Thinking of taking Meatless Mondays a step further? In her book, The Kind Diet, actress and animal lover Alicia Silverstone explains how to go vegan, which she says will make you look and feel great while improving your health.
Vegan diets skip all animal products, including meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs.
Though her book is more of a vegan how-to and cookbook than a weight loss prescription, Silverstone says a vegan diet can help you lose weight -- especially if you follow her “superhero” plan, which banishes packaged foods.
What You Can Eat
Once you eliminate all animal products from your diet, Silverstone recommends eating whole grains, beans, and vegetables, opting for local and in-season varieties as often as possible.
Fruit and desserts are OK in small quantities, provided they’re made with the "right" sweeteners. You’ll want to avoid white sugar, honey, and organic evaporated cane syrup, and instead choose brown rice syrup, barley malt, maple syrup, agave, molasses, and fruit.
The Kind Diet outlines three phases of veganism:
- Flirting: A gradual transition away from animal-based foods
- Going Vegan: Committing to a vegan lifestyle
- Superhero: You mainly eat unprocessed vegetable foods and limit nightshade vegetables (including potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants) as well as fruit, nuts, and sweets, in order to achieve optimal health.
When it comes to alcohol, less is more, says Silverstone, who enjoys a good glass of wine while dining with friends but rarely drinks at home. She also recommends minimizing all caffeinated drinks, including coffee and tea. After going vegan, she says, you’ll have so much extra energy you won’t need them.
Level of Effort: Medium
Limitations: This is a big change in your eating habits. But if you want to go for it, Silverstone’s book has practical advice. For example, she discusses cooking tools and techniques to use, and foods to choose when traveling. A vegan diet can be healthy, though you'll need to make sure all your nutritional needs are met.
Cooking and shopping: Because The Kind Diet centers on fresh fare, your grocery list may grow longer. The second half of the book is chock-full of recipes (such as Pecan-Crusted Seitan and Coffee Fudge Brownies), most of which are fairly simple.
Packaged foods or meals: Silverstone recommends limiting processed foods as much as possible.
In-person meetings: No.
Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?
Vegetarian or vegan: This is what Silverstone's plan is all about. though she concedes that “flirters” -- people new to vegan eating -- may still eat some animal foods.
What Else You Should Know
Cost: Just your shopping.
Support: You can do this diet on your own. Silverstone has a web site with more information on veganism.