Kathy Freston
Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images
The wellness expert and best-selling author—her new book, Veganist, is out now—shares the secrets to compassionate, mindful eating.
1. 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.

2. 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 sausage.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. I'll be forever grateful that alcohol is vegan. An occasional martini is good for the soul.

Your Vegan Starter Kit

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