Alicia Silverstone on Being Your Own Advocate, Getting Kids to Eat Veggies and Agreeing on the 98%

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Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from and, my personal care line. And today I am here with Alicia Silverstone who you probably heard her name from her acting career. But in this episode, we go deep on motherhood, and health, and birth, and sunlight, and sleep, and a lot of topics that are applicable to all of us. And as you might guess, if you know much of her, Alicia and I come from different viewpoints on the particulars of what we eat, and I think this conversation is actually really important for that reason, in that we talk about, as moms, we actually agree on 98% of things and that often it’s easy, especially on social media, to focus on the small percentage of things we disagree about, but we all want the best health and the best futures for our kids and for the world, and we find a lot of really amazing common ground in this episode and talk about a lot of these topics. And I really enjoyed this conversation. I know you will, too. So let’s join Alicia Silverstone. Alicia Silverstone, welcome to the podcast.

Alicia: Thank you so much.

Katie: I’m so excited to chat with you today. And I have a lot of specific questions. But I think to start off, I’d love to hear a little bit about your journey into the health and wellness, and now motherhood worlds, and what that looked like for you?

Alicia: My journey into the health and wellness world? Where does it all begin? I have been on this journey for a very long time. I started really back when I was eight doing what I like to call in my book, “The Kind Diet,” I call it flirting. I had a sense that there was something… I didn’t want to harm animals. And I had a sense that I needed to make changes about my diet so that I would align with my principles of not harming animals. But as I grew, you know, by the time I was 21, I became fully plant-based because of this commitment. I really saw how animals were raised and treated for food, and I would be snuggled with my dog that I had rescued and feeling his legs and realizing that his leg felt a lot alike a chicken breast, you know, it felt I would feel those bones or even like a wing. And it all just felt so much the same. And it started to make me really…sorry, there’s dogs going crazy. Do I need to remove you guys? So, I found myself really starting to become clear that the thing that I loved I was actually responsible for harming.

And so I didn’t know when this happened because I made this choice for the animals. What happened to my body was so profound for me because I was on an asthma inhaler. I had allergy shots twice a week, I had acne, and I had low energy and, you know, the things that you struggle with when you’re 19. And I started to really feel different. Now I’m 20…I think I’m 21 at this point, when I made the choice. All of a sudden my skin cleared up. I had no more acne. I was walking around feeling so much more clear about my life. I could hear because all the gunk that was filling me up, all that toxic sludgy food that was weighing me down was gone. And so now I was starting to walk freer, lighter. I could hear my truth more clearly what I needed, what I wanted. I remember people used to say, “Just listen to your body.” And I’m like, “What do you mean listen to my body?” But now I understood my body would speak to me, would tell me what I needed. I could go into my heart very easily and hear what it needed.

So, anyway, I had a huge health transformation. My whites of my eyes got really strong, I mean, white. My nails got really, really thick and strong. My hair got really thick and strong. Like, everything about my outward appearance and my inner feeling changed. And I no longer needed these medicines that I was dependent on. So, this made me really look into it. And this made me very curious. This choice that I made, which I thought I was just experiencing good karma, you know, that I’d stopped harming these creatures, and so now I was being rewarded in thanking God for them, because my body slimmed up. I mean, everything got better. But when I started to do research…because honestly, I no longer needed medicine, I no longer needed the medicine that I was taking. I no longer felt dependent on this sort of, “You know, owie something hurts, fix me, give me a pill.” I started to understand that I had the power with my food to make those changes. And so I started researching it because I thought, “Well, this is really strange.” And I started to understand that Bruce Lee, and, you know, Navratilova, and all these amazing athletes were making these choices for performance, not because they cared about animals, they were doing it for better health, better performance.

And I started to look at Harvard studies, all the science and medical journals that showed that eating a plant-based diet was so healing and so nourishing. So, that’s why I wrote “The Kind Diet” because I really wanted to put all of this information and these…so that people can make decisions for themselves that if you don’t know, you don’t know, right? But if you know, then you can decide if it’s interesting to you or not. And so I made “The Kind Diet” a really good example of, here’s what this food is, here’s what this food does to your body, according to this science, this science, and this science, and here’s what it does to the Earth and here’s what it does to animals. And now you decide, you can decide how much or how little you want to take in of this. This is what it did for me, this is what it did for others. My friend who had MS cured herself completely changing her diet, and people with cancer cured themselves with their diet, people with heart disease, all of these things. Even just bad migraines, that was the other thing I had, was really bad migraines. They all went away.

