Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

You may or may not know that Clueless is one of my all time favorite movies.  You also may or may not know that my mom shares this love.  And that we both admire Alicia Silverstone.

I knew that Mom was going to a book signing to hear Alicia speak, but I had no idea this was coming to me in the mail:
"As if!"

I teared up a little when I opened it.

Anyway, I haven't finished the book yet, but I did finish the "meat" of it (ha ha!  That was a little vegan humor).  So I feel like I have enough information to share my review of the book.  I haven't started reading (let alone cooking) any of the recipes yet.  That will be a post for a future week.

Let me start by saying I am not vegan.  I'm not even vegetarian exactly.  I've said for years that I could pretty easily give up meat though.  I just don't eat much of it when left to my own devices.  But I do love cheese.  Mmmmm....cheeeeeessseee...

And I do love animals.  So, the meat-eating thing is something that bothers me if I think too much about it.  I generally prefer my meat to be as far from looking like actual meat as possible.  I'd much rather have pepperoni say, than a pork chop.  I'd eat a hot dog over a steak any day.  I don't like cooking meat, and when I do eat meat I'm really particular about picking out any "weird things" that might be in it.  Like say gristle and fat and stuff.  Anything that would remind me that this thing I'm eating was alive once.

So, I went into reading this book with already having the attitude that meat eating is something I'm not terribly keen on.  Though I was clinging to my cheese for dear life.

I do share Alicia's views on kindness to animals, saving the planet, being green, and so on also.  I have heard that giving up meat is one of the best things we can do for the planet, because of the energy and resources used in meat production, and because of the waste it produces.  But I didn't know the full details before reading this book.

She also has some thought provoking things to say about dairy.  I guess my theory has always been, no animal had to die for me to eat this cheese.  Cheese is okay.

She says it's not.  In fact, she says the dairy and egg industries are more cruel to animals than the meat industry.  I'll spare you the details.  Mostly because I'm not quite ready to fully face it myself.

She also says that there is a reason many people say, "I could give up meat easily, but I can't give up cheese."  (How did she know?)  There is a chemical is cheese, and all dairy products, called casein.  Casein breaks down in our bodies into a morphine like substance.  So it makes us feel really good.  Like a drug.  Cheese is addictive basically.

Who knew?

I'm still not quite ready to give it up.  But I'm leaning toward eating less for now.

While I embrace most of the concepts discussed in the book, it left me with this feeling like I really don't know what I should eat now.  Kind of like the movie Food Inc.  Did you guys see that movie?  It started out talking about how bad the meat and dairy industries are.  Then it goes on to explain about genetically modified corn and soybeans.  And it left me thinking, "What on earth CAN I eat?!"

This book lists these "top five vegetables"
kabocha squash
leafy greens

Okay, at least I know what a leek IS.  Though I am not sure I've ever eaten one.  I know for darn sure I've never purchased and cooked one.  I have no clue what kabocha squash, daikon, and burdock are.  (Neither does spell check.)  Let alone where to purchase them in my rural Midwestern town.

And I thought I was cool with the "leafy greens."  Until I realized she doesn't mean lettuce.  She even specifically says spinach isn't great for us.  I mean, if spinach isn't healthy, what else is there?!  (FYI, it's because it contains oxalic acid, which interferes with calcium absorption.)

She goes on later to say potatoes aren't great either.  Which isn't as big a shock to me.  But seriously, if I'm giving up meat and cheese, can I at least still eat potatoes?  Apparently I'm supposed to be eating a lot of "sea vegetables" instead.  Which, again, aren't abundant in Missouri.

In Ms. Silverstone's defense, she does spell out three levels of embracing The Kind Diet:  flirting, going vegan, and becoming a super hero.  So I guess I'm deep in the flirting stage.

I'll keep you all posted on any recipes I try from the book, and my continued thoughts on being "kind."  Because I do believe that "anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good."
The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet


I think it needs more turbinado. said...

I'm so jealous of you right now!!

Soon enough I'm going to post a vegan cheese recipe on my blog. Shameless plug, yes, but I feel it's fitting here.


Regina said...

I just happened to have tried a vegan ice cream recipe - it was pretty good and I had never considered that ice cream would be an option if I was trying to be dairy free.

And I'm with you- sometimes it seems like there is nothing left that you "can eat".

Karen Peterson said...

I'm very much a moderation person. I know most things aren't great for us, but there are very few things that are so terrible that we can't enjoy them once in awhile.

I do wish, though, that I could afford some land to grow my own foods. I have to say that I do sort of like the idea of "ethical" eating, even if I am not now nor will I probably ever be willing to go vegetarian.