Ok, so! Continuing into The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet, I am COMPLETELY in love with the whole idea presented. Alica offers three levels in her book: flirting, vegan, and superhero. Flirting is trying a few substitutions (veggie meals every other day, fish instead of other meats, whole grains instead of white, green tea rather than coffee). That's where I left off in the book right now and where I'd say my boyfriend is as far as eating right now. He won't attempt vegan with me, but he also doesn't ask me to prepare him any meat when I make dinners. My goal is to get him to try cutting out all but fish (as it is the easiest animal protein for us to digest) for a month, then let him choose how he wants to eat from there. That's a fair compromise, right? I know I can be a little too pushy with him, but he can also be a little too skeptical and stubbornly resistant!
The idea behind the superhero diet seems almost romantic. I love that Alicia gets into how different foods affect us on physical, mental, and emotional levels. Mmm science! Anyway, once you're free of meat, dairy, and other processed foods, she says you can feel a huge difference. If you try them again after your body adjusts to life on natural plant foods, she says you'll notice how bad your body feels. I haven't made it into the superhero section yet, but I hope I can achieve either superhero or at least somewhere between vegan and superhero. Supposedly as a superhero you become more energetic, lighter, happier, centered and balanced, and more in tune to the effect things you eat have on you.
Personally, I may have a hard time giving up sugars, though I am fond of the alternatives (brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, nom nom!). I hope that by learning more about vegan baking, I can eventually start adjusting recipes to use these other sweeteners. Right now I'm simply using organic sugars, since they aren't processed using animal products like regular white sugar may be. The problem white sugar and organic sugars have in common is that they are stripped of the other nutrients naturally found in the plants from which they come. If you nibble on the sugar cane plant, your body will not have trouble processing the sugar because of the balance with other nutrients.
My other huge addiction is coffee! Fortunately, I've made progress on both the sugar and coffee fronts in the past few months. I've gone from having a triple shot latte on a daily basis to a single shot latte, green tea, or even herbal tea. I've also cut out a lot of sugar. I used to get sugary vanilla lattes, which I've replaced with a plain and simple soy latte. When I need a little sweetener in my tea or oatmeal, I use agave nectar. Agave nectar is a gift of nature! It has a low glycemic index, meaning it won't cause your insulin to spike like sugar does. (When your insulin spikes, your body is signaled to store fat.) Alicia says brown rice syrup is her sweetener of choice (she uses agave nectar sparingly due to its more concentrated sweetness) because of how it makes her feel after eating. I'll have to grab some next time I shop. I've only tried it once before in the yummy vegan baklava my little sis made as a Christmas snack (which was a godsend considering I spent the day walking around a house littered with plates of non-vegan cookies, cakes, and candies--thanks Care!).
Wow, I had more to say than I thought! I advise everyone to pick up a copy of The Kind Diet. It'll change your life!!! Or at the least, it will get you thinking more about what your food is doing to your body.