Alicia Silverstone: ‘You can transform tofu into anything so it’s good staple to have around’

Do you remember when MTV Cribs used to get celebrities to open their fridges? Some of them were immaculate and empty except for drinks like diet coke and champagne. Alicia Silverstone took Women’s Health on a tour of her fridge and it’s full of enough healthy stuff to put the rest of us to shame. She’s vegan, grows her own food and stocks up on vegetables, fruit, tofu, beans and rice milk. My fridge is 30% Coke Zero and Sprite, with some cheddar cheese, yogurt and apples for balance. Alicia described her diet to Women’s Health and it’s so healthy. She puts vegetables on basically everything and her son Bear, 7, eats healthy too. It sounds like he’s somewhat picky though and that she’s not super strict. The video is below and here’s some of what she told them.

She likes tofu because it’s versatile
I don’t use a ton of tofu. The reason I do use it is because you can transform tofu into anything so it’s good staple to have around. It’s really delicious when you bread it or fry it. I could also use it to make a pudding.

Her healthy breakfasts
We start with a whole grain and a vegetable. This morning we had blanched kale from the garden with lemon squeezed on and flaxseed oil and plum vinegar. Sometimes we’ll have steel cut oats with dates, cinnamon and apples. The green is the important part.

She makes pizza with salad on top of it
We use this [vegan] cheese, it’s insane. We do that on good farmer’s market bread. For dinner sometimes I’ll make pizza with Bear. I put all the vegetables that I love on it. Kale and mushrooms and peppers and tomatoes. He just wants olives, cheese and tomato sauce and he’s happy.

Sadly, has has discovered salt. He’s really into [hot sauce].

I never have any meat in my fridge. Or dairy.

[From Women's Health You Tube Video]

She also said that she cooks in batches to save prep time, and will make a big batch of rice and keep some for later. If I eat a salad or have a smoothie I feel super healthy that day. Alicia’s diet is next level. No wonder she looks 20 years younger. I’m going to try to eat some spinach with something. That will keep me young-looking right? I can still have ham, cheese and reese’s cups, can’t I?

The video I watched loaded to another video of Alicia from last year talking about veganism, about which she’s passionate. She said she does let Bear eat sugar, but that when he does do it “he’s like a different person.” She also said she’s “much more lax than I thought I would ever be” with food for him. She sends him to Waldorf school because of course she does. I’m not going to talk about the chewing up his food thing from when he was little. I know you guys are going to bring it up but that was six and a half years ago.

Also, Alicia’s salad pizza reminded me of this:

Here’s the interview where she’s showing her fridge:

Also she’s shilling vitamins in that video! Just FYI.

Embed from Getty Images

Photos credit: Getty, via Instagram and screenshot from Women’s Health

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45 Responses to “Alicia Silverstone: ‘You can transform tofu into anything so it’s good staple to have around’”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I mean, if she’s vegan of course she’s not going to have meat or dairy in her fridge, lol.

    it sounds like she is healthy and vegan but actually not as crazy as I would have thought. I know a few vegans (not a ton, but a few) and they seem to eat similar meals to hers.

    • Milla says:

      I always had low iron. Now, after not eating meat and dairy for a while, i am healthy as a horse. Of course, finding good shoes is a bitxh.

      • jwoolman says:

        Ha ha.

        But actually, people who are getting iron from plant foods (non-heme iron) often find they start absorbing it better than on a carnivore diet. Long ago I even saw a research project that verified this. Eat enough greens that are high in iron and you do become more efficient at extracting the iron. Meat eaters tend to be low-efficiency at extracting non-heme iron from veggies, hence the myth that you can’t get enough iron from plants. Actually you can, the body just doesn’t bother when it already has a lot (most likely way too much) of heme iron available. Maybe it’s a matter of what enzymes are produced in what quantities, depending on what you normally eat, don’t really know.

