The phenomenon of celebrities becoming activists is becoming increasingly more common. Bono campaigns for Africa and runs Edun. Sean Penn has made himself a thorn in the side of many. And now, Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame has recently jumped into the fray as a spokesmodel for PETA, and recently releasing her cookbook The Kind Diet. I was recently offered a copy of several books from publisher Rodale Books to review, including this one. Always one to try out a new book (much to my husband's chagrin), I eagerly said "yes please!" and have spent the last couple of weeks flipping through the pages of some great texts.
The Kind Diet is a combination of vegan treatise, instruction, and cookbook. The book covers a lot of ground including why a carnivorous/non-vegan diet is not "kind", and a vegan diet is. On one hand, Silverstone doesn't seem to have strayed far from her Clueless background, with phrases like "soooooooo good!" and "organic apples are so cute!" peppering the book. There's an air of, "save the animals because they're just so sweet!" in the book, and while someone less cynical or more enthusiastic than myself may find it energizing, I found the tone slightly grating.
On the other hand, if you can get past the ditziness, the book has an excellent amount of informative content. If you're a carnivore who's interested in changing your diet, either whole or in part, the book gives you good information on how to make that change as well as what to expect as you're making the transition. And the best part: Lots of delicious looking recipes and mythbusters about food that will make switching to a more Kind Diet something to look forward to. She's documented lots of interesting foods including legumes, grains and meat substitutes for you to easily incorporate into your new menu and created meal plans so that the new vegan has some help navigating their meals. Personally, while I'm not planning on going vegan, I do want to cut down on our meat intake and this book is going to be exceptionally valuable to this household in doing that - I'm heading to the grocery store today to pick up the fixins for a Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew, Pumpkin Bread and Black Soybean and Kabocha Squash stew (if I can find a Kabocha squash - like I said, this book is introducing me to lots of interesting new foods!)
The Kind Diet would make an excellent gift to someone who's looking to make a diet and holistic lifestyle change, especially for someone who's got the same kind of energy and perkiness as Silverstone herself. You can pick up a copy at Chapters and other retailers.