It's hard to imagine that 15 years ago Alicia Silverstone was playing a spoiled teenager in the film Clueless. Now, the 33-year-old actress divides her energy between acting and environmental causes. Her latest endeavor is a book, The Kind Diet (Rodale, 2009), which advocates a plant-based diet to improve health, increase energy, and reduce your carbon footprint.
As a vegan for more than 10 years, Silverstone can attest to the benefits of eating a meat- and dairy-free diet. In 2009 she preached its benefits to Health: "Its weird to be 32 now and feel and look younger... Right after I first made the switch to a plant-based diet, people were literally telling me, 'What have you done? Youre sparkling.'"
So what does eating kind mean?
Divided into three phases, "Flirting," "Vegan," and "Superhero," the Kind Diet has tips and recipes for all types of dieters, from those wanting to experiment with a meat-free diet to those who want an organic, vegan diet. Because the diet is full of healthy, natural foods, you won't have to worry about meticulously counting calories, carbs, or fat.
Silverstone believes that eating whole, organic foods will improve your health as well as boost your energy, increase mental clarity, and help you age gracefully. And science backs her up. Population studies show that vegetarians have a lower incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. But more importantly, eating this way also requires less fuel and other resources, making it kind to the environment.
How can I give up my cheeseburgers?
Silverstone confesses to being an on-again-off-again vegetarian at certain points in her life and knows eating meat isn't a black-and-white issue. She tried to make this book an entry point into a healthier lifestyle, with anecdotes and advice on how to "flirt" with a plant-based diet. There are recipes that can appeal to everyone (see the Peanut Butter Cups on the next page), and even some that resemble your favorite meat dishes, like the Waffle, Sausage, and Cheese Panini.
Next Page: Try vegan Peanut Butter Cups from The Kind Diet [ pagebreak ]Peanut Butter Cups
Excerpted from The Kind Diet:
Back in the day, I was obsessed with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Now I make this healthier version and they are way better. In fact, I think they are the most ridiculously delicious things in the entire world. Look for graham crackers that are naturally sweetened or low in sugar (Health Valley makes a good one), and store the leftover crackers or crumbs in an airtight container for future use.
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
- 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (preferably unsweetened and unsalted)
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker squares
- 1/4 cup maple sugar or other granulated sweetener
- 1 cup grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate or carob chips
- 1/4 cup soy, rice, or nut milk
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (If You Care makes unbleached liners made from recycled paper). Set aside.
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter, graham crackers, and maple sugar and mix well. Remove the mixture from the heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among muffin cups.
2. Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Top with chopped nuts. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Read more about Alicia or get information about her book at kindlife.com.