So, anyway, that’s my journey. And then somewhere along the line, I decided to make vitamins. And because here I was being this really health-conscious person, and I was pregnant with my son, and I didn’t like vitamins, I thought they were really toxic to the liver. And, you know, that they were unnecessary, really, and I ate so clean, at this point. I ate, you know, organic food, and plant-based, and just not really processed food very much, only as a treat. So, I couldn’t really understand why I would take a vitamin. What would I need it for? And the midwife said to me, “You know, what about the days when you’re traveling and you can’t get your hands on the things you want? Wouldn’t be a good sort of insurance policy?” And I was sold on insurance policy. So, I went looking and she recommended a brand. And I knew about some other brands that were the healthiest on the market at the time. But what I found was none of them had clean ingredients. They were all…you know, none of them were certified organic. None of them were non-GMO verified. Lots of them were filled with chemicals. Some of them were filled with good food and then surrounded by chemicals. So, it was like, “Here’s some food, and then we’re gonna put in a bag of chemicals.”

So, I just thought, “Wait, what’s going on? I can’t put something in my body that is less good than the food that I choose.” And this was coming off of having written “The Kind Diet,” written “The Kind Mama.” “Kind Mama” helps mommies get pregnant, people boost their fertility, you know, have a really sweet birth, know your birth options so you can make the best choice for your family knowing…again, just having information. If we don’t have information, how do we make these best choices? So just putting all the information in one place in a really organized fashion. So, now we have these vitamins and… And so basically what happened was I couldn’t bear to take anything that was on the market, nothing was good. So I decided I had to make it. So I went looking for a partner. I had this idea, and I went asking people who would want to do this with me, and I partnered with Garden of Life. And we co-created together mykind Organics, based on the principles that I just described that we have to put something on the market that’s clean for people, certified organic, non-GMO verified, all food-based, no fillers, and no binders. And so that’s what we did. And that’s kind of been my journey, I suppose.

Katie: I love that. I resonate with some of the points in that I have had a similar journey in a lot of ways. I’m also a dog and cat mom. So, I love that we get to see your one walk behind us, for anybody actually watching. But I think it’s really important the point you said about learning to listen to your body, because I think in today’s world, a lot of people maybe never get to learn that lesson because of all of the inputs our body handles and just the constant go-go nature of our world. But it really that’s been one of my lessons as well is the power of food, not the food to heal us but the power of the food to support our body and what it already knows how to do, which is healing, that’s its natural state. Also randomly love that you mentioned, Bruce Lee, because I’ve been training in his fighting Jeet Kune Do for about a year now. So, full connection there. But I think something else that you said is really important because, for almost everyone listening as a mom, and I think, like you said, there’s wisdom in everything. We can learn something, and then take what we need in and do that in our own lives.

And I find often, especially in the online world, people tend to focus on that, like 1% we don’t agree on. But like, if we step back, we agree on 98% of the things. We all want to feed our kids nutrient-dense food, and we all want animals to not be treated cruelly, and we want to support the planet. We have agreement in so many areas. And moms, I say over and over are the most powerful force on the planet. And when moms make changes, society makes changes. And so I love that you, like, took that by the horns and are making massive changes in society and helping other people as well.

I’d love to hear a little bit more about the supplements. I know you kind of gave us a great overview, but I learned a lot of the same lesson as you and that we can eat a perfect diet. But as we’ve probably heard the soil is depleted from what it used to be, food quality has declined just by the nature of all the environmental factors going on. And so I’ve also viewed supplements as an insurance policy or as a very targeted thing that’s needed at some times if you have a specific deficiency and you’re working with your practitioner on that. Can you just talk a little bit about what goes into yours? Because I know also, like, prenatal supplements are a big question for a lot of people.

Alicia: Well, yeah. So that was the one that…that’s how the whole… Thank you for asking that, by the way. And I want to remember to tell you about sleep and how important that is for being a mama. But I know you know that, but I just want to say something about that. But on the vitamin front, I remember that all I was interested in at that time was prenatal because, again, I wasn’t into vitamins. So here I was trying to find this prenatal, and what we did was make a prenatal that would have all food. So, when you turn the bottle around and you read the ingredients, you’re not gonna see magnesium stearate, which is a chemical. You’re not going to see ingredients that you can’t pronounce, it will say things like broccoli. And I think that’s really important. And so you’re getting all the greens, you know, the folic acid that you need, you’re getting everything that you need in a prenatal only it’s coming from food, so your body can assimilate it differently.

When you take a bunch of isolates that have been put into a jar that are made in a laboratory, that’s when the body goes, “What is this foreign thing? This isn’t food.” And so we’re taking it like a soup, literally, of vegetables, and fruits, and vitamin, you know, all these nourishing minerals and vitamins that are inside of the fruits and veggies. And we’re really basking in, it’s in the sun, it’s sun-dried, and then it’s turned into a tablet. So, you’re getting a clean food in your body, and your body knows what to do with food. It doesn’t know what to do with isolates as well, and that’s why they can be toxic to the liver.

So, I think it very much matters where you get your vitamins from. The ones that you get at GNC, like, it’s some, like…I don’t know, just any random pharmacy that costs $10. You know, I know they’re cheap, but that’s what they’re doing in your body. It’s just a bunch of chemicals. And it was really shocking to me, to be honest. I know that it’s very naive, and I have very much grown up and recognized that no one is looking out for us, you must look out for yourself. But there was a time in my life when I didn’t believe that, we couldn’t have slaughterhouses doing what they’re doing. Like, no one would allow that. Anybody who loves their dog would not allow this kind of cruelty to exist. And yet, it does.