        Vitamin C is also helpful in increasing iron absorption, and since that would add up more quickly on a typical vegan diet, that might also have something to do with it. I was very briefly borderline anemic after an illness that made it difficult to keep food or drink down and was prescribed an iron supplement for a couple of weeks or so. It had some vitamin C in it and I always added a Vitamin C supplement to it. But once the antibiotics did their job and I could eat normally, I was craving a lot of raw veggies and my iron levels quickly came back into the proper range without the supplement. The nurse actually had suggested spinach and extra vitamin B12 to help things along – spinach is high in iron and B12 helps proper red blood cell function. I like raw spinach and had plenty of B12 and B complex on hand anyway (just couldn’t swallow anything for a few weeks before) since like my blood cells, I also function better with higher amounts of B vitamins than most people (probably due to allergies).

  2. Missy says:

    My sister is older than Alicia and eats good, but also eats meat, dairy, sweets, and alcohol and she looks so much younger than she is. It’s not always about what you eat, has to do with sun exposure and your genes I think too.

    • L84Tea says:

      Have you ever seen that meme of the side by side photos of Nigella Lawson and Gillian McKeith? It’s kind of hilarious and goes along with your point.

    • manda says:

      Yes! My mother is one of those lucky ones–never really cared about washing her face before bed, tanned every summer, never wore sunscreen–and she has always looked 20 years younger than her age (currently, 81). Some people are just lucky

    • Christina says:

      It’s not always what you eat, but in most cases, it is! Those few exceptions, are just that, exceptions. Also, Gillian McKeith is an asshole for promoting harmful practices, such as detoxes and she’s been looking 70 for the past 20 years. That’s obviously her genes’ fault.

  3. Chubcucumber says:

    The title is hilarious. She’s a vegan, why would she have meat or dairy in her fridge? I’m vegan too and there hasn’t been meat or dairy in my house (let alone my fridge) in over a decade. That’s kinda the idea…

    • jwoolman says:

      Vegans sometimes cohabit with non-vegans… So yes, a vegan could have dairy and meat in her fridge!

      I have two obligate carnivore roommates and so I have cans of meat and allegedly meat-containing kitty krunchies for them in my house. And sometimes contaminating my refrigerator… May I recommend small mason jars as a way to keep leftover canned kitty food without stinking up the whole fridge? They really are tightly sealed, whether with the usual canning lids or the convenient plastic screw caps.

      I use plastic spoons to handle such yucky dead animal food also to avoid contaminating my own utensils. Plastic spoons can be re-used many times, especially if you get a compostable type that is very sturdy (made from plants as the raw material rather than from petroleum products, they are considered a bioplastic). There are several brands available now.

  4. HelloSunshine says:

    I don’t think I could ever be vegan (eggs, cheese and yogurt are huge staples in my house but maybe that’s cause I have a toddler??) but I LOVE tofu. I make it instead of meat 1-2 times a week for myself while I make fish for everyone else. It just sucks up the flavor of whatever you’re cooking. The trick is to get the outside texture right, which can take practice lol

    • jwoolman says:

      She really is right that you can make tofu into all sorts of things.

      I worked with a guy who would put a slab of tofu on his peanut butter sandwiches along with a heap of alfalfa sprouts… I like crunchies like sprouts or cabbage or carrots or spinach or broccoli slaw etc on peanut butter or nut butter/seed butter sandwiches (try carrot and onion and lots of greens especially), but wouldn’t go for the tofu.

      But marinated by itself and/or grilled, tofu really is very tasty. We had some available for a while in the local grocery store, just four marinated little blocks per package, and it was so good just straight out of the package or frozen. Amy’s Kitchen does something right with small pieces of tofu in their frozen entrées also. Tofu is very high protein but also quite easily digestible.

      And it’s very easy to quickly blend tofu with oil and lemon juice and mustard powder or whatever to make a creamy salad dressing. That also makes a fine base for any dip usually made with sour cream – i’ve done that with dip mixes and even the carnivores in my family liked it.Or make it into instant pudding by blending with the other ingredients or any nondairy junky pudding mix (although it is better if kept in the fridge for an hour or so to let flavors mix right, it has the right texture instantly).

