For fourteen seasons, Ellen Pompeo has played a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy, but a recent visit to a real-life doctor spurred a major change for Pompeo and her entire family.
“I just went for my yearly appointment a couple of weeks ago and [Dr. Kristi Funk] told me about her book,” Pompeo told PEOPLE at the launch party for Dr. Funk’s book Breasts: The Owner’s Manual in Hollywood. “Since then my whole family has gone completely vegan.”
Dr. Funk is the founder of Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills and has notably treated patients like Sheryl Crow and Angelina Jolie. In the book, she recommends a vegan diet — backed up by studies — as one way to help prevent breast cancer.
“[Dr. Funk] told me she turned her three kids completely vegan and I came home from my appointment with her where she basically gave me [the information] … and I said, ‘That’s it, we’re all vegan,’ ” Pompeo shared.
Though it might be hard convincing some families to give up meat and dairy products, Pompeo, 48, says it hasn’t been tough for her to find new vegan meals for her brood.
“It’s super fun,” she shared. Her husband, Chris Ivery, and children Stella Luna, 8, Sienna May, 3, and Eli Christopher, 1, are adjusting well to veganism. “I don’t think it’s tricky at all — it’s actually easier because meat you have to cook it before it goes bad. Grains and lentils and rice and beans, everything’s in the pantry already. You just have to get vegetables, but vegetables stay good for a week — and I think we all feel better.”
While Pompeo’s kids are on board with the family’s new vegan lifestyle, they still crave some of their old favorite foods. Stella, who accompanied her mom to the event, was “missing bacon” and said she “tried fake bacon today.” When asked how she liked it, Stella said “It’s okay,” optimistically.
In addition to the health benefits explained by Dr. Funk in her book, Pompeo is also embracing the vegan lifestyle for global reasons.
“I think we’re at a critical point for our planet and in the United States this health issue is out of control, the obesity, the diabetes everything … Sickness is a huge business, I know that really, really well. The message of veganism is not one that they want to get out but not only will it help us, it helps the planet.”