Alicia Siverstone's Kind Diet

Monday, October 12, 2009

Actress Alicia Silverstone discusses her new book, The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet, which outlines the benefits of giving up meat and dairy. It also includes vegan recipes.

Event: Alicia Silverstone will be speaking and signing books
Monday, October 12, at 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble, Tribeca
97 Warren Street


Alicia Silverstone

Comments [42]

Holly Stamps from Orange County, CA

I was vegetarian for 3 yrs & became underweight & acquired iron-deficiency anemia. I became healthy again after eating meat. It's a fact that high-fiber & soy diets inhibit iron and other nutrient absorption. This is what happened to me.
My theory: Some people need meat/dairy/poultry/fish to maintain a healthy body. Vegans & vegetarians keep saying to me, "your diet wasn't well-planned". It must need to be so well-planned it's near impossible to get all the nutrients needed to be healthy. I guess you could say I drank the Kool-Aid and it gave me food poising. Then, I fell of the fruit and veggie wagon and I feel GREAT!

Jan. 25 2010 02:30 AM
KBus from NYC

I think Alicia Silverstone is very articulate and certainly believes in what she's doing. I'm surprised that nobody mentioned that she is convinced that she can cure cancer by advising people about their diet. She mentioned a few people that she felt she personally cured of cancer.

If she wants to talk about how a vegan diet made her feel great and how she encourages everyone to try it, I'm interested. When she starts talking about how she cures cancer, I'm not interested because it's not based on science. Anecdotal stories are meaningless. Just silly.

Oct. 14 2009 11:50 AM
Amy, continued... from Brooklyn

I meant, re: 39, not 38.

Oct. 13 2009 11:51 PM
Amy, continued... from Brooklyn

re: #38 - Yes, it is really great that she gained all the benefits she did, but what is not great is to make the leap to assuming that these benefits will be universal to everyone just because they were so for her. And, it is irresponsible for NPR to promote the idea that all people will necessarily benefit if they switch to a vegan diet - some people will experience negative results because we all have different bodies and there are different body types.

Oct. 13 2009 11:49 PM
Michelle from Westchester County, NY

I'm guessing that the "steak and donuts diet" comment was an exaggeration made for comic effect.

In any case, it seems to me that Silverstone's decision to switch to a vegan diet was a well thought out one based, in part, on evidence that she had accumulated showing that a meat-based diet negatively impacts the environment. I'm not sure why the previous poster thinks that is so kooky.

As for the health effects she experienced, why shoot them down? If Silverstone really experienced improved skin quality and cessation of allergies as a result of switching to a vegan diet, then congratulations to her!

Oct. 13 2009 06:38 PM
Peg Kennedy from Willseyville NY

Many diets using lots of fruits and vegetables and whole unprocessed foods from all food groups have been shown to be beneficial. I agree with all writers urging immediate birth control measures as the only way to save the planet. One or less child per woman would be most helpful. Trying to save the planet by being less energy intensive (eating low on the food chain or changing your light bulbs - whatever) while making more and more humans is futile.

Oct. 12 2009 06:27 PM
db from nyc

Cynthia! I said don't drink the Kool Aid™!!!

Oct. 12 2009 02:53 PM
JP from The Garden State

[This portion of the comment has been edited by WNYC staff, as per request of a commenter],

I would have been just as cynical towards Alicia Silverstone if she wrote a book about just eating meat. Look, would you read a book by George Clooney on how to fix a car just because he’s famous and wrote a book about something your interested in even though he has no proof of a technical background in auto repair? Now if George Clooney was a certified mechanic, that’s a different story. But I didn’t hear Alicia Silverstone mention about any degrees or education specificly towards nutrition.

Our society seems to be so star struck that we will believe anything famous people dish out as fact, whether they are a beautiful celebrity or not . But if they bring no real credentials to table, that’s dangerous. There have been many great knowledgeable books over the years written by famous actors and actresses. But how many half assed researched diet books have come from celebrities in just the last couple of years let alone during the history of hollywood?

But I also believe that overpopulation will be the demise of man kind, not meat or meat eaters. Nor could it be saved by the best intentions of all vegans and vegetarians.

