Monday, May 6, 2013

Mark Bittman's VB6 Review & Giveaway

Bittman VB6

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.

Bittman VB6 table of contents

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.

Bittman VB6 recipes

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.

Bittman VB6 recipes

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.

Now, on to the giveaway!
*****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.

I am giving away one hardback copy of Mark Bittman's VB6.  To enter, leave a comment (one per person, please) telling us your favorite vegan recipe, why you became a vegan, why you might be thinking about becoming a vegan, or even why you won't become a vegan.

Contest ends Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 11:59pm PDT. Winner will be announced Monday, May 13. Contest ends Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 11:59pm PDT. Winners will be announced Monday, May 20, 2013. Contest open to U.S. residents only.

Mark Bittman, the New York Times, and 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. 

Roomba's in on the action


  1. I was vegetarian for 10 years before I moved to Hungary for a couple years and gave it up. But I've heard abt vb6 and think it might be worth trying - I do believe it is nobler and more sustainable, and I'd love to set that example for my kids....

  2. I like the simplicity and common sense of VB6. It makes healthy eating not a chore. I would never become vegan because I like to eat too many things which would be off such a diet.

  3. I became a vegetarian when I was 13 and I have been a vegan for four years now. I became a vegan out of concern for animal rights. I thought it would be a lot harder than it was, so I put it off for a few years before taking the plunge. While I've had instances of "cheating" (only with dairy or egg products, never with meat), I've always gotten back on the wagon and I feel very comfortable with this diet.

  4. There are too many things I couldn't give up to be a vegan. But I have been incorporating more vegetarian recipes into our meals and appreciate the creativity and resourcefulness of vegan bakers. It can be very useful when cooking for my lactose-intolerant husband. I visit here regularly for ideas, so thank you!

  5. Like so many interesting topics, I learned about vegan cooking/eating/living because I was dating someone passionate about the topic. (As a side note, this has been a fun way to learn about classic rock, the strip mining industry, customization sneakers, and more. Not sure if it's cheaper than taking a class at a community college). One of the number one things I learned is that vegan eating is not necessarily HEALTHY eating. Turns out you can make a darn good vegan chocolate chip cookie and wash it down with some sweetened soy milk or maybe make an ice cream sandwich with some Coconut Bliss. However, I did like how vegan cooking inspired more veggies and more spices in my repertoire. I think 50% of our meals started with chopping veggies and then heating olive oil, garlic, and ginger in pan. Good stuff. I'd definitely be willing to give Mark Bittman's advice a try!

  6. I became vegetarian about a year ago mostly for health reasons, but have felt more strongly about it since reading more and more about the meat industry. Since then, I have moved toward veganism as well, although I certainly do eat cheese every once in a while. When I'm at home, I'm completely vegan, it's just when I eat out that I don't. I would really like to become fully vegan though! I just need a liiiittle more self-restraint and will power ;)


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