You know her as Anna from the film Frozen, as Veronica Mars, as Sarah Marshall, and as one-half of a lovable Hollywood couple, however, Kristen Bell isn't your typical Hollywood starlet: She gardens. She loves picking fruit from her trees. She munches on avocados, and she drizzles life, love, and health in everything she does.
Kristen (a vegetarian since age 11) and her husband Dax (ex-carnivore), turned into plant-based eaters after watching the documentary, Forks Over Knives. “It’s more about the health benefits than the ethics,” she concedes. “But it’s compounded by the fact that I love animals and feel better not eating them.” Mother, wife, role model, and actress, Kristen speaks to Naked Food about her views on food, her health secrets, and her undeniable love for plants.
NF: How were your eating habits growing up?
KB: I loved all foods, except meats. For some reason, eating meat never appealed to me. But if it wasn’t meat, I’d eat it!
NF: How do you keep a healthy diet while on the set? Have you found it difficult finding/making plant-based food requests while working?
KB: It takes some discipline to have a craft service table available while you work and bypass the cookies and chips. Luckily, in Los Angeles, there are so many fresh options that I usually pack my lunches for the week with kale, tomatoes or figs from my garden, or whatever came fresh in my Farm Delivery Box that week. I’ll usually make a grain (couscous, bulgur, quinoa, etc.) and throw in a bunch of veggies.
NF: Do you enjoy cooking at home? Could you share one of your most favorite plant-based recipes?
KB: Cooking is my meditation. It relaxes me. One of my favorite things to make is couscous cooked with veggie or No Chicken Stock for flavor. Then I let it cool off and add arugula, dried currants or blueberries, and walnuts or pecans. It’s divine.
NF: Which whole foods are a must while pregnant, and also vital to your daughter’s diet?
KB: I try to eat and feed my kid as many “super foods” as possible. Avocados are big in our house, as we sometimes just spoon it right out of its skin with a bit of sea salt. My daughter loves them. We are also big on blueberries, apples, walnuts, tomatoes, and broccoli.
The most important step in my mind is knowledge, education. For too long, no one cared to pay attention to where our food was coming from, as long as it came.
I have two twin-sized bed garden boxes. I grow a little bit of everything, depending on the season, most often kale, tomatoes, green beans, squash, and herbs. I also have fig, tangerine, lemon, apple, plum, nectar plum trees, which all bloom at different times, so I always have fresh fruit around.
NF: What is the most romantic and deliciously healthy dinner that you like making for your husband?
KB: Not sure if it qualifies as romantic, but I love making a garbage disposal salad for my husband. It’s an easy way for me to overload him with veggies he might not normally get. I start with some lentils, then add greens (romaine or spinach, etc.) and each and every fruit, veggie and nut I can find. That might be a bowl of cucumber, carrot, fig, broccoli, apple, strawberry, walnut, and sunflower seeds.
NF: Tell us about This Bar Saves Lives, and why it is important to you.
KB: It’s a really easy way to enjoy a yummy bar, and help a hungry child. TBSL was the brainchild of a few friends of mine who decided that eating is lovelier when it’s a shared experience. I think companies using a give back or “one for one” model are the future, so for every TBSL purchased, a life-saving nutritional packet is donated to a child in need.
NF: Do you often read the food labels on packaged food? Could you share a piece of advice about toxic ingredients?
KB: Being smart about eating is so much easier than it seems. You don’t need to be an expert to know that fresh food is better than boxed food; If you cannot pronounce some of the ingredients, it’s probably not great for you. They may taste great, but they will leave you feeling sluggish and craving MORE food in the long run.
I also pay attention to a company’s ethics when looking at their package. I want a company I purchase from to be responsible and have earth friendly practices as well as make great-tasting food.
I respond and like to patronize family-owned businesses. One of my favorites is Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Almond Butter because they have really invested in saving the waning bee population.
NF: What are the top 3 things you would advice to anyone who is looking to be healthier?
- Ditch your car one day a week. Find the closest place you need to go and walk or bike or take a subway. I think you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy it!
- Make an attempt to enjoy Mother Nature’s recipes; an apple, carrot sticks, almonds, a fig. I have found so much delight in tasting foods without anything added or mixed. Just appreciating the way it’s plucked from the earth can be delicious, too!
- Let yourself off the hook. No one is perfect. Healthy habits take years to create and binging or guilty feelings aren’t good for anyone. As long as you are making an effort, you are doing great.
NF: What would you say is the most important step into a more sustainable world? How could we all make a difference?
KB: The most important step in my mind is knowledge, education. For too long, no one cared to pay attention to where our food was coming from, as long as it came. Now we have every aisle in the supermarket bursting with preservatives and sugar fillers. We have farmers who cannot sustain their businesses as we have grossly inhumane factory farms. We need to be aware of what we are buying and where it comes from. We need to agree with how it got to us and what we are willing to sacrifice to get it there. If we all paid a bit more attention to consciousness instead of convenience, we could do a lot of good.
Image Copyright @ Justin Campbell