Okay everyone, it’s time to lay off poor Gwyneth! After purchasing and reading her new cookbook “It’s All Good,“ I am here to ask you to stop slamming her for lovingly preparing meals for her family which are surely healthier than the crap which many youngsters in our country are fed. You may be wondering why a die-hard vegan would come to the defense of a huge celebrity who authored a book which is not all-vegan. The main reason is that I really like the cookbook which, to my surprise, contains a wide variety of fabulous-looking and clearly marked vegan recipes.
Although my ultimate dream is that everyone on the planet adopts a vegan diet and lifestyle resulting in a more compassionate and sustainable world, the reality remains that each and every shift that is made towards this end result must be recognized and applauded. I applaud the “Meatless Mondays” campaign, the faux meat products cropping up in the supermarkets and Mark Bittman’s new book “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00.” I also applaud anyone and everyone who chooses to consider and care about the fact that the foods they eat will impact both their health and the world we live in.
I believe that Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook “It’s All Good” is a huge step in the right direction for the following reasons…
1. About one year ago, Gwyneth went on an elimination diet (no coffee, alcohol, dairy, sugar, shellfish, gluten, soy or processed foods) to battle some health issues. This led her to create the recipes for this book. It is quite clear that she recognizes the connection between the foods you eat and your health. She even dedicates her book, in part, “to the amazing men and women who have taught me that food is medicine…” This is surely a good thing. I still know dozens of supposedly intelligent people who refuse to acknowledge that important connection.
2. One of the people she dedicates her book to is Michio Kushi, who helped introduce modern macrobiotics to the United States in the early 1950s. A traditional macrobiotic diet is mostly plant-based, although it does allow for small amounts of meat and fish. Many people, such as Alicia Silverstone, like to follow a vegan macrobiotic diet. I have read many accounts of people who have recovered from serious illnesses by following a macrobiotic diet. I actually followed a vegan macrobiotic diet for about one year, and I think it’s a good one. You may enjoy my post entitled “Macrobiotic, Raw or Just Plain Ol’ Vegan?” In her book, Gwyneth acknowledges many of the principles of a macrobiotic diet, such as avoiding nightshade vegetables and other foods which may upset the body’s balance.
3. Gwyneth’s elimination diet includes avoiding dairy products. Hello vegans! Are you listening?
4. In her book, Gwyneth supports eating whole foods, which includes vegetables, grains, beans and legumes. This is much better than Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s, is it not?
5. Gwyneth recommends many standard vegan staples, such as Vegenaise, miso paste, raw coconut water, almond milk, pickles, kimchi and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.
6. The book contains a nice commentary by Dr. Alejandro Junger about the never-ending soy controversy. The commentary ends with Dr. Junger stating the following: “All this can be somewhat confusing, so to boil it down I would say this: Use soy products in moderation and check the ingredients to make sure each product is not from GMO soy and does not contain toxic chemicals.” This was the consensus of the panel of doctors at the premier of the movie “Forks Over Knives” which I attended.
7. As previously mentioned, the book contains many, many great-looking vegan recipes which are clearly marked as “vegan.” The end of the book contains suggested weekly meal planners which includes a vegan week.
8. I actually had the opportunity to eat one of Gwyneth’s Vegan Sweet Potato and Five-Spice Muffins (the recipe is in the book) made by someone special (more on that next week, so stay tuned) and they were delicious!
9. I absolutely love Gwyneth’s recipe for vegan and gluten-free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies which I found on her website GOOP. I have tried other great vegan recipes from Gwyneth’s website, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that many of the recipes from her book will be great too!
In conclusion, I would highly suggest this cookbook for non-vegans who want to add more vegan dishes into their cooking repertoire, and for those vegans who can get past some of the book’s photos of meat and fish (there is even one of Gwyneth cutting into a whole chicken with a smile on her face).
I am now totally hooked on Gwyneth’s simple recipe for avocado toast, so here it is. Click here to see my recipe for toasted sourdough rye bread topped with avocado and sauerkraut.
GWYNETH PALTROW’S AVOCADO TOAST RECIPE
Toast a piece of your favorite healthy, preferably gluten-free bread. Spread it generously with Vegenaise and top with a few slices of perfectly ripe avocado, ever so gently pressing the avocado into the bread. Hit it with a nice pinch of Maldon salt or Vege-Sal and a few grinds of black pepper. That’s it!
You can opt to squeeze a tiny bit of lemon over it or add some zip with fruity red chili flakes (like Aleppo pepper or gochugaru, coarse Korean red chili flakes), but really it’s the holy trinity of Vegenaise, avocado, and salt that makes this recipe.
*My added notes: You can use any or all of these ingredients (but you need the Vegenaise, avocado and salt). I love to toast the organic Sour Rye Bread by the brand “Bread Alone.” That’s my personal favorite (I wonder which brand of bread Gwyneth loves best!).