The New York Diet

Vegan Alicia Silverstone Is Not Tempted by ‘Nasty’ Foods

Alicia Silverstone at her cooking demo at the New York City Wine & Food Festival.
Alicia Silverstone at her cooking demo at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Photo: Melissa Hom

Clueless star turned poo guru Alicia Silverstone compiled tips and recipes gleaned over a decade of veganism in her new book The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet, and a corresponding social-networking site, the Kind Life, which both dropped Monday. She says she does not read Gwyneth Paltrow’s healthy-lifestyle site GOOP; she only knows the goal of her own projects: “Inspire people to eliminate the nasty foods that are making us ill: meat, dairy, sugar, and processed foods.” Silverstone promoted her new purpose at a New York Wine & Food Festival demo last week, and she’ll return in January to be onstage with Laura Linney in the Donald Margulies play Time Stands Still. Map your own vegan route through the city as you follow Silverstone’s New York Diet.

Wednesday, October 7
I came in on Tuesday and brought food on the airplane. So in the morning I ate the leftovers from my plane ride: a kabocha squash and couscous dish, an M chopped salad with ranch dressing and wasabi sweet potatoes — all from M Café, this amazing restaurant in L.A. When I fly I often grab it to go. I had a little refrigerator in my room, so when I got there I asked them to clean out the minibar and I put my leftovers in there.

For lunch I had corn chowder from Le Pain Quotidian in Tribeca. Any soup from there is always vegan. I was doing a photo shoot for the New York Post, and then we ordered from there. I also had quinoa with pesto and enoki mushrooms, and Babycakes cupcakes that I brought for everybody because it was my birthday. When I arrived at the hotel, Rodale was the person who got me a dozen cupcakes from Babycakes, so I shared them with the crew.

For dinner, I went to Souen and I sat at the counter really quick and had the grain plate, which has kale, carrots, kabocha squash, daikon, pinto beans, sweet rice, and a little hijiki, all with this amazing carrot sauce, and I put the carrot sauce over everything. I had Babycakes for lunch, so I didn’t have dessert that night.

Thursday, October 8
I brought some miso paste with me. I always bring it when I travel. So I just took a little piece of miso paste and put it in some hot water, and that was my morning miso soup.

For lunch I went to Gobo and I had white bean, vegetable, and kabocha squash soup, and I had sun-dried tomato and swiss chard rice-pasta lasagna that was unbelievably delicious. It was lasagna, but they use rice pasta instead of white flour. And I had radicchio salad with chicken and raisins and pine nuts. It wasn’t chicken, but it was fried — yummy, whatever it was. I went by myself.

Then I had leftovers from my lunch as a snack later, and I had some split-pea soup from Life Thyme. I ran in to get some socks. I didn’t find any socks, so I got split pea soup instead. And then later on in the day someone was coming to help me with my hair and makeup for an event, and she brought me a green juice.

That was the night of the opening of the book launch at Candle Café, where the owner Joy makes these amazing seitan chimichurris. That was one of the appetizers going around, so I had one of those. And I did have a great drink, a fresh Saketini. Sake, obviously, with something in season: Concord grapes. So good. The restaurant is vegetarian. It’s a small, important restaurant. I highly recommend the seitan piccata from them. Seitan isn’t tricky to work with, it’s really, really easy.

That night I had a late-night snack because a friend of mine took me out on a boat docked in Chelsea Piers. They happened to have a huge spread of food for everybody, and I had this delicious salad with crazy yummy dressing, and shiitake mushroom pasta, kind of Asian style. Maybe I had a half a sip of wine. I don’t particularly avoid alcohol. I don’t need much, and I only like it if it tastes delicious.

Friday, October 9
I went to this place called Jivamukti Yoga Studio. I didn’t go there for yoga, I went for their café. I had this thing that is sort of like eggs on toast, but it’s tofu, made with delicious sauce and sourdough toast. Eggs are delicious, but I don’t miss eating them because I feel very bad about the environmental impact of eggs, the health implications of eggs, and the animal cruelty to eggs that’s all in my book. Sometimes you see a runny poached egg walk by and I’m like “oooohhh,” but this was a great substitute. I’m not at all deprived. There’s a million great dishes out there, and an egg just happens to be one of them. I’ve eaten at Jivamukti before. I’m staying in a hotel and working the whole time I’m here so I don’t have access to cook in a kitchen. I just run around eating and it’s super fun, but I’m excited to go home and make my own food. Then I had a bite of the grilled cheese of the girl that I was with, but it was vegan; it was delicious.

