In The Kind Diet, actress, activist, and committed conservationist Alicia Silverstone shares the insights that encouraged her to swear off meat and dairy forever, and outlines the spectacular benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, from effortless weight loss to clear skin, off-the-chart energy, and smooth digestion. She explains how meat, fish, milk, and cheese—the very foods we’ve been taught to regard as the cornerstone of good nutrition—are actually the culprits behind escalating rates of disease and the cause of dire, potentially permanent damage to our ecology. Yet going meat- and dairy-free doesn’t mean suffering deprivation; to the contrary, The Kind Diet introduces irresistibly delicious food that satisfies on every level—it even includes amazing desserts to keep the most stubborn sweet tooth happy. Alicia also addresses the nutritional concerns faced by many who are new to a plant-based diet, and shows how to cover every nutritional base, from protein to calcium and beyond. Alicia knows that changing life-long dietary habits is a process, and that each person progresses at a different pace. For that reason, The Kind Diet encompasses 3 separate levels, from Flirting to Superhero. Flirts learn to dip a toe into the vegan pool, reducing their meat-eating and swapping out a few key foods for plant-based substitutes to see quickly how even small changes can reap big results. Vegans get to experience the life-altering effects of forgoing animal-products entirely, while still enjoying many convenience foods and meat substitutes in addition to the wonderful grains, vegetables and fruits that form the core of that diet. True enlightenment comes with the Superhero program, based on the principles of macrobiotics and built on a foundation of whole grains, vegetables, and other yummy foods that Alicia describes in detail.
Whether your goal is to drop a few pounds, boost your energy and metabolism, or simply save the world, Alicia provides the encouragement, the information, and the tools you need to make the transition to a plant-based diet deliciously empowering.
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October 13, 2009
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465 of 480 found the following review helpful:
The Kindest Thing You Can Do Nov 21, 2009
By T. Szefler I got interested in reading The Kind Diet soon after reading the book written by Jonathan Safran Foer titled "Eating Animals". Foer really made me think and I decided to research the idea o vegan living. In the chapter about "Nasty Foods" Alicia Siverstone's observations about meat industry were in line with those of Mr. Foer. And she does a good job of backing her statements with well-conducted studies from reputable sources.
According to Alicia, in addition to meat, Nasty Foods include also dairy, refined sugar, and processed foods. These are the foods that we have to avoid in our daily diet. However, she realizes that it is very hard, if not impossible, for most people to just drop their normal nutritional habits and go totally vegan from one day to another. Therefore she suggests three levels of changing into Living in the Kind Life - from Flirting, via Going Vegan, to Becoming a Superhero.
Alicia insists that by eliminate harmful foods like meat, dairy, refined sugar and processed products, and enjoying an endless variety of deeply nourishing grains, vegetables and other delectable whole foods, you will live in agreement with nature and get rid of obesity problem that plagues the modern societies. By changing your eating habits and becoming vegan you will say good-bye to dieting once for all. And that's while enjoying "irresistibly sweet treats, you can eat every single day, forever."
I recently verified Alicia's statement on my recent trip to Central Europe. I discovered a restaurant chain called "Green Wave" that was serving plant foods only. Throughout the whole week I was consuming a variety of delicious meals not even once missing my traditional North American Big Burger.
By the end of the book Alicia provided some good (and some not so good) recipes of vegan meals. I suggest trying most of them to decide which ones suit you best. Keep in mind that you need to eat what's indigenous to the area to avoid stressing your body. This isn't a totally novel idea. The author of a great health/longevity book titled "Live 150 Years - Your Body Maintenance Handbook" is also a great proponent of living in agreement with nature and eating indigenous foods. If you check this book out, make sure to also read the chapters about obesity causes, and proper food combination.
TO SUMMARIZE: Plant-based diet is just about the greenest thing you can do. It requires less fuel, water, and other precious resources. It can also be the secret to your health, slim physique and radiant beauty. Enjoy the ride.
