English: "V" icon as as symbol for v...
English: Kathy Freston at the Farm Sanctuary 2...

Kathy Freston, wellness expert and best-selling author, shared her secrets to compassionate, mindful eating with Oprah in the March 2011 issue.

I came across the interview while scanning magazines for a dream board exercise at the last Hot Warrior Yoga™ training weekend, and had to cut out the martinis-are-vegan quote. Not because I’m an alcoholic, but because I love the fun, free-spirited, get-there-when-and-how-you-can approach Kathy embodies.

Kathy (we’re on a first name basis, in my mind) shared her secrets to mindful eating:

  • To make a change, you have to lean into it. When I decided to become a vegan, I did it gradually: one thing at a time over the course of a few years. If I had pushed myself to stop eating all animal products at once, I might have given up.
  • There’s fun in the hunt. Veganism is like a sport for me. I roam supermarket aisles searching for new foods – recently, I found a coconut-based ice cream that’s unbelievable. And I love the challenge of “veganizing” recipes: mashed potatoes with soy milk, or pizza topped with tapioca-based cheese and veggie sauce.
  • Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use. Eating consciously is an exercise in kindness, and the more I work at it, the more empowered I feel. When I eat food that’s grown in the ground or in trees, my mind is clear, my body thrives, and I’m more deeply connected with the world.
  • Seitan is a vegan’s secret weapon. At a dinner party a few years ago, I served “veal piccata” – but with seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat gluten. One of my guests, a Midwestern guy who loves his meat, said to me, “That’s the best veal I’ve ever tasted.” I felt so proud for pulling off the switch.
  • I’ll be forever grateful that alcohol is vegan. An occasional martini is good for the soul.
Order Kathy’s New York Times bestseller, Veganist, here.
O’Brien vegan favorites: Our son Owen can’t eat (or drink) milk protein, so we’ve been creative for a few years on his behalf — benefitting the whole family. He absolutely loves So Delicious coconut milk “ice creams,” sorbets, fudge bars, and “yogurts.” And we are big fans of Silk almond milk in our house — 50% more calcium than dairy milk, alkaline, and without the dreaded casein. Gardein provides an occasional chick’n tender or mandarin orange crispy chick’n that is quite tasty (just like chicken!), mostly plant-based, and almost everyone in our clan loves it. Lots more to share if there is interest.

If you are the kind of person who needs a little shock-therapy encouragement to try leaning vegan, have a look at the official trailer for the well-regarded documentary, Forks Over Knives:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ijukNzlUg&w=560&h=315]

Order your own copy of the documentary here, watch it on Netflix, or order the How-To Companion to the Feature Documentary on Amazon. Thank you, fellow hot warrior teacher-in-training Margaret for turning me on to this fine film!