Win a Copy of Food Matters

Food_matters

We’re giving away three copies of Food Matters. (Want to read a review? Here.) Not quite randomly, however: Post your comments about your experience with less-meatarianism (and cutting back on junk and processed food) – we’ll read through them and pick our three faves. (Then we’ll post ‘em, and ask you to e-mail us, and mail you books. Really.) Only comments posted before midnight tonight (May 7) will be eligible.

Posted in Mark Bittman Books

55 Comments

  1. culinarybliss said...

    For me, the best part is feeling like I’ve finally struck that perfect balance of plant and animal products. I feel totally free having something rich and indulgent every once in a while because I have earned it by having simpler (mostly vegan) fare the rest of the time.

  2. agirlandhermutt said...

    Junk food is easy. But so is picking up an apple or an orange. Once you get into a frame of mind that easy doesn’t have to be bad for you, it is easy to eat better! I also find that eating less meat/no meat provides not only a lighter feeling in general, but also allows me to be more creative in my recipes and what ingredients I’m using!

  3. Anonymous said...

    My favorite thing about cooking and eating more "real" food is the effect it’s had on my three kids. They are much more willing to try new foods, and try foods they don’t love (at first) in different ways. My oldest daughter (eleven) eschews children’s menus at restaurants because they "don’t have any vegetables" on the dishes. This is the kid who’s favorite breakfast is spinach on toast and loves swiss chard and bok choy. My son (aged 10) eats baby carrots for snacks and looks through cookbooks for "healthy desserts". My kids love browsing farmer’s markets with me and helping me plan and prepare meals. It’s a great bonding experience and I think they are developing good habits for life. I am so proud of them!

  4. PatTovo said...

    A few years ago I decided to clean up my eating habits just after Christmas. I dropped the fast food, snack foods, junk, fried gunk and cut back on red meat. About a month later a friend was having a Super Bowl party. I had been so good I treated myself to some wings, dips, typical crapola. Eeegads. My purified body revolted and I spent most of the night on the commode. What a lesson. Just four weeks off the bad habits and my body was so thankful it didn’t want to go back… so it sent me a clear message that it was not going to stand for a return to the old ways. Thank you body.

  5. urbanitejewelry said...

    I lived in the UK for a year last year and having access to all the incredible international markets there really helped me experiment with more meatless main dishes. Aisles of amazing pulses, beans, legumes…rows upon rows of incredible spices–I was in culinary heaven! It really opened up a whole new world for me, and made me realize how much I could enjoy eating dishes chock full of protein without the meat. Added fiber? Double bonus! And when you add in the fact that making amazing lentil and bean dishes from scratch mean that they are amazingly unprocessed AND inexpensive, you really can’t go wrong? I now only eat meat on rare occasion!

  6. Anonymous said...

    I am only now trying to make these changes, and am very interested in what Food Matters has to say. I’m only in my 30′s but was diagnosed with high blood pressure. As I started to look into the connect with diet and heart disease, I was surprised to see how unhealthy so many foods were. I would grab a microwaved meal (for example, Lean Cuisine), because it was low in calories and fast. I would have a breakfast of prepackaged oatmeal – again fast & easy. But in looking at the nutritional content, I was surprised to see how high in sodium and preservatives all these things were. I’ve been trying to change my eating habits, including trying to practice "Meatfree Mondays" (baby steps with one day!) and choosing less processed foods. Sounds like this book can help me learn how important these things are!!

  7. 36balloons said...

    We eat only once or twice a week now and what helped immensely was perfecting my own recipe for a whole wheat pizza crust and making triple batches to freeze the dough. They get baked piled high with an assortment of beans and veg. Likewise our pasta dishes are veg only or the new fave the "mushroom spaghetti" recipe I got from the iPhone app made w/ "meaty" baby bella mushrooms–my 5yo asks for it by name.My kids are coming around to the idea that I am no longer buying breakfast cereal, save granola to have with yogurt. I’m baking more whole grain muffins (those freeze well also) and the majority of our warehouse purchases are for bulk fruits and organic produce items.

  8. teaandbooks said...

    I continue to switch out recipes and helps my family eat healthier slowly. My son will often choose vegetarian dishes for supper out or in. My 8 year old son sees, too, how eating healthier has helped our health. He has not been sick yet this year and is so happy that he has maintained perfect attendance until now. As he gets older, I have had him help with cooking and we talk about the food as we cook/bake. Also, he likes to help garden and has been more interested to eat the food since he helps grow it. It has been slower for my husband to make the changes in our family and I often cook veg/meat meals that work together as he still prefers meat. After watching Food Inc though, he has agreed to help me find more local meats to eat. Real lasting change takes time I think when you don’t grow up eating healthy and, in time, I believe it will happen for my family.

  9. Anonymous said...

    Lessmeatarianism is pushing me and, by extension, my family, further and further towards a whole foods diet. Though we’ve always eaten less meat than average- because it’s costly and I adore fruits and vegetables, pasta and pizza-, I nonetheless, I have the most pleasant memories of meat-eating (ooh, sticky ribs! tangy pulled pork sandwiches! grandpa’s grilled steak rubbed with garlic!) and occasionally buy, cook, and eat meat. My four-year old son adores meat, and for his sake, I often feel I should prepare it more often, but am trying to gently persuade him of the virtues of fish (he likes them all), eggs (loves them!), and other sources of protein. The concept of lessmeatarianism – for improving our health and the health of our environment- is an important one for the forum of ideas. Thank you for continuing the conversation!

