Mark Bittman's newest book, VB6, came out last week. He's been a food writer for as long as I can remember noticing there were food writers; I have several of his other cookbooks, and I have lots of recipes saved from his New York Times columns. I like his recipes, and I like his food philosophies, which sound quite similar to those of Michael Pollan.
Anyway, in VB6, Bittman writes about his food lifestyle and diet. "VB6" stands for Vegan Before 6, which is just what it sounds like. Most days, he's a vegan until 6pm, at which point his food "rules" no longer apply. This means there's still wiggle room and room for decadence, and it also means it's a lot easier for him to be sociable. It's not an all-or-nothing approach to diet.
In the first part of the book, Bittman talks about why he decided to change his diet and the science and philosophy behind it. A lot of his reasons were for his own health - he was overweight, considering knee surgery, and his numbers (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc) were not good. But some of the other reasons Bittman lays out take into account the impact that omnivores have on the planet; he touches on factory farming and greenhouse gases. Furthermore, he is appalled at what passes for food these days (you should be too). If you read food labels, especially those from hyper-processed items, you will find so many chemicals, additives, and food-like stuff that it's hard to believe these things are purchased and consumed, much less allowed to be sold as food.
The second part has recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and what he calls building blocks (think: grains, beans, salads, dressings). In his typical style, Bittman's recipes are un-fussy, creative, and springboards for variation. Most are quick (30 minutes or less) and all of them sound interesting. There's a range of recipes for a variety of preferences and cooking abilities.
VB6 is a good book if you're on the fence about becoming a vegan, if you are trying to live a more flexitarian or vegetarian lifestyle, or if you just want to learn how to incorporate more of the good stuff into your diet. Most of the first part of the book will be familiar information to anyone who pays attention to food/nutrition/etc, but it's good to review (and get inspired), and I guarantee you'll learn something. If you're already a vegan, rock on. You may have some interest in his recipes, which are both inventive and comfortingly familiar. There are also lots of wheat free recipes, if that's something you have to worry about.
*****This giveaway is now closed*****
And the winner is, #5 E.B! Congrats! I'll be in touch :)
I really loved reading your responses! Thanks for sharing them with me. Here are my thoughts.
Mark Bittman, the New York Times, and Amazon.com have no idea who I am or that I am giving away a book. I purchased both my copy and the giveaway copy because I love you guys. Giveaway sponsored by Short & Sweets.