Goodwin says that her turn toward veganism started with an epiphany one day while preparing her morning coffee: "We were filming the road trip episode of this season's Big Love and we were staying in a hotel. I was doing a lot--and I mean a lot—of yoga at the time, and I've heard it's not uncommon for something like this to happen when you are in a stage like that," she explains. "Anyway, I was having my morning coffee, and I was pouring milk into it, and all I can say is that I suddenly realized what it was that I was pouring into my coffee. I was so disgusted, because I had never actually stopped to think about what milk is. And dairy had always been my favorite food group! I thought, 'Surely this feeling will pass,' but at lunchtime I was still disgusted. Over the next few days, I started really thinking about what I was eating."
Goodwin began reading books about nutrition and animal treatment. "I am very health- conscious and I wouldn't want to go without [necessary nutrients]. I started reading and learned that we don't need any of it—meat, dairy products. We get everything we need without those things—except maybe B12, but there's this whole controversy that maybe we're only getting B12 because the animals are being fed B12 supplements. And I read about what actually occurs in the factory farming; I found out what it is that diary cows go through and what horrible lives these animals lead. I actually broke down—there was a day of sobbing upon realizing what I had been supporting. And I thought, well, if I don't need animals to be healthy in my diet, then why would I put take their lives away or support an industry that puts them in situations that might not be the most, uh, happy-making."
Still, despite her unwavering passion, Goodwin says she has no desire to become a vegan proselytizer. "So many people say to me, 'I tried, and it was too hard,' or 'I had to cheat,' and I always think, 'Then it's not right for you,'" she says. "You shouldn't have to try. For me there's no "try" involved. There's nothing I want less than a piece of cheese or a burger. I have nightmares I'm being force-fed these things. I have no interest in converting anyone," Goodwin concludes. "It's purely how I want to live my life. I don't judge anyone."
Read Danielle Stein's complete interview with Ginnifer Goodwin HERE. See all the Steven Klein photographs HERE.
And read "Trials of a Fashion-loving Vegan" HERE.
Photos: Top, Steven Klein. Bottom, Steve Eichner.