Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Kind Diet

More than four years ago, at the recommendation of some particularly hip family and friends, I read Skinny Bitch, a book that makes a blunt and rather crass case for veganism. While I credit the book as one of several early proponents in driving my dietary and lifestyle changes, I generally deplore the book.

Along with its in-your-face and somewhat judgmental attitude about dietary choices, the recommendations for how exactly to go vegan are largely focused on substituting animal-based products for heavily processed, hardly recognizable “food” alternatives. In essence, the book is the exact opposite of what other authors I deeply respect, like Michael Pollan, proclaim: eating whole, largely unprocessed foods that our ancestors would recognize if they were to visit the grocery store.

Since then, I’ve had a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth about the vegan lifestyle until just these last couple weeks when I read The Kind Diet, a 2009 bestseller written by actress Alicia Silverstone. I’m not exactly sure what drove me to read it, but I think it was part curiosity of what a Hollywood actress would have to say and part desire for more meatless recipes to add to my collection. In any case, I snagged a copy from my local library (yes, that shiny cover in the photo is a library-issued book jacket), and was pleasantly surprised to find a rather thoughtful and informative introduction to veganism.

In it, Silverstone details her journey from meat-eater to vegan, sharing many of the same health, environmental and animal welfare benefits of the diet that I discuss here on the blog. And, in a completely non-judgmental, I-get-where-you’re-coming-from way, manages to make veganism sound rather easy and, dare I say it, appealing. Plus, she shares some pretty fantastic sounding recipes, even for the meat-eaters among us.

All of this isn’t to say that I’m becoming a vegan. Nor is it to promote a vegan lifestyle. But I did gain a much better understanding of veganism and an immense respect for it, along with a tugging on my heart to continue to reduce my meat consumption and now my dairy consumption even further. And, much in the same way that I was both challenged and inspired by the book, I would encourage you to check it out. At worst, you may find a recipe or two that doesn’t make you want to kill yourself at the thought of cooking or eating “vegan food.” At best, you may be inspired, like me, to continue making the small lifestyle changes that can have immensely deep impacts on your health and the planet.

For more info. on the book or The Kind Diet, visit the website at thekindlife.com
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