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The Kind Diet Review and my musings on vegetarianism and veganism

Posted Oct 18 2010 1:13pm

*word heavy post* – but I hope you’ll find it interesting :-)

Last week I took ‘The Kind Diet’ out at the library. I’ve wanted to read it for a while so I was glad that the library had it in stock.

CIMG7402

‘The Kind Diet’ is written by Alicia Silverstone (yes, her from Clueless!)

Usually with these diet / recipe books I skip the diet bit and go straight to the recipes but I decided to read this book properly.

The book is very well written and has an approachable and friendly tone. I was worried that it might be a bit ‘meat eaters are evil’ but it wasn’t like that at all. The book begins with some discussion about ‘nasty’ foods – meat, diary, eggs, refined sugars etc and why they should be avoided. This argument naturally includes the cruelty many animals experience as part of the modern food industry but also looks at the health and environmental reasons to consider switching to a plant based diet.

The book then goes on to offer three levels of involvement in living the Kind Diet – flirt, vegan and superhero. Flirt is for people who are looking to dip their toes in the vegan pool. Superhero is vegan but with a large focus on eating a macrobiotic diet (lots of sea vegetables, avoiding nightshade veggies, processed soy etc) and the Vegan plan is for people who are ready to commit to being vegan but don’t want to go as far as the macrobiotic Superhero plan.

Azuki Bean and Kobocha Squash – from The Kind Life Website

The book then has two recipe sections with Vegan and Superhero dishes. The Flirt and Vegan are encouraged to try recipes from both. Examples of recipes include Moroccan couscous with saffron, crispy tofu slices with orange dipping sauce, black soya bean and kabocha stew, squash and onions, chocolate peanut butter cups and lemon poppy seed pound cake (yum!)

The only problem I have with the recipes is the amount of specialist ingredients used such as umeboshi vinegar and seitan etc (although I’ve just found a lot of the ingredients on Goodness Direct under the macrobiotic section)

Overall this is an excellent book for anyone who is considering converting to a vegetarian / vegan diet – the arguments are put across in a clear and convincing way without trying to ‘guilt trip’ you into changing your lifestyle. The recipes could be better but there are a few good ones that I’m planning on trying out.

Definitely worth a read if you are considering becoming a vegetarian or vegan!

My musings on vegetarianism and veganism

CIMG7006 Veggie fave – Moroccan chickpeas with olives and salad 

Ok, this is going to be a bit of a ramble so please bear with me…

I feel that over the last couple of years I’ve been on a huge journey that has taken me from being 5 stone over weight, eating hugely processed crap to gradually improving my diet, limiting processed foods, eating more ‘health’ foods, expanding my palate, learning to cook, enjoying cooking, gaining a real interest and passion in nutrition and gradually increasing my fitness. I’ve gone from being a bit of a protein junkie to accepting the importance of quality carbohydrates and grains in my diet and I’m no longer afraid to eat them in case I gain weight .

CIMG6719     Veggie fave – Vegetable Chilli with salad

I’ve also noticed that over the last few months I have very gradually started to eat less meat. This started when I did my Big Budget Challenge as I identified that meat is expensive – especially good quality meat, so I ended up eating more tofu, beans and lentils instead.

I agree with lots of the arguments (although not all of them) included in The Kind Diet. I believe that meat production on its current scale is unsustainable and damages our environment. I also believe that animals are subject to some horrendous suffering as part of the modern food industry and I’m saddened by the mass consumption of meat with little or no respect for the lives of animals. This is where I believe organically produced meat is much better, both for the animals involved and your health when consuming them.

CIMG3640Veggie fave – Soba Noodles with veggies and spicy peanut butter sauce

I’m also at a place where I feel that I would like to improve my lifestyle so that I’m living more sustainably both on a personal level (saving money, reduce, re use and recycle) and on a bigger picture level – being more environmentally friendly, food miles etc. I feel more of a link now than ever before between myself, how I live my life, what I eat and nature. I know that’s getting a little deep but that’s kind of where my heads at right now!

Oh – and don’t get me wrong, I have no judgement on what others choose to eat or not eat, we all have differing opinions and are on different paths and should do right for our own values.

CIMG2507Veggie fave – Thai Red Tofu Curry with steamed veggies and brown rice noodles

So with all that in mind here’s a couple of things I’m going to be trying to do over the next few months:

  • Buy more organic food – I have mentioned my local organic food box scheme that I’ve just signed up for. Yes, its more expensive but I hope to save money not purchasing as much meat to make up for it.
  • Buy more locally produced food – the produce in my organic vegetable box is all grown in North Yorkshire
  • I will endeavour to only buy organic meat, free range eggs and organic dairy (as much as possible – as this is more difficult with the dairy) – In the past I’ve usually just bought cheap mass produced meat which is no doubt packed with antibiotics and other nasties. This means that I may only eat meat once or twice a month and less diary than I do now (I have always bought free range eggs), but when I do it will be the best I can afford.
  • I will experiment with eating more vegan meals – I love vegan food – give me a spicy bean burger over a beef burger any day! I can’t get enough of beans, lentils and tofu!

CIMG7465Veggie fave – Basil Tofu with brown rice, stir fried broccoli and brussel sprouts with spicy peanut butter sauce

I don’t think that this is going to be too difficult for me, I looked back over old blog posts and most days I eat vegetarian and some days vegan without even realising. Just to be clear – I’m not officially going vegetarian or vegan (yet!) I’m certainly in the ‘flirt’ phase right now.

CIMG7495Newly found favourite – Tofutti Organic Vanilla Soya dessert

I do have a couple of queries that I’m hoping some of you veggies / vegans can give me your opinions on:

  • How much soy is too much? I love my tofu and soy milk and have now discovered things like soy ice cream and soy cheese and would like to eat more of these instead of diary but I’m aware that there’s an argument that too much processed soy (soy protein isolate I think its called) is bad for you – any thoughts?
  • I know that Quorn isn’t vegan but I do like it, its cheap and importantly – the hubby likes it too! What’s your views on Quorn? I guess I would just be eating it a couple of times a week if that but I’m really interested in peoples views.

Have you read The Kind Diet? What did you think? To all you vegetarians and vegans do you have any tips for me in trying to eat a more plant based diet?

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