Linda and Drew Scott Eat a Plant-Based Diet as They Prepare For a Baby
Linda Phan Scott stands 5'1" tall, only slightly taller than her newest obsession, a hydroponic planter bursting with salad greens, superfoods for her and her famous husband, Drew Scott, co-star of HGTV's Property Brothers. In addition to growing their LA rooftop garden, the couple is working on getting pregnant–perhaps even with twins, since identical twins obviously run in the family.
And while she’s not eating for two just yet, Linda embraces a plant-based diet to maximize nutrients and minimize her impact on the planet, a value system adopted early in life.
Born on Earth Day, 1985, Linda is the daughter of Vietnamese Buddhist parents who had fled Vietnam six years earlier, eventually settling in Canada, where they raised five children. The 6-year-old Linda used her allowance to buy a tiny square book, “Ways to Love Mother Earth” which sparked her earliest conservation efforts. “I still hesitate to take baths because it uses more water than a short shower!” In lieu of gifts for the couple’s Italian wedding, guests contributed to the We.org charity and provided clean water to 50,000 people for life. .
As the creative director of the Scott brother's media company, Linda collaborates with Drew on multiple projects, including the launch of their podcast, At Home with Linda and Drew Scott. Recently, the couple joined the board of the Environmental Media Association, where entertainment thought leaders promote climate causes.
Linda shared her favorite vegan recipes and what's in her pantry and her pocketbook, to stay healthy and energized all day long.
Q. Was growing your own greens a project during COVID sheltering?
Q. Your home might be in for big changes. You and Drew are ready to start a family?
LPS: Yes! When it comes down to it, I guess you don’t realize that it takes…work. I think we didn’t realize that once you slow down and say “OK, now we’re ready”, and it doesn’t happen immediately, you think “Oh, this is weird, maybe we should’ve started earlier” but that’s just me. Drew is like “When it happens, it happens!”
Q. You’ll be eating for two on a plant-based diet? Why the switch?
LPS: I never enjoyed eating meat. I definitely never enjoyed cooking it! I’d get so grossed out just touching it. The only reason I ever ate meat was because I thought I “needed the protein”. I don’t miss it at all – and I no longer feel sluggish after meals. Also, I realized that my cravings for any meat dishes were all just nostalgic: like wanting to eat a hot dog at a ball game or wings at a party.
Q. What about Drew? What was his spark?
LPS: Drew is always researching better ways to improve our nutrition and energy. He watched The Game Changers and that was it! He used to be a personal trainer and studied kinesiology, so it was eye-opening for him. I haven’t watched it, I didn’t need to be convinced.
Q. Have you noticed any physical changes since adopting a plant-based diet?
LPS: I think the biggest thing is not noticing how I feel. It’s like when a room is a right temperature, you don’t notice it. It’s only when it’s super hot or super cold that you notice it. It’s like that with how I feel now, I just don’t notice it. I feel good. Eating a meal doesn’t take a toll on my energy.
Q: So Do You think you're the healthiest you've ever been?
LPS: Yes! I found out in, I think it was 2015, that I had hypothyroidism. I was on a cruise and my neck looked swollen. The doctor on board said it was a goiter! When I got back home, my doctor did a bunch of blood tests. A year prior I’d been experiencing symptoms: Shakiness, my body temperature was off, my vision was strained. I thought maybe I needed more sleep or was stressed, or it was due to recently going off of birth control pills. But it was hypothyroidism.
I took medication for 2.5 years and it leveled off. But then we were traveling, and I couldn’t get back home to get my prescription refilled, so I tried going without it and just eating better. And that worked! So I’ve been off thyroid medication for 2.5 years and just treating it with my diet. I do have it monitored every 6 months.
Q. So it’s accurate to say you’re controlling hypothyroidism with a plant-based diet?
LPS: Yes. I’m always learning more about it. And I forget what can I eat, what can’t I eat.
Q. Is there anything that you can’t eat?
LPS: There are some things I do limit. Some doctors say that “it doesn’t matter what you eat” and I think that’s bull. Sources are contradictory. Some sources say I shouldn’t have goitrogens like cauliflower, spinach, kale. But because I know there’s such good stuff in those foods, I just limit the serving sizes when I do eat them.
Q. Did you notice any changes to your skin, nails, hair since going plant-based?
LPS: I used to break out in acne after eating ice cream, cheese or butter. The straight dairy. My skin has cleared up a lot since giving up dairy.