  10. Anonymous said...

    In my Food Writing class this past term at St. Joseph’s University, my students and I read Omnivore’s Dilemma at the beginning of the term, and then we wrote down everything we ate for a week to figure out how much processed corn we were eating — as a class of 16, we figured out that we were eating about 90 percent corn, in the form of beef, chicken, high-fructose drink, processed snacks, etc. So, at the end of the term, we decided to undergo a 72-hour radical change of diet to combat our eating habits. Each student had to propose a change of diet that reflected what he or she had learned. I was so proud of them: one went raw, about four went vegetarian or vegan, one committed to cooking everything from scratch, one ate a "Lost" diet and created a "castaway" menu consisting mostly of fish and coconuts, one fasted until sundown to create solidarity with the homeless, one gave up caffeine, and one slowed down her food intake by eating her meals with chopsticks. We completed this about two weeks ago, then spent a class reflecting on the experience. Every student said this was a revelation, a chance to re-evaluate their food consumption. For me, this was the highlight of the year, an education through eating.

  11. tomwsmf said...

    One of the things I aimed to do when the kids came into our lives was show them where food comes from, get them used to as many types of food as possible and then teach them to cook for themselves. Why?Being raised in NYC back in the late 60′s/early 70′s shaped the way I look at food. Sure we had burgers and junk food but we also had Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Jamaican, and a slew of other ethnic foods. In some way or another they found their way into our kitchen. It opened me up to flavors and possibilities that in turn lead me to an understanding of where the tastes come from and how they are produced. When the darling little ones started entering my life I wanted them to have that sense for food as well as a closer connection to the source of food more so than the city boy I was had. . So we have an herb garden, the kids learn about herbs and spices …how they can make food pop with different flavors….yes even sometimes flavors they think of as icky. Knowing what makes food icky helps them tell me what would make it not icky and thus something they like to eat. We also hit the locals farms and farmers markets so the kids can explore food at the source of its growing. The things they pick are more likely to be eaten and enjoyed simply because of the sense of connection to what they are eating. I am also sliding in information about the real cost of food we do wind up buying in the supermarkets. Understanding that foods from far away need fuel to get to where we buy them, that the packaging it is wrapped in comes from somewhere/something, that what we are left with after eating the food (packaging, waste, etc) needs to go somewhere. The kids help each week putting out the trash/recycling and are understanding less is sometimes better. Getting them to understand the complete cycle of what they eat/consume has been paying off. I only hope they carry it forward. The only way they will though is if we keep on doing it so they learn from action.

  12. smurf37 said...

    As much as I love my mother (Happy Mother’s day Mom!), she’s never been the one to cook very nutricious meals. In fact, she admitted to me a few months ago that she hates vegetables – except french fries! When I left home to leave on my own for the first time, I decided to take my nutrition and, consequently, my global health into my hands by adopting an "almost vegetarian" diet. And boy do I feel better! My body, soul (but certainly not my wallet!) feel so much lighter now. I have tons of energy and feel great. I even took up jogging! To me, changing food habits lead to positive changes in other aspects of my life. It feels so good to have control over my destiny! I love you Mom, but I would never go back to live at home with you. Come and eat at my place instead!

  13. Carlo Scannella said...

    My wife and I have been bringing our lunches to work for at least the last three years (tastier and cheaper…). About two years ago, we decided to go meat-less, having only salad or PB&J or veggie sandwiches. I thought it would be difficult, but, you know what? It’s not only not difficult, but so much better. I no longer get that late-afternoon-sleepy-feeling thing, and I maybe lost a couple of pounds as well. We’ve extended the lunch thing into dinner, too, having a vegetarian meal once a week at least. And HTCE Vegetarian has been a great inspiration for that. #shamelesssuckuptoMBtowinabook:-)

  14. Anonymous said...

    I went on a less-meat, no-junk diet a while ago as a part of my initiative to lose a large amount of weight. Part of what helped me stick to it was signing up for a CSA "farm box" – a ton of extremely fresh fruits and veggies arrived at our door every Wednesday. That, plus stocking my pantry with lots of beans and whole grains (and regular exercise) helped me lose over 70 pounds and I felt wonderful while doing it. And I got to try new things I’d never cooked before – like beets, brussels sprouts, and rhubarb – which are now some of my favorite foods. It was a healthy and extremely delicious experience.

  15. eclecticindiv said...

    I do love a good steak now and again, as well as chicken & pork [esp bacon!], but If I didn’t eat it all the time, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings any. I have always LOVED veggies, even going so far as to eat canned spinach when I was much younger and didn’t know about fresh…LOL! I actually had a little crush on Popeye! Yeah, I’m a dork and proud of it! LOL! When I go to salad bars, I prefer a lot of veggies and I really dig beans of all kinds-the more, the merrier! In fact, on a very bad vacation from about 15 years ago, I remember having a hissy fit because I did not want to endure another fast food lunch. I just couldn’t stare another greasy hamburger/fry meal in the face again. We ended up going to a Shoney’s where I enjoyed a refreshing bowl of veggie soup and delicious salad bar with just about all the veggies available and very little dressing. MMMmmmmmm….tasty!

