Interview with Kathy Freston about her new Book “The Lean” Also, a Book Giveaway!

Kathy Freston is a bestselling author with a focus on healthy eating and conscious living. Her instant New York Times bestsellers include Veganist, Quantum Wellness, and The One. She has appeared frequently on national television, including Oprah, The Dr. Oz Show, Ellen and more. I cant imagine how it would be to be in the spotlight and be ready with answers which appeal to all people.
Kathy was also named the 2011 Person of the Year by VegNews Magazine. She also writes on The Huffington Post. Read her posts here.

The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss is her new book in which she helps you lean into small and effective dietary and lifestyle changes to achieve a healthy weight. You can find a picture overview of the book and badges to share on her website here.

I got a wonderful opportunity to talk to Kathy via OpenSky. Open Sky is a social network for shopping where experts and trendsetters in health, food, style and design share insider advice, tips and their favorite things for you.
You can find more of Kathy’s tips and suggestions for living a healthier lifestyle on her OpenSky profile here. Also, Kathy is offering signed copies of her book starting today, March 27th, on OpenSky! Track all the happenings on the Opensky Facebook Page.

Thank you Kathy and Open Sky for this interview! It is raining Giveaways this week.

For the Giveaway. Opensky is offering The Lean to one reader! Enter by Saturday March 31st midnight PST. To enter.
1. Mandatory entry: Leave me a comment on this post, with a way to get in touch with you.(email/blog). If you have read her books, do share your experiences and thoughts in the comments!
Additional Entries:
2. Like the blog on Facebook or share about the giveaway on Facebook/Twitter, and leave a comment on this post.
3. Follow me on Pinterest, and leave a comment on this post.
4. Like Opensky on Facebook , and leave a comment on this post.

The Interview!

Hi Richa,

So great to meet you, and very cool that you are spreading the word… bravo you! Here you go, the answers to your questions! Sending warmest your way!

1. How did The Lean book idea come about.

I kept seeing really lovely people struggle mightily with their weight, and it broke my heart. People shouldn’t have to suffer like they do. They should be able to enjoy their lives AND enjoy good health and esteem. So I wanted to come up with a plan that would make weight loss easy and do-able, something effective and science based.

2. What is The Lean about and how is this plan different from the usual diets in the market.

It’s different in 2 ways: 1. Most diets would have you cutting things out from your diet; they are about deprivation and discipline. The Lean is focused on “crowding out” which means you are going to ADD things in to your daily routine, thus leaving little room for the bad stuff. You won’t have to white knuckle your way through it; you’ll just gradually not have the belly space to fit the old foods you are used to! 2. Most popular diets are animal protein based; The Lean will have you gradually moving away from animal food and more into delicious whole grains, black beans and lentils and the like, fruits and veggies, and all kinds of wonderful alternatives to meat and dairy.

3. What should someone expect at the end of the 30 days and after.

The way you eat and feel is going to totally shift (but it will happen gradually, with ease). The cravings you have are going to change. Your body’s chemistry is going to adjust in a way that makes your physical transformation happen easily. The weight will be dropping off, and your health will turn around. You’ll also have clearer skin, better digestion, and tons of energy!

4. Would you share an example of a breakfast and lunch, of someone who is following the book.

For breakfast, you might enjoy a bowl of brown rice (I make a big pot of it twice a week and keep it in the fridge) with chopped dates and raw almonds, with agave and warmed soy or rice milk poured atop. Oatmeal is certainly great too; I just like to change it up with different grains. If you are on the run, you can have whole grain toast and peanut butter. For lunch, you could enjoy a black bean burrito with salsa and avocados along with a salad or some quinoa with veggies and chickpeas along with a thick butternut squash soup. There are 40 recipes and lots of meal plans to choose from! I love this Soy Milk Maker because you can make fresh soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and cashew milk AND porridges and pureed soups!

5. What is the main problem with usual dieting techniques. Be it cutting down on certain things, talking about moderation, carb counting, more protein etc.

