I am not sure if I’ve ever liked a cookbook so much.
(This is saying a lot because I have more cookbooks than I can count, many of which I adore, such as the entire Moosewood series…but that’s a whole other series waiting to be posted about).
I originally bought The Kind Diet “cookbook” (really it’s so much more than a cookbook) thinking it would make a great Christmas present for my roommate/amazing friend who has recently decided to become a vegetarian. The book was written by gorgeous actress Alicia Silverstone, and with that label attached to it alone, I figured it would get my friend to read it and help her stick with the new veg. diet she was moving into. Little did I know, Silverstone could not only write, but write remarkably well, making it a book that had so much more to offer than just a few celeb.-status recipes and one of which I would ultimately fall in love with.
Silverstone is a well established vegan and dedicates the first two parts of her book (the first 135 pages) to introducing not just veganism but how to live a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. She addresses the obvious– the meat and dairy industries and their numerous flaws– but she also touches upon issues such as processed foods and caffeine and GMOs and a million other topics in which I’m interested, or have even previously blogged about, such as fake sweeteners, mindful eating and being conscious of your chewing habits, and “the great soy debate“.
Most other cookbooks contain bland introductions of which I often bypass in favor of going straight to the recipe section where the juicy pages lie. Silverstone’s introduction to the recipes seemed to contain almost as much flavor as the recipes themselves, providing material that was engaging, insightful, and incredibly inspiring for both aspiring and well established vegetarians/vegans.
Basically, Silverstone advocates living a clean lifestyle which encompasses a “Kind Diet”. This means no meat, dairy, or processed foods, but rather whole grains, fresh produce, and proteins that root from roots planted in the soil. However, she doesn’t immediately shove veganism down your throat as the only way to live. Instead, she provides advice and gradual steps to becoming what she calls a “superhero”, or pure vegan. The steps begin with what she calls “flirting”.
“Here’s the thing with flirting: The key is that you be open. Open to being seduced. You are putting your best foot forward and looking for the best in your potential partner. So this is about making no commitments, but remaining positive and open to possibility. When you flirt, you reserve the right to walk away at any time, but you are hoping to be surprised and delighted.” This was an excerpt taken from the first paragraph of the chapter titled, “Flirting”. Could she describe flirting in any better way? And when putting this term to food and diet, it makes perfect sense. The flirting plan, Silverstone says, is meant to place very little pressure onto the dieter. “It’s really just a bunch of suggestions you can implement for the next few weeks.” You’ll have to buy the book to read the suggestions for yourself.
If you decide to bring your diet past the flirting stage, then you can read the tips Silverstone’s shares for how to easily transition into becoming fully vegan. Once you’ve mastered becoming a vegan, you can take it one step further by becoming a “Superhero”. The Superhero plan is loosely based off of the macrobiotic diet, which calls for a lot of whole foods and strict limiting on processed foods. My parents have experimented with following a macrobiotic diet in the past…they ate a lot of brown rice and started incorporating cooked kale into our family breakfasts. Not my favorite breakfast food unless ground up into a smoothie, but I did get to learn how to make and eat a lot of brown rice sushi while they were trying to closely follow the diet. It’s definitely a healthy, cleansing diet that will boost your energy levels, which is presumably why Silverstone aims to follow it. “I would say I follow the Superhero plan about 80 percent of the time and Vegan the rest,” she wrote.
The book contains travel tips, nutritional FAQs, product comparisons and so much more, all paired with a compassionate and down-to-earth tone that shines throughout the entire cookbook.
Although I immediately decided go buy The Kind Diet for myself just a few days after picking up my roommate’s copy, I have yet to own the book for more than barely a couple weeks. With that being said, I haven’t had the time to make more than a couple recipes, but the ones I have made have turned out to be wonderfully delicious. I was just so excited with the tastefully written information at the beginning of the cookbook and the few recipes that I have made that I figured it was worth reviewing right away. With recipes like “Black Soybean and Kabocha Squash Stew”, “Black-Eyed Pea Croquettes with Dijon Glaze”, and “Maple-Roasted Lotus Root, Sunchokes, and Leeks”, I really don’t think the taste of any of these recipes could go too terribly wrong. I certainly can’t wait to experiment with more of the recipes!
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone is an incredibly stimulating and inspiring read that has me wanting to environmentally and nutritionally better my diet and get my hands to work not on the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen…and that I must do!