Refrigerator Look Book: Kathy Freston

This vegan lifestyle guru and best-selling author advocates for an easy, gradual approach to making healthy food choices. And her fridge is full of gateway foods.

Kathy FrestonKathy Freston is a best-selling author, and counts both Oprah and Ellen among her biggest fans.

The vegan lifestyle and conscious-eating advocate’s newest book, The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss, focuses on her slow-burn approach to healthy choices.

“We can make healthy changes gradually and easily; we need not do everything overnight or perfectly,” says Freston. “This ‘leaning in’ approach makes it so much more do-able.”

Freston says her strategy for healthy eating is so satisfying and fulfilling that “I sometimes forget that I’m even being healthy!”

Here’s what she reaches for when she leans into her fridge.

That is a huge container of garbanzo beans. How do you put all those to use? I put them in salads, have them in curry, or eat them mixed with sundried tomatoes and artichokes for a healthy, protein-packed meal. You can see the artichokes in the clear containers next to the vegan ranch dressing. I have them for that purpose, and for salad. They are so meaty, so they add nice texture to dishes.

What’s in the metal bowl next to the garbanzos? A big soba noodle salad with chopped tofu and veggies, prepared ahead of time for lunch!

Yum! How about in the the two glass jars on the top shelf, all the way on the right? Vegetarian bullion—it’s a good base for soups. It’s called “Better Than Boullion”!

In addition to fruits and veggies, you have a lot of faux meat and dairy products—sausages, tofu, soy cheese. Do you incorporate those into most of your meals? I’m a big fan of high-protein meat alternatives! I love traditional meals like chicken parmesan or pasta with sausages, so I still enjoy them but without the animal stuff. I just upgraded the things I grew up loving so that they are healthier (no cholesterol, drastically lower in fat) and cruelty-free.

But lots of people think faux meats and cheeses lack flavor. Thoughts? I think they used to lack flavor, but not anymore. They’ve come a long way and are really quite tasty, and I fool people all the time with meatless meat and nondairy cheese. If you think about it, though, chicken doesn’t really have much flavor anyway. It’s all in the way you cook and season it. So I suppose the same could be said of the vegan versions.

That’s a good point. I hope whomever you’re tricking isn’t reading this! Your book calls your approach to eating “revolutionary.” Why? For the past few decades, the diet of choice has been the high protein, low carb Atkins-like plans. But science has shown that the weight lost in the vast majority of cases comes back and then some. And secondly, these diets can be quite damaging to the kidneys and heart. So The Lean, with its gradual move toward plant-based food (whole grains, black beans, lentils, veggies, nuts, fruits, etc.), is a big shift from the old-school thinking. —Lisa Elaine Held

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