      I’ve also made eggless egg salad, just using tofu mashed up with a fork instead of a hard boiled egg plus whatever else people might use in egg salad. Best refrigerated for an hour or so also.

      You don’t actually have to eat tofu or other soy products on a vegan diet, but it definitely comes in handy for a lot of things that people raised on standard American food might like to eat sometimes.

    • jwoolman says:

      Hellosunshine- In case you ever decide to dump the dairy and eggs (which can be a forced change due to allergy, as in my case):

      You can actually make yoghurt at home using pretty much any nondairy milk as the base. Nondairy starters are even sold although if you can tolerate small amounts of dairy, you could use a dairy yoghurt as the starter.

      Being lazy, I buy commercial nondairy yoghurt when it’s available. Some are low protein so I just add a little tasty protein powder to them. I do this with nondairy puddings also (Hunt’s Snack Packs have some nondairy ones that are cheap). I have a pumpkin spice protein powder that really jazzes everything up.

      In baking, vegan eggs work well (one recipe is equal volumes of ground flax or chia seed and water. Usually one tbsp of the seed replaces one egg).

      I didn’t think I could live without cheese either when my dairy allergy was diagnosed. But actually it was easy… There are so many other foods available! Even for toddlers. There actually are vegan cheeses available now of all types. Some are even good! :) I like the Follow Your Heart and Field Roast vegan cheeses right out of the package, but they aren’t high on nutrition. But a lot of people are making vegan artisan cheeses now using various foods as the base. I vaguely remember trying one ages ago based on Brazil nuts, I think.

      But if I want a cheesy flavor, I usually just use nutritional yeast as the cheapest approach. That’s especially good combined with ground seeds and nuts (walnuts work really well). A lot of the vegan parmesans sold now use that concept (such as Parma!).

  5. CharliePenn says:

    She’s so gorgeous. That is all.

  6. RspbryChelly says:

    I admire vegans. I tried the vegetarian lifestyle for like a minute & a half & failed miserably. I wish I had more discipline but I’m so weak to good foods that most of the time contains meat & dairy

    • TheHeat says:

      We had a hard time adjusting to whole-food-plant-based eating. The first couple of months, everything tasted like crap and all I wanted in life was some fricken CHEESE! But, once we got over the hump, and I figured out how to cook without meat/dairy and make it taste good, we never looked back…that was 2 years ago.
      The only animal product that we DO eat is eggs. We raise our own chickens, so we know what they are eating, and that they have an great life.

  7. OriginalLala says:

    I’m ovo-vegetarian (working my way to vegan) and I swear it’s not as hard as people make it out to be! I used to love meat and cheese but when my eyes were opened to what eating these foods meant for the animals we abuse, exploit and kill. I never looked back. I am empathetic, animal lover and I always kind of felt that I was a hypocrite by eating meat!

    There are SO MANY options now for veg folks – premade or recipe to make at home. I never feel deprived, especially when I found a recipe that makes gooey melty, stretchy cashew cheese!

    • chlo says:

      Ummmm….can you link to the gooey melty stretchy cashew cheese? :)

    • Erinn says:

      I think for people who aren’t picky eaters – and who live in a climate that has a year round source of a large of variety of produce it CAN be easy. But that’s not everyone. There are a lot of people who live in warmer climates with a lot more access to fresh, amazing tasting produce – or who live in cities with lots of options for eating out/acquiring the fresh fruit/vegetables that forget it’s not as easy for those in a more remote area, or in a climate that has a legit full blown winter. It’s not impossible – but it’s certainly not easy for the people in those situations.

      • teeny says:

        I lived in straight up COOOLD northern IA no prob being vegan even when farmer’s market season closed for half the year. We had a grocery store. I did more cooking and learned to make food taste good. I was healthier than when I relied on more processed / packaged items while living in bigger cities.

