TVRage is presenting a brand new series called Meatless Mondays, where we will showcase some of our favorite actors and actresses who are vegan. For those who don’t know, Meatless Mondays is a worldwide campaign encouraging others to eliminate meat from their diets once a week to improve their health and the planet’s health.
Our very first TV celeb is none other than Kristin Bauer van Straten, or as “True Blood” fans know her, Pam De Beaufort. She is an inspiring actress and vegan, who is all about supporting the environment, respecting animals and giving back in ways that truly matter. Here’s what she exclusively told TVRage about her veganism, why she considers Pam a vegan vampire and which vegan recipes she loves.
TVRage: How long have you been vegan, and why did you choose to go vegan?
Kristin Bauer van Straten: It’s been an evolvement over probably two decades, but I think any of these decisions come with knowledge and understanding. I started buying different cleaning products, once I learned - or thought about it [and] just became aware - of what happens when that laundry detergent leaves my house, and becomes part of the waterstream. I didn’t want to affect the world outside badly, and I didn’t want to support companies that weren’t caring for Earth, in their manufacturing. So, I started looking at being kind and responsible. The first place I wanted to look was in my own house. I think there is so much that’s going on on Earth that could be done better, but it just feels too overwhelming - everywhere we look there’s bad news these days. So, I thought, ‘You know what I’m just gonna start with what I buy,’ and one of the things that we buy, many times a day, is food.
So, I just Googled it. I Googled, ‘How did that cow live?’ and ‘How did it die?’ and ‘What was it fed?’ Then, ‘What happens in the human body when we eat meat, and especially conventionally raised meat?’ Then, ‘What happens with what leaves our house?’ Also, ‘What leaves the farm where the animals are raised?’ It took a decision to look at things that aren’t pleasant to look at, but there’s a couple of things that made that easy for me. One is, I don’t want to support suffering. I think death is one thing - we’re all gonna have to do it - but suffering every minute of every day for 20 minutes of my pleasure is not something I want on my conscience. These things only happen, because we don’t see them happen. Once you see it, you’re forced to make a choice. So, I forced myself to make a choice, and I’m trying to do that with everything - with jewelry, with clothing, with the car I drive - everything that I touch I wanted to be responsible for.
TVRage: For “True Blood” fans, if Pam was vegan, what do you think she’d like to snack on?
Van Straten: I think that, you know, Pam has a choice of existing on a genetically modified product - basically, soda - a genetically engineered substance, or feeding free range volunteers. She chooses the free range natural route. I think she really is a vegan vampire, because she’s not choosing modern chemistry. She’s also eating free range meat that’s volunteered, and also, she let’s them live. So, it’s little bit more like when I went to Africa and I lived with the Samburu and the Maasai for a bit. They have cattle and they have goats, and mainly, they are part of a family. They treat them really well. They’re completely free range. They have all of Africa to graze upon. [The people] drink [the animals] blood - they live off of their blood and their milk - and let them live. I thought (laughs), ‘Oh my God. Pam is actually part of one of the indigenous cultures of Africa.’ So, it’s a pretty holistic way to live, because the Africans are also nomadic. They’re environmentally conscious, because if there’s no water or no grazing, they just to move where there is, and I thought, ‘Oh my God. That’s Pam.’
TVRage: What was it like to be in Africa [for her documentary, “Out for Africa,” about the poaching of elephant ivory and rhino horns]? It had to be an amazing experience.
Van Straten: It really is a life-changing experience. It’s something that I had wanted to do my whole life. I think it’s on a lot of our bucket lists to go on a safari. You imagine what that will be like from all the pictures you see. I did an enormous amount of planning and research, and still where I found the magic was not exactly like I expected it to be, and it was so much more magical than you could ever feel in a picture. That’s gonna be my job, as a director of a documentary, to try to impart that feeling that Africa has. That it’s so special, and possibly the only place left on Earth - while we have it - where it’s still wild.
*During the “True Blood” hiatus, she hopes to again visit Africa and continue editing. By the end of the year, she predicts the documentary should be in good shape for her to start thinking about distribution.
TVRage: Do you have a favorite vegan recipe, and would you be willing to share it with our readers?
Van Straten: Yeah. I’ve got a few. There’s a cookbook that I really love. My husband, I don’t think he’d ever seen a vegetable before he met me. He ate only meat, and he does all the cooking. So, I ate a lot of salads, until I signed us up for vegan cooking classes in Hollywood . . . We’ve taken six cooking classes, and it’s just incredible. My husband doesn’t care what he’s eating, as long as it tastes good. It can be animal, it could probably be human, he doesn’t care. It just has to taste good.
With that said, here are some vegan recipes she enjoys:
1. Quinoa Cranberry Walnut Muffins by YumUniverse: she calls these muffins “heaven.”
2. Recipes by Spork Foods: she says all of these recipes are great, and the ladies offer “great classes” and have a “great cookbook.”
3. Earth Balance vegan butter: this butter is her favorite and she’s even given these products as gifts. Her refrigerator is also filled with Earth Balance.
Let us know if you try any of these recipes, and if you enjoy them!
“True Blood” Season 6 premieres Sunday, June 16 on HBO at 9 p.m. EST.