After 1000s of years of growing and development, American Indian population (hunter, gatherer and farmers) of all the Americas before 1492 was about 112 million people. And even though 80% of indigenous Indians in south America were whipped out from disease after only 10 years of Spanish occupation (another reason not to celebrate Columbus day…), in just a few short centuries the general population alone in the USA today, 300 million and rapidly growing…. Save humanity from overpopulation its the only thing in the end that we can all do that will save us…

Oct. 12 2009 02:37 PM
Mike from Manhattan

#31 She mentioned Pure Food and Wine (raw food) on Irving and Hangawi (veg. korean food near WNYC) on E. 32nd. Both are EXCELLENT restaurants.. however they are on the pricey side. Pure Food has a take out place around the corner on 17th St. as well as a cookbook of recipes from the restaurant, Raw Food Real World.

Oct. 12 2009 02:04 PM
Amy, continued... from Brooklyn

As a vegetarian, I had many respiratory infections (and I was not even eating dairy at the time) and no energy at all - and I had ruled out thyroid issues. So, following my inner voice prompting me, I started to add a bit of meat back to my diet -- all organic, free range, no hormone meat and chicken and wild fish -- skin began to glow! and I have lots more energy. I feel great. I have lost weight. My yoga practice improved. So...the point is, as we teach in yoga class, every body is different and our needs are different - you have to listen to your own body to know what is right for you. Some people, like Alicia, have body types that benefit from vegan diets. Some, like me, benefit from including animal protein, dairy and eggs. I have read some of the work of Sally Fallon and Weston Price. I recommend these - easy to find online - to people who feel the need to eat diets that include animal protein - as a way to get a full picture of how they might do so healthfully. As for sustainability - I buy my meat and so forth from farmer's markets as often as possible and otherwise, I buy organic, free-range, etc. I also try to find organic and locally grown produce in general. And, because I do love animals, and endeavor to connect with the Earth, I thank the spirits of the animals I eat and feel very grateful to the Earth and all the Universe for providing me with the means to find the food that is right for my own body.
It is dangerous to present only one side of any issue - and unwise to suggest that every person will benefit from a practice simply because some people have benefitted. Peace.

Oct. 12 2009 01:55 PM
Amy Eberhardt from Brooklyn

I just listened to your show with the interview of Alicia Silverstone. I honor her journey and am very glad she has found a way of eating that sustains her and supports the planet and helps animals. However, I need to share that as a yoga teacher I tried for a year and a half to practice a vegetarian diet. I had many of the same feelings about ahimsa (non violence) and ecological soundness and kinship with mother Earth and so forth...but after a year and half of very conscious, careful, well planned, well-rounded vegetarian eating...I ended up sick as a proverbial dog. (more in a moment...)

Oct. 12 2009 01:54 PM from NYC

What were the places (beyond Candle 79) that she mentioned in New York--lije the places with the ice cream on Irving, the Korean restaurant and the one near WNYC? Anyone out there know?

Oct. 12 2009 01:53 PM
JP from The Garden State

To all of those that think their saving the earth by eating a veggie burger while trying to convince themselves that it taste good and is for the good of all, I hate to break the bad news to you but even if we all became vegans, the human species is going down in flames. There is no such thing as sustainable anything in nature. Nothing lasts forever and we are long past being sustainable anything…. Even if we all lived like the Mennonites it’s too late. We have already outgrown our resources to the point of overpopulation and our world population is only getting bigger buy the day, not samller. You truly and seriously want to save man kind (earth will do just fine when we are finally gone…)? Two simple words that are the only thing that can realistically save us, birth control….

Oct. 12 2009 01:43 PM
al oof from brooklyn

kim, i think that sucks. but your problem wasn't what you were eating, it's how you were eating. my partner has been vegan for 10 years and he is far more happy now than he was when we met and he wasn't vegan (i'm not vegan). but 'socializing around food' and thinking so much about what you are eating sound like an eating disorder, not an ethical eating choice.

i know vegans who have used veganism as their way of being anorexic, or at least as a way of feeling 'in control' the way anorexics feel 'in control' when they can starve themselves.

but a lot of vegans just feel crappy eating animals, and no amount of tasty red meat will make them feel good about it.

the key is to not obsess about what you eat. obsessing about animal products or fat or carbohydrates is unhealthy regardless of whether you eat animals or not.

i've also never understood why meat eaters give two poops about whether vegans eat meat or not. yeah, there are vegans who'll bother you about it, but trust me, there are lots of meat eaters who do the same thing. so that is as much a reason to eat vegan as to not eat vegan, right? jerks on every side.