  16. Anonymous said...

    I didn’t start out all green and pretentious, eating only local and organic foods– nor is it a battle I am able to fight without resistance from friends and family who sometimes think my food transition is about image more than ethics. I grew up eating more variations of Jell-O and Cool Whip desserts than I can remember and my friends used to like to come over to my house after school because they knew we could get a can of Pepsi from the “soda cabinet” and that there would always be a pack of Rollo caramels in the freezer. My family didn’t think about the dangers of food and like most Americans, was looking for value over quality. I don’t blame them, for why would we question whether our food was really food anymore? I grew up in the central valley of California and it was my deep sense of nostalgia for farming and for tomatoes that taste like tomatoes that started my shift towards local and organic foods. I want small family farms to still exist when I have children. I want food to taste good and not have to worry if I will get cancer from eating a strawberry. I want to know that my hamburger, on the rare occasion that I choose to have one, came from one cow, not thousands of miserable cows injected with antibiotics and fed corn until they are sick and bloated. I want the animals I eat to have been honored as living creatures so that I can honor my body when I eat them in a meal. I want my food to be delicious and NUTRITIOUS, not some product overloaded with high fructose corn syrup to trick my biological cravings to want more and more. I think in the end, my transition has come to be out of honor and respect. Honoring my body and providing it with foods that will nourish it and respecting our planet by not supporting factory farms, pesticide use and the poor treatment of animals.

  17. Anonymous said...

    Well, relative to its shelf life, you could consider Twinkies the freshest food on the planet, and I have inhaled a fresh Twinkie or two in my life. But what moves me these days is food that feels honest. Food that doesn’t make me think of livestock pens or chemicals or antibiotics. Food that is so effing tasty and that i had happy time preparing.Food Matters and getting people invested in the process of *mattering,* invested in taste and sociality, in responsibility and fun is what counts for me.

  18. linhsiao said...

    After undergoing a serious health related issue last winter, I decided to clean up my diet and my soul. I’ve managed to reduce the amount of processed food that I consume by quite a bit and though I still eat eggs and cheese, my intake of meat is about once or twice a week, down from probably ten fold that.I have learned a whole new way to appreciate food. I love discovering the simplest and the best of the seasons. As a result, I feel so much clearer and able to focus. Even if these changes don’t change the illness that has plagued my body, I’m enjoying life more so what else could I ask for???

  19. cde5gtown said...

    As a college student, I am often too busy taking initiative in my studies to take responsibility for what is going into my body. I dont want my lifestyle to be synonymous with meatarian. After a first semester of college in which my relationship with food was rather tenuous, I have since been able to embrace my vegetables and nonprocessed foods and turn away from the meat every once in a while. And it is significant enough of a lifestyle change that I feel as healthy as the foods that I eat. That is why I’ve started blogging (pickyeatersbeware.blogspot.com) about food and cooking, specifically for college students. I believe that simple cooking and healthy eating should become a reflex. And so, I want to show younger people that they can take charge of their eating and create simple, high quality, sustainable meals, with limited money, limited time and unlimited creativity.

  20. sister_sunshine said...

    2 months ago , a week after his 34th birthday, my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This was a shock to us, never saw it coming. Since then my whole shopping and culinary outlook has HAD to change, all the HFCS, processed grains, canned veg that has added SUGAR (what’s that doing in my VEG anyways?!) is out, and clean, whole, fresh foods are in. How wonderful real butter is compared to margarine. How satisfying a carefully chosen and prepared portion of meat is to the palate and the eye, compared to a slew of greasy cheap burgers and over-salted sides. The amazing colors and varieties of vegetables and spices have opened my mind and stretched my comfort zone. I’ve learned about a veg called jicama! Such a variety of peppers! Did you know if you fry radishes in a healthy oil with onions and garlic you can serve it with your morning egg white omelet? Whipping my own fresh cream with sweet sliced strawberries…what’s better?! His blood sugar is under control, he’s losing excess weight rapidly, and we are all eating from the bounty of the earth. This may be the best thing that could have happened to us.

  21. patty9 said...

    During 30 years, I’ve gone back and forth as a vegetarian and omnivore, accumulating a number of health-oriented and vegetarian cookbooks along the way–including Diet for a Small Planet, the book that first educated so many of us about the toll that human’s meat consumption takes on the planet, and taught me how to find my protein in non-meat foods. I cooked many meatless meals throughout even the omnivore years, and raised my son on creative and diverse food choices, often with an ethnic flair (let’s face it, that’s where the tastiest vegetarian cuisine is found). Over the past few years, economic concerns have caused me to cook at home, from scratch, virtually every night–no carry out, little convenience food–which by its nature, means food with less additives, junk, filler, and by my design, healthier ingredients, less fat, etc., Recently, my grown son & I are eating vegetarian again and I can emphatically say this: it feels right. And tastes great! We feel good about doing our small part to lessen impact on our planet (and eating veggie is only one of our choices), we feel better physically–just "lightened up," with fewer digestive problems; and my son has lost 75 (!) lbs by eating healthier and often meatless over the past couple of years. Do we suffer? No, we’re eating better than ever, trying great new tastes and recipes (thanks Mark!), saving money! Without the meat, we have more caloric & financial room for dessert & tasty treats. Will we ever eat the occasional meat meal? Probably–and it’s OK.

  22. culinarylibrari said...

    Timing is Everything! I live and work in Manhattan and therefore have access to a variety of grocery stores, green markets, and grocery delivery (access to much better food than over-processed junk!). The hardest thing about eating right for me is being home long enough to cook and prepare my own meals! I typically use a combination of sources to buy my food but find it difficult to eat it all before it spoils. When I get home after 10pm half of the week and am away from home every other weekend, having the time to make a meal out of a stack of fresh veggies and knowing when to occasionally take meat from the freezer to make the night before can seem impossible. In all, the easy part of being more veggie and less meat is access to fresh fruit produce but the hard part is not having enought time to enjoy it before it spoils! I would love to read your book and see if it would help me make fina a way to make time to eat better and waste wayyy less.

