Alicia Silverstone: I’m Raising My Son to Be as Healthy as Possible

04/16/2014 at 10:35 PM ET

In a world of over-sugared, over-stimulated toddlers, Alicia Silverstone says that when it comes to raising her son Bear Blu, 3 next month, she values going back to basics.

Eschewing plastic toys for vintage gardening buckets and sugary snacks for salt-free rice cakes, Silverstone, a vegan for 16 years, says Bear is thriving and has never been sick.

“He loves the food I give him,” Silverstone, 37, tells PEOPLE. Her second book, The Kind Mama, explains her pre and postnatal methods for staying healthy and happy. “He’s not being deprived of anything. For him, having amazing fruit is like candy!”

Conceding that there could potentially be a time that Bear samples some unhealthy (or non-vegan) treats, Silverstone says, “I wouldn’t freak out. It’s all going to be available, I just want him to be the healthiest he can be for as long as possible.”

Alicia Silverstone Bear The Kind Mama
Amy Neunsinger

The actress, whose 1995 hit Clueless shot her into the stratosphere of fame, also advocates for breastfeeding, family bed sharing with husband Christopher Jarecki and a super green home (she line dries her clothes!) and says it’s her current role as mama that she loves the most.

“I want women to know what’s possible — a blissful pregnancy and happy and beautiful [motherhood]. I didn’t invent any of this — I wish I was that cool! It’s just instinctual.”

For more of our exclusive interview with Alicia Silverstone, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

– Aili Nahas

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Showing 62 comments

Godiva on

I am all for parents wanting their children to be healthy but I hate how veganism is being showcased as the “healthiest” diet out there. Everyone’s body is not the same. What works for one, may not work for another.

While I know there are MANY things wrong with the meat-industry and reform needs to happen, I do believe that it is necessary element for MY diet. I always try to buy grass-fed beef, just like I try to buy organic vegetables.

But I do like that everyone is re-evaluating their diets and trying to eat according to what feels good for their diet. The American diet has consisted of crap, processed food-like products for too long.

Sara on

Love Alicia, love this article and love her parenting style. She’s raising a thoughtful, conscious, kind child and I love that there are people out there who devote this time and positive energy to the job! I’ve been a vegetarian as long as she has been a vegan. She’s inspiring, and beautiful.

lovely123 on

I wonder if she pre-chewed whatever is in that jar her husband is holding…

Catca on

Bear is a cutie and I agree with Sara, she has a wonderful parenting style with the right perspective. She knows that Bear is going to get exposed to the junk eventually but she’s giving him healthy foods while she can. When the junk comes along, it sounds like she’ll allow it in moderation but keep the healthy influences going at home. Smart!

Agape on

Very good article and so happy her 3 year old has never been sick. Although, non vegan parents who have had ill or sick children should not feel like their food choices/decisions are completely responsible. Diet plays a big part in good health, but Alicia’s son is extremely lucky to have avoided all illnesses in his 3 years of life!

JOHANNA on

I agree with Alicia…I am not vegan, but with my son, I did tried to prolong junk food for as long as I could, his snacks were always fruit, but as with any kid entering school…he started seeing their were other thing considered as snacks… he does have them here and there, but he does know what is a healthy snack… he doesn’t even like chocolate and he is 5 yrs old :-)

Catherine in Tulsa on

I agree with eating healthy, but it’s obvious she lives in a bubble, and is incredibly unempathetic. She relies on western medicine to provide a safety bubble around her family – the entire country vaccinates, so she doesn’t have to vaccinate her child – and then acts superior in doing so.

Kat on

I’m not a vegan, nor do I raise my child as one, but I feel like as long as you make conscious decisions about what to feed your family, you’ll be ok. I just wish organic, healthy foods were cheaper, because although my own family is lucky enough to afford it, I hate how it becomes a class issue in America – people with less money have a harder time providing their kids with healthy foods, and that just sucks so much. It’s insane that a chocolate bar is cheaper than an apple! I mean, you shouldn’t have to be a movie star to give your kid the best start in life.

