Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet


I am never quick to jump out of bed and run to purchase the latest celebrity book/dvd/whatever it is they are trying to promote....so naturally I waited to read this cookbook.  I do share one thing in common with Alicia Silverstone though and that is being vegan.  Alicia Silverstone rose to stardom with her lead role in Clueless and has leveraged her stardom to promote causes she is passionate about, one of which is living a vegan lifestyle.  Her latest book, a vegan cookbook, is one of those vegan cookbooks that incorporates practicality to the vegan diet and lifestyle and I believe this to be the reason it has become so popular so quickly.

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet runs 320 pages and is half vegan content and half vegan cookbook.  The content in the beginning of this book is broken down into layman's terms and easy to understand which makes it a quick read.  The second half of the book is Alicia's own vegan recipes that are neither over-the-top nor too outlandish to prepare.  There are vegan cookbooks around that are much more intricate and scientific; this isn't one of those vegan cookbooks.  If you are a beginner you certainly won't use all of these recipes, but there are a few good ones to get you going.

There are some statistics in this book that will get you thinking.  In her 'Pills Vs. Plants' piece, Alicia goes on to explain that Americans alone purchase 50% of the drugs on the planet!  Vanderbilt University is set to receive $10 million alone from Johnson & Johnson to develop new drugs with another $100 million to come if they reach certain research milestones.  Talk about power and influence.  Switching over to a plant based diet, according to Alicia, would reduce our risk of disease and improve our overall well being--reducing the need for pills.

The book also explains terms like GMO's (genetically modified organisms) in easy to understand lingo and addresses some common fears for those who might be hesitant to give up meat and dairy in their diets.  Questions like "How will I get enough iron?" are addressed and simplified.  The answers are not sophisticated and that is a point in this book.  A vegan diet isn't complicated or sophisticated, it's a matter of adjusting a portion of your lifestyle to improve your health.

This vegan cookbook breaks down a vegan diet into three types:  The Flirting Diet, The Vegan Diet, and The Superhero diet.  The flirting diet suggests you start frequenting vegetarian restaurants and adding some vegan meals to your diet.  The vegan diet is a vegan meal plan all together.  The superhero diet is a macrobiotic diet and makes whole grains/beans/vegetables the centerpiece of your diet.  Three stages of dieting for wherever you are in your lifestyle journey.

Two recipes in particular that I really enjoyed were the Moroccan Couscous with Saffron and the Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips.  I wouldn't normally prepare the first but there is a great looking picture of it inside.  It was equally delicious to taste.  The second was a no-brainer.  If you are the Blendtec vs Vitamix type, you'll love these recipes.

Overall the book was a simple read and gave me some really different recipe ideas to implement.  The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet is one of those vegan cookbooks that I will refer back to mostly for the recipes she includes. 
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