  23. Anonymous said...

    I started eating less meat quite by accident when I discovered some unusual and nefarious health problems. The All American pop-a-pill fix isn’t available to me, so I changed my diet to include fewer additives and preservatives. Then I tried to get more nutrients in my diet in food form, and slowly but surely my plates filled more and more with vegetables until there was no room for meat anymore! I dare you to wolf down a steak after putting down a couple pounds of produce. At no point has this seemed at all unusual to me, despite a lifetime of pizza rolls and takeout food. On the contrary, I feel like I’m eating *way* tastier food than ever before! And for half the cost! Brilliant!Oh, I’ll still eat meat. Usually one or two dinners on the weekends have meat components. And I’m pleased to report that my health is superb these days. Thank you, vegetables!

  24. Karen said...

    We’re still in transition, but here’s what we’ve done so far….We’ve reduced our meat consumption, replacing it with more beans. We try completely eliminate things like MSG, artificial sweeteners, partially hydrogenated oils, and other artificial flavorings. We try to minimize our consumption of milk products that may be affected with hormones, steroids, antibiotics, etc. We’ve reduced our consumption of food coloring, but it’s hard to completely eliminate it (due to candy, etc. given to the kids). Here’s what I’ve observed:- My husband does not get nearly as many migraines as he did before. MSG, we discovered, was a major trigger.- Fewer mood swings.- More energy in a more consistent way (instead of short bursts of energy followed by a "down" time).- Increased attention spans.- Feel more satiated with smaller quantities of food.- Less severe skin conditions, like eczema.- Easier on the food budget, especially by replacing some meat with beans.All four of us have learned how important it is to check the ingredients and sources of what we eat. We still have a long way to go, but we look forward to learning more about the food we eat. Thanks for your blog and food info….It’s a huge help! :)

  25. MaryCooks said...

    The more I read about the food supply the more I believe that the responsibility it with me to put ethically produced and healthy food on the dining room table for my family. I have noticed a distinct shift in the way we all feel when we eat whole foods that are minimally processed than when we eat food out of boxes or received from a window into our car. As our journey progresses we have slowed down to take the time to enjoy our food. Even though dinner sometimes takes an hour to make it’s an hour well spent. My husband helps occasionally with food prep and the kids will wander in to sneak cut up vegetables from bowls. I am certainly not saying we eat perfectly healthy all the time but in the past 6 months I have made a conscientious effort to try to do better. Part of this is reducing the amount of meat we eat. We have started to come away from having a slab of meat, a starch, and a vegetable at dinner. I try now to either integrate the meat so it is a component rather than a centerpiece or eliminate the meat altogether. Eating better takes time but it’s worth it to us.

  26. Anonymous said...

    The hubs and I have been on a recent diet this spring wherein for dinner each night, we have either beans or fish, a hot prepared vegetable (generally roasted broccoli or asparagus), and a salad. It’s been stellar–I go to bed feeling tired but not lethargic, and I wake up really hungry, which makes the whole "make time for breakfast" thing pretty hard to ignore. Plus, a $30 weekly grocery bill for both of us? Woot!

  27. Spork19 said...

    I have a coke habbit. Not cocaine Coke Classic. I gave it up 2 months ago. I dream of it. I might die.

  28. kpinthelbc said...

    I started to cut out all processed foods to try and figure out what was triggering my migraines. If I have a bad day and slip up with splenda, coffee, and any processed foods or soda…i seem to get the migraine – so it’s been nice for me to realize that what I put in my body really does effect the way I feel, and it’s not just about energy and heart health, it’s about practically eliminating migraines. Learning to bake my own bread has been the best part I think!

  29. Anonymous said...

    The last day i ate anything with feet was on my last day of my freshman year in high school. i graduated h.s. in 1988. i have never eaten El Pollo Loco, Kenny Rogers’ Roasters or any similar rotisserie chicken because they didn’t exist in So CA yet. i convinced my mother, who grew up in the generation during the war (WWII), that ‘giving up meat’ did not equal ‘we can’t afford meat’. i was made fun of for most of my young and early adulthood. i had difficulty finding shoes not made of leather. Somewhere in my 20′s, i noticed more and more people gave up meat, but they mostly fell off the wagon, eventually. i married the love of my life, who is of Eastern European descent, and he really doesn’t like vegetables. i learned about ‘fine cuisine’ and wondered if i could ever truly appreciate ‘real food’ if i didn’t eat meat… Now i’m wary of aquaculture and its ramifications. i learned about Sr. Medialdea and Veta la Palma day before yesterday. i’m hopeful. It has been an interesting journey.

  30. Farmbrarian said...

    A few months back I milked a milked a cow and held a piglet for the first time. I’m 25 and have eaten meat carelessly for most of my life. But a few years back I read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and my life changed. My eating habits and general way of life are now drastically different than they used to be. I want to know where my food comes from, and sometimes that takes sacrifices, such as reducing my meat consumption and eliminating processed foods.

  31. kumquatsicle said...

    When my husband and I found out I was pregnant, we decided that we were going to cut the garbage from out diets. The first step for us was to cut eating at fast food chains and those restaurants that can be found in nearly every town across the nation. We felt better fairly quickly but as we started cooking at home more, I decided to start meatless Mondays (hubby was skeptical) and he never even noticed the meat was missing. Since then (a year later) we are meatless three days a week and I rarely eat any animal products in the mornings or afternoons. Now that I’ve started my baby on solids, we are all eating even healthier. I’m proud to say we enjoy mostly organic, local fruits and veggies and eat home cooked food 90% of the time, whereas before we ate out 90% of the time. No more prepared junk for us. We don’t even buy so-called "convenience food" at the markets anymore.Now, we’re trying VERY hard not to buy meats from the supermarket. That one is difficult for us and we’re still working on it but that is just our next challenge.