Oct. 12 2009 01:40 PM
Ramon Rodriguez from Westchester

Why be so cynical? It was a nice conversation. Ms. Silverstone is smart and she did something that improved her life. She wrote a book about it, just like she said, to collect the findings and opinions of specialists in eating for "girl friends" to be able to read.
And she is selling the book from a few places, her heart, her pocket and her brand. What is the problem with those needs?
As for me, I will wait until it gets to my library to read it because instead of buying thousands of books like I used to, I know use the libraries, the B & N or Borders for most of what I read. Maybe that's my way of reducing my footprint, sorry publishing companies.
Nice show, thank you WNYC.
Ramon Jesus

Oct. 12 2009 01:38 PM
Kate from Hoboken

Yah, awesome! You handled this book-tour interview wonderfully, Ms. Bernstein. Ms. Silverstone can be a charming actress. Hope she can be up to Laura Linney & Eric Bogosian with whatever she's acting with them. But sorry, what a whift. Glad she's moving into healthier eating. I learned nothing new, from her poorly-coached-by-handlers-for-the-book-tour drivel. Despite your best efforts to ask good questions. I'd suggest it's all about pitching something b/c she used to be maligned as a "Hollywood fatty" (The Horror! A real woman's body?) and someone there tried to figure out an angle to make Ms. Silverstone & themselves more money. Tah!

Oct. 12 2009 01:38 PM
CJ from NY

It's surprising how ignorant the people who post to this board are.

Many vegetarians and vegans are healthy, happy, productive, social people. It's a valid choice. Not all vegans are healthy just like not all meat-eaters are healthy. Everyone has to be informed about what they put into their bodies for fuel.

Those of you who are making disparaging remarks are just fearful of something you don't have knowledge of and have made no effort to understand.

Oct. 12 2009 01:37 PM
j from b'kyn

a couple of things that have to be taken into account when trying to cut down on the meat
1. food allergies/sensitivities - some friends and myself cut out most wheat products in the food we eat, including bread pretty much outright. i use other grains, still lost weight naturally except for that last 5, now not 10 lbs, along with less fluid retention overall. can't eat nuts, so cutting out eggs and dairy is a problem, but beans are very useful. learning to use spices in cooking really matters. and soy nut butter [i like tJoe's personally] is a good substitute.
2. eating enough instead of feeling 'full'.

Oct. 12 2009 01:33 PM
Milos from Queens

There is no "one size fits all diet." And the scientific evidence Ms. Silverstone quotes is not the only word on the subject. Type-2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance from eating too many refined carbs, not meat. I discovered after years of vegetarianism, that the ideal diet FOR ME consists of animal protein except for dairy; fruits; vegetables; nuts and seeds. No grains, no beans, no dairy. Once I got rid of the indigestible proteins called lectins that are found in grains and beans, my weight dropped 15 lbs., and the acid reflux, congestion, joint pain and bloating that had plagued me for years vanished. Also there's a difference between factory farming and small, local farms where animals are free to graze and eat grass. If Silverstone's diet works for her, great. But it would kill me eventually and make me very miserable in the short run.

Oct. 12 2009 01:31 PM
Amanda Dora from Williamsburg

I don't think eating all of the processed foods in American style vegetarian and vegan diets is so good -- all of the fake meat and ice cream and so on, not to mention the enormous amounts of sugar. It's much better to eat whole foods. The Southern Indian vegetarian cuisine is a great example of a healthy, balanced vegetarian tradition, which is also full of wonderful flavors. In any case, part of the problem with our food in general in this country is the "engineering" approach, which injects lots of strange stuff into what we eat.

Oct. 12 2009 01:30 PM
kim from Brooklyn

I was a vegan for 3 years and after I started eating meat again (at the advice of an acupuncturist who told me I needed more energy and should start eating red meat again) I realized how sad and depressed I was being a vegan. You can only socialize around food with other vegans, so I never went out to dinner with friends, people didn't invite me over because they didn't want to make me a special meal and even in NYC there is only a handful of vegan restaurants.

I was so focused on what I was eating that I made myself miserable. I was very thin, but I felt horrible. It is good to focus on what you eat, but not to the point where it becomes an obsession which it often does for vegans because they are always denying themselves and what they really want (thus the fake meat products)

Oct. 12 2009 01:28 PM


The meats I eat are mostly organically raised in the mid-Hudson. Had a delicious free range roast chicken for dinner last night, lunch today, dinner tonight (you get the picture).

Oct. 12 2009 01:27 PM
JP from The Garden State

Here’s a Twinkie diet that’s guaranteed to make you loose weight. You eat nothing but Twinkies and water. As long as you eat less then a 1000 calories a day (that’s 6.666 Twinkies a day) you’ll be guaranteed to loose weight! Caution, may suffer from malnutrition, calcium depletion and serous fatigue…

Oh wow, Pedestrian to her PHD!!

