on it? Looks frightening—in a good way!
At this time I have yet to see it! But I can’t wait to watch it. I’m a bit scared! Some of my friends saw it and jumped into each other’s arms at a certain point in the film where I do something… The filmmakers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala were so interesting. It was such a cool artistic experience. It was also nice to work again with Lia McHugh, who played my daughter in American Woman, and I play her mom in The Lodge.
How do you cultivate a sense of well-being in the home?
Food is number one, hands-down cooking and serving plant-based meals. Bear and I maintain a veggie garden in our backyard and make it a ritual to plant and harvest together. We also supplement gardening with weekly farmers market adventures.
After food, every material in our house has been consciously considered for its sustainability and health. A couple examples, almost all of the furniture in our house is vintage and bought second hand; we have a house filtration system so we can drink and cook with clean water while also preventing the use of plastic bottles; our greywater is recycled to water our fruit trees; and we utilize Branch Basics non-toxic eco cleaning materials so there’s no funky chemicals or ample plastic spray bottles lying around our house.
Photo: Brian Bowen Smith