The Kind Diet

After four chapters of politely scaring you away from meat, dairy, sugar, and anything else you like to eat, Alicia Silverstone settles in to convince you what you should consume in The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great. Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet.

To her credit, the toothy star of Clueless is not preachy. She just has that uncontrollable urge to include everyone in her success – like the first time you lost ten pounds on Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach – take your pick – and you were convinced that the whole world would be better if they could join in.

Basically, she advocates the macrobiotic diet, omitting meat, dairy, and sugar, and adding lots of vegetables and some fruits, along with her top magic foods: miso, umeboshi plums, pickles (homemade, not the store-bought), and sea vegetables.

ume plums

Silverstone offers three alternative plans she calls flirting, vegan, or full-blown superhero.  Any of the plans will get you on the right path, and the hope is that once you try it (flirting), you will be convinced to go all the way (superhero).

Pictures of superheroes dot the pages, from Ruth Heidrich to Dean Ornish, and a fun most wanted line-up of “Eye Candy for Flirts – cute boys (who) are vegan.”  Tables provide useful information, e.g., healthy vegan substitutes for your favorite lethal foods – even recipe referrals when you just cannot do without a “crispy peanut butter treat with chocolate chips.”

If you make it to ‘vegan’ status, Silverstone rewards you with a weekly meal plan; at ‘superhero’ status, she’ll help you clean out cupboards and restock.   As she progresses to the chapter on “Kind Away from Home,”  you will get tips for travel (those peanut butter treats pop up again), restaurant ordering (who knew pasta was vegan), and entertaining.

Although recipes start at Part III, more than two-thirds of the book consists of recipes from pizza to salads with easy vinaigrettes to desserts ( and, yes, there is tofu), with a great index and pictures.

Peanut Butter Cups from The Kind Diet

Those chocolate peanut butter cups actually look pretty good (check “potpourri” for the recipe).

It’s always a good idea to try out a book like this before you invest, so you might want to get on the library list first – just to be sure you would want it on your shelf.  But, Silverstone’s informative approach is cheery and positive – like her.   Some of the recipes might find their way into your kitchen, even if you just “flirt” with her ideas, and for macrobiotic fans, the book fills a gap for recipes and nutritional  reference.