What Sarah Read: The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

Are you a cookbook/lifestyle book kind of person? I wasn’t at all until I turned 25 1/2 and some kind of switch flipped inside me. Now I want to own/read ALL THE COOKBOOKS and LIFESTYLE books!

The first book I picked up that started this crusade was Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet.

IMG_6124I found it for $5 at a local used bookstore (Mostly Books on 6th and Bainbridge if you’re in Philly).

The Kind Diet

Disclaimer: I am not  vegan. I do not think I will ever switch to veganism, though I have no problem with anyone who is (unless you’re the super “in your face” type, but that’s how I feel about anyone who pushes their lifestyle/beliefs on others). I would call myself a happy, healthy omnivore.

I think this book is mostly intended for people who are interested in testing out veganism, but I still found this book to be really interesting even though I’m not considering a large diet modification (at least not that I know of!). This book not only promotes a more animal-friendly lifestyle, it also promotes a more ecologically friendly existence.

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The book splits foods up into “kind” and “nasty” categories, which, I get it, but I just didn’t like the term nasty being used for food. I agree that there are “good for you” foods and “bad for you” foods, but I thought the word “nasty” was a bit over the top. I’m an English major: I’m always going to have some thoughts on word choice.

Of course there is a whole chapter on how terribly animals are treated when they are being used for their meat, eggs, milk, etc. This chapter isn’t as jarring as a lot of the stuff you’ll read/see in PETA literature, but it certainly sets the stage for why someone should consider veganism.

Once the foundation is set. The book is split up into 3 possible plans.

  1. Flirting with Veganism
  2. Going Vegan
  3. Superhero

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Each section goes further into veganism. Flirting covers trying to include more whole grains and animal-free products into your life. Going vegan lays out how to make a smooth transition to veganism, while the Superhero section covers eating a macrobiotic vegan diet. Each of the plans comes with a 7 day meal plan too.

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The Vegan meal plan- Day 1

The Recipes

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The last section of this book is all of the recipes. They are split up into “vegan” and “superhero.” Some of the vegan recipes sound really tasty and fairly easy to make.

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I will definitely be making these peanut butter cups which are mentioned like 10 times throughout the book.

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I will probably un-veganize this cheesy nacho dip and use real cheese (sorry, not sorry) BUT if I were vegan, I would be 100% all over this.

I found most of the recipes in the Superhero section to be out of my reach. First of all, throughout all of the recipes she calls soy sauce, shoyu. I was just getting used to soy sauce being called tamari. Don’t flip the game on me like that A.S!

Also, most of the vegetables and seasonings in her recipes sound like I could only pick them up at an Asian market; I’ve never heard of most of the vegetables. I’m certainly not against trying new foods (in fact I LOVE trying new foods) but SO MANY of the ingredients were NOT pantry staples for me, and that’s a turn off to a recipe. They don’t seem accessible.

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Excuse me, what is Burdock?

Things I Learned from The Kind Diet

  1. We, as humans, overestimate how much protein we actually need
  2. Our bodies are made to be in harmony with the world around us. Flying in tropical fruits in the winter is not only ecologically harmful, it might actually not be what our bodies want.
  3. The average person farts 14 times a day, in fact, there is a whole page on farts and poop in this book
  4. Chewing really well is important because our saliva has stuff in it that helps us get all the nutrients out of our food, as well as signal to our brains that we are full
  5. I should be trying to chew my food at least 30 times before swallowing. You know, like 27 more times than I chew now.
  6. Our intestinal tracts are much longer than most carnivorous animals, showing that we may not be supposed to eat meat
  7. It takes about 3 days for meat to travel through our digestive system. Think of 3 day old meat that has been sitting in 98.7 degree heat being pushed along your digestive track. <———that imagery really stayed with me

What The Kind Diet Has Changed for Me

I think what I liked most about this book is that it actually made me think about my own dietary choices more than I thought I would. I picked up this book thinking that I would just get some vegan recipes, but a lot of the information in the book (a lot of what I shared above) has actually made me change the way I eat some.

  1. I’m trying to to eat meat less often- I think Silverstone makes a really good point about most of us getting plenty of protein in a day. I used to always feel like I needed a meat-based protein (or at least a meat replacement) with almost every meal (especially lunch and dinner) now I’m trying dishes that have no meat or replacement in them. And you know what, I’m still alive!
  2. I’m trying to chew my food better- I’ve always been such a quick eater! And I almost always overeat. I’ve been trying to slow down some, and use eating as a time to really enjoy my food.
  3. I’m eating more sea vegetables- I’ve always been a fan of seaweed, but now I find myself getting it more and more when it is available. Silverstone recommends having a sea vegetable a few times a week.
  4. I’m even more interested in eating seasonally- Now I’m on the hunt to find a cookbook that lays out eating seasonally in an accessible, budget-friendly way. I’m taking recommendations!

The Bottom Line

I recommend! But in a “I’ll let you borrow my copy” or “get it for cheap” type of way. If you’re really looking to change to more vegan-friendly ways, than I definitely recommend you get this book, maybe even pay full price if you need to!

8.5/10- It actually changed the way I look at food!

Questions for you: Have you read The Kind Diet; what did you think? Do you think you will read it? What are some of your “eating beliefs?” Should we eat meat? Eat locally? Eat seasonally? What do you eat?

