Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating. Bittman was on NPR in a short interview about his eating philosophy and the book itself. One of his statements, that 'we can change the world in 2009 by changing the way we eat,' is eerily similar to our own assertion on this blog that 'we believe food can change the world.' It's good to know lots of people are beginning to adopt this way of life. Bittman points out that America's high meat consumption is unsustainable, in terms of the energy required to raise livestock and ship meat across the country. He also mentions losing 35 pounds and clearing up joint problems and sleep apnea by reducing his meat intake by 70%. His attitude towards meat is EXACTLY the one I'm convinced the majority of Americans need to take up if we are to transition into healthier, more sustanable eating practices: cut meat consumption in half (at least) and when you do eat meat, spend the money for high quality products and really enjoy them.
A great quote from the NPR site, where a small excerpt from Food Matters is posted:
"At first, I simply eliminated as much junk food and overrefined carbs as I could, along with a sizable percentage of animal products. All this turned out to be easy enough, for a couple of reasons. One, when I did allow myself to eat meat, or dairy, eggs, sugar, or bread made from white flour (usually at dinner), I ate whatever I wanted, and as much of it as I wanted. And two, I started to lose weight, quite quickly—a big boost of positive reinforcement." View the entire article here.
He is exactly right. Eating should be a pleasure, and it certainly is when we enjoy at intervals the things we are most fond of, instead of beating ourselves up over eating them at every meal. And besides...in my own journey down a similar path of diet and food philosophy, I have come to enjoy the whole, simple foods sometimes more than the sugary, fatty, starchy ones (though I do love me some cheese and pasta). For me, an important part of so-called 'conscious eating' is in establishing a deep understanding of how foods affect you -- mentally, physically and spiritually. I am reminded here of a book called If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit. Some of this book is based on Ayurvedic diet practices, but it is very enlightening in its contemplation of the spiritual aspects of cooking and eating. Consciousness is always a big part of it.
Anyway, the best part of Bittman's book is he includes recipes of his own. Here is another NPR article where Bittman and NPR's Melissa Block make some delicious beet pancakes and a frittata. Yum. This guy sounds like a great cook. He even makes oatmeal sound tantalizing..