If you've read our post on my journey to veganism, you probably know by now that it was not a straight road for me. From the first time I heard someone mention that animals were treated badly in our food system and chose to ignore it, to the day I finally said I would commit to veganism and never looked back, lots of things happened and many years went by. There was however, one pivoting point throughout that entire process, and that was the day I went into a Barnes and Noble right before heading to the airport and boarding a 9 hour flight. I have always loved wellness and nutrition sections in bookstores, and yes, I had read (and tried) every diet book known to man, but on that day something popped out at me, Alicia Silverstone (who I had adored since watching Clueless as a pre-teen) had written a "diet" book.
I was expecting the usual "eat this not that" book, but it was so much more than that.
I quickly saw the word vegan as I flipped through the pages. I didn't even know what that meant, but Alicia was on the cover so I grabbed it and brought it on the plane with me. I read the entire book cover to cover on that flight and I cried all the way through it. For the first time ever, I learned what the word vegan meant, I learned about why our health runs on empty on a meat-based diet and skyrockets on a plant-based one, I learned about the enormous waste associated with our animal agriculture system, and for the first time I read on paper what I had always refused to see and even hear, the habitual, continuous and standard practices that are done to animals in order to put them on our plates. Here's why I was able to read it, Alicia tells us the truth without being pushy or judgemental, she does it from a place of full understanding, does it with sensitivity, but she doesn't sugar coat it either. Had I perhaps read another book for my first glimpse into this topic, I might have closed the book and tried to forget the few lines I had read. That didn't happen to me with Alicia. It is the one book that I feel has changed my life profoundly, I have read it 3 times since that flight, and it is still my favorite vegan book.
If you're curious about veganism, want to be more informed and start dabbling your toes and make more vegan choices, this is the place to start. If you're already vegan and need a little motivation or support, you'll also find that within the pages of The Kind Diet.
The book is full of beautiful photos of Alicia and her husband in the kitchen, and the recipe section at the end of the book is fully illustrated. She tells us all about her journey, being a total animal lover, wanting to rescue all the dogs in the pound (and actually doing so at one point as she brought 11 dogs back home to keep them from being killed), but having a disconnect with the animals we know and love and those that we never see and end up on our plates.
She takes us by the hand in understanding what our animal agriculture system does to our health, environment and of course the animals. She answers all your nutrition questions, gives you a ton of tips to help you when traveling, attending social events and dealing with family. She helps us with shopping, understanding ingredients and in the kitchen. She talks about weight loss, and her book is divided in three sections: Flirt, Vegan and Superhero. Three different levels in which you can start making better choices and slowly incorporate them into your life, go full on vegan, or even take it up a notch understanding the magic of macrobiotic foods. Alicia takes you by the hand and leads you right where you need to go.
Don't even get me started on the recipes! This is by far the vegan cookbook that has the most gravy stains on it in our house, probably because her recipes are so grounding and warm that they make you feel incredibly good. Here are some of the yummy recipes I've personally made and have served to friends:
- Rustic pasta
- Hot rice with cold lemon, basil and tomato, the simplest recipe you'll ever find and wonder why it isn't in every cookbook on this planet
- Seitan piccata with white wine and capers, oh my God!
- Crispy tofu slices with orange dipping sauce
- Ginger baked tofu, perfect for stir-fries
- Soy bean and kabocha squash stew, for those winter nights
- Summertime succotash
- Alicia's sexy inspired salad with truffle oil
- Ceasar salad
- Chocolate peanut butter cups
- Lemon poppy seed pound cake
- Mixed berry cheesecake
- Peach crumble
- Cheesy Oozy guacamole bean dip, which is reason enough to get the book
- Nori burritos
- Risotto with oyster mushrooms, leeks and peas
- Pan-fried mochi, a staple in our Sunday brunches
- Black eyed pea croquettes with dijon glaze
- Veggie tempura
- Alicia's magical healing soup, the number one medicine served for colds at our house and it works every time!
Other recipes in the book that are currently ear-marked for future cooking at our house...
- Waffle, sausage and cheese panini
- Chorizo tacos
- Traditional English breakfast and tea party
- Polenta casserole with seitan
- Fried udon noodles
- Scrambled tofu, porridges, waffles, and lots more breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas, not to mention desserts!
Alicia also made me understand one very important thing about dabbling your toes in vegan waters, every vegan journey gets even better when you take your little basket and shop at a health food store. I had never been to one before this book and I never thought there could be so many ingredients and amazing products that never even get to the shelves of the supermarket. Having said this, you don't need to have a health food store nearby to completely dive into this book and make the recipes. Alicia is all about whole foods, and a very delicious and down to earth way of cooking.
If there's one book you should buy as a gift or for yourself this holiday season, let it be this one. It changed my life and I am eternally grateful.
For all you beautiful mamas out there, she also recently published The Kind Mama, all about her experiences and recommendations for mothers, from the moment of planning to have a baby and improving fertility, to pregnancy, post-partum and beyond.
I leave you with two great videos of Alicia talking about her book, and enjoy some links at the end of the post, including her incredibly powerful website and community "The Kind Life".
Have you read Alicia's book?
Let us know what you thought and if you've created changes in your life because of it in the comments below! We love hearing your stories.
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