I also really hate that in most US schools, the food and snack choices are so limited and poor. Because I went to school in Sweden (where there’s always hot, healthy meals served for lunch rather than sandwiches, chips and sweets, and milk and water instead of sodas), I just couldn’t believe my eyes when we moved over here and I saw what the schools serve up! There are just no real choices here, just food lobbies getting their way – it’s crazy that people accept it!

sandy on

She’s a good mother! I wish my mother would of cared this much and kept me away from candy & junk food!! Maybe I wouldn’t have all these fillings in my teeth. I also did NOT give my kids candy before age 5. I remember someone offering my son a sucker at age 2 and I said he does not eat candy. I got a look like I was crazy! Why??? To this day, my son only drinks water- does not pine after candy at all. Kids do not NEED candy. If parents start healthy eating from day 1- that is all their kids will know and will very healthy and happy. And yes, and apple or watermelon will be a wonderful sugary tasting treat!

sandy on

PS: Once my kids got into school- that’s when the candy and unhealthy snacks started. TEACHERS have to stop giving candy as rewards- and a whole lot of other junk. Don’t get me started on the public school lunches- pure garbage. Parents have to take an active role in their child’s nutrition. Throwing a Lunchables-in your child’s lunch box- which is full of fat, salt & sugar- is not providing your child with zero nutrients to make it thru their school day.

dawn norris on

I have two kids one kid is going to be 17 and only been sick with flu or even a cold 4 times in his life. Other kid is going to be 15 and has constant colds. They have same diet and exercise regiment 15 yr old actually is more activity since he has to walk oldest drives. But you know what was different and i do believe this is true. I breastfed oldest for a year. youngest i could not and only did 8 wks. I truly believe that helps make the immune system.

Carrie on

Line drying laundry isnt that uncommon, why is that so shocking

Mimi on

Wow, Alicia line dries her clothes – how very super green! That’s what pretty much the rest of the world does too…

Jamie on

We humans have survived because we are adaptable and able to eat a large variety of foods. It’s that variation that keeps us healthy. Being a vegan is too limiting in my opinion, especially for a young child, but hey it’s her kid and her decision.

And to Dawn Norris my husband was breastfeed until he was 3 years old by his mother who was a pediatric nurse. He has more alleges than any person I know. Our son who was not breastfeed in now 14 years old and has never had an allergy problem.

Lala on

I do like her parenting views, and respect her decisions. I agree, food plays a big part in your health. I am not vegan, but I buy organic milk, eggs, and meat, when possible. I feed my kids almost all organic now, but wasn’t always able to. I started out only buying what was most important to me (organic milk and eggs), and what I could afford to switch out. If organic bread was close to the same price as regular bread, I opted for organic.

Also, I’d buy organic fruits and veggies, that were highest on the pesticide list, or had skin you consumed; strawberries, apples, etc. I try to always have a fruit or vegetable on my kids’ plates. Luckily for me, they like most of them.

Jules on

Does she pre-chew the food for the entire family too?

elysummers on

I wish my mom had been this mindful. She never gave me any guidance on healthy eating or exercise. As a result it never occured to me that when I gained some weight I should exercise and diet — NOT buy larger clothers. Good for you Alicia. You are a very present parent.

Emily on

SHOCKER! She even line dries here clothes! Seriously! You people need to wake up and see that there is life outside of the city! But why give up dry cleaning and modern conveniences for a simpler life?!?!?!

RVN on

“My kid has never been sick.” What a bragging right. Is he ever around other children during flu season at school? Probably not as he is 3. All kids get sick once in a while and although we practice healthy, organic eating & lifestyle, that did preclude our child from that either.