And as you become a mother and you realize, you know, whether it’s your school, or it’s the government, you cannot rely on anyone to be looking out for your children’s best interests, you must be their advocate. Or in a hospital, you know, or anywhere, really, you have to be really vigilant about finding the correct information, gathering it all and making a solid decision about it. So, in terms of vitamins, I also naively thought that they would… “Of course, if it comes in a jar and it says it’s vitamin C, that is good for me because that’s why it exists.” Your doctor tells you to take vitamin C, that’s there. But that doesn’t mean that it is, it’s usually made with a bunch of junk.

So that’s why I wanted to make something that for myself, selfishly, I could take and know that it was good. And then I could give it to my friends and family and tell them this is good for you. And then I could feed my child. So, I have the prenatals is how it started. We have all the general vitamins. We have them in sprays, which are so delicious. The B12 spray and the vitamin C spray are so good. But then we have children’s supplements. And my son was obsessed with the B12. I had to pry it away from him.

If you go on my Instagram, you’ll see children are often having to be pried away from these sprays. They are so good. But there’s no sugar in them, no sugar at all. And we have children’s gummies, and we have things to support women. You know, lots of things for women, collagen-boosting because collagen doesn’t work when you take it into your body, you need to have the correct supplements and nutrients to create collagen on your own within yourself. So, buying into this gimmick of taking collagen into your body, it’s just a sales thing. It’s not doing anything for your body, you must build it from within.

And so we have a collagen builder, we have all of… You know, prenatal we have moms, we have them in pills, if you like a pill. We have them in gummies, if you’d like a gummy. And the gummies there’s no added sugar, they’re made with organic peaches and organic apples, and there’s no gelatin, which is so gross. It’s like acid that they throw on all the slaughterhouse bits, and ends of bones and feets, and whatnot. And they just put it into kind of a soup that’s disgusting, an acid soup.

And also we have a bunch of adaptogens. You know, we have turmeric, and then we have elderberry, and all of these things that we are…and ashwagandha and adrenals and all of those things, each thing that we’ve made, why it’s so different, aside from the things I already told you, is the process we go through. So, first, we had to come up with clean tablet technology so that when you take…in order to bind it all, that’s where the chemicals come in. That’s what…people are using chemicals. So, we found we spend years creating clean tablet technology so that they are binding together in a healthy, clean way. And then when we went to make the gummies, we had to come up with how do we do this without gelatin? How do we do this without sugar because I don’t want to give my kids sugar every day? And so how do we do that? And we came up with our solution for that. And then with the adaptogens, and the turmeric and all of that, it’s how do you extract it. Because the regular extraction process of even the most well-intentioned companies out there is hexane, which is gasoline. So, I don’t really want gasoline mixed into my vitamins. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound good to me, nor do I want GMO corn. So, we had to come up with ways to do it. And we have, and they’re clean and organic, and it works really well.

Katie: I had a similar discovery on that idea that we have to look out for ourselves. And I’ve said on here many times, we are each our own primary health care provider. Even if you work with a great doctor, you are actually responsible for your health. And you’re the one making the daily choices of what goes in your body, not your doctor. And I learned this lesson in the personal care world. Similarly, how you did in the supplement world, thinking for years, like “Oh, if it’s in the stores, of course, it must be safe. They wouldn’t sell it in the store, if it wasn’t safe.” And I learned about the whole world of ingredients inside personal care and how babies are born with hundreds of chemicals in their cord blood already because of all these things we’re exposed to. So that was my impetus for tackling haircare and personal care with, like, toothpaste because those go in kids’ bodies all the time.

You also mentioned your son, and I would love to hear a little bit, you said you had a midwife, just how your birth went. Because I know for me, my births were some of my most transformative moments. And I just love to hear a little bit of your story if you don’t mind sharing.

Alicia: Yeah, my birth I write all about it in “The Kind Mama” in great detail. And I think that book is very, very personal. It has pictures of my birth, it has pictures of the process, and really of all my discoveries of what you just described, this idea that we have to be our own advocate, and how to fight for yourself, and how to learn, “Wait a second. Yeah, it’s in the grocery store. Yeah, doctors even tell you to take it. But they’re wrong.” And how important that is to recognize that they are not right, they’re just doing what they’re told. And they are not informed all the time about everything. There’s so many things that I’ve challenged doctors on that they just don’t know about. You know, they wanted to put tubes in my son’s ears. And I was a negligent mother to one doctor because I didn’t give him antibiotics because she thought that he needed tubes in his ears. And I literally said, “Well, I’m so grateful for the information, thank you. And I’m going to go research it. And if I need to come back, I will but I want to research for it first.” She couldn’t bear that I would want to research something. This was really threatening to her. And so I was a bad mom.

