I just finished reading Alicia Silverstone’s book, “The Kind Diet“. I had no idea that the beautiful and oh-so-cute “Clueless” actress was a vegan! As I’ve been reading more about the vegan lifestyle I stumbled upon her website The Kind Life and immediately reserved her book at the library.
I am so glad I was able to read this book. The first half of the book talks about the “nasty foods” that includes meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods with a heavy focus on the first two in this list. Alicia describes in detail the violence and acts of cruelty that are inflicted on the animals that end up on our plate. We learn about the horrific and unsanitary living conditions animals are forced to endure during their time of torture as they wait to be slaughtered. She also lists many shocking facts that depict the stresses that meat production has on the earth. She explains how much of the meat that we consume is filled with toxins and bad chemicals. The last half of the book is vegan recipes including those classified as “superhero” recipes. I plan on making every single recipe in this book. Not all at once but eventually.
Whether you are eating meat and dairy right now or have given it up altogether there is something in this book for you. There are three different plans to “living the kind life” that Alicia goes into quite thoroughly. These are:
Each plan has specific actions to take that are clear cut which is especially useful if you’re like me and get confused easily. The boundaries between the three are not solid and drifting between two or all three is acceptable as long as you are comfortable. And that is something that is stressed very heavily in this book. The kind diet is not made to be stressful or to put pressure on you. Slipups and falling off the band wagon are okay. If you need to flirt for a little while with no commitment then that’s what you need to do.
Eventually your body will tell you what it wants and needs
For example, ever since I stopped eating meat and dairy products I haven’t noticed myself feeling overly great but I have noticed almost no feelings of sickness or pain. I am lactose intolerant and very allergic to milk and dairy products. I have stayed away from regular milk for years and did take up drinking lactose free milk. However, I never restricted myself from eating cheese, cream cheese, butter, etc. When I did eat these types of food I would get really intense pain in my stomach. Pain that was so intense that I would literally not be able to move for a few minutes.
I actually lapsed a few days ago and bought garlic bread from the bakery section of the grocery store. I had looked at the ingredients on everything else I had bought but I saw that the garlic bread was on sale and I put it in my basket without thinking. By the time I got home and had eaten a slice I realized that I probably wasn’t supposed to be eating it. Sure enough, when I checked the ingredients there were milk products in the spread. I finished off the rest because I didn’t want to waste it. I probably shouldn’t have done that, though, because that night I had the WORST stomach pain I have ever had in my life. It has been years since I have had that kind of tears-in-my-eyes pain. It was pure agony. I managed to survive, though. Having that happen really reinforced the idea that eating products that come from other animals is not natural. My body wasn’t meant to ingest cow’s milk and it rebels every time I do. I just haven’t listened to it until now.
Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends. – George Bernard Shaw
There are lots of reasons to become vegan and go on a plant-based diet. One disturbing question that I asked myself was: Why is it okay to eat cows and pigs but not dogs and cats? Not having an answer to that question is just one reason I’m abstaining from eating animals.
When you’re eating a plate of foie gras or veal, do you have any idea what the poor animal had to go through so that you could enjoy that meal? If you didn’t know, then I don’t blame you. I didn’t have any idea, either. I didn’t know that chickens have their wings clipped and their beaks cut off. I didn’t know that to make veal, baby boy calves are separated from their mothers at birth and chained for 6 months in such a way that they cannot stand up and their muscles cannot develop. Then, after that torture? They’re slaughtered so that humans can eat them. The sole purpose of their life is to be scared and frightened and then death. If they’re lucky the death will be merciless but it’s rarely so.
While the mother cow suffers greatly from separation anxiety once her calf is taken away from her she is then given hormones intended to produce 10 to 20 times more milk than normal. The milk that was supposed to feed her baby is greedily taken by humans. That is her life. Can you imagine a life purpose of getting pregnant and producing milk over and over again? Of never seeing your children? These cows are literally worked to death.
A world of kindness?
All of those things I’ve just mentioned are heartbreaking stories that are far more horrific than I could ever depict in words. But rather than looking at the negatives, let’s take a moment to focus on the positives. There are numerous health benefits to going vegan. You are being kind to your body and to animals. But that’s not all. It’s a rather strange coincidence but after reading Alicia Silverstone’s book it was the second time in a week that I had heard the idea of veganism used in the same sentence as “world peace”.
The first time was on Niall Doherty’s blog in a post titled “Spilling my guts (or 25 things you never knew about me)”. According to Niall, “I believe veganism is a significant step towards world peace.”
The second time was in “The Kind Diet” when Alicia writes, “I believe that following the Kind Diet can lead to world peace.”
Could it really be that simple? After reading about and seeing with my own eyes the cruelty and violence that goes on and what the poor cows, pigs, fish, chickens, etc. have to go through to get onto your plate, I believe it. Yes, it’s not that easy but it is that simple. This is something I would like to explore further because it seems to me that the possibilities are endless and the negative effects are virtually zero. Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen if you switched from eating animals and animal products to that of a plant-based diet? Can you imagine what would happen if everyone in the world did this? Just for a month? a week? a day? What would you be willing to give up for world peace?
Why I am a vegan today
Back in October when I wrote about why I decided to become a vegan, I had no idea just what exactly I was getting myself into. I still stand by my reason that it’s a personal choice and it makes me feel good knowing I’m choosing what I eat. But it has become so much more than that. When I wrote the following, I believed it at the time:
My main reason for becoming a vegan is not because it’s more ethical (which it is), more healthy (which it is) or because it’s more environmentally friendly (which it is).
Now, though, I can honestly say that I am a vegan because it is more ethical and it is more healthy and it is more environmentally friendly. Just because I can’t stand to be around cats because they give me puffy eyes and a runny nose doesn’t mean if they were slaughtered and prepared and packaged to be eaten it wouldn’t bother me. Just because a dog thought I was a threat and bit me and gave me two scars on my toes in the past doesn’t mean I could stand to watch them be put in a cage so small that all they could do was run around in small circles not knowing the horrors of what was yet to come. Just because fish are gross and slimy doesn’t mean they should be treated with any less dignity or respect than any other creature on earth, including humans.
As much as we want to or as easy as it is, we cannot live for today. Continuing to eat meat and animal products at the current rate isn’t sustainable. We are running out of resources and land. The rain forests are being destroyed so that more room for cattle can be made. Listen to this fact: Every second 2.4 acres of the rain forest are lost due mainly in part to cattle grazing. I have never seen the rain forest but I hope someday I will still be able to. And, I hope, that future generations will be able to as well.
Alicia Silverstone has written a book that she is passionate about and in turn that makes me passionate. Please consider where your food comes from, how it got there and what exactly you are putting in your body. Even just reducing the consumption of meat and meat products will make a huge difference. I’m doing my best to tread lightly on the earth and hope you will consider doing the same.
I’ll leave you now with some food for thought:
If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian. ~Paul McCartney
We don’t need to eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away if he could. ~James Cromwell
We all love animals. Why do we call some “pets” and others “dinner?” ~k.d. lang
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites, or women for men.” ~Alice Walker
The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men. ~Leonardo Da Vinci
Auschwitz happens when people look at a slaughterhouse and think they are only animals. ~Theodore Adorno
A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral. ~Leo Tolstoy