Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Review

In 2008, New York Times food columnist and author Mark Bittman added another book to his collection.  Bittman released Food Matters, a cleanly written book exposing the toll that the typical American diet— one heavy laden with meat, dairy, and processed foods—takes on the planet.

Along with ongoing health problems, it was when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released the striking statistic showing global livestock production to be responsible for about one-fifth of all greenhouse gases—more than transportation— that Bittman began realizing a change was needed in his diet, one that could ultimately help change the world.

His plan was simple, one that he later defines as “sane, conscious eating”:  Eat more plants, fewer refined carbs, less meat and dairy, and little to no junk food.  Bittman began taking a vegan-until-six approach, constructing his first two meals solely around plant-based sources, and then allowing himself to eat whatever he’d like when it came to dinner time.  He immediately shed more than a few pounds, his high cholesterol and blood sugar dropped back down into the normal range, and his sleep apnea vanished.  As his results kept positively creeping upwards, his consumption of meat, dairy, and even fish continued to drop, now totaling about one-third of the amount he used to consume a few years ago.

In Food Matters, Bittman outlines a guide for accessible for even those who know practically nothing about nutrition, vegetarianism, or even cooking, backing up his plan with gripping statistics that are bound to make you want to at least attempt a switch towards a healthier lifestyle.  He emphasizes that his diet plan requires no sacrifices, only adjustments and benefits, with no foods becoming off limit, excluding the suggestion to entirely rule out junk food.

Even steak and ice cream fit into the Food Matters style of eating, although with far less frequency than what the typical American is accustomed to.  The last half of the book offers basic cooking techniques and recipes, including classics like hummus, tomato sauce, and fried rice, to get you started on the Food Matters “diet.”

Bittman simply expresses in his book that we need to make food more important in order to save ourselves and the planet.  Released on September 21st, Bittman follows up on Food Matters with the Food Matters Cookbook, a more thorough and developed recipe guide to eating healthier.  I can’t wait to check it out and test out some of Bitman’s recipes in the kitchen!

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  • Reply
    September 28, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Great review! 🙂 THis has me thinking that maybe I should go Vegan/GF until 6. 😀 Actually, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much wheat is actually in my diet. Even though it’s whole wheat, I still think it may be hard to digest. I’ve already dramatically cut down on my consumption of meat, which also saves money!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    LOVE this book. It really opened my eyes and is part of what caused me to officially cross over into veg territory full time, although I do like his “flex” approach because there are so many people that a veg diet wouldn’t work for.

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    September 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Now THIS is the kind of “diet” I like. I just finished two great books, which I will be reviewing soon; “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “United States of Arugula”, both were eye-openers. This book sounds like one I should read next! I like to think I eat very similar to Mark. I love my meat and chicken, but I don’t eat 10 ounces a day! I typically eat ~3-4 ounces, which is much less than the average American.

  • Reply
    Angela (the diet book junkie)
    September 29, 2010 at 3:11 am

    that is a GREAT philosphy! we need to make food more important to save ourselves and the planet. i mean, we’re talking about our health (and THE PLANET) isn’t it worth it??? thanks for the review, looks like a great read 🙂

  • Reply
    Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    September 29, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Great review. I think what I love about Mark Bittman so much is that he’s accessible. Whereas people like Alice Waters can come off as elitist to people who aren’t used to her way of eating, Bittman doesn’t talk down.

  • Reply
    September 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I haven’t read this book yet but I love Mark Bittman’s cookbooks – I have How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Those are two of my favorite cookbooks.

  • Reply
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