Oct. 12 2009 01:27 PM
Cynthia from long island

I do have mixed feeling about celebrities writing books on vegetarianism because she sounds so... everything is "magical." It doesn't make it sound like vegetarians are particularly intellectual or informed. Many of us are.

Oct. 12 2009 01:26 PM
leah from Brooklyn

It's a shame that Ms. Silverstone comes off as not so smart about her reasons and facts. It seems to all boil down to glowing skin...!

Oct. 12 2009 01:26 PM
al oof from brooklyn

there wasn't a 'steak and donut' diet. that was a joke. like when people say 'meat and potatoes' that isn't actually all they eat!

i didn't realize all celebrity cookbook authors needed nutrition phd's. we'll have to have a book burning or something.

Oct. 12 2009 01:26 PM
Emm from NJ

yes, it was easy to write b/c she had a coauthor do the real writing, editing, you know, the work it takes to write a book.

Oct. 12 2009 01:25 PM
Cynthia from long island

Not all yogis are vegan. That's an unreasonable assumption.

Oct. 12 2009 01:23 PM
Cynthia from long island

When you are raised on meat, you get used to a certain "mouth feel" which is why some veg.s opt for fake meats.

Oct. 12 2009 01:21 PM
Ro from SoHo

Though I really applaud vegans for all the reasons Ms. Silverstone mentions there is one thing that I am sceptical about. The glowing skin.
I live next to a yoga center in Manhattan where the yogis and, I am assuming the students, are vegan. They are certainly thin but also pale, ashen-grey, papery skinned with lank hair. Not beautiful or wholesome looking, nor beautiful at all.

Oct. 12 2009 01:20 PM

And Alicia I haven't eaten meat in years! But I do eat dairy and eggs.

Oct. 12 2009 01:20 PM
Cynthia from long island

Actually, animal protein is not superior (and is often inferior) to plant proteins. A healthy vegan diet does not deprive one of any necessary nutrients. An unhealthy vegan can be as disastrous as unhealthy omnivorous diet.

Oct. 12 2009 01:19 PM
gowanna from nyc

eCahnomics: anyone who trusts the US 'standards' for meat is playing a game of Russian roulette.
What meat does to destroy the planet/environment rivals the energy companies in its affects.

Oct. 12 2009 01:18 PM

Alicia you need to specify when you say beef requires oil that it's industrial beef - farmers who feed beef grass don't use gas or oil at all to raise them.

Oct. 12 2009 01:18 PM
Reid Hawkins from Brooklyn, NY

I am wondering if eating locally raised animals is seen as bad? Certainly large commercially produced meat is not seen as good. Just curious.
Thanks, Reid

Oct. 12 2009 01:17 PM
JP from The Garden State

Where did she get her PHD in nutrition? Oh that’s right; she’s an actress which makes her an instant expert. Does she have a family practice on the side to? After all we all know the best place to get health information from is someone from Hollywood…. I hear Suzan Summers has a good book to. Has anyone herd of the grapefruit diet?

Oct. 12 2009 01:17 PM
db from nyc

Don't drink the Kool Aid™!!!

Oct. 12 2009 01:16 PM
db from nyc

There is nothing "wrong" or unhealthy with eating sustainably raised meats in limited amounts.

What's up with all the fake meats that vegan foods attempt to mimic??? Why try to mimic foods that are antithetical to the politics of the movement?

Veganisim is not a healthy diet choice, it's a cult!

Oct. 12 2009 01:14 PM
Cynthia from long island

I am vegetarian. My health has improved vastly as well. I no longer have digestive issues. People tend to think I am 10-15 years younger than I am.

Oct. 12 2009 01:14 PM

if you don't get your nutritional needs met, your body will just go rob your teeth and bones for it. Vegan diets don't provide for those needs.

Cow, sheep, pig and goat poop replenish the soil we rob growing plants.

Oct. 12 2009 01:14 PM
Emm from NJ

yes, I wonder what her nutritional expertise is based on? Anecdotal evidence from changing from a horrible diet of indulgence to veganism? She could've simply controlled portion size and ensured 5 fruits and veggies per day and her skin would've "glowed". Yes, even if she ate.... meat! GASP!!!

Oct. 12 2009 01:14 PM

"Steak and donut diet," sure sign of a kook. Why should we think that her current dietary trend is any less kooky?

And as I typed a couple of threads ago, what are vegans going to eat when we discover that plants have feelings?

Oct. 12 2009 01:10 PM

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