Since Alicia Silverstone and her wonderful book The Kind Diet are largely responsible for my decision to become vegan, I thought it was only proper to give them the respect which I believe they deserve. Afterall, this book was quite a success (Alicia has 2 more books on the way) and probably nothing has done more to enhance the health and well-being of the planet since penicillin was invented. Since I plowed through the book’s recipes like Julie in the movie “Julie and Julia” when I first got the book in November 2009, I feel that I am a well-qualified expert to provide a review.
I wish I could give you an interesting background story about my vegan transformation, such as overcoming a lifelong eating disorder, reversing a chronic illness or losing 100 pounds after reading The Kind Diet. Sadly, I cannot. When I spotted it on display at my local Barnes and Noble, I was a healthy middle aged suburban housewife and mother of two teenage boys. I always maintained a healthy weight, had no major health issues (but some minor annoyances), exercised regularly and truly believed that I was living the healthiest life I could possibly live.
I have no idea what compelled me to pick up the book that day. I think I had seen the movie “Food, Inc.” the day before and still had the movie’s issues on my mind; but I’m not quite sure. I will tell you that my general health has improved since I started my vegan diet (I mistakenly thought my health was optimal before). My skin glows, my plumbing is in tip-top shape (you know what I mean) and I no longer get stomach aches from the foods I eat. Furthermore, my doctors were keeping an eye on a small fibroid tumor which I had before starting the diet; but six months into my vegan diet, the fibroid disappeared and could not be detected on an ultrasound. The doctors said it was a coincidence. What do you think?
In any event, I bought the book and began reading it as soon as I got home. Alicia explained why meat and dairy are “nasty” foods and clearly set forth the reasons why eating them is bad for the environment, the animals and the health of our planet. She proceeded to talk about her diet and why the foods she eats are healthier choices. She basically follows a “superhero” diet which is known to many as macrobiotics. You can read about macrobiotics in my post entitled “Macrobiotic, Raw Or Just Plain Ol’ Vegan?” Alicia provides amazing information about what to eat, how to stock your kitchen with healthy items and how to transition into veganism.
Let me tell you right now that I was incredibly ignorant and irresponsible about the foods I ate and the far reaching implications of eating animal products before reading The Kind Diet. The book provided me with a well-rounded education which led me to read everything I could get my hands on. I read The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, John Robbins’ Food Revolution, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselystyn Jr.’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and many, many others. After becoming educated, I decided to follow the path of common sense, logic and science. Alicia “had me at hello” with her informative book and I look forward to her 2 books which are in the works.
The recipe section of The Kind Diet is broken down into a section for vegan recipes and healthier vegan recipes (which she calls “superhero”) and which are known to many as “macrobiotic.” I have tried almost every recipe in the book, and many of them have become staple dishes in my home. Each recipe is easy to make and does not require too many ingredients, which are major reasons why I love this book. My #1 favorite recipe is the Azuki Beans with Kabocha Squash which is a traditional macrobiotic dish. It is simple to make and incredibly nourishing. I make this dish once a week in the Fall and Winter. I also love the Seitan Piccata (adapted from “The Candle Cafe Cookbook”-another one of my faves), the Black Soybean and Kabocha Squash Stew, the Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew, the basic Lentil Stew and the Creamy Sweet Kabocha Squash Soup. I guess I’m a fan of stews and Kabocha Squash.
As for vegan goodies, Alicia’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are to die for; but the #1 favorite in my house are Alicia’s Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips. My husband constantly asks me “when are you going to make those Rice Crispy things?” They make a great snack and a quick breakfast, and are quite excellent for travelling. They are simple to make as you can see…
You will need these ingredients…
Pour the box of rice cereal into a large bowl…
Heat one and three-quarters cups (I use entire jar) of brown rice syrup with a pinch of fine sea salt in a saucepan over low heat. When the rice syrup liquefies, add 3/4 cup of peanut butter and stir until well combined…
Pour the mixture over the rice cereal. Mix well with a wooden spoon…
Once thoroughly mixed and cooled to room temperature, stir in 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I like the 365 brand of vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips)…
Place the mixture into an 8″x8″ or 9″x13″ baking dish. Wet your wooden spoon lightly and press the mixture evenly into the baking dish. Let cool for an hour before cutting into squares or bars.
The result is amazingly delicious!!!!
ALICIA’S CRISPY PEANUT BUTTER TREATS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS
Makes 9 to 12 Squares
1 box rice crisps cereal
1 3/4 cups brown rice syrup
Fine sea salt
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup grain-sweetened, non-dairy chocolate or carob chips
Pour the rice cereal into a large bowl. Heat the syrup with a pinch of salt in a saucepan over low heat. When the rice syrup liquefies, add the peanut butter and stir until well combined. Pour over the rice cereal. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Once thoroughly mixed and cooled to room temperature, stir in the chocolate chips. Make sure the mixture is cool, or you will end up with melted chocolate instead of chocolate chips in your treats.
Turn the mixture out into an 8″x8″ or 9″x13″ baking dish. Wet your wooden spoon lightly and press the mixture evenly into the baking dish. Let cool for 1 hour before cutting into squares or bars.