It's almost a brand new year and if you are looking to make a positive health transformation, I would highly recommend checking out Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Diet." Maybe you have a few pounds to lose, feel as if you are lacking in energy, or are interested in doing what you can to help the environment. The Kind Diet promotes a vegan way of eating which eliminates all animal products. However, even if you are not attracted to the idea of giving up meat or dairy, you can still gain inspiration from this book to eat more plant-based foods.
Part one of the book discusses the reasons to support going vegan. You will learn the negative aspects of consuming meat and dairy, along with why you should avoid white sugar and processed foods. Then it describes what Alicia refers to as "kind foods" which include whole grains, vegan protein sources, vegetables, desserts made with alternative sweeteners, and finally "magic foods" such as miso, umeboshi plums and sea vegetables. You may never have heard of some of these or thought to incorporate them into your diet. It gives even an omnivore some new and exciting food ideas. The final component of part one delves into nutrition and will answer common questions asked about vegan diets such as how to get enough calcium, iron, omega-3's, and B12.
The second section of the book is all about living the kind life. You don't necessarily have to go straight into banishing all animal products from your diet if you are not comfortable with such a big step. Instead, Alicia suggests three different levels to choose from. If you are curious about veganism but are not quite certain if it is for you, try flirting. In this stage you will replace some of your animal-based foods with plant-based sources. You will experiment with dairy alternatives, try some new whole grains and beans, and visit your local health food store. There is no commitment; you will simply make some dietary changes and see how it makes you feel. The next level is going vegan. After that is the Superhero vegan. The Superhero diet is basically a nutrient rich vegan diet where whole grains and veggies are eaten in abundance and processed foods are limited. This section also covers how to stock your kitchen, provides cooking tips, addresses the challenge of eating away from home, talks about the role of exercise, and finally some lifestyle guidelines.
Part three of the Kind Diet is the recipes. It is separated into vegan recipes and Superhero vegan recipes. The vegan recipes are helpful for just starting out and are easy to make. A few of the vegan recipes include Pecan-Crusted Seitan, Mixed Berry Cheesecake and Coffee Fudge Brownies. The Superhero recipes are also simple to follow and are based on wholesome natural foods. A sampling of these include: Toasted Nori Burritos, Azuki Beans with Kabocha Squash, and Candied Ginger Pears.
There are so many benefits to a vegan diet. If you have ever been intrigued by going vegan, this is an outstanding book to read to help you decide if this way of eating is for you. The nice thing is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Introducing more wholesome plant foods into your life and reducing some of the less healthy options can make a difference. It's true that we really are composed of what we eat and our food choices not only have an impact on our health but on the planet. Be kind to yourself and to the world.
Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition Housecalls.com.