Granted, you will probably lose weight on a high-protein, low-carb diet. But the weight loss comes partly from eating fewer calories, because you are knocking out so much of what you normally would consume, and partly because these days eliminating carbohydrates means doing away with calorie-dense, highly processed foods (most of which contain HFCS). Ofcourse you lose weight when you give up cookies and cakes and doughnuts, which erroneously get lumped together with good carbs like those from brown rice and quinoa. But eating a high-protein, low-carb diet doesn’t work long term (most people gain it all back and then an extra 5% !) . Not only that, it wreaks serious damage to your kidneys and heart.

6. Why do you think this plan will work in the long run.

The Lean works long term because you will feel FULL AND SATISFIED. No white knuckling. It’s all about the fiber (in whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, etc) – fiber is the one dietary component that has consistently been the key factor in lasting weight loss. It fills you up, stabilizes your blood sugar, cleans out the fat, and lowers your cholesterol.

7. What would you tell someone wanting to do things in moderation or wanting other substitutes rather than vegan options.

Leaning in is very different than moderation. Leaning in means you set your intention to go in the direction of health, and you take small, interconnected steps in that direction. A momentum builds, and before you know it, you are dropping pounds. Moderation, on the other hand, means you try and reduce the amount of something you know is bad for you. I like to keep things positive – adding things in, rather than taking things away!

8. What about eating out and entertaining people while you are following the plan or after.

I like to think of eating out as a sport! I love finding restaurants that have good healthy options, like Mexican (black bean tostadas) or Thai (tofu curry) or Greek (hummus and salads). I also check to see where there are good options in whatever town I’m headed to. If I go to someone’s house, I bring a favorite dish along with me to make it easy on the host; inevitably the other guests always want to try what I have. I love being an ambassador for eating well, because most people these days are super interested in either slimming down or getting more energy!

9. Soy has lots of controversies around it, positive or negative, and not necessarily all true. Why is there a lot of focus on soy during the transition. And is there a way to find other options.

The science is pretty strong in support of the healthfulness of soy (it’s high in protein and fiber), but it certainly isn’t necessary if you don’t like it. Other excellent sources of protein are quinoa, any kind of bean or legume, seitan (wheat protein), nuts and seeds. I stress including plant protein at every meal because the science shows that protein makes you feel satiated. And being satiated is important so that cravings and hunger doesn’t get the best of you! You just want to be sure it’s clean protein, not the fatty, cholesterol laden protein from animals.

10. Similarly, why so many processed food options during the transition. Isnt it like jumping from one bad wagon to the other in terms of health.

Oh no; transitional foods are wonderful! Veggie sausage may be “processed”, but it’s minimally so. And it’s far lower in fat and calories than the “real” stuff, with zero cholesterol. As an important aside, no animals were harmed in the making of it! It’s a good step in the right direction. For the vast majority of people, moving from steak and chicken to a bowl of rice and beans is just not going to happen, so meat alternatives are an excellent way to “crowd out” the really harmful stuff. It’s all about progress, not perfection!

11. Would you recommend this book to nursing mothers who are trying to lose the pregnancy weight or other age groups like children and seniors.

The Lean is medically sound for any and all age groups; in fact, it’s far healthier than the Standard American Diet. It has the endorsements of Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Neal Barnard, so anyone should feel very safe in doing it. You couldn’t say that for diets like Atkins.

12. On a topic not related to weight loss, In general what advice would you give to people recuperating from major illnesses like cancer. About a vegan diet, changes and additions to their meal plan for a healthier life ahead.

The more fiber rich, nutrient dense food you eat, and the more you stay away from meat and dairy, the better your health will thrive.

13. I come from a vegetarian background as most Indians. A good Indian diet is usually balanced and not too high on dairy and hence it is always a tough task to convince anyone into cutting dairy out, if they are already consuming limited amounts of dairy. What would you say about replacing dairy completely from the daily diet.