Q. Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?
LPS: It’s more of a juice than a smoothie: Apple, beet, turmeric, ginger, lemon, mint.
Q. What do you eat for breakfast?
LPS: I’m usually not hungry in the morning, so l just have green tea. Otherwise, I make a super simple “Mason Jar Breaky”. I put chia seeds, oat milk, hemp seeds, cinnamon, walnuts in a big mason jar, shake it up, and then top it off with fresh fruit and coconut flakes.
Q. And lunch?
LPS: I make us grilled cheese sandwiches and a smoothie.
It’s just two slices of Ezekiel bread, buttered on both sides with Miyoko’s butter, Chao cheese slices, and thin slices of Fuji apples, for an extra crunch. I make it in a cast-iron pan that my sister gave me – it’s my favorite pan!
The smoothie is: dates, avocado, banana, hemp seeds, oat milk
Q, You seem to really like hemp seeds. What’s that about?
LPS: I just do it because Justin, he’s our chiropractor, Dr. Justin Tan, said it was good for me so I’ve been using them. They don't have a strong flavor, so you can add them to anything.
Q. What’s your go-to snack?
LPS: Celery sticks with sunflower butter
Q. Do you carry snacks in your handbag?
LPS: Nuts and granola. I use a silicone “Stasher” pouch, throw a few Brazil nuts in, just a few, because they’re massive, and walnuts, granola, and dates. I always have snacks with me.
There’s a stand at the farmer’s market here on Larchmont that has our favorite granola. It’s grain-free granola from Nora’s Food Co. It has coconut, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, dried currants, walnuts, Himalayan salt.
Q. And what’s for dinner?
LPS: I have a rotation of favorite LA restaurants that we frequent under normal circumstances. We’ve been ordering in from some of them since the COVID sheltering started.
Q. Which restaurants, and what do you order?
LPS: I have four:
- Crossroads Kitchen: We get the spicy meatball pizza, which has housemaid “meatballs” Calabrese peppers, almond ricotta.
- Fresh on Sunset: I love the Poutine, which is fries, mushroom gravy and fresh “cheese” sauce.
- Porridge and Puffs: It’s one of our favs. We order the seaweed and mushroom Negi rice porridge: it’s a broad bean and spice-marinated fresh California seaweed and miso-roasted king oyster mushrooms, finished with pickles. They also have this amazing fermented tea salad. It has a variety of greens and pickled veggies. I’m getting so hungry right now just talking about it! It’s spent jasmine tea fermented in tepache along with at least a dozen other seasonal pickles, fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and seeds. There’s also a pineapple turmeric agar that I love.
- Shojin. We can’t wait to go back and eat the simmered mushroom tempura on an asparagus carrot roll with wasabi mayo and sweet tamarind sauce.
Q. And what’s for dinner if you’re doing the cooking?
LPS: I love making a simple Chick Pea Pasta with Banza Chickpea pasta, its the one in the orange box, marinara sauce from Eataly, garlic and fresh basil from our Farmstand planter.
If I have a bit more time, I make a Lentil Shepard’s Pie. It’s so easy and hearty!
I make Shepard’s pie into little tarts using a tart mold. I start with Wholly Wholesome Pie dough, with a thick layer of mashed potatoes using Earth Balance Vegan Butter, and add peas, carrots, corn, cooked lentils, parsley, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic.
I also make a similar Vegetable Pot Pie without the layer of mashed potatoes. I’ll send you the recipe, but I don’t have measurements because I make it up as I go. Here is the recipe.
Linda’s Vegetable Pot Pie Recipe:
Preheat Oven to 425 F.
For the Filling: Make the filling as though you’re making a really hearty, thick stew. Add to a stockpot: lentils, mung beans, “Zoup!” brand veggie broth, frozen root veggies: parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, red onions, mushrooms, salt and black pepper, turmeric, tiny bit of cayenne, rosemary, thyme. Bring all the veggies in the broth to a boil and simmer until just cooked through but not mushy, since it’ll cook further in the oven. I add nutritional yeast to thicken the filling – you don’t want it to be watery.
For the Pie top: Whether you are using a pie plate for your pot pie, or multiple small ramekin dishes, which is what I do, roll out the pie top dough to the appropriate size and add vent holes. I use the brand “Wholly Wholesome Pie Dough”.