PS- “What Sarah Read” did anyone pick up on the slight nod to Death Cab for Cutie??????

Diary of a Slow Runner- Chipped Shoulders?

I read a New York Times article this morning that got me thinking about being a “slow runner”. The article was called “Slow Runners Come Out Ahead” and details how “slow runners” or joggers as the article calls them, actually live longer than fast runners. It also said that a moderate amount of running was better than a crazy amount of running:

The ideal amount of jogging for prolonged life, this nuanced analysis showed, was between 1 hour and 2.4 hours each week. And the ideal pace was slow. (The researchers do not specify exact paces in their study, using instead the broad categories of slow, average, and fast running, based on the volunteers’ self-reported usual pace.)

Plodding joggers tended to live longer than those who were faster. And in fact, the people who jogged the most frequently and at the fastest pace — who were, in effect, runners rather than joggers — did not enjoy much benefit in terms of mortality. In fact, their lifespans tended to be about the same as among people who did not exercise at all.

Now, this article, like with pretty much any health or fad related article definitely needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The article goes on to reveal the meager amounts of study participants that this information is based on- just under 1,100 runners/joggers and 3,000 non-runners/joggers.

But I will say that this article got me thinking about being a slow runner. First of all. I hate the term “jogger”. It sounds like such an 80’s word when people were still wearing those parachute jackets and Reebok sneakers with crew socks

Also, doesn’t some comedian talk about how joggers are always the people who have bad stuff happening to them? According to news headlines, joggers are always being murdered or finding bodies.

Anyway, jogger-hating aside, I got to thinking about how I definitely have a chip on my shoulder because I count myself as a “slow runner.” I’ve always wanted to be fast, but I just don’t have it in my genetic make-up to be superfast. When people ask me how fast I ran a race I always feel like I have to tack on a “but that’s good for me” or “yeah, I’m just slow but that’s a good time for me.”

Spoiler alert: I really care about other people’s opinions, especially about athletic ability. And I know I shouldn’t.

But I feel like when I share an article like this one, which lauds slower runners, all of us slow runners take a moment to rejoice and feel like we don’t have something wrong with us because we don’t run 6 minute miles. We’re the underdogs. We’re little engines that can. The tortoise to the hare.

But it also makes me feel like we all have chipped shoulders over being slower than we’d like to be. Because I’m a slow, non-marathon runner, I feel like I can barely call myself a runner. I feel like as the societal boom of running has emerged over the past few decades, there’s also grown a (false) awareness of what a runner should look and sound like. (Kinda like the whole body image thing of “what is pretty”)

In my opinion, society believes that a runner is Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation. He’s the dude who is always wearing his Garmin and running/biking an obscene amount of miles to work. Or a runner is the mom who is currently training for her 10th marathon of the year.

There are no mediocre runners. A runner is not me: who does not outwardly look like an elite runner, nor do I run the distances or times to make me one.

I guess I just needed to meditate on how I feel about running sometimes. Sure, I know at the end of the day, I’m only competing against myself. But that sounds like something losers say ;)

Do you consider yourself a “slow runner”? What are your feelings on the word jogger? Would you correct someone if they tried to call you a jogger? I would.

Recipe Pick: Cauli-power Fettaccini Alfredo by Oh She Glows

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Picture from Oh She Glows blog

Do you ever find a recipe online and go, “Oh, if that actually tastes good, that would be amazing!”? Because that’s exactly what happened to me when I found this recipe for cauliflower alfredo from Oh She Glows (a crazy fantastic vegan food blog if you didn’t know!)

The ingredient list is fairly simple, and you probably have most of the ingredients laying around your house. Maybe you don’t have nutritional yeast in your pantry (but you should) but everything else is pretty plain old simple.

I made this recipe a week ago and instantly fell in love with it. Alfredo is a bit of a “fear food” for me because I used to eat it by the pound when I was a not-so-in-shape kid and now that I know just how bad it can be for you, I generally avoid it.

This cauliflower Alfredo is obviously waaaaaaaaay better than full-fat cream’s Alfredo sauce, but let me tell you, it still tastes AMAZING!

Here’s my sad, un-stylized version. I was just so hungry and had no pretty accoutrements to add to it! Plus, I was STARVING.

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Full disclosure: I did un-veganize this recipe because it calls for unflavored almond milk, but I didn’t have any so I used 1% milk instead. Honestly though, I can’t see that change having a huge difference in flavor. I did add extra salt to the recipe because I felt like it brought out the flavors more.

Because I was scared this pasta might just take like stinky cauliflower, I used regular linguine noodles, but now that I know how good it is, I totally feel comfortable using a brown rice or whole wheat or quinoa or zoodle noodle instead!

In fact, let’s just go crazy! I bet this sauce would taste fantastic on chicken (also not vegan ;) ) fish or some grilled portabellos. The world is your oyster!

Once again, you can find this Oh She Glows recipe here!

Oh PS, my boyfriend got home late from work the night I made this (with 1/2 a box of linguine) and proceeded to EAT THE WHOLE THING! Thank GOD this was a healthy version of Alfredo!

Disclaimer: Of course Oh She Glows did NOT ask me to write this review or anything like that. I simply love finding a good recipe and sharing it!