Kitchen Kindness from Alicia

November 25th, 2009 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

In The Kind Diet Alicia Silverstone, actress and activist, shares her favourite recipes and personal reasons for living a vegan lifestyle. Her emotional journey and critical considerations are laid out in easy to follow tips and topical explorations of ethical issues.

As an avid reader of vegan cookbooks, I rarely find myself reviewing a book whose target audience is new to ingredients such as tofu or soymilk. Alicia’s book is an accessible read for anyone open to looking critically at what they consume. In the first chapters she shares her thoughts on “nasty foods” – white sugar, white flour, meats, dairy and processed foods. She examines the impact of these food choices on ones body, the environment and the animals. Alicia follows her persuasive arguments against these harmful element with simple strategies to reduce or remove them from your diet.

To provide further support, Alicia describes “kind foods” that support health and well being. She shares her pantry staples and responds to frequent concerns about adopting a new approach to eating. The Kind Diet includes a a lifestyle plan for three different levels of commitment to health and compassion (flirt, vegan and superhero). For those flirting with making simple changes to their diet and behaviour, Alicia shares a list of available alternatives to popular processed foods. For vegans and superheroes the book includes pantry lists, meal plans and a collection of recipes. In addition, Alicia provides insights and resources for fitness, menus for special occasions and suggestions for being kind to yourself and your loved ones.

I found myself drawn to the recipes in the superhero section as they had a stronger focus on whole foods and macrobiotic-inspired flavours. The vegan recipe section provides a broad repertoire of dishes for anyone curious about how to replace their standard North American dishes. The chapter contains recipes for breakfasts, entrees, soups, salads, and decadent desserts. The ingredients are widely available and relatively inexpensive. In the superhero section, recipes cover all menu categories but draw from Asian flavours and celebrate ingredients like lotus root, umeboshiplums and burdock root. The recipes are simple to prepare with a focus on health and wellness rather than complex culinary compositions.

Here are some of the recipes I tried.

Raw Balls
(A decadent coconut carob treat that you eat right out of the freezer)

Toasted Nori Burritos
A really delicious combination of sweet, salty and bitter. A perfectly balanced lunch.

Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew
The lentils creates a creamy gravy-like texture as they cook-down in a pot full of warming spices. This was an amazing dish to enjoy on a cool fall evening.

Hearty Kinpira Stew
A thin soup full of lotus root, burdock root, and kabocha squash. It left me with a healthy glow and a happy belly.

Creamy Sweet Kabocha Squash Soup
This recipe contains squash and water. That’s it. The simplicity will surprise you with a complex sweetness and a satisfying creamy texture.

Favourite Features: Alicia’s voice is gentle and supportive throughout. I love the use of seaweeds and Asian spices. There are a lot of interesting, unique recipes that have not been repeated in every single vegan cookbook (read – hummus).
Tempting Titles (ones I can’t wait to try): Black soybean and Kabocha Squash Stew, Pecan-Crusted Seitan and Maple-Roasted Lotus Root, Sunchokes, and Leeks.

1 Comment

  1. Posted November 26, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for this awesome review, Lisa!

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