I had a smoothie afterward, and then for lunch I had seitan piccata and chocolate peanut-butter mousse from Candle Café. I don’t know if the owner uses sugar. I hope she doesn’t. I would imagine she uses agave or something like that, but I didn’t ask because the chocolate peanut-butter mousse was so delicious that I didn’t want to know. I hope it’s not sugar. Sugar doesn’t break down in your body. Poppy seeds are what you make heroin from, but we eat them, they’re fine. But when they’re broken down and processed, they turn into heroin. Sugar has a similar reaction in your body. If you’re going to suck on sugar from the sugar cane that’s one thing. But when you break it down into sugar it just has a really terrible effect on your body. It causes all sorts of problems. Maple syrup is pure, it’s less processed. I go into great detail in my book about sugar and how it affects you. You only have to stop eating it to know how different it makes you feel and how it’s affecting you.

For dinner, I went to a restaurant called HanGawi. I shared all this with a friend of mine: todok root with ginger, vegetable-dumpling soup, vermicelli noodles, and a salad with dandelion greens, avocado, and wasabi dressing. And we shared the mountain root and greens, which were tasty too. And I had a little bit of cold sake.

Saturday, October 10
I had my demo. It went great. I was a little nervous, but it was fun. I made a mixed-berry cheesecake, Caesar salad, and pecan-crusted seitan over a bed of fresh pasta with tomato sauce.

After that I had breakfast/lunch with a friend at Souen on Sixth Avenue, near Prince. I had the cauliflower beet soup, and then another one of those macro plates I told you about with the carrot sauce.

For dinner I had a feast. Maybe the highlight of my trip. I went to Pure Food and Wine and I had this amazing arugula salad with hazelnuts and “cheese,” I think made by this company called Dr. Cow. Then I had a cheese plate on top of it, which was so beautifully done and so delicious. They put these huckleberries and a little bit of agave on it. I think the cheese is made with fermented nuts and stuff. It has a very similar texture and a very similar taste to regular cheese. It was amazing, but you don’t feel like shit after you eat it. And then for dessert — I had a lot — I had a mint-chip ice-cream sundae that was so incredible and another ice-cream thing that was covered in chocolate. I also had a Master Cleanse Martini. I had this whole meal by myself, by the way. I had been to the restaurant a long time ago. It’s still amazing and beautiful. I just brought my journal and enjoyed my time and talked to people there. It was really nice.

Sunday, October 11
I’m kind of on L.A. time so I kept having lunch instead of breakfast. My relatives who live in Jersey came to meet me and we walked to Chinatown and had dim sum at the Vegetarian Dim Sum House. My favorite things are the pork buns. It has something seitan-ish, pure vegetable protein in it. We had shrimp dumplings, crab-meat buns, and beef with sauce and Chinese greens. Just one of my relatives is vegetarian. The rest are not, but they all loved it; they were freaking out.

Afterward we all went to a place called Stogo. I didn’t know it was owned by Kyra Sedgwick’s brother. Thank God for him! I got half strawberry-coconut ice cream, half coffee. My relatives went crazy over all the different flavors.

That night for dinner I had a few bites of an artichoke, onion, and sausage pizza with sun-dried tomatoes from Viva, because my young cousin, 15, wanted some pizza, so I conned him into getting a vegan one, but he liked it. I went to Souen afterward and got my kabocha squash, kale, carrot sauce thing again because I just love that as a little night-time bite.

Monday, October 12
We did a demo somewhere and I had my peanut-butter cup recipe from my book.

Then I had leftover Souen and a green soup and a coconut-cacao smoothie from Organic Avenue.

Then I had a few bites of Candle Café’s seitan again because I was at CNN with Joy Behar, and I fed her that and some soups. And I had green juice.

For dinner, I brought the leftover soups to a friend’s house and she made a big salad. I had salad with leftover split-pea soup and leftover banana-squash soup.

Vegan Alicia Silverstone Is Not Tempted by ‘Nasty’ Foods