      • jwoolman says:

        Nobody needs wonderful fresh produce to eat veggies (and many of us have access only to not so wonderful fresh produce even in summer), and you can be a carnivore and still really need to eat a lot of veggies and fruit for good health. Living in a cold climate doesn’t keep anybody from eating veggies. We have canned and frozen ….

        I don’t eat gobs of fresh veggies myself, although I try because I really feel better when I do and not because I mainly eat vegan. I can’t always get to the store and keeping fresh veg unspoiled long enough has always been a challenge (recently discovered Rubbermaid containers with a filter and raised platform that actually work for uncut greens!) I can freeze fruit (which brings out the flavor and is like instant sorbet with more chewing), it’s the veggies that are the challenge. So I rely a lot on bagged frozen veg myself, stock up on sale, and just toss 1/4 of package in with some rice or pasta or millet or by itself, some beans if I am ambitious enough to open a can or have frozen portions, maybe even some peanuts or nuts/seeds. I also bake several sweet potatoes and white potatoes at once and slice them to freeze in snack bag size portions. I also freeze portions of precooked grains. I am lazy enough to get microwaveable packages of rice, although I split them into four portions for freezing rather than the recommended two. Just a few minutes in the microwave and voilá! My very own cheap frozen meal is ready to eat. I also freeze veggie soups – eat half the can, freeze the rest in a bowl with a lid.

        I do keep canned veg on hand also in case I run out of the frozen and can’t get out to buy more. Load up on canned beans also when on sale. Same for olives. If the food budget is tight, simple vegetarian and vegan eating gives far more bang for the buck in my experience. Even fancier stuff like bagged fresh pieces of broccoli and cauliflower goes on sale sometimes – I bought such a bag on its last Best Buy date and got several portions out of it, just froze them right away.

        Nuts and seeds and oily legumes like peanuts are also standard vegan fare that are available year round for most of us. We don’t need big quantities of nuts and seeds, so the nutritional value can make the cost worth it. And of course peanut butter is relatively cheap in the US. Breads and crackers likewise, and flour to make your own. Rolled oats can be whizzed up in a blender to make oat flour and then oat crackers.

    • Esmom says:

      I agree. It’s been a pretty smooth transition for me, too. It was very gradual, and began when I suddenly lost my appetite for meat and chicken and eventually fish and eggs. I do still eat a bit of dairy. And I love tofu. I would think trying to give up everything all at once would be harder.

    • jwoolman says:

      It was truly a game changer when Ben & Jerry’s added a nondairy ice cream line based on almond milk….

  8. Emma says:

    I bought her book, the Kind Diet, a few years ago. It’s essentially a vegan macrobiotic diet. Umeboshi plums feature extensively. I found it overly complex, and a lot of the ingredients were expensive and hard to find. Practical it wasn’t. I’m with her on the tofu though.

    • Mel M says:

      I bought it when it first came out years ago before I had kids and you are so right. I had to get so many of the Ingredients at Whole Foods and when we moved and weren’t really close to one I gave up because I couldn’t find anything. There are a couple of recipes that I still make from it like the butternut squash couscous but yeah it’s fathering dust.

    • teeny says:

      I love umeboshi vinegar. You can buy the plums and vinegar online!

  9. Renee2 says:

    I say this as a vegan and as someone who is around her age, I don’t think that she looks particularly young, I think that she looks good though and she looks her age. In the bottom pic where her hair is styled over her forhead she does look younger because of how she is styled and and her forehead wrinkles are covered up. Now I think that she looks way better than Gwyneth Paltrow who has a team of people doing the emperor’s new clothes thing with her pretending that she looks young and fesh when the reality is that she looks every bit of her 46 years and then some. Both Gwyneth and Alicia are in fantastic shape however.

