You probably know her best as the lovable ditzy, blonde who spews “Whatever” at anything she dislikes but Alicia Silverstone is no one trick pony. Alicia has been a Hollywood actress for almost three decades, she got her start at age six in modeling and commercials. She quickly gained roles in beloved shows like the Wonder Years and is still probably best known for her role as Cher Horowitz in Amy Heckerling’s 1995’s Clueless. Silverstone is still a working actress with roles on movies and shows like Batman and Robin, The Art of Getting By, the television series Suburgatory. This year she once again teams up with her Clueless director to bring us the forthcoming Vamps, a tale about two vampire that are faced with daunting romantic lives. The new movie co-stars Krysten Ritter and Sigourney Weaver, to name a few.
Alicia may be a famous actress in her own right but she also has a soft spot for the animals. As an outspoken vegan and animal rights activist Silverstone is deeply involved in the causes she cares about. She has been a vegan since the age of 18 and was even named PETA’s Sexiest vegetarian in 2004. The actress practices what she preaches and even lives in an eco-friendly house in Los Angeles composed of solar panels and an organic vegetable garden. In 2009, Alicia released a vegan nutrition and lifestyle book entitled The Kind Diet. It was a New York Times bestseller and I recently had the pleasure of reading the book.
The book prefaces with a note from Sir Paul McCartney telling the reader that Alicia’s book will be very helpful to those who are looking to change not just their diet but their lifestyle in a cruel-free way. Alicia breaks down the book into three sections with Part 1 entitled Kind Versus Nasty. This part of the book tells us a little of Alicia’s history with vegetarianism and veganism as well as her strong love for animals. The book gives an expansive, important and educational overview on why meat and animal products are bad for humans, animals and the environment. Even the most knowledgeable vegan has something to learn from this book. Alicia clearly did her research and put time, thought and energy into not just the nutritional and science driven effects that raising animals for human consumption have but into the vegan lifestyle as a whole. Throughout the book she give tips and tricks that can help one in their different phases from “flirting” “going vegan” or going full out “superhero”.
The Kind Diet is truly a way of life and takes components of a macrobiotic diet as well as a vegan diet. It is not for everyone and Alicia is aware of that. The author gives us insight into what works for her lifestyle and how you can incorporate any cruelty-free practices into yours. She tells the reader that no effort is too small and truly makes one feel that the transition to either flirting, veganism or full on super hero is possible and tasty at the same time. The Kind Diet is truly a diet that emphasizes a whole grains, vegetables and unprocessed foods as well as no white sugar or white flour. It is for the super heroes that rest in all of us.
Alicia gives great advice to people in all phases of their diet and that includes dealing with those pesky family questions. She even helps people navigate the choppy waters that one may encounter when they are eating out. Now, everyone knows the vegetarian that subsides off Easy Mac and chips and salsa that claims they can’t even boil water. Well, Alicia tells us there is a cook in all of us and if you can read, you can cook. She takes the guess work out of healthy vegan meals. She even includes a blurb for students in college. One might think that holidays might be tricky. Everyone knows about those holiday pounds and all that temptation well don’t stress vegans, Alicia includes her own Thanksgiving Menu that is rich with all the goodies one could ask for, there is even pumpkin pie and soy ice cream! You’ll never miss the turkey and green bean casseroles. The animals and your digestive system will thank you.
Part III is my favorite part because it is all about the food. Food is a necessity, we need it to live, it what makes us function and helps our body thrive. Throughout my journey as a vegetarian over this past year and a half I have learned so much about food that I never knew. Nutrition has always been a passion of mine and it is great to learn that I can make a difference to my body, my environment and my life by just altering what I put on my plate. The recipes include ways that the Superhero part of the Kind Diet can help you lose weight but Alicia stresses that weight loss should be an added benefit of the diet not necessarily the objective. One wonderful thing about Alicia’s recipes is they include ingredients I had no idea even existed. She uses a Japanese soy sauce called shoyu and ingredients like umeboshi (another Japanese ingredient), kabocha squash (which I recently found at my local Associated grocery store, imagine my shock), mirin, miso and plenty of other ingredients I had to Google. Alicia truly expanded my horizons when I looked at vegan food and I haven’t even tried any of the recipes yet! For all of you with a sweet tooth the size of Texas like me you are in for a treat(s). Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake, Cupcakes and Peach Crumble are just a few of the vegan desserts she includes.
When I read books I strive to learn something, to really have my eyes opened and walk away feeling like my time spent with that book was worth it. Luckily, I am such a book worm that happens more often than not. Still, there have definitely been times when I have purchased a lifestyle book hoping to learn something and I was disappointed. Well this book was not one of those times. I truly learned a lot about vegan foods, animals, the environment and a healthy, happy and kind lifestyle. At the end of the book, Alicia gives the readers an appendix of further reading and includes some of the books, authors, and chefs that she alludes to throughout the Kind Diet. I checked the book out of the library and it is truly one I wish I had on my bookshelf because it is the type of book that one can reread over and over and find something new every time. It is chock full of advice, recipes and tips that will help any vegan or non-vegan in any part of their life. As a society we are so used to celebrities wearing furs and driving gas guzzling SUV’s everywhere, doing normal things that are so horrid to the environment and animals. Alicia Silverstone and her book, The Kind Diet is truly a breath of fresh air. I was truly glad to read about a public figure that is doing her part to make the world kinder.