And so I went and I researched it. And within moments, I called my naturopath and she said, “Oh, Alicia, by the time the kids are 7 years old, their ears change. So, they’re in a different angle right now. And by the time they’re seven, all these problems are going to go away. You do not need to use, what’s it called the…you don’t have to get the…what did I just say it’s called? The tubes in his ears. You don’t have to do that. He’s going to be fine. I said, “But they threatened he’d go deaf, they threaten all these things.” And she said, “I know because they don’t know.” And I said, “Okay, cool.” And I totally trusted her because I’ve had so many amazing experiences with her prior. And sure enough, he’s totally fine. Nothing’s wrong. Another time a doctor told us we couldn’t get on the airplane, we should cancel our trip because his ears would explode on the plane, and we were both a little sick. And if we got on the plane there, his ears would break, there would be pressure and it would break. So he gave us four prescriptions for what to take to handle this. Again, I called the naturopath and she said, “None of that is gonna happen. Not at all.” And I said, “Why do they say this? Why are they…” She said, “They just don’t know.”

And so I’m not saying doctors are bad. I love doctors. If my leg falls off, I’m gonna let them sew it back on. And there are many times where I’m so grateful. I’ve built relationships with doctors. My mother’s doctor when she was dying has become one of my dear, dear friends, is her surgeon. I have so much respect for them. But there are areas in which they don’t know. So when I got on that plane, and his ears were totally fine, and we didn’t take any of the medications. I called that lovely man. And I explained to him what happened and he was like, “What?” And I said, “Yeah, just so you know, it’s not quite how you said it would go down is not quite accurate and not necessary.” And I also told him…this is a different doctor. He was lovely. He wanted to see the results. So he said, will you come back after you do… Because I told him I’m going to clean up Bear’s diet a little bit more so that I can come back and show you that he’s improved this thing. And the doctor said, “Great.” And when I came back, he was really surprised because what he had asked us to do was very different than what I wanted to do. And he was surprised to learn. The point is, doctors can learn, they just sometimes don’t want to. Anyway, so my birth, “Kind mama.”

The whole thing is I wanted a home birth, and I was determined to have a home birth, and I was going to have a home birth. And I didn’t have a plan for not having a home birth. Even though I tell you in “The Kind Mama” to make a plan, I didn’t have that plan, I wasn’t going to go to the hospital. But I pushed for so long. And my midwife said, “If you don’t have the baby in the next, you know, 20 minutes, we’re gonna go.” But I was still able to have a natural birth. Luckily, I didn’t have to have… I had a little intervention with the vacuum, but I didn’t have to have any kind of medical intervention. But I had to fight it off, you have to be like a ninja. You know, they come in with… Immediately you go from being in your room where it’s just you and your experience of your baby, and you’re following your rhythm and your intuition, and then you’re in the hospital, and they’re like, “Push. Here’s drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs. Do you what some drugs? And they mean well, they just know that they want to knock you out, and make you happy, and make you feel good. And I said, “Baby’s coming, like, his head’s right there, what’s an epidural gonna do to me right now? Other than cause a lot of problems, what is taking a bunch of drugs gonna do? Let’s just get him out safely, and it’s gonna be okay.” But it’s just the way they’re set up, they’re set up to just throw drugs at you. And even if they’re not gonna help, even if you’re way past that point. I mean, I’m fully dilated, his head is sticking out, the reason he couldn’t come out is his little elbow was up, and…damn it.

But drugs weren’t gonna fix that at all, but they were really willing to give them all to me. They wanted to give them all to me. And I think that’s really interesting. And it’s just a shame. None of them mean bad, none of them mean anything wrong. They mean well. They’re nurses, they’re doctors, they want to help, but they’re just educated to give a bunch of stuff that doesn’t necessarily help or do anything. And sometimes, but sometimes they can be miraculous, right, but in this particular circumstance. So I was so grateful I had him in this hospital with…after my 28 hours at home or 27 hours at home, I had him with my doctor who’s a very…he was my backup doctor, and my midwife was right there. And my husband was right there.

And this guy, he came in and he said, “What do you want?” I said, “I want this thing out of me now.” Now. And I said, “But I don’t want you to do anything. I don’t want any drugs. I don’t want you to hurt him. I don’t want any…I don’t want us to be a medical procedure. And he said, “We won’t. It’s gonna be easy. I can see his head, it’s fine. And so he did. And even the pushing process I had to… He was asking me to push when my body didn’t want to push. And he was a lovely in-tune beautiful doctor who cares very much about home birthing and doing this naturally. He does VBAC. He lets women have natural births after having had C-sections all the time. He delivers breech babies. He’s a miracle doctor. He is beautiful. But even him was asking me to push when my body didn’t need to push. And so I said to him at one…I had to take that command quite quickly, I realized that wasn’t good what was happening. I could feel and I said, “Hang on, hang on, you do the thing when I’m pushing. I’m not gonna push when you need me to push. You do what you need to do when I’m pushing.” And he was like, “Okay.” And just that made it so much smoother because we have to do what nature asked us to do, and not work for the doctor. So, I’ve had lesson after lesson in how to speak up and advocate for my baby.