Cow milk is perfectly designed by nature to make a little tiny calf put on 1000 pounds super quickly. The calf will grow to be fat, docile, and slow. We don’t want to be fat, docile, and slow; we want to be lean and quick on our feet! Plus, the main reason we would drink milk is for the calcium, but many of the nondairy milks on the market have 50% more calcium than dairy milk anyway, so why wouldn’t you opt for them?

14. What are some of the amazing stories or events that have happened recently, because someone made some changes because of you, or your books.

People tell me there lives are completely changed after they have “leaned in”. One guy lost 100 pounds, another gal lost 200. It’s really wonderful to see!

15. Message to the readers of the blog and everyone.

Just set your intention to lose weight, nudge yourself forward a little, and then keep leaning!

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Kathy on OpenSky

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  1. says

    thats an informative interview with kathy…. but i am already lean 😉

    i have heard about opensky for the first time. do they send shipping to india or it is just in the united states?

    • says

      They are working on international shipping right now and will offer it sometime soon. You can still enter and i can send it to you if you win!

    • says

      ok… shall make an account…. one more gateway for me to spend the hubby’s money 😉

      i shall also be offering 2 giveaways very soon…..

  2. says

    Wonderful Interview! Answered my question which is no-13. Thanks Richa for sharing the answers.
    I am in a transition of becoming Vegan, and I know that leaning into it is the only sustainable way to achieve the success. That’s what I did while getting rid of meat completely. The next step is to give up on dairy, which shouldn’t be very hard for me.
    I have read a few pages of her book which are available on Amazon, and totally loved her approach. How exiting it would be to receive a copy of her book.
    I follow your blog and love it. It was your blog and your profile page that got me inspired to think about going vegan.
    I also started following Kathy on OpenSky and happy to follow you on pinterest.
    Thanks Richa for sharing good stuff.


    oh..BTW here is my blog URL-

    • says

      Thank you Manali for your sweet words. We transitioned into the diet slowly as well, eliminating 1-2 things at a time and finding the right substitutes and options. Dairy products were easy to let go, but dairy itself took some time. It feels amazing after each successful step and this book makes it even simpler!
      Thank you for dropping by and the follow!

  3. says

    She is amazing! I read Veganist long after I went Vegan and it was such a boost and a reminder of all the reasons why I did it in the first place. I then went on to read Quantum Wellness just for the heck of it. She rocks!

  4. says

    Wonderful! I would love to get a copy! This just happens to be a book I recently heard of and have been thinking of checking it out.
    Lovely interview with Kathy – Awesome Richa!

  5. says

    I really like the concept of the Lean in adding lots of good foods instead of just eliminating all the bad. I’ve been trying to figure out how to cook healthy and delicious food for some time, would love to give her 30 plan a try!

  6. says

    I’m so excited she’s got another book coming out! I read Quantum Wellness (and passed it on to a friend of mine in dire need of Kathy’s help) and Veganist was very helpful in transitioning to veganism. It’s such a great guide to the whole lifestyle, not just the eating aspect of veganism. It totally reaffirmed everything that had made me want to become vegan in the first place. I’d love to win this new book of hers! You can contact me via my blog

  7. says

    I haven’t read any of Kathy’s books, but I enjoyed the interview and am interested in checking this out. My email is justaudrey(at)live(dot)com

  8. Jessica says

    Started following you on Pinterest. I love all your recipes, by the way!
    I feel this book would help me out on my journey to weight loss, which has been so hard because I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, in which my immune system attacks my thyroid. In my constant journey to health, I gave up red meat, then white meat, then dairy, then subsequently eggs and fish and went vegan! Despite this lifestyle change, it seems like I have gained weight instead :(. Hopefully this book can help me out!

  9. says

    Nice interview! I haven’t read any of her books, but “Veganist” has been on my to-read list for a long time (obviously I’m very far behind!). Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of her new book! (email is bobbie AT thevegancrew DOT com)

  10. Anonymous says


    I will be looking at this book some more. I am looking to go more vegan in my diet. I feel soooo much better when I do. Thanks for the interview.



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