Exclusive: Quantum Wellness Author Kathy Freston Shares Her Thoughts
Kathy Freston is a solider for good health. As one of the wellness movements most outspoken authors, Freston has worked tenaciously to share honest and thoughtful information about diet and health. Pretty frigin rad, right?
Kathy’s book Quantum Wellness hit shelves last year with outstanding success — even helping to convince Oprah to go VEG for 21 days!! Kathy’s newest book, Quantum Wellness Cleanse: The 21-Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit, takes it one step further by giving an in-depth look at the powers of rebooting your life with a healthy and powerful 21-day cleanse.
Freston recently took time out of her busy schedule to sit down for an exclusive interview with your favorite green blog. Check it out below!
Ecorazzi: You went from a career as a model and actress to author and wellness expert. How did that journey take place?
Kathy Freston: Sometimes I think the universe does you a big fat favor in allowing you to fail. Because I had a mediocre career as a model (I was never an actress, except in commercials), I was always looking for comfort and upliftment in other ways. Since I never felt I was “enough” in a material way – pretty enough or successful enough – I began looking for meaning in other arenas. I studied with spiritual teachers and did workshops on improving myself; I read books on philosophy and worked on my personal growth in whatever manner I could. It was during this time that I began to look more closely at food, and how my choices and habits were not in line with my deepening awareness of spiritual principles. Once I started delving into how food – meat, chicken, fish, dairy, and eggs – arrived on my plate, I became obsessed with pushing myself to live in a more evolved manner.
You might have thought it would be an easy move, to become vegan, but it wasn’t. I was very attached to the food I had grown up loving. What I learned was that if I “leaned into it”, I had more success at changing my ways. I wanted to write about the process, because I felt that I was probably not so unlike a lot of people – wanting to change, knowing it was the right thing to do, but not being able to get there. This subject matter – eating vegan – has become a passion, because it’s a home run all around: it’s good for our sense of “right living”; it’s good for our bodies to eat a plant based diet; and it’s a way of being an active environmentalist (vegetarian is the new prius!).
E: Your new book is a follow-up to the original Quantum Wellness. What kind of new information does this book have?
KF: Quantum Wellness is a book that speaks to nearly every sector of your life: relationships, addiction, spiritual growth…everything. It’s an all around guide to wellness of body, mind, and spirit. The Quantum Wellness Cleanse is a 21-day guide to assist you through the process of re-booting your life by cleaning out the toxicity in your diet. There is a lot of information on animal protein and what it does to your body (and soul). As well, you get a very succinct overview on how sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and gluten affect your physical health and emotional wellbeing. You can’t imagine how different you can feel when you give your body a short break from the Big Five! Plus, there are 21 days of unbelievably delicious and easy-to-do recipes by the brilliant Tal Ronnen. They are all vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
E: In your books you promote a plant-based diet. Do you think the words “vegan” and “vegetarian” still have a stigma in our society?
KF: It’s funny, I’ve seen the change happen extremely recently. More people say now, “Oh I want to eat that way!” or “I know I should be vegetarian…” You see gorgeous and glittery celebrities who proudly proclaim that they are vegan; you have advocacy groups splashing undercover expose’s of horrible slaughterhouse abuses all over the news, and there are more and more peer-reviewed studies that are coming out in favor of a plant-based diet (and strongly against a meat-based one). All of this has pushed the movement into a tremendous momentum, and I believe we are very near a tipping point. We are not there yet, but we are approaching.
E: What do you say is the single most important dietary adjustment one can make for optimal health?
KF: The single best thing you can do for optimal health is to cut way back on animal protein…until you can cut it out completely. Animal protein causes inflammation, among other things; it’s been conclusively shown to cause (and fan the flames of) cancer and heart disease. It burdens your body all around, insofar as circulation, hormonal imbalance, allergies, asthma, etc. But beyond that, optimal health includes a sense of inner wellbeing too. And I think it’s hard to feel really good, to have a sense that you are in synch with the upward thrust of evolution, if you are partaking in something that has become so cruel and unjust. When you eat in a pure way, that is kind and compassionate, an inner transformation happens that is more energizing than any vitamin or exercise regimen could ever be.
E: How does it feel knowing that YOU were the reason Oprah went vegan for 21 days?
KF: Well, Oprah is very much her own person. I’m just happy that our paths crossed when they did!
E: You have a very interesting philosophy about dining. I know you prefer going to non-veg restaurants and having them prepare something delicious and vegan for you. Tell me more about this choice.
KF: I absolutely love vegan restaurants, and look forward to the day when they are the norm rather than the small minority. But I think there is wisdom in bringing the “vegan” word into as many mainstream arenas as possible. If restaurateurs and food servers don’t hear requests (often) for a vegetarian option, they will most likely not make any changes to their menu. I can’t tell you how many times I ask a waiter what they could put together for me since I’m vegan, and he or she just looks at me like I’m an alien. But then after that exchange, they know what vegan is! Or maybe this is the 10th request they’ve gotten that week, and it’s becoming clear that this is a trend that is growing. They tell their manager and chef that there was a request. And when those requests come often enough, options will become more available. And then even people who aren’t vegetarian will see those options on the menu and try them. It always makes for interesting conversation – for the waiters as well as my dinner companions – and the awareness ripples out. I’m always nice about it, never demanding or fussy. I realize this is an extra step for people to take, so I try and be as easygoing as I can be.
E: How do you feel this administration has handled the health crisis in America and what changes would you like to see them make in the future?
KF: A White House garden is a great start; it shows that vegetables are delicious and good for you. If Michelle Obama publicly served their kids veggie burgers or tofu dogs, I think we might have a real food revolution! But as of now, I don’t see much in the way of calling out meat for the danger it is. Rather than trying to stanch the terrible wound of bad nutrition and all its repercussions later in life, it seems that a responsible government would taken it upon itself to teach people how to eat healthy and thus prevent illness (saving money all around!). My suspicion is that animal protein will go the way of tobacco, and it will be at the top of every doctor’s “no no” list; but like tobacco was, animal agriculture is a very powerful and influential sector of the economy. If anyone can straighten out a business that has gone wildly awry, it’s President Obama, so I have hope! It would certainly be a good idea to have the FDA assess foods – dairy, meat, and eggs – without being influenced by the animal industries that serve as advisors. And on a very practical note, I’d love to see school lunches offer a vegetarian option for kids (there is so much obesity in our country!)
E: I always end with the same question for all the famous vegetarians I interview. If you had the chance to meet one person who you’ve found specifically instrumental in the vegetarian community – dead or alive, past or present – who would it be and why?
KF: I’d love to sit at the feet of Socrates, to listen to his sage advice about how to lift ourselves – and society – up to higher ground through ethics. He was the teacher of teachers, and his philosophy has remained true and sound throughout the ages.
A huge thank you to Kathy Freston for taking time out of her super busy schedule to chat with us. Don’t forget – Kathy’s new book Quantum Wellness Cleanse: The 21-Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit is available now!! You know what I’ll be reading this week!