Once the filling has cooked, scoop some filling into each dish. Cover with pie top. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Check on it periodically to ensure it doesn’t burn. I think I waited two minutes too long - we were in the middle of an intense game night, haha. Enjoy!!! Warning, contents are super hot!
Q. Your kitchen is so open and company-friendly with that big center island. Do you cook for friends there?
I love cooking with friends! I’m not a formal-dinner-type person. I like hosting to be casual where cooking together is the best part of the night. I love it when dinners last several hours!
Q. What do you make?
LPS: It depends on the theme of the night! I love making soup and garlic bread. Butternut squash soup is my fave. Butternut squash anything, really! I like cozy, comfort food all year round.
Q. How do you make your Butternut Squash Soup?
LPS: I put peeled, cubed butternut squash in a stockpot, with plain oat milk or plain almond milk to cover. Sprinkle in nutmeg, pine nuts, sage, and bring to a simmer, cooking until the squash is tender. Then I pour it by batches into a blender and blend until smooth. I sprinkle on Vegan Bacon bits (Tofurkey Smoky Maple Bacon) and pine nuts.
Q. What else do you make?
LPS: I’m obsessed with Watermelon and Beet Salad, which is just shards of ripe watermelon and slices of fresh beets, sprinkled with mint or basil, crushed hazelnuts, and balsamic vinegar. Helloooo, summer! I’ve tried using the fancy, flavored vinegar, because they look so pretty and enticing at the farmer’s market, but I prefer the flavor of just regular balsamic vinegar.
Q. You guys always have your families around. What’s your go-to food plan for feeding a large crowd?
LPS: I love buffet-style meals so everyone can help themselves to whatever they want! My go-to menu includes vegan mac and cheese, salad, tempura cauliflower, and popovers.
Linda's Vegan Mac and Cheese
Cook Banza chickpea elbow pasta according to directions on box. In a frying pan, sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms in a little olive oil and set aside. In a large casserole dish, I add the cooked pasta, and toss with the sautéed vegetables, Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese, Sesame Tahini, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, salt, pepper and crushed walnuts. Toss together and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until warm.
Salad: I use whatever lettuces and greens I have on hand, chopped up tomatoes, olive oil, lemon, balsamic vinaigrette, pepper, and either almonds or pine nuts.
Tempura Cauliflower: I’ve only made it twice, I was trying to copy Blue Ribbon Sushi Grill’s Tempura Cauliflower, but mine wasn’t as crunchy because the recipe I’d found called for 2” of oil in the frying pan, and I didn’t want to do that! I use fresh cauliflower florets coated in olive oil and dip them in a dry mix of gluten-free flour, arrowroot flour, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, pepper, green onions, cayenne, garlic powder. Then I sauté them in a little olive oil in my cast iron skillet.
Q. What is always in your fridge or kitchen cupboard?
LPS: Capers! I put them on everything: salad, pasta, even garlic toast. I love pickles, so it tastes like mini pickles.
Q. What Else?
LPS: Some standard products I keep in the kitchen:
- Banza Chickpea Pasta - for the mac and cheese I use the elbow Banza
- Chao cheese slices
- Earth Balance vegan butter original buttery-spread
- Nora’s Food Co. granola from local Larchmont Farmer’s Market
- Stasher Bags
- Oatly Milk
- Lettuce Grow Farmstand (we have the 24-plant stand)
Q. You’re growing the audience for your podcast. What will listeners learn from it?
LPS: The podcast delves into "home" beyond physical construction and examines the softer, emotional aspects of the home: The values and relationships that make up the foundation of a home. From living well to giving back to careers and relationships, we really believe that everything starts at home.
Q. How does plant-based eating play into that?
LPS: Going toward a plant-based diet gives us the opportunity to have a better relationship with our larger shared home, the planet. We're always are thinking about the “micro-home” of our houses, and how it impacts the larger “macro home” of our planet.
Q: You’re a foodie who seems to love to eat. How do you stay so fit and slim?
LPS: I LOVE to eat. It is my favorite way to socialize! But I also love to be active. I’m not great at keeping a strict exercise schedule and I don’t like going to gyms. I love doing yoga, pilates or dance classes, though. If I can make it fun, then it doesn’t seem like a chore. My go-to to break a sweat is The Fitness Marshall dance videos!
Q. What is your Food/Eating Mantra?
LPS: Food makes my soul dance!