  32. Anonymous said...

    I started being vegetarian when I was in middle school (1997). I heard teachers and classmates praise the virtues of being vegetarian. At the time, I enjoyed eating dead animals very much. However, I decided that perhaps I should try to be vegetarian for a brief time and see what happened. However, this should not happen without preparation. Therefore, I read a number of books, articles and sources, some which said that I should not eat meat and others that said that I should. I also read cookbooks in the same manner that I read novels and found a number of ethnic recipes that I wanted to try. When I reached my decided start date, I was well prepared and exicted. After cooking for a couple of weeks, I decided that it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. My meals were more interesting than they ever had been before and I no longer felt as sluggish as I did when I ate all the meat. In 2004, I watched Super Size Me. Bye-bye most of my consumpution of fries and soda. It was not excessive before, but I decided that cutting down would be wise. Summer of 2009, I learned how to make homemade granola and love consuming it as a snack. My recipe is the one on the New York Times web page that has olive oil and apricots. I made it the way that it was supposed to be made the first time. However, since I thought it was too sweet, I cut down the sugar to 1/2 cup. I also diversified the variety of nut and seed types and used 2 teaspoons of salt instead of 1. Lastly I added 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. What I did with this recipe what what I have done with many since I made it my own. I cook nearly everything that I make and it has been wonderful. I love the flavors of the foods that I make and I am largely not consuming food that has ingredients that end in -ose. Based on my food changes, I am healthier than I have ever been before. I am also more creative with my foods. I never knew that sliced apple caramelized in olive oil with nutmeg and oregano would be delicious on pizza dough wth a small amount of cheese. Nor did I know how easy it would be to cook my own beans and how much flavor they have when cooked in stock with dried herbs.

  33. elliottwise said...

    Since watching Food, Inc. my wife and I have not eaten any industrial factory farmed meat, period. We have simply chosen to opt out of the industrial system for something different. We now obtain our meat/egg products from a local grass farmer named Galen Bontrager (who was an apprentice under Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms.) We have been buying as much organic produce as we can from local producers at our farmer’s market and co-op. It feels empowering to know that we’ve stood up to Big Ag and are supporting our local farmers and the humane treatment of animals and the earth. We always read Bittman’s Minimalist columns in the NYT and love the recipes. There’s obviously a need for policy change/legislation, but we feel that individual responsibility/action is a powerful virtue and ultimately a powerful motivator of change in society.

  34. nenkc said...

    My family has been trying to learn to eat and cook more consciously for years and years. We took a hog butchering class and through that process learned how to use and cook ALL parts of that little pig. We learned to cure the jowls, make a pancetta ,lots of things with the belly and more. Through that process we learned much more about cooking with small amount of meat or none at all. One of my favorite dinners are all the beautiful fresh greens available with just a sprinkle of cured jowls. YUM Years ago when I was chowing down hunks of filet mignon I never would have imagined that butchering a hog would teach me another step in being a lessmeatarian and honoring my food even more. All of Mark Bittman’s book have helped a great deal too.

  35. LorenaNR said...

    Well, I’ve always been a little tree-hugger — that was one of my many childhood nicknames. I’ve also been vegetarian off and on since high school. But, the lessmeatarianism has allowed me to let go of the guilt behind eating meat. Now, I only eat meat if I know where it came from — whether it’s free range or wild game, I don’t beat myself up over it since I know it’s responsibly sourced. My meat-eating was always a contentious point with family — my grandfather is a retired butcher and meat inspector, while my husband is from the Midwest and enjoys meat to a large degree. So, my compromise has made things easier in a sense. But, it’s also made my family and friends more aware of food issues and the environment. My grandfather and I talk about how things used to be and how they are now; my husband’s more aware of how much meat he eats, as is my sister who lives with us. And since eating a free-range chicken alone is impossible, they’ve incorporated better-sourced meat into their diets, too. So, the people around me have become more aware. I think that’s the biggest benefit of my diet right now — it allows me to talk to people about it in a way that they don’t find threatening (for some reason, my vegetarianism always put people on the defensive). It seems like my diet is helping in a more exponential way, too — every time someone learns about the way I eat, or has a meal at our house, they learn about what traditional meat-centered diets do not only to our health, but also the planet, making them more aware of their role in supporting industrial agriculture.

  36. Kathryn Ringer said...

    In 2004 my family and I moved from Chicago to New Mexico. I gave up soda, cut down on snack foods, except tortilla chips and homemade salsa, and put more vegetables and fruit in my diet. In 2005 I gave up meat for Lent. Never went back. Trying to compensate for the loss of protein in my diet I slowly developed the taste for tofu. I eat it at least twice a week now and love it. Beans are also a mainstay in what I eat as well as any kind of fish or seafood. Feeling so much healthier I now read labels on everything and know I can improve my food intake as I become more knowledgeable about what I am eating, where it came from, and how it is prepared. I owe in part, you Mr. Bittman, and for that I thank you…

  37. medulao said...

    As a vegetarian/pescetarian in New York, I lived off of canned food and counted french fries and Jamba Juice as sources of nutrition. After moving to Northern California two years ago, I discovered a wealth of inexpensive, readily available vegetables, over which I’m trying to quit being a baby and attempt cooking. I’ve actually starting liking, or at least accepting, whole new realms of food, although, perhaps too much so. Now that I enjoy food and cooking, I’m starting to pack on the pounds. I love my dog-eared copy of "How to Cook Everything", which is often the foundation for my culinary creations, but I’ve got to master how to enjoy food in a way that doesn’t make this formerly stick skinny New Yorker now look "jolly".

