In her latest book, The Kind Mama, Alicia Silverstone explores the path to a healthier, happier motherhood.

Actress Alicia Silverstone (author of The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet) believes that pregnant women aren’t doomed to have swollen ankles and aching backs. Nor does she believe that the first months of motherhood require reaching for that oversize cup of caffeine to break through the exhaustion. Silverstone sees it another way, one that promises — in her new book, The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning (Rodale Books, $23) — a beautiful mamahood.

“Being a mama is the most involved, intense and amazing job you will ever have,” says Silverstone, who gave birth to son Bear in 2011. “But you can’t perform at your best and give your all to your baby without giving your own mind and body the best possible nourishment.”

A longtime vegan and health advocate, Silverstone contends that with the right foods and the right approach to health, women can create positive, radiant pregnancy and birth experiences free of anxiety, illness and discomfort. Her book covers the gamut, from advice on implementing a diet for fertility and pregnancy to tips on how mama and baby can thrive during the early months after birth to diapers and feeding.

Every mama needs a tribe, Silverstone says, so she’s pulled one together, citing expert research, shared experiences from other mothers and her own experiences with her son. “Before mommy blogs and pregnancy books existed, we learned to become mamas from other women, and we looked to our community to help support us during the process. … So use your strength to ask your friends and family for help, and save your energy for cuddling instead of cleaning — at least in the very beginning.”