255 of 273 found the following review helpful:
A good read but the recipes need a lot of help Jan 16, 2010
By J. Maselli
I enjoyed reading The Kind Diet. It was an easy read. I enjoyed the author's descriptions of the vegan diet, the process by which one becomes vegan, and the various meal plans depending on which stage you're in. I've been Vegan for 3 months now so it was a great Christmas gift for me. Since buying the book I've tried numerous recipes and unfortunately most of them have disappointed me. The Daikon Rounds were ridiculously sweet, and the water measurement was way off. The Radicchio pizza was extremely bitter. Instead, it needed a little radicchio and a lot of something else. The porridge recipe, again the ratio of water to rice is way off. After cooking it exactly as directed there was still a lot of water left in the pot. I did however lower the ratio and the dish came out nicely. I've found most of the recipes have extreme flavors- very very sweet, very sour, or very bitter. It's been harsh on the palate. There are some winners though. My kids like the Crocodile Crunch and the Mochi Waffles. The cheesecake tasted like a lump of soy. I'm wondering if the author tasted all of these recipes before she decided to put them in her book. They all looked delicious. Very disappointing. I've made other recipes from Veganomicon and The Conscious Cook and so far I've loved every one of them.
242 of 260 found the following review helpful:
A Winner! Oct 13, 2009
By Eco-Friendly Feng Shui Designer The title: The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet, by Alicia Silverstone, says it all. The plant-based diet, according to Silverstone (and a few doctors quoted) will improve your health, help prevent disease, improve the environment and help you lose weight.
The book begins with Silverstone's personal story. It includes her early attempts at not eating meat, and an unhealthy period when she ate only raw foods.
Then the book discusses the "nasty foods"--meat, dairy, white sugar and processed foods. We learn the many reasons these foods are unhealthy, bad for the planet and bad for animal's welfare.
Next, we learn what the "kind foos" are--notably, whole grains, new proteins, veggies and healthy desserts.
There is a chapter on nutritional FAQ's.
Silverstone gets we are not all ready for a vegan diet, especially if we are used to a diet heavy in meats, dairy and processed foods. So, she presents three levels: flirting, vegan and superhero.
In flirting, she makes recommendations like: go to a vegetarian restaurant and order a dish, buy some vegan products from her "Transitional food chart", and simply recommends we start adding vegan meals into our diets.
In vegan, she presents a plan on how to build a meal and a vegan meal plan.
Finally, the superhero level is loosely based on the macrobiotic diet (minus fish,) and features fresh, local and seasonal fare.
Silverstone adds helpful tips, like chew your food really well, what to do about detoxing and cravings and more.
There is a chapter on tips when away from home.
Lifestyle tips is a very short chapter, mentioning things like the importance of reusing and buying secondhand. I would recommend HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT: BEAUTIFY, DETOXIFY & ENERGIZE YOUR LIFE, YOUR HOME & YOUR PLANET to learn how to make your entire home green and beautiful for optimal health and it also describes how to eat healthy with recipes and cooking/shopping tips.
The book concludes with fantastic looking recipes (I'm a pretty good cook, I can always tell.) They recipes are divided into vegan and superhero.
Even if you are not committed to a full time vegan diet, I highly recommend this book--just start with the flirting and see where it takes you. If you do get into the vegan lifestyle, know that there are lots of good cookbooks out there to help.
185 of 209 found the following review helpful:
Mixed bag of pros and cons, but very readable. Nov 19, 2009
By Rachel Himes I loved this book and hated it. Alicia is very likeable and her writing style is relaxed, non-judgemental and encouraging. She does a terrific job of suggesting steps for change that make those changes seem unintimidating. I appreciate that. Where I feel the book falls short is in the research/propaganda department. Let me first say that the goal of the "diet" is to eliminate all animal products and move towards a vegan/macrobiotic diet. That, in itself is not a bad thing, and Alicia doesn't condemn anyone who isn't going that far. She instead, encourages all positive changes on all levels. Back to the propaganda...