  38. Emily said...

    I am young (not quite 25) but in the past two years have really come around to the idea of eating well and preparing my own food. You know, there are a few years of college when I was in food limbo– I had given up the overpriced dining hall but hadn’t started really cooking for myself. My only food-related memories of that time involve greasy pizza and the frozen food aisle of the grocery store. I soon learned to prepare my own food, but it wasn’t until I began graduate school that I really started to pay attention to what I was eating. It was a confluence of events, actually: moving to a new apartment with a kitchen that I love to work in; moving to a city with a superb selection of markets where I love to shop; and my discovery of food blogs and RSS feeds. All of these things helped me diversify what I was eating– and as I found more non-meat foods to enjoy, I realized the economic & environmental value of eating less meat. Now, when I do eat meat, I know where I can go to buy the local stuff, and I can take the time to prepare it well and enjoy it– nothing like a braised lamb chop or a medium-rare burger! Less-meatarianism, if that is what we are calling it, has been pretty easy for me, and I really enjoy playing around with non-meat ingredients to make fulfilling meals rather than forming every meal around the obligatory chicken entree. My challenge, which I am taking on this summer, is to surreptitiously ease my significant other along the same path– wish me luck!

  39. Anonymous said...

    Our family has CSA shares with two local farms, one for vegetables and one for meat. My two young kids come with me for pick ups and know the farms well, though admittedly they’re not often excited about our veggie share (even beautiful, locally grown kale doesn’t really appeal to a 5 year old). I try to talk about how important it is to know where our food comes from, and clearly something has made an impression, because a few months ago we drove past a fast food restaurant and my daughter announced, "I’m never eating there again. They don’t treat their animals very well before they become food." Her older sister, who’s a bit less sentimental, objected on the grounds that she would miss the kids’ meal toys. The response: "Sarah, I know about the toys, but I don’t want to eat a sad chicken!"It’s a start.

  40. Anonymous said...

    I started eating mindfully when I lived in a co-op (in Berkeley, of course) and later served as the kitchen manager there. Having an industrial kitchen and endless ingredients (and cooking dinner once a week for the house of 40) was a great way to jump start my home cooking. And once I started doing that, I cut waaay down on eating meat (because it’s easier and posed fewer health risks to cook beans and lentils) and never really missed it.When I became manager and was ordering food there were two factions – the people who wanted me to order more meat and processed food and the people who demanded more (and greater variety of) fruits and veggies. (I only bought seasonal produce, for financial reasons). There was a marked difference in overall health and energy level between those who cooked for themselves using the fresh ingredients and those who regularly went for the frozen burritos. Although by that time cooking had become a regular hobby of mine, that difference only reinforced the fact that putting time, effort, and thought into what you’re eating can make a huge difference in your day-to-day.

  41. s s said...

    I was the worst eater in town or, at least, the only person I knew with horrible eating habits. I ate gummi bears by the pound instead of potato chips. I ate circus peanuts…regularly! I had a heart-to-heart with my doctor and discovered I wasn’t really eating food in any of the major food groups. It wasn’t difficult then to sort out why i started having health problems. I decided to research what protein, carbohydrates, and fats really meant and I was shocked when I read about trans fats. It’s mutant fat! I started in increments and now I have eliminated trans fats, artificial flavors (and natural flavors), artificial coloring, and high fructose corn syrup from my diet. Before I knew it, I had created an entire conscientious style of living and I turned my attention to meat. Everyone is increasingly aware of the horrendous treatment of animals and I’ve strived for living as a conscientious omnivore. I experimented with only eating bivalves and found it yummy but difficult to execute. Now, I work towards using meat as a garnish when I choose to eat it. I also ask around about where a restaurant’s meat came from and ask about the practices of the farm. Fortunately, in Portland OR, I can find many chefs sharing my concern. I care about what I eat and I only eat great-tasting foods now. What a hard life, eh?

  42. rebeccarouthier said...

    The best part of reducing processed, refined and junk foods and introducing healthier foods is the change I see in my mom. Since I’ve returned home and have been living with my parents, I’ve introduced the idea of more wholesome, thoughtful cooking to their diet. I never realized that they were in a dietary rut – eating the same things every week, relying on processed foods, and certainly not getting enough vegetables and protein. They were somewhat lethargic and frankly, I don’t think they were enjoying cooking meals and eating them. Since my being back, my mom and I have been spending more time together, cooking everything from vegetable stock and granola snacks to vegetarian stir-fries and fresh pasta. The combination of her years of cooking and my drive to try new things means we’re churning new dishes on a daily basis – Dishes with more vegetables and vegetarian proteins. Dishes of which we proudly say we know all the ingredients. Dishes that give us energy rather than take it away. My dad is trying foods he’s never before tasted and seeing his reactions is instantly gratifying. He actually talks about flavour explosions and sometimes breaks into spontaneous laughter during a meal. To see a man in his 60s have these reactions is priceless. But mostly I like the change I see in my mom. She’s got more energy. She’s running more. And I swear she’s smiling more too. And as a daughter who’s been nurtured by this person her whole life, this may be the ultimate gift.

  43. lycheebaobing said...

