Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Kind Diet, kinda

Okay, so I've been hiding a little bit. And why does one hide? Because one has been naughty.

But hey, naughty in a good way. Inadvertently naughty. With the best intentions. I'll explain in a sec.

As I mentioned in my last post of a thousand years ago, I've come across the most amazing, life changing way of eating, thinking and living. It's based on Alicia Silverstone's thought-provoking book, The Kind Diet. You know Alicia ... lovely actress, originally known for her lead role in Clueless? She is very vegan and has written this wonderful book that even has this cheeseburger-chowin', ribeye-devouring gal kinda thinking about going kinda veggie, organic and raw.

The Kind Diet is not just about how to eat, it's an ideology about being kind to your body, kind to the animals, and kind to the planet. You have to read her narrative chapters (followed by yummy recipes) to grasp the importance of her concepts, but the gist of it is this:

As you continue on this journey you will experience amazing changes. Some will come quickly, some slowly, but eventually meat's hardness will melt away, leaving your body and heart soft and open. You will begin to feel more deeply. Compassion will flow from your core toward all other living beings. This is the most amazing gift of eating plant-based diet ... feeling the sacred connectedness of all living things. from The Kind Life, pg. 94

I want that.

This is not to say that I will become a purist vegan or even a devoted vegetarian. This is only to say that it has me leaning, leaning, leaning in these directions. Which is all Alicia asks ... that you begin to flirt with the idea of a plant-based diet. Just to see where it leads you.

A couple of weeks ago I had a nice big steak defrosting on the kitchen counter. There were still a couple of steaks in the freezer so I thought, let's use them up, Mike and I will share one. But by now the pages of The Kind Diet are sinking in and every time I walk past that defrosting steak throughout the course of the day, I stare at it with trepidation. It just seemed ... wrong. Yes, I ate my portion. But it was weird, and that, people, is something I never thought I'd say.

At this point I've not given up meats and animal-based foods entirely. But I have taken the following baby steps:

1.) I'm kicking refined sugar.
2.) I'm eating organic and raw as much as possible.
3.) I'm trying to eat brown rice everyday.
4.) I'm scaling way back on meat.
5.) I'm scaling way back on dairy.
6.) I'm eating way more veggies, dammit.

So what do all of these healthy, conscientious concepts have to do with my recent naughty coupla extra pounds, you ask? Here I've found this really exciting, healthy diet and I've ... whaaaa? gained some weight? That's because, being the dessert/carby fiend that I am, I tried out almost every dessert/carby recipe in the Kind Diet the first 2 weeks. Because, you know ... they're really healthy and everything (she says not so convincingly) ... all organic, no refined sugar, no dairy, only whole wheat flour, the whole shebang. Gobble, gobble, gobble. But as someone pointed out on Alicia's website the other day, vegan foods have calories too. Ooooooh that's right, and I'm wearing them.

Oh, but the vegan oatmeal walnut cookies ... to die for! The peach crumble ... yes! The Cheesy, Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip .. thank you God! And the cornbread is the best I've ever had ... and I've made it for friends (3 times) who totally agree! Nevertheless, take it from The Dessert/Carby Master ... pace yourself, sister, pace yourself.

When I first heard that Alicia Silverstone had written a book about healthy eating, I thought ... hmmm, now what is this .. this .. Clueless whippersnapper, who's young enough to be my daughter going to teach me!!? But now I say bravo, Alicia. Because here's what I think you've taught me: that the foods we eat and the respect and kindness we show our bodies is in direct proportion to the respect and kindness we show our planet and the precious animals we share it with. Seem like a stretch? Get the book and read on. If it makes me of all people, look at a ribeye funny, it'll make anyone think twice before firing up the grill.
There. I've come out of hiding. Back on track. Scaling way back on healthy oatmeal walnut cookies and eating my veggies like a good girl, not a naughty one.

Be healthy, everyone!


yaya said...

Your blog is great...I've been looking for some inspiration to get on track for healthier living..maybe vegan?? I don't know but thanks for the book tip!