As far as this comment, “I want women to know what’s possible – a blissful pregnancy and happy and beautiful [motherhood].” That’s great and fine, but spend a little time with other mothers who have had a rough go of things for reasons out of their control, and it comes off a bit insensitively. Ask a mother whose child was born with some sort of defect or another whose child was born healthy and then developed leukemia around toddler age. These things happen and they are no one’s fault. And I have seen them happen to people who practice similar lifestyles as hers. So, as another reader commented, she really does comes off as living in a bubble.

linda on

To each his own. I appreciate a thoughtful mother. She is trying to do the best she can for her child. I always respect that. Too many mothers out there that just don’t give a kick. So kudos Alicia!

menders on

Dawn Norris, Hate to burst your bubble but I have a friend whose daughter was breastfed for 18 months and this poor child has been in the hospital with pneumonia and is constantly sick. My other friend adopted so her daughter was formula fed since day one and she is 6 and has never been on an antibiotic, never has had more than an occasional head cold, that’s it.

The huge difference in both friends is that my friend who adopted lives a healthy, organic, non-processed food lifestyle. Her daughter does eat meat but she eats a LOT of veggies too. My breastfeeding friend buys processed crap and fast food……her kids are always sick. Lifestyle really does make a difference.

Laney on

I find that anyone who says their child has never been sick is usually lying! How can a 3 year old never had even a cold!

Lori on

I love everything Alicia has said. If you’d rather hear about plant-based diet advocacy from somebody who is an actual doctor and not a movie star, please please please check out Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books Eat to Live and Disease-Proof Your Child. Both books are mind-blowing.

Anonymous on

She’s raising her son to be as healthy as possible. That’s great. However, could it be any more condescending? Sounds like People left off part of the quote …. unlike other Mothers who want sickly children”

Susan on

I am all for healthy food and for breast feeding. However even with both, my 3 kids have had a lifetime of illnesses which began before my kids were even vaccinated. I have vaccinated my children as a friend who was not vaccinated died from measles 20 years ago. I know it is not common but it does happen and it was delves attains for the family.

It always worries me that those people who cannot be entirely vaccinated due to compromised immune systems or for babies or the elderly,…they could be severely impacted by those who choose not to vaccinate. Perhaps Alicia’s child would be fine if he got measles or mumps or whopping cough as he is so healthy. However if he or another healthy child got it and infected a baby or someone who was not so healthy, would it have been worth not vaccinating?

Ridiculous on

Great that she’s giving him the healthiest food possible but that deal with her chewing his food for him and putting it into his mouth is beyond disgusting.

dancer92136 on

So here is my problem…if all the parents failed to get their kids vaccinated who would they blame when their child contracted POLIO?

Jody on

I saw her on the talk shows this week and she can barely walk, she needs some real food in her system, she looked like she was going to topple over. It’s no better when she starts talking but I digress.

As for her son never being sick, that’s only because he’s not in school yet. Just wait for that first year of school, it’s hell! If he’s really never been sick, his immune system and his bubble brained mother are in for a shock.

Roxanne on

You’re all a bunch of freaks

AMY on

It’s mind-blowing to me how many people take someone else’s personal lifestyle choices as a threat or some sort of affront to their own. Why are there so many people on this thread assuming that her choices are meant to be condescending to yours?

Jennifer on

You know what they say, a child that has not been sick before school can get really sick MANY times when the child is in school! I have two children and my youngest is 1 and has picked up many viruses from her older brother many times, but her pediatrician said that is good for when she starts school at 4 since her immune system will be built up.

excugoaway on

My 9 year old daughter is a vegetarian. She has been since she was 2 years old. She chooses to be a vegetarian because she wants to save the animals and feels it is cruel to eat them. I respect my daughters decision and work around her ‘values’ to the best of my ability. She gets her blood tested every three months and until recently took no additional supplements. She just started taking Vitamin B12. And it really isn’t necessary. Just something the Doctor wanted her to take.
It’s funny no one else in our immediate family is a vegetarian. We are all carnivores, lol
I look for nutritious ideas on the internet. I will say this my daughter has more of a sweet tooth than us carnivores. (if I have sweets in the house, which isn’t often)

Larissa on

Just cause a child enters school doesn’t mean they will get sick all the time. My kids are never sick and they are in school full time. They never catch anything. They have amazingly strong immune systems and Im very lucky to have such healthy children. School does not mean sickness.

elaine80 on

Dear Sandy, Do not blame teachers for giving kids candy as a reward…..and please try and get over yourself.