Alicia starts off each chapter with some solid research on the negative effects of meat and diary products and the industry as a whole. It's not by any means thorough, but there's an ample list of additional resources for those who want more information. She also covers the bases of research bearing the negative impact of these foods on the body and enviroment. Where it falls short is in distinguishing the line of "moderation". While many of the facts are accurate, she tends to fill in the gaps with lots of propaganda and emotional appeals where the facts are somewhat lacking. The book also fails to delineate the difference between the effects on humans of organic versus inorganic animal-based foods. Those who've read books such as "The China Study" or "The Blue Zones" would quickly see that it's not animal foods alone that have a negative effect on health and wellness. Alicia implies repeadedly, and in a new-age spiritualistic way, that the further you get from eating animal products, the more "clear" you feel. This theme is repeated in several places throughout the book, strongly implying that there is a spiritual cleanliness that comes from eatign a vegan diet, clearing the mind, complexion, body and spirit. She even states that one's intuition is clearer and that each person will be more "in touch" with themselves when the presence of other animal creatures are eliminated from the diet. A little too far gone for me. One other reviewer commented, and I agree, that she pushes eating "local" foods as part of her diet philosophy, but many of her recipes rely heavily on Japanese ingredients. My additional comment to that would be that she implies this style of eating will make one naturally thin, without concern for calories or exercise. Sorry, I know people doing this lifestyle who still battle weight issues.
The recipes: Again, it's a mixed bag. Some are simple and delicious. Others are bland and dull. About 40% of them would require that you have access to Japanese ingredients or a well stocked health/whole foods store. Simply not realistic for many of us in smaller, rural areas.
The bottom line is this... if you agree with her philosophy, you will probably enjoy the book and some of the practical ideas for implementing change. If you, however, have read any of the aforementioned books that have a broader perspective, you will find this a little narrow-minded and somewhat inconsistent.
39 of 41 found the following review helpful:
I am really enjoying this book Oct 29, 2009
By cameraphonevegan I had stopped eating meat again; it had been almost 10 years. Since my last veggie venture, I learned how to cook and really needed to find a vegetarian cookbook to give me direction.
This book is inspiring in many different ways. First, it reinforces the reasons why I decided to go veg again. You may want to skim through this section if it comes off too evangelical for you. Second, it gives the reader different options for using the book. Namely, you can try vegetarian foods, go vegan or try some macrobiotic diet. Being that I had only ever been vegetarian in the past, it did offer a wealth of new information, and sparked a curiosity to find out more. Alica does a really good job of making the narration engaging and personal. Like a good friend that wants to hang out in the kitchen & cook healthy food with you.
Some of the recipes that i've tried:
*morrocan couscous with saffron: i left out the saffron and the zuchini, and doubled the butternut squash and carrots.
*sweet potato & lentil stew: really good! i added my leftover butternut squash too. yum.
** eggplant chana masala: a favorite! i add extra curry powder and spices. also, you should definitely add veg broth after sauteeing, before simmering. it was way too thick otherwise. i serve it over brown rice and crumbl corn bread in to it. mmm.
*cornbread: the soupy batter looks like something went wrong, but stick it in the oven anyway. it'll be fine. i used half maple syrup/half molasses. it's a deep brown bread with a nice, sweet, complex flavor, though it is different than any other cornbread you've eaten.
*sicillian collard greens: wasn't really crazy about these. i think cooking a little longer, uncovered, would have fixed it though. just to get the balsamic less vinegary and more reduced.
*peanut butter chocolate chip brown rice krispie treats: these are excellent. you end up using pretty much a whole average size jar of brown rice syrup. (if you can't find it, it's by the maple syrup, at the bottom at whole foods.) i did not wait long enough for it to cool before adding the chocolate chips, so mine were peanut butter chocolate swirlish. still tasted good though!
A lot of it is my taste, but there are plenty of exotic new things to try. I would say the only thing I wish she would have expanded on was this though. More detailed explanations of what the more exotic ingredients are, and why/how to use them. The ones I wasn't sure about, I googled. Whole foods has most of the items you need. And it's a great way to try a bunch of new things.
I also purchased the hip chick's guide to macrobiotics, as recommended by alicia. i found that a lot of the macro material is directly taken from that book, but that being said, this is a much stronger cookbook.
I will definitely use this cookbook for a long time.