Katie: Yeah, I find birth is often a great teacher of that lesson. And I’ve had experiences like that too, where I remind people, you know, a doctor you’re hiring them, you could also fire them. And I fully agree. I think most of them are amazing humans. You don’t get through that many years of medical school and the hells of residency without really caring about people. But still at the end of the day, each of us are responsible for our own health. It actually was number five for me before I got to have a home birth. Three was an emergency C-section for placenta previa, and then with number five, she was breech. And at 37 weeks, they said, “We’re not going to let you birth naturally.” And I said, “Well, then you’re fired.” And I walked out and went, “Oh, I’m still having a baby in a couple weeks. Like, I gotta find out how this baby’s gonna get out of me.” And it ended up being an amazing, beautiful home birth experience. But it was a time of really having to lean in and trust my body’s wisdom and know that I could do it and know that my baby could do it.

Alicia: Oh, that’s so beautiful. I’m so happy for you that you got to have the experience you wanted eventually. That’s beautiful.

Katie: Yeah, it took four to get there but for the last two were both actually breach, at home.

Alicia: Oh my god. You’re a warrior.

Katie: And I know there’s so many other topics we can go into. I want to make sure we touch on sleep because you said to make sure we got to talk about sleep. So, let’s talk about sleep.

Alicia: Well, I just think for parents, the most critical thing you can do is be patient and be kind to yourself. And I have a podcast called “The Real Heal,” and it’s on the air now. And the first episode is all about loving yourself. And the second episode is about how to be a parent to your child in a way that is aligned with what your truest desires are, right? We all have the same…everyone, whether you’re Democrat, Republican, whether you’ve home birthed, or you haven’t home birthed, whatever your deal is, we all, like you said, can agree on that we love our children, and we want our children to thrive. And so if we stop, and really look at how can we be the most present? How can we be the most nourished and well-rested so that we’re so patient for our babies? So that’s really what an entire episode of my podcast is dedicated to. But the highlights of that for me are, when you eat well, when I eat well, I sleep well. And when I sleep well, I feel good. And when I feel good, I have the patience and the presence of mind to savor my little munchkin, to recognize that he will not be in this moment ever again. He’s so growing, and so changing, and that I can then really hear him, take him in, and love him up.

And when I have not slept well, it’s harder. My patience is thinner, I have less… My head might hurt. I can’t quite concentrate. His voice might make me want to kill myself for a second, not really but you know what I mean? Like, “Ah,” because I’m not feeling good. And so the sleep is so critical. And I have to fight for sleep every night, and sometimes I…most nights I fail, I don’t get the amount I want. But by having my eye on it and knowing what the goalpost is, I do better and better and better at it.

And how to get the night’s sleep is not just about turning off your stuff. And saying even though I’m not finished with any of my work right now, and I feel so uncomfortable about that because tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and feel unsettled about how my day is gonna go, which is where I never make…I always end up doing the work. But on the nights when I can manage to get it wrapped up in time, then I go to sleep and I feel great. But the thing that interrupts that sleep is food. So, if you eat a bunch of food that has tons of salts in it or tons of sugar, or you’ve eaten, you know, for me, even meat and dairy that, I mean, I don’t eat those things anymore. But those things are really disruptive. And I used to have insomnia. When I stopped eating those foods, all of my insomnia went away. I slept like a baby.

So, when I eat clean, healing, nourishing plant-based foods, I sleep really well and deeply, and my body can do what you said, naturally repair itself all night long. And it’s a restful state. It’s not war. It’s not a battle inside that night going, “I got to work this out. I got to process this.” It’s just able to rest. And then I can be the best mom I can possibly be. So, for me, that is such a critical thing that I think most parents are missing. They are not prioritizing sleep. And I mean really prioritizing it over everything. Over your kid’s soccer games, over your kid’s activities, over your activities, over the show you want to watch at night.

It is the most critical thing. Where you get your food and how you sleep is the most fundamental thing because then the other thing is, is not only are you the yummy mommy, the present happy mommy, but your kid, when you feed your kid… My kid was breastfed for three and a half years, my kid was…the food that he started eating at six months was clean, clean food, brown rice, greens, you know, all of those foods that he still eats now. He loves kale and bok choy, and he eats all of these things. These are the foods that make him feel so good so that… He’s never sick. If he gets sick, it’s like he’s got snot running down his nose but he’s still running up a mountain. Do you know what I mean? He’s never, “I gotta lay down. I don’t feel good.” Maybe once in his life for an hour. And so he’s so well-nourished that he feels good. He’s rooted in himself, his body… I see a lot of kids who are unsettled. They’re uncomfortable. They can’t stop moving. They don’t feel settled in themselves. That scared me. That was my dog.