  10. Chef Grace says:

    You go vegans. I admire your choice.
    Me, I love my chicken and fish. With veggies and rice. No red meat. I can live without cheese.
    Not a fan of tofu. Tried it fried. Politely spat it out. 😁

  11. Scal says:

    A big part of whether tofu is tasty is what it’s cooked in and also if you have firm/soft. I like it in curries-or flash fried. Yum. Still not as good as fried chicken though. :)

    And I know it was ages ago, but I will never forget though that she used to chew up her food and have her kid eat it directly out of her mouth like a bird. Everytime I see her name I heave a little. Can’t take anything she says seriously at all.

  12. Yeahright says:

    She looks her age.

  13. Eliza says:

    For my daughter (nursing) i had to give up dairy and soy and a few other things for her digestion. I don’t feel any better or worse lol. But I miss them less than I thought. Once you have the daily schedule down, you don’t notice the modifications any more.

    Tofu isn’t a miracle for everyone though. And soy should be avoided/limited if you have issues with estrogen/hormones/thyroid. And shilling vitamins??? There’s no regulation of vitamins – buyer beware so much snake oil out there.

    Diet, vitamins, etc. There’s no one answer for everyone. Too much of anything is not a good thing. Do what’s right for you.

  14. Cacec04 says:

    Tofu is very versatile and if someone knows how to cook it it can be really good. I was vegan for a short period of time so tofu wss something I ate pretty frequently then and I still find some vegan restaurants absolutely delicious. However, I got sickly and weak while attempting this because I was not very well informed on the idea that you have to eat certain foods together to make sure you’re getting and absorbing appropriate vitamins and minerals that got need. Maybe I’ll try to go back to it in the future but while I have picky kids I’ve just put a pause on it.

  15. BBeauty says:

    I was vegan for about 4 years a decade ago and I ate well and still got extremely unhealthy. I ate everything I was supposed to eat on a vegan diet and took supplements and my looks and health plummeted. It is not true that a vegan diet is for everyone. My health recovered a few months after I stopped being vegan. I eat minimal red meat now and lots of fish. It is seriously some kind of miracle that she can get her son to eat blanched kale with flax oil for breakfast LOL.

  16. Egla says:

    Certainly it takes some kind of dedication to eat a certain way. I mean avoiding whole group of foods and than find replacements for them and also take supplements to get what you are not getting from the food you so carefully select.
    In my house, unless you have something really serious, food cures everything. And by food I mean meat, eggs, cheese, butter, fish and all. luckily we have a Mediterranean diet so we get our fix of vegetables and fruits as they are an important part of our everyday cooking.

  17. Bronson says:

    Buying organic tofu is key. GMO soy will kill you eventually, it’s one of the most pesticide laden products grown in the US. That being said, Alicia and I are fridge twinsies! When you have been vegan for as long as we have, living this way is more out of habit than anything and is just normal to us. Processed food would make me positively ill. I’m a live and let live vegan, I dont care what anyone else eats as long as it makes them happy.

  18. raincoaster says:

    I think she got cut off. You can turn tofu into anything EXCEPT FOOD!

  19. Haapa says:

    There is a lot of privilege that goes into being able to follow a vegan diet. I wish people would acknowledge that. Some people simply don’t have the time, money, access, etc. to follow such a diet and they shouldn’t be ashamed of that. Food has no moral value.

    • Banana Janitor says:

      This is such a puzzling point to me. First, you’re assuming that people DON’T acknowledge it. Not sure why you would assume vegans lack compassion or critical thinking skills. Food is always a privilege. Any food is a privilege, and food privledge is relative. There are people in developing countries for whom meat is an inaccessible luxury. There are marginalized people in developed countries for whom any food is a luxury, and healthy food in particular. The takeaway for me is that it is incumbent upon the people with the privledge to do so to make ethical choices, because they have the financial, social, emotional etc. resources to do so. Who food shames people who lack resources?

      • Haapa says:

        Where did I say that vegans lack compassion or critical thinking skills? I made my comment because there are always people saying how “easy” it is. It is not easy for everyone. If you get defensive over people calling out privilege, that’s on you.

