Ellen Pompeo recently took her five-person and four-dog household vegan, and with that change came a couple of blunt lessons for her children.
During a recent sit-down interview with AOL Entertainment, the "Grey's Anatomy" star said that she thinks that "plant-based is where we should all be going," noting that she's been cutting back her usage of animal products for "years now" and that "there are no chemicals" in her home.
For Pompeo, who shares daughters Stella, 8, and Sienna, 3, and son Eli, 18 months, with husband Chris Ivery, the most difficult animal product to get her children off of was bacon -- and it took teaching Stella a harsh lesson to convince her to stop eating it.
"Bacon is the one thing that my kids really, really liked," Pompeo explained to us. "What I did was, I explained to my daughter that a pig has the same intelligence as a dog. We have four dogs. [So I said,] ‘Would you ever for a moment think to take Lizzie, hang her upside-down by her feet, slice her throat, gut her and cut her up to bacon?’ And my daughter was like, 'Mama!'"
It may be a gruesome tale for an 8-year-old, but for Pompeo, explaining how these products are made is based simply in teaching her children to consider the well-being and treatment of other living species in general.
"When you start at a place of compassion for other living things, compassion for children who look and feel differently, it's easy for her to grasp that concept," she went on. "It’s what we should be teaching our children, anyway."
See photos of Ellen Pompeo:
Ellen Pompeo through the years
Ellen Pompeo through the years
Ellen Pompeo during 'Catch Me If You Can' Los Angeles Premiere at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during 2002 Toronto Film Festival - Motorola 'Moonlight Mile' Party at Power Plant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
Actress Ellen Pompeo stars in the fall movie 'Moonlight Mile' with Jake Guylenhall, Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. Here she is photographed in Wattles Garden Park. 08/23/2002 (Photo by Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Ellen Pompeo (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during DreamWorks Premiere of Old School - Arrivals at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Ellen Pompeo at the The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during 'Collateral' Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals at Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during Prada Opens Beverly Hills Epicenter - Arrivals at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals at The Shrine in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo during 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room at The Shrine in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Ellen Pompeo (Photo by Gail Oskin/WireImage for PMK/HBH)
Ellen Pompeo wearing Gucci 2562S Sunglasses (Photo by Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during 'Chanel' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Arrivals at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during Opening of the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum at Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Ellen Pompeo at the Social Hollywood in Hollywood, California (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Ellen Pompeo during 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 06: Actress Ellen Pompeo arrives at the Madonna and Gucci Host 'A Night to Benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF' at the United Nations on February 6, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 09: Actress Ellen Pompeo arrives for the 34th Annual People's Choice Awards - Arrivals held at Nokia Theater at L.A. Live on January 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Actress Ellen Pompeo attends the grand opening of Marquee Nightclub at Marquee Nightclub In The Cosmopolitan on December 30, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)' - Miranda continues to deal with the aftermath of Ben's reckless decisions and forms an advisory committee to recommend proper disciplinary action against him. Meanwhile, April and Jackson try to put their differences aside for the sake of their baby, and Arizona makes a decision that could affect her relationship with Callie forever, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, APRIL 14 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Mitch Haaseth/ABC via via Getty Images)ELLEN POMPEO
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'The End is the Beginning is the End' - Meredith, Derek, Cristina and Arizona receive big news regarding the plane crash lawsuit, Richard avoids Catherine's romantic advances and Jackson takes on one of Mark Sloane's old patients. Meanwhile, Derek begins recovery on his hand, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, JANUARY 17 (9:00-10:02 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Danny Feld/ABC via Getty Images)
ELLEN POMPEO, SARAH DREW, SANDRA OH
PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - OCTOBER 06: Ellen Pompeo arrives at the 3rd Annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic held at Will Rogers State Historic Park on October 6, 2012 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 11: Actress Ellen Pompeo arrives at Rihanna's First Annual Diamond Ball at The Vineyard on December 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Ellen Pompeo attends a private dinner hosted by VOGUE to celebrate TOD'S Creative Director Alessandra Facchinetti on November 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for TOD'S)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Ellen Pompeo attends the 'Welcome to the Age of Cool' event hosted by Philosophy and Ellen Pompeo on September 22, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Actress Ellen Pompeo attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on December 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Actress Ellen Pompeo is seen outside 'Good Morning America' on November 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
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Plus, Pompeo added, there are things that she's found herself needing to talk to her daughter about that are much more difficult to explain to her before she even graduates from elementary school, where she has lockdown drills amid increasing gun violence around the country.
"My child is in second grade and they have lockdown drills at school now. So, I’m sorry, what have we done to this country? I would never expect that I would have to talk to my child about an active shooter at her school. We’ve created a society run by politicians that are in love with guns. It’s out the window being polite to our children. We don’t get that luxury anymore," she said. "We’re going to start being precious? About what? Are we going to start sheltering them or tell them what’s really going on? These are the things that I find terrifying to tell my daughter. I’m not afraid to show them the realities of what human beings are capable of, because hopefully this next generation will be much better than we have been. We can’t sugarcoat it anymore."
Additionally, the mistreatment of animals isn't the only reason that Pompeo advocates for the plant-based lifestyle that her entire family now abides by. The actress credits friend Kristi Funk's new book, "Breasts: The Owner's Manual," for opening her eyes to the fact that "animal products are making us all sick."
"And sickness is a big business. There’s no money in healthy people," Pompeo explained. "They’re selling chemicals to poison the food, then we get sick, then they sell us pharmaceuticals to take care of those problems, which they’ll never take care of. There are a whole lot of people getting really wealthy off of people being lazy and having bad diets."
"I don't want to hear that it's too expensive to go vegan," Pompeo elaborated. "It's ridiculous! It’s not too expensive. A bag of beans is five dollars! Rice and beans and an avocado is not more expensive than a steak, I'm sorry. Maybe rice and beans and avocado are more expensive than a dollar hamburger at McDonald’s, but work a few extra hours to be able to afford the rice and beans and avocado instead of the McDonald’s, because the McDonald’s is killing you, for sure."
Pompeo recently uncovered an "amazing" company, Young Living Essential Oils, that has quickly enhanced her vegan lifestyle. When we asked what the actress, who helped launch Young Living's new collection of baby products, Seedlings, loves so much about the company, she pointed to the way that it sources it products and treats its employees.
"I started reading about the company and how they have a Seed to Seal program, and it’s amazing that they have a bunch of their own farms," Pompeo gushed. "I started reading about the farm workers and the farm workers children and if they’re cared for and I really like the company. They’re trying to do the right thing."