Oh my god, he put his little paws up but in the strangest way. I felt like there was somebody standing here touching me. Sorry. But the point is that when they nourish themselves properly, they feel well and they act well. And so you don’t have… You know, I never went through terrible twos and threes. I never went through… We had moments that were challenging, but I never went through a period where I could say that he was doing something that was, you know, difficult. You just had to sort of…because he didn’t have all that stuff in his body that was making it hard for them. And so I just see children all the time, big dark circles under their eyes, you know, not able to really concentrate as well. Their brains can’t do the things they need to do when they aren’t feeling good. And they don’t know any different to know that they don’t feel good because there’s never been a different way. So, once you really clean yourself up, then you can understand the beauty of feeling good.

Katie: I fully agree. I think you can’t…I’ve said before, you can’t out-diet bad sleep. You can’t out-sleep bad diet. Those two are the core keys. And you also definitely can’t out -supplement bad diet or lack of sleep, and you can’t out-caffeinate those things. You can’t out-workout those things, you have to get those dialed in.

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I know for me personally, one thing that’s helped so much, and I’ve heard this recommendation from so many experts on this podcast is as soon as possible after waking up, go outside in the sunlight and let that natural light hit your eyes. And that starts your clock for when your melatonin is going to happen at night. And I feel like this is magic for kids also. And it, of course, ties back in the thing we all know, but maybe don’t listen to enough, which is the importance of nature and light for our body’s natural rhythms. And I found if I get that morning sunlight, and ideally also a few minutes of bright sunlight, at some point during the day, just time outside, it makes a huge difference for sleep as well. And you mentioned even that your vitamins, the ingredients are dried in the sunlight. But I would love to hear how you incorporate light as a part of your overall healthy lifestyle as well.

Alicia: Well, it’s beautiful what you just said, and it’s so true. And luckily, when I send him off to school, the first place they go is outside. So that’s the good news. You know, he goes off out the door, and he’s in the outdoors. And when he gets to school, it’s outdoors, you know, for the first bit. So, they definitely get that. I notice that sometimes I’m naughty about that, that I get so caught up in my work, that I don’t exit. But when I do, I feel, you know, sometimes just to drag myself to go on a walk by myself with the dogs because sometimes I make friends… Because my schedule is so outrageous I often schedule friends to go on hikes with me with. And so when I go by myself, it’s like this gift. And today the sun is so pretty. And I remember waking up and going and sitting out and having breakfast, and I remember saying, “This is such a treat, that I’m eating my breakfast outside in the sunlight.”

And one of my practices that I don’t do enough, but you’re reminding me and I love it so much. And I write it every day, I say, “Get out in the sunshine.” But one of my favorite practices is to take that 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. which, it’s very difficult to block that out. But 8:30 a.m. 9:00 a.m. sunshine, and lay there as naked as you can and maybe meditate. You know that would be lovely. That’s the ideal is to be meditating in the sun naked at 8:30 to 9:00 in the morning. But who can do that every day? But if you can, if you set it as a goal, and you do it once a week, that’s an accomplishment, right? But that feels so nourishing. It’s so nourishing to our bodies that the sun is going in you, you’re in the fresh air. Going on a walk with my dogs always feels good. And I can’t be naked on the walk is the only thing so the sun doesn’t go in you as quite as much, but you do you get the light on your eyes, and you do get to take in all the trees and the smells, the smells of spring, the sweet Jasmine blooming.

So, I feel very, very grateful when I’m able to make that happen. But my life is very busy and often there’s so many pressures and deadlines that sometimes I just can’t, and that’s okay because then I can try the next day and just keep trying. You know, I was trying to play basketball with my son and some friends. I had wanted to do this for about a year, and I finally did it last weekend. We had a huge basketball match, me, and my son, and some friends, and it was amazing. So, even if we have to try for a very long time, and we eventually get there, it’s worth it to keep trying.

Katie: Absolutely agree. And speaking of the kid’s side, I know a kind of universal mom thought no matter how parents and families eat is the importance of getting kids to eat really clean, nutrient-dense veggies and how to actually get them to like it. And this is a thing I hear a lot that I’m guessing that you have found some helpful tips and tricks over the years. So, I would love to hear some of the ways that you’ve gotten your son, not just eat, but love these foods.

Alicia: Well, I think it starts from conception, to be honest. So, I’m not saying that you can’t correct that once if you don’t have the chance, but if you’re a mom out there or a pregnant person out there, this is your chance. You know, because when you eat plants, if you make your… You’re gonna have a better birth when you eat plants. Like, in “The Kind Mama,” I really outline the foods that make your birth sweeter, easier, how that can all go down. If we’re eating junky food, we make bigger babies. Those babies are more difficult to come out of our bodies, right?