    I must confess – my less-meatarianism did not occur on a conscious-level, but rather happened gradually through circumstance (but isn’t that the best way anyway)? my husband was at a summer graduate program abroad, and i was too lazy to buy meat for myself and thought it wasteful. instead, i turned to using tofu (which of course stays fresh for longer periods) more often, and also substituted tofu for meat in other asian recipes, or just making great pasta without a meat component. it expanded my cooking repertoire and i realized that i don’t always have to include meat in soups and pasta in order to have flavor or to be filling/nutritious. anyway, i was able to experiment without my husband being around, and he was happy with the results! Now to find a good veggie stock so I don’t have to rely on chicken broth all the time…

  44. elanahoude said...

    Our journey started about 3 or so years ago when we both decided to go on a ‘diet’ and track what we were eating. The amount of sodium in our diet astounded us. We decided to cut back and this lead to us eating much less processed foods.As time went on, we became interested in eating more local, naturally grown fruits and vegetables, joining a local farm coop.In the past year, in an effort to eat all those vegetables, save money (since meat is expensive) and eat healthier, we’ve made at least half our weekly meals vegetarian (or vegan). Two Christmas’s ago, I bought my husband ‘How to Cook Everything’ and ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’ to help us.We pick our recipes from online sources or, generally, one of the two ‘Everything’ books. Sometimes we mix it up with a Julia Child recipe if we’re feeling a butter craving.We plan on joining a meat coop in the near future, after a purchase of a chest refrigerator. We moved into our first house this winter and already have seeds for lima beans, basil, rosemary, sunflowers, tomatoes and other garden necessities. We just have to till the ground and get the seedlings started. It’s time to plant in Massachusetts!I’m currently reading Michael Pollen’s ‘In Defense of Food’ and would love to read your ‘Food Matters’ as well. Well, maybe after I finish ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’.

  45. keldakast said...

    I am a produce hound; I eat a ton of fruit & an average amount of veggies. From reading Food Matters I learned to keep beans & some cooked whole grains on hand, too, which has proven helpful when hunger hits me like an unwelcome house guest: sudden and unforgiving. Relying mostly on whole foods allows me to be well fed AND fueled. I have come to learn, and I think it’s partially the blessing of a speedy metabolism, that eating processed foods, or meat-heavy meals just doesn’t make me feel all that well. I can feel the effects of a glass of wine before I’m finished with it, and one evening (while enjoying a glass of wine) I figured that is how quickly food becomes energy for my body, too. What I put into my body is directly correlated with how I feel. I know food is related to my overall health, but I am motivated by the immediate positive feedback my body provides when I eat good food…while I’m deterred when I feel sub-par after a busy-morning-binge on coffee house pastries. Next time, oatmeal!

  46. ellen1214 said...

    I stick to whole foods 95% of the time, and this means cooking, one of the key components of remedying obesity, chronic health problems, global warming and an unsustainable food system. I eat only grass fed beef and dairy, pastured pork, free range chicken and eggs, etc. When I go out to eat, I choose restaurants that cook with the type of ingredients that I buy and who aim to be a part of an improved system. I have an emphatic love of vegetables, am constantly discovering new ways of preparing them, and delight in the ever changing variety that comes and goes with the seasons. Although I am not vegetarian, the vegetables are often the center piece of my meals. I certainly don’t ever feel like I am sacrificying anything. Everything I eat is delicious, and I would never wish it to be any other way.

  47. Casey DelliCarpini said...

    i have been won over by mb’s delightfully minimalist…uh, minimalist videos. i’m tired of everything being processed. our food is processed, our information is processed… why can’t a thing so simple as eating just be simple? (i plan to ask the guy on the sardine can with the laptop…he might know.)i have been sort of avidly reading michael pollan and mark bittman seems a logical next step. if you send me this book, i will invite you over for a delicious meal. (if you don’t, i will post a picture of a delicious meal and taunt you with it.)good luck to two other people!

  48. judiej said...

    Living in Texas and giving up meat and all that goes with it is not easy. To say it’s frowned upon is a massive understatement. It upsets people like family, friends and neighbors. On a list of "Don’t you dares" it narrowly trails 1) shooting your grandmother or 2) moving to California. Strangers will point and sneer. Your dog will run away. But actually I don’t care. My new hobby is reading package labels. That alone has reduced my grocery bill by 30%. Not bad. I can’t believe I was eating that stuff. But trying to eat healthy is a slippery slope. At any second I can be blind sided by a chicken fried steak. That means an extra hour a day on the tread mill. I’m up to 3 hours a day. Help!But I’m determined to be a good example for my grandchildren. I’m working on all sorts of fresh, colorful foods. If I can make trying new foods fun, things go well. Any thoughts on that?

  49. Quixote68 said...

    Having traveled around the world, especially in poor countries, I discovered that meat doesn’t have to play a big role in day to day food. On the contrary, I discovered something I love even more than meat… Heat & Sweet! Cooking with spices and fruit makes any non-meat dish exciting. I can go Caribbean/Latin American (plantains, papayas, jalapeños, habaneros (a little!), North Africa/Middle East (harissa, baharat, Figs, Dates and mmmm… olives, which replace salt with great flavor), Asian (curries, sambal, wasabi, coconut, lime, lemongrass… ), and of course Indian (no limit to vegetarian ideas there!). I also make lots of dishes exciting by using fresh herbs (cilantro & mint are a great combination). Another huge help is finding interesting flavored oils (my favorite: meyer lemon) and vinegars. I also love haunting exotic markets for homemade mustards and preserves (Chipotle pepper Jam!) and flavored honey; great in dressings and marinades! Most importantly though, I’ve learned that I don’t need to prepare a huge plate of meat. All we need is a few ounces of meat accompanied by awesome veggies and a salad (a little bleu cheese or avocado or grilled veggies or of course fruit helps), with maybe some grilled bread or a pilaf… a well-rounded meal! It’s keeping us healthy, and helps us do a little bit extra for our planet since because our family eats meat & poultry less frequently and smaller portions, we’re able to afford to buy organic when we do purchase it.

