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Mark Bittman’s ‘Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating’ [book review]

Posted: January 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

If there is anyone I trust will give me simple healthy living advice and proffer easy recipes that turn out successfully every time, it’s Mark Bittman, the author of the New York Times food column ‘The Minimalist.  He has also penned two of my favorite cookbooks, ‘How to Cook Everything’ and ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’, and most recently has written an informative book called “Food Matters” a look at “eating, personal and planetary health”.

‘Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating (With more than 75 recipes)’
, (buy on Amazon) is one of my go to books for leading a healthier lifestyle, and discusses with clarity the impact our diets have on the environment, the economy, and our own health.

Best of all, ‘Food Matters’ is written from a distinctly personal point of view: as a food writer for the New York Times, Mark Bittman loves to eat. Unfortunately, doing so without setting any boundaries for himself caused an imbalance in health and weight. In response, he decided to shift to a new approach to food, and after shedding thirty five pounds has done the inevitable: written an eco-conscious book about it. His own personal strategies included adopting a diet that is almost “vegan until dinner”, and advocates a shift to a much higher consumption rate of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and a reduction of meat and dairy products. Fortunately there is no sacrifice involved – Bittman’s recipes are flavorful, easy, and a positive addition to anyone’s diet, and best of all are as good for your wallet as your waistline.

In Food Matters, Bittman argues strongly for a general shift in diet to “Less-Meat-arianism”, and simply and clearly explains the science, policy, and economic influences on our diets.

He outlines the current flaws of meat production in this country, which along with large scale agriculture and absurd farm subsidies, are harmful to the environment, wildly inefficient, and contribute directly to global climate change. While many environmentalists advocate a switch to vegetarianism, Bittman understands that this isn’t a solution for everyone (himself included). He does advocate however to make conscious choices to both reduce the meat that we are eating and ensure that it (and most everything else we eat) comes from mostly local and sustainable sources, and from animals that are allowed to pasture, eat grass rather than corn (which they can not digest), and live a good life.

If as a society we make changes in the way we eat, even the smallest changes advocated in this book, we will make a significant impact in reducing our environmental impact, improving public health, and adopting new healthy cultural habits that will ensure the future of our society.

Unlike many of the so-called diet books out there, Bittman’s advice for a healthy every day diet is balanced, creative, and encourages positive shifts in lifestyle without any radical proclamations.

Food Matters: A Guide to Concsious Eating (With more than 75 recipes)
336 pages, published by Simon & Schuster
(buy on Amazon)

Some Other Great Books by Mark Bittman:

How to Cook Everything (buy on Amazon)
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (buy on Amazon)

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2 Comments on “Mark Bittman’s ‘Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating’ [book review]”

  1. 1 Alta said at 2:19 pm on January 3rd, 2010:

    I haven’t read this yet (on my wish list!) but I am all about Mark Bittman! I learned to cook following his books, and I have recently made a resolution to eat less meat, as part of a more environmentally conscious, healthy change. Glad you liked the book, now I need to read it!

  2. 2 LadyLMS said at 12:14 am on March 14th, 2010:

    You know I am at a point in my life that I need to get in shape and lose some weight in a conscious way. I love to eat fairly late during the day (I admit it I skip breakfast a lot) and I think I will purchase this book to gain some lunch ideas.


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