And so, there’s so much and how you feel on the daily being pregnant. I remember towards the end of my pregnancy, people would say to my husband, “Gosh, is she so miserable? You know, she must be so moody.” Everyone’s experience of a pregnant woman is sort of like this crazy, moody hormonal psycho. And he said, “No, not at all. She’s very happy and very comfortable.” And people would say to me, “Are you dying for this thing to get out of you?” And I’d say, “No.” Not until I was giving birth then I was dying for the thing to get out of me, that alien.

But prior to that, I had no need for him to come out soon or anything, I was just really happily pregnant. I was in a blissful goddess state that I think we are all entitled to. And so what I guess I’m saying is in terms of getting veggies in you, I was eating that way, you know, from conception to birth to breast milk. So, his milk was filled with the foods that I was going to want him to eat. Then, his first foods were greens. I didn’t start with carrots. I didn’t start with sweet potatoes and apples. Those are the sweet, easy things. No kids gonna say no to that stuff. But I gave him watercress, and broccoli, and kale, and bok choy, and peas. And I wanted him to experience green food so that he would know what it was and love it. And he did. And brown rice with no sauces on it. No salt, just pure plain brown rice, tofu plain. I never gave him sauces. Everything was just the pure food so that, by the time he was like three and going to parties and kids were having cake, if I put a bowl of raspberries in front of him, he was in heaven. It was, like, he had struck gold, you know, because it’s just his mouth was so pure, and it was so delicious.

So, in terms of veggies, he’s just always had them. And now I have to say he’ll still tell you his favorite food is kale, which is very bizarre. But we cook it a few different ways. And I have a video on YouTube and on my Instagram of me cooking greens for children, children that are not my kid. And so they’ve never… These are kids who hate vegetables, who don’t eat vegetables in their mom’s houses. And then when I make them for them, they can’t stop eating them. And part of that is having them in the garden and watching me grow them. So, pulling it out of the garden is really an important thing, I think for kids. But even so when I didn’t do that, and they’re just eating kale that I’ve made, and I drizzle it with umeboshi plum vinegar, and lemon, and flaxseed oil, and this is a recipe in my book in either “The Kind Diet” or “The Kind Mama,” the kids just love it. I mean, I put down a plate and within two seconds if you watch this video there, it’s gone. I didn’t even…I think I got one bite because the two little kids gobbled it up.

So, I think it’s how they’re prepared. We have to remember that the vegetables that are coming in a microwave or frozen bag, if that’s our introduction of vegetables, well, they’re gross. That’s not going to make a kid want to eat a vegetable. So duh. But if you treat the vegetables like you would, you know, mastering anything else, it’s cooking it to the point that when I cook kale, or I cook bok choy or broccoli, I’m not making it super soft and I’m not leaving it crunchy, I’m getting it in that perfect zone and…trying to. And then it’s what I’m dressing it with. So, it’s not overly salted, but it is…just has that salty, tangy, yummy thing, just enough to make them really appreciate it, but you can do it without that too.

So, I really don’t find it a problem but it’s because I’ve been doing it for a very long time. And so introducing it to your family, you know, if you haven’t been doing it, then I would say you kind of have to… What I would do is just start introducing… If were to get married right now and that husband person had a bunch of kids and I was going to introduce these kids to good food, I would just slowly eliminate. I would be eliminating the foods that I know are going to make their tongues not appreciate this. The sugar, the dairy, the heavily salted stuff, chips, processed food, all that. I would just slowly have it disappear out of the house. I would make really healing delicious food that’s just tasty and not make a fuss about it, not tell them, “Hey, here’s what we’re doing.” Just say nothing, just keep preparing yummy food and have them enjoy this yummy food.

And, you know, maybe I’m making a pizza that I… We love making pizza at our house and then I’m putting chopped arugula on top of it and/or, you know, chopped kale on top of it, but there’s also olive oil and maybe a little vegan parm made from cashews, things that are real foods that they’ll still be having those tastes. And then tacos, you know, chopping up cabbage for our tacos, kale with the tacos.

What else? I would just… A lots of stir fries. Stir fries is a great way to get all the veggies and the beans and the rice in there. So, I would just keep making things that are really delicious and not make a fuss about what I’m doing so there’s no fight about it. It’s just here’s this beautiful food and hope that they… And eventually, they’re gonna be hungry and eat it and start… you know, they’ll be picky at first because they’re going to go, “You know, what’s this new thing? Or why are you…why can’t I have this candy?” I mean, sometimes kids who have a lot of candy will come over to my house, and they don’t understand why there isn’t candy around. It’s really a battle. They’re like, “Where’s the candy?” And I said, “We don’t have candy here.” “What do you mean?” And five minutes later, they’re asking again, “Where’s the candy?” And I say, “Did you not hear me when I said I really don’t have any candy? But we can certainly make a smoothie if you want, or we can make some fruit ice cream, you know, is that what you want to have?” And they eventually come around. It just takes them readjusting to what they’re conditioned to do.