  50. retrogirl02 said...

    I’m a SAHM toting the goodness of real food to all who will listen. I do my best to include at least 2 complete days of meat free meals plus several lunches and/or breakfasts for my family members. Most of the meaty days are egg or fish based. We have cut our grocery bill considerably but we FEEL better and that’s what I’m most proud of. We grow our own veggies, some fruits and herbs. Watching my kids grow their own food and fighting over who gets to pick the vegetables for dinner is amazing. Everyone should do it. We also support our local farmers’ markets and even joined a CSA. Real food rules.Getting rid of most of the junk food was pretty easy once the kids were full of real food. They just don’t crave it like other kids in the neighborhood & school. I have a friend who "feeds" her kids microwaved mac and cheese from a single serving pack per kid for SNACK on a regular basis. WTF? We all pack lunches from home for work and school. People think we’re weird. I just like to think of us as more forward thinking than our peers. It won’t be long and they’ll be joining our ranks—-well, that, or dying off.

  51. judiej said...

    <html><head><style type="text/css"><!– DIV {margin:0px;} –></style></head><body><div style="font-family:times new roman,new york,times,serif;font-size:12pt"><div>Quixote68 has a good plan. We’re doing Mediterranean right now. It’s a great way to sneak in a geography or history lesson.<br></div><div style="font-family: times new roman,new york,times,serif; font-size: 12pt;"><br><div style="font-family: times new roman,new york,times,serif; font-size: 12pt;"><font size="2" face="Tahoma"></div></div></div></body></html>

  52. Anonymous said...

    I remember a spectacular moment years ago, when my dad, an avid backyard gardener, pulled a red, ripe tomato off the vine one hot summer day and gave it to me. “Taste this,” he said. I didn’t eat raw tomatoes, but I wanted to please him, and so I bit into that beautiful, sun-ripened, sun-warmed, juicy red fruit and experienced a burst of flavor that I thought I’d never forget, instantly becoming a tomato lover. How could I have become so desensitized to the gradual atrophy in the flavor of the food I buy and eat? A while back, I bought some chicken breasts at my local grocery store, came home and cooked one. You know that expression, “Tastes like chicken”? Well, not this time. I mean, it looked like chicken, it said Chicken on the package, but it had absolutely no flavor. Rather, it was some sort of Mysteriously Disgusting Food Product disguised as fresh chicken. I soon began to realize that everything I ate from meat to vegetables had become virtually bland and flavorless. “Food product.” How numbed have we become to the tastelessness of Food Products? Weirdly disturbing. Gassed tomatoes? Super-fast grown chickens? What madness is this?!?Now, I buy my vegetables at the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, where I meet the farmers and ask them questions about how they grow the vegetables they sell. I like knowing they were picked just hours before I buy them, and that the food I eat is grown organically and ripened on the vine. I can visit the farms and I’m building relationships with the growers. How cool is that! I trust my local farmers. Sadly, I do not trust the Food Product business. And now, finally, the food I eat and serve my favorite people tastes like it used to taste when I was a child, I know where it came from, and I know how it’s grown. I share everything I’ve learned with my friends and family, and we have all started the journey back to supporting local community farms and markets. I rarely purchase meat or poultry, because I don’t know where it’s from or how it was raised. And I don’t ever want to eat mystery meat again! Imagine my surprise when I stumbled onto an entire movement that mirrored decisions I made independently and gradually over the last decade. Makes me feel so smart! Hooray for me! I’m ahead of the curve! I didn’t even know it, but I’m a Less-meatatarian! And the food is GREAT!

  53. Anonymous said...

    I grew up in Mauritius where meat is simply expensive. So it was normal to have meals that comprised less meat. It was only when I moved to Canada that i was introduced to people having a main course that was a giant steak or having a full chicken breast. Back home a chicken breast would be prepared as a meal for our family of 5. My mother being indian meant that every meal consisted of rice or bread with pulses, red or black lentils, vegetables of some sort and then a meat dish. Meat was served more as a side dish.Nowadays I try to go back to that way of eating. It feels strange to have to do things in reverse. Back in Mauritius my dad would go to the market every Saturday to get the vegetables and fruit that we would eat. We never bought veg at the supermarket because it was more expensive. Here you need to search out the farmer’s market and in a way defend that choice against people who see it as an indulgence. Why would you pay more for produce at a market when the ones at the supermarket are cheaper?The funny thing is you hear this from people who actually can afford that extra money to buy quality food. But it seems to be ingrained in them that why spend more when there are cheaper options out there. I am trying to break that way of thinking. When someone comments on how much i spent on something just because it had no additives and preservatives i just reply that i will buy one less drink when i go out that week or not buy a coffee outside of the house. As for eating less meat i mostly cook most of my meals at home and i have found that if you have a lot of great tasty veg you just end up eating less meat. I also aim to have a completely vegetarian meal 2-3 times a week.

  54. Anonymous said...

    It takes some of us longer than others to come to the realization of the dichotomy in our thinking/behaving regarding loving animals and eating animals. I didn’t come to this realization until almost the age of 50. Now I’ve become a crusader for vegan cuisine that is delicious, nutritious, attractive, and NOT scary to eat or look at! vegancomfort.blogspot.com has some of my comfort food recipes. I owned and regularly used Mark’s "How to Cook Everything" cookbook in my pre-vegan days, now I veganize the recipes! Fantastic.

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