Ok, who am I kidding? I STILL use that phrase!
Since I've always been a big fan of Alicia's, I was really curious about her new book, The Kind Diet. I remember reading in People magazine a while back that she's vegan and even served all vegan foods at her wedding. Since my son seems to be a self-directed vegan, I thought this book might give me some insight into cooking for him.
Here's a description from the publisher:
In The Kind Diet, actress, activist, and committed conservationist Alicia Silverstone shares the insights that encouraged her to swear off meat and dairy forever, and outlines the spectacular benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, from effortless weight loss to clear skin, off-the-chart energy, and smooth digestion. She explains how meat, fish, milk, and cheese—the very foods we’ve been taught to regard as the cornerstone of good nutrition—are actually the culprits behind escalating rates of disease and the cause of dire, potentially permanent damage to our ecology.
After the first few pages, I realized this book was so much more than a "how to go vegan" manual. Alicia did a great job of explaining the benefits of going vegan, particularly all the health benefits.
As a cancer survivor, I took particular note of the references she made to the link between dairy/meat consumption and cancer.
This book is divided into two sections: information and recipes. By the time I finished the information section, I was ready warming up to the idea of giving this whole vegan thing a try. The recipes sealed the deal. They looked fantastic, had short ingredients lists, featured healthy products and I could tell immediately that my son would enjoy them.
Things I loved about this book:
- The information presented in the first half of the book has been well-researched and is well-documented. It's not one of those "do this because I say so, not because anything has been proven" kinds of books. I feel like I can trust her sources.
- The recipes are GOOD. I've tried more than a few and have served about half of what I've made to meat eaters. When I tell them after the fact that the tasty goodies are vegan, they look surprised and ask for the recipes. That, to me, is the highest compliment!
Things I like:
- The book was a quick read. It didn't take long to get through the information section and it was easy to flip through the recipes to find the ones I wanted to try.
- The author - I mean, come on, can you really beat Cher from Clueless? Plus, her engaging, sweet style is really refreshing.
- She divides the recipes section into flirt, vegan and superhero, to give everyone a way to ease into eating in a more healthy way.
Things I would change:
- I'd include more recipes. They're all so great, I'd love to see more. Hmmm ... maybe she'll do a follow-up?
- I'd reduce the emphasis on soy products. Emerging research is showing that soy isn't as beneficial as we've thought for years. For more on the soy controversy, see this great article by Dr. Mark Hyman, one of my favorite IIN guest lecturers.
- Buy for your shelf. This is a great reference book and, whether you're going to flirt, go vegan or be a superhero, you'll love having these recipes on hand.
MMM recipe adjustments:
- Almost every recipe has an ingredient that you can pull out to prepare for baby - whether it's a carrot in one or a sweet potato in another. Pull out extras and steam them for your baby, then chop a few up for your toddler to enjoy as a finger food while you're cooking.
- Most, if not all of the recipes in CLEAN START are suitable for toddlers. Try each one with your toddler, just to see what happens. Note that the exception to this note is any recipe that calls for nut butter. Make sure you don't try nuts of any kind with babies or toddlers until after the age of 2. Even then, make sure you work with your doctor to decide when it's ok to try introducing nuts.