So, I think it just takes, you know, a clear mind. It’s sort of like when your kid says, “Can I watch TV?” And you know, you’ve already decided they can’t. If you have a clear direction, it’s not gonna happen, fine, draw, you know, make something else, do something else. But if you’re wavering and unsure, they usually can win you over. Do you know what I mean? So, I think with food, it’s the same thing, sort of having a clear point of view, when we’re going to eat food that heals our bodies, we’re going to eliminate foods that harm our bodies. And we’re not going to be rigid, sometimes we’re gonna “Oopsie Doopsie” at a party or we’re gonna “Oopsie Doopsie,” whatever, those things are gonna happen.

But the majority of the time, you’re gonna make the foundation of how we eat, to nourish ourselves, to make our brains big, and work properly. So that when they’re sitting in school, they’re not distracted and having a hard time focusing, that they’re really excited to learn because their bodies are fueled and nourished on brown rice, greens, seaweeds, and beans, things that are long lasting, good, nourishing foods that give you endurance and presence of mind, and peace, calm, peace. And not the kind of calm peace that makes you lethargic, but kind that makes you a little warrior, you know, that you are able to hone your energy and not be a spaz, but you still can run and do everything you need to do and you have ambition, and competitiveness, and the desire to achieve, and the energy for all that is required, but in a sort of Zen calm Buddha way, that you’re not split this, you know, you’re not… They’re not shaky. They’re not unsturdy, if that makes sense.

Katie: Yeah. I’ve had the same very similar experience with my kids. And that if you train their palates early, they learn naturally that you don’t have to, like, outwardly enforce very hard when they’re other places. And I’ve been actually very careful about that because I don’t want their food intuition to come from me, I want them to have that internally. And so I don’t overly restrict when they’re not in my house. My thing is, I cook very nutrient-dense whole foods in our house, and you’re responsible for choosing at any given meal to eat or not. If you’re not hungry, I respect that. Or if you want to wait till the next meal, because you like it better, I respect that too. And when you’re in other places, you’re responsible for you. And they’ve learned the hard way a couple times, like “Oh, if I eat cake, I don’t feel good.” And then they’ve learned that lesson. It’s not me, the dictator telling them not to eat it. I think that helps with them not restricting, and that forbidden food culture in the long-term. And as I expected, of course, our time has flown by, because you’re so easy to talk to. But a question I love to ask at the end is if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life, other than your own, of course, and if so what they are and why?

Alicia: I’m having… My brain is fried right now. What is the book that I love so much? I remember a book a long time ago, “Finding your North Star,” or something like that. And that book was really helpful in terms of grieving, and loss, and trauma, and releasing and focusing in on what you really want and being able to go after it. That was a very powerful book. I remember reading also, what’s that book called? “The 4-Hour Workweek,” which not…just reminded me how lucky I was that I love what I do. I’m an activist. So, most of my job and time spent is not making money, it’s trying to help this world, and that work is passion. And even though it’s overwhelming, but that is really it’s…I feel very lucky that I can do that, and I care so much, and… And then there was books. You know, I remember back in the day, John Robbins wrote a book called “Food Revolution.” And this is 20-odd years ago, maybe longer. And he came from Baskin-Robbins. He was the son of Baskin Robbins. And he really went in a different direction. And it’s a story about healing and nourishment. And he really inspired me too. So, those are the ones that are popping in my mind right now. But I’m sure later I’ll go, “Oh, no, I forgot to tell you about this one.”

But I wanted to just also add that part of this, if any of this is interesting to your listeners, part of what “The Real Heal,” my podcast, is really all about is our collective… You know, I’m grateful to you for what you’re doing. It sounds like what you just described about…you know, I loved what you just said about, you’re welcome to not eat at this meal. And I feel you let…100,000% I love how you said it so well. And you’re welcome to eat at the next meal, or whatever, because I’m with you.

So part of this whole podcast journey that I’m doing is really starting with the love we have for ourselves, the love we share with our children, and then how that can expand and expand so that our love for our communities…because I really wanna ask the question, what is it going to take? The whole podcast is, what is it going to take for us to heal ourselves, our communities, and our planet? And so I’m speaking with such interesting people about these subjects. And I’m so proud of it, and so excited. And so sometimes nurturing yourself, nourishing yourself is also a way to nourish the environment, to nourish your community in these food deserts. Sometimes it’s what saves your life. And all of these stories are so powerful and urgent, needed urgently. And hopefully will help people to, like you talked about in the beginning, think for themselves and find ways to advocate for themselves and fight for themselves and know, you have to look deeper and find your sources.

Katie: I love it. I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up. And I know you mentioned, your podcasts, your book and your supplements, those will all be linked in the show notes for all of you listening. You can check that at along with the show notes from everything we’ve talked about today. I’m so grateful for your time. I know you are a busy mom and do so much else as well. Thank you so much for being here today.

Alicia: Thank you so much. I really appreciate this conversation and what you’re doing.

Katie: Thank you. And thanks as always to all of you for listening, for sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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