My Lipstick Life said...

That made me laugh when you admitted vegan/organic eating has calories. Too bad, huh? Sounds like you found something that works for you - go for it!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Glad to see you back in the swing. I find the more I learn about plant-based eating, the more I shy from meat. I guess we'll have to change our lunch menus.

And, all - I can vouch for the cornbread. Much too tasty.

Jocelyn said...

I've been watching Silverstone promote this book and admiring that she's made such amazing changes and is so passionate about them. Kudos to you for adapting the pieces of it that fit for you. In particular, I'm impressed with kicking refined sugar. That's tough!

Does her diet recommend brown rice every day...or just any good whole grain? That is, could you alternate in quinoa or barley? Those, plus polenta, have been fun additions to our eating in the last couple of years.

musingegret said...

There's a blogger in Portland, Oregon who wrote quite glowingly back in December about meeting Silverstone at a book-signing at Powell's Books and how impressed he was with her demeanor, message and book. He also recommends Jonathon Safran Foer's "Eating Animals" as a great followup to the Silverstone book.

Kudos to you!

Here's a post from his blog:

Michelle Wells Grant said...

Hey thanks everyone, esp. for all the great leads and tips. Musingegret, I went to that blog and left a comment. Very interesting stuff. And Jocelyn, I should email you with brown rice info I unearthed today. It has soooo many benefits and now I'm so revved up about it! I think I might have to doa whole post on it. In the meantime, check this out, my peeps!

Ruthibelle said...

oh.. the healthy... the elusive healthy life. Once for all I made up my mind to go healthy, and I'm never going back! Great post!

ds said...

I think that I finally have Mr. L-S convinced that brown rice is not going to kill him. But with a freezer full of half a cow raised as organically and lovingly as possible by my own sibling, it is going to be a while before red meat disappears from our dinner plates, though we have cut back...
I have two rules for food: all things in moderation, and never eat anything you can't pronounce.

You're on the right track--good luck!

Patty said...

Great baby steps, I'm trying to be more healthy too and this post was very inspiring for me. Looking forward to your next one!

Fragrant Liar said...

I'm going to have to get that book. I would really like to find ways to eat healthy, protein-rich foods without resorting to the meat I grew up eating.

Great post there, sister.

musingegret said...

Here are some great ideas about 'de-meatifying.'

The comments add substantive ideas also. I like the idea of Tahini and Tomato on Toast for breakfast!

Powdered Toast Man said...

When I saw Alicia Silverstone's name I was like, noooooo, Cher made a book! But I guess I was labeling her as dumb.

I want to look into that book but I don't know I can give up my meat. I def need to try and eat more veggies. Good post.

Cindy said...

After reviewing your post, I bought her book. It has some valid entries.

Nezzy said...

Good for you girl! This Ozarks farm chick knows when ya'll make it about the health and just make a lifestyle change instead of "diets" ya get it off and keep it off. I'm goin' on years now! WooHoo!

From the happy hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa, ya'll have a wonderfully blessed day!!!

CailinMarie said...

stopped in to check you out and so glad I did. What a very cool concept and I love your writing style. Wow. I may have to check this out from the library. I just read an article in Vogue of all places about antibiotics in animal based foods and how they feed the cows and pigs preventative antibiotics and that when the burgers and bacon are tested they still have said antibiotics in them - so even though we wouldn't preventatively dose ourselves or our kids - we are via food. UGH! So I def. think it is time to check out this book...

Bernie said...

Interesting post. I would like to be more vegan and I do like veggies. I only wish I had someone like a chef who would whip up these dishes for me. I have eaten in a vegan restaurant and I love what I have ordered.

I especially love lamb chops and because they are so expensive I rarely eat them but they are my favorite meat.

Good luck with the new diet. I think you did great before losing all that weight. Thanks for visiting my blog. Hey maybe my excess blubber did save my life in that fall! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving me a glimpse at what that book was about!

javier said...
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