June on

Clueless use to be my favorite movie Alicia you are so awesome !

Ncsu1998 on

Cuz lord knows every other mother is raising their child to be as unhealthy as possible. What a dumb quote.

samantha on

I’ve had the pleasure of spending at least an hour hanging out with Alicia and Bear and I can just say they are the sweetest. You can just see how much Bear is loved by his mom. Alicia was kind and very attentive. I just know he is going to grow up to be a wonderful young man.

Melisa on

I wish one of them would use some shampoo. Holy greaseballs.

Ali on

We aren’t vegetarians, we don’t eat organic, my daughter was formula-fed, and we vaccinate. My daughter has snack foods occasionally and candy sometimes too. We also don’t wipe down shopping carts with the lysol-type wipes that stores have. Our daughter rarely gets sick, has no allergies or any other medical conditions. My point: everything in moderation.

Mandy on

My child has eaten candy, but also eats fruit & veggies none of which are organic as I can’t afford that. I breastfed for 6 months as my milk dried up. My daughter has only been sick 3 times, but I think it has to do with the fact that she’s not in daycare yet. I just don’t see anything wrong with a kid having candy every now & then.

Mrs. Bale on

Lame. No longer like her. “As if” her dietary choices are the best. Well I’m glad you want YOUR son to be the healthiest and count your blessing that you’re able to afford him that. I have FAR FAR more respect for Jessica Alba that wishes the same her children and doing something about it for the REST of us.

Nicole on

I think it is the whole package that annoys people (not just the circumstances of this article). First the bizarre name, then the bizarre bird-like feeding, and so on. I also find it impossible for a 3yr to have never been sick, maybe she means very sick (more than the average cold). Her message just comes across as “I’m so much better than you”. We all want what’s best for our children.

Martina on

Alicia was on a talk show the other day. Don’t remember which one. She was talking about home birth, etc. She sounded so condescending – talking about how many births these days are ‘less then normal'; then the host gently corrected her with ‘less then ideal’… Something about her really rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t like people that think that they are the ultimate ‘normal’ and everyone else is just wrong and crazy.

judy on

I am so happy for her son’s health, but it seems hard to attain without the right resources, such as wealth. I would love to feed my children clean foods without pesticides, etc, but it’s too expensive for most people. Does Bear attend school? If not, it is pretty difficult for a child to catch something. Common colds build immunity. What kind of immunity does he have? Has he been vaccinated? So many questions unanswered in the story to get a full sense of it all.

Pro vaccines on

She doesn’t vaccinate and advocates that others not vaccinate. She is a menace to society and a bad mother no matter how many other good things she does. Anti- vaccination celebrities have the blood of children on their hands.

ff on

I don’t eat organic and my kid LOVES Mcdonalds but he has been sick a dozen days in his life and he turned 4 in March. Although I try and feed him healthy I admit I can not feed him the best foods all the time. It’s a parent’s choice what they do for their child…make your own decisions…you are your child’s Mother.

Edie on

I believe that she believes what she is doing is best for her son. So be it… It is her child and she has all the control as it should be. However, what scares and angers me most, is the government power (aka: Michelle Obama and her husbands regime) forcing their agenda on American Citizens and especially on THEIR children. It is the parent’s responsibility and NOT OBAMA’s federal government regime! Beware…

guest on

All well and good until he dies of something that a vaccine would have prevented.