    • jwoolman says:

      Vegan and vegetarian eating is not inherently expensive or time-consuming. It’s much easier and less expensive to nourish yourself properly that way than the carnivore way when money is tight.

      People just assume it’s complicated and expensive because they see rich people buying rich people food and writing rich people cookbooks. And they see all the veg convenience foods available now in the freezer and refrigerator sections of the grocery store and assume that you have to eat such things if you are vegetarian or vegan. No, you don’t. And you don’t have to follow recipes or be a skilled cook.

      Grains, beans (including peanuts), veggies, fruit, and some nuts and seeds do not have to break the budget and certainly do not require fancy cooking. I don’t even have a working stove. Canned and frozen veg and fruit work fine if you would have to take out a bank loan for fresh in the produce department.

      It is not hard to open up a can of beans or veg and rinse it and then eat. You can cook up some rice or pasta and freeze portions if time will be tight later. You don’t need to whip up fancy sauces. Real food tastes good and doesn’t need such enhancement. I have successfully eaten vegan with an allergy control rotation diet, based on my personal food categories: grains, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, fats/oils. In the rotation scheme, you eat as much as you want but try to keep meals down to one or two different foods at once with two or three hours at least in between. For me, that meant sometimes a huge bowl of grapes (on sale….), or a huge bowl of popcorn, or several apples or bananas or stone fruit etc., or a Haas avocado (cut in half and eaten from the shell with a spoon), or a cup of beans (I like especially Fordhook lima beans, garbanzo beans, light red kidney beans) or peanuts, or simple one-grain crackers with peanut etc. butter, or any cooked or fresh veg with or without another food. Food prep was so easy…. I just made sure to hit all my groups in a day but tried to avoid eating the same food any more often than two days later. It was a cheap way of eating also.

      My idea of a casserole is tossing together whatever veg and grain and beans already on hand and baking for a bit in my toaster/convection oven. Maybe I’ll add some fat or oil if I think it needs it (or I need it…). If I want cheese or similar, I just add that also. No need for the fancy prep magazines and cookbooks think is needed for “mac and cheese”.

      A peanut butter sandwich can be enhanced with crunchy veg or fruit if you have them, but it’s a pretty good meal by itself. Protein, fiber, and some good fat. I do like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, though… How long does it take to make a simple peanut butter sandwich?

  20. Cara says:

    I don’t want to be a hater, but I don’t think she looks SUPER healthy. She is thin, that is about it.

  21. Nina says:

    I am from Switzerland, so cheese is huge. I thought l could never live without it. But after doing the 1month vegan challenge, and kilos just melted away, my skin glowed and the energy went through the roof l must say: NOTHING tastes like vegan feels. Try it. 1 month. You will know!

  22. ans says:

    I feel like soy is the devil for me, my mood, my gut health… It’s sad because I truly actually *like* tofu :(

    • jwoolman says:

      You could be bothered by any particular part of the soy. I myself find I have no trouble with the protein part – I can eat something with soy protein isolate listed on the label. But sometimes I’ve had trouble with the whole soy bean although not tofu. Fortunately, I never bought into the soy frenzy as a must-do and can eat other beans happily.

      I also have some trouble with wheat but not with anything labeled as containing just wheat protein concentrate or isolate or wheat gluten. So some non-protein part of the wheat bothers me if I eat too much of it. Gives me killer persistent heartburn.

      Some people find that fermented soy products don’t bother them, such as tempeh and miso. I’ve had no trouble with Tofurkey tempeh strips, for example.

      I wonder if soy is problematic mainly because we get so much exposure to it in various processed foods beginning in infancy (soy-based infant formulas, for example). The human immune system isn’t fully developed until about the age of five, so an infant would be particularly susceptible to being set up for later problems by foods that are actually relatively new for the very young in human history.

      There actually are vegetarian versions of the classic Beano, by the way, to help people digest beans and some other foods by providing the right enzymes. Bean-zyme and Yes to Beans are two I’m familiar with.