Annastasia on

Lets be honest. If someone gave her child a cupcake she would probably freak the hell out. She’s also made headlines for letting her son eat food out of her mouth like he’s a baby bird. I’m sorry but that is anything but “healthy” behaivor!

jeffe on

Boy, she seems to be a smart mom who loves her kid. Balanced and aware, but not fanatic. She gets how the world will impact her child, and she’s just trying to keep her child as healthy as she can for as long as she can. Trying to give her kid a head start. Good for her.

veronica on

Organic is expensive!!

Leina on

“She line dries her clothes!” – Wow where has America gone that doing this is almost spectacular? I live in Europe (Germany) and off all people I know, only one has a dryer. Why? Cause it costs like 400 bucks a year just for power to use it. I go on a mini-vacation with my family with that money. Line drying your clothes shouldn’t be considered “super green” or like stone-age methods. Its free! Thats why you should do it.

Andy on

I much prefer Alicia Silverstone in the movies/TV shows to the “real life” Alicia Silverstone. She comes off so condescending in this, I read some of her other articles too and they’re not much better.

Also, the toys, they stated that she is “eschewing plastic toys for vintage gardening buckets…” Now, I don’t know if I would say that vintage gardening buckets are that much better. Metal and/or wood, could be coated in paint that is now chipping, do you really want your kid playing with that? I haven’t seen too many “vintage” buckets that don’t fit those parameters and I have seen many vintage buckets, my family likes antique stores. I’d rather my kid play with something plastic than something that can either severely cut him or give him nasty splinters (mind you, it is also stated that she doesn’t vaccinate, so do you think this kid has had a tetanus booster?)

Nally on

Saw a video she fed her son with her mouth awhile age, really disgusting.

Lyoness on

@Andy… I feel the same way about Gwyneth Paltrow. I like ‘movie GP” rather than “reality GP.”

I applaud her for feeding her son organic healthy foods but many people don’t have the money to afford them or the land to grow these things. It’s funny that everything is so turned around now. My mother grew up in rural poverty so they had no choice but to eat ‘organic’ veggies and chicken they grew or fish from their local lake. They didn’t eat much red meat and had a vegetable heavy diet. Growing up, ice cream was a treat. People just ate differently then. And when did line drying clothes become a new discovery?

Erica on

Alicia doesn’t believe in vaccinations. What an utter moron.

Anonymous on

Alicia would have a heart attack if she visited us! I have ALL options…healthy, fresh, sweet, salty…you want chocolate…I got it…you want a salad…I got that too. Great thing about having all of these options and sharing them with your children is that mine aren’t the grubby ones at birthday parties that moms are hovering over! Nope, it’s not a big deal to them.

Dawn on

So glad to hear she doesn’t vaccinate!!! More people need to realize that our country is full of chronically ill kids BECAUSE of the outrageous number of vaccinations out there that DO NOT work but HARM our kids!!! Do the research people before your child is one of the vaccine injured.

Elara on

I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but I refuse to buy processed crap for my children. If they want snacks, they get water, or pure apple or orange juice, and a piece of fruit or some raw veggies.

My kids have always been fairly healthy, and fit, and for the most part, they don’t even want a lot of junk foods. They have repeatedly told me that they can taste all the “yucky chemicals” in chips and candy, because they went without it most of their lives. When I asked them if they felt deprived, they said no, because they got to have whatever they wanted on special occasions, like birthdays and holidays. More often than not, they wouldn’t even finish the cakes or cookies because they were too sweet for them.

I think it’s great that she is trying to teach her son healthy eating habits at a young age.

Andy on

@Dawn, you need to educate yourself as well. I have friends who are biologists, environmental scientists, nurses, and special ed. teachers (this list does not include their friends who are doctors and other scientists) who all strongly support the use of vaccines because of the danger that can be caused without them.
I’m not going to turn this comments section into a vaccine pro vs. con board, but the road goes both ways honey.

crystal on

Nothing but LOVE for this amazing and inspiring mom!! She exudes love, with positive vibrations!

Angie on

If you can afford to go organic and nature, go for it. It’s great to our environment.

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