If Meatless Monday is a baby step, Mark Bittman’s vegan before 6 philosophy might feel more like a leap.
I thought I’d take a break from usual MM fare today to discuss this. Are you familiar with Bittman? He was the New York Times food critic when—after years of eating to his heart’s desire—his doctor told him his heart and the rest of him might be in trouble for it.
Bittman was 35 pounds overweight, had sleep apnea, high cholesterol, climbing blood sugar, and other more general physical discomforts. His doctor suggested he become vegan—which is nothing short of a death sentence for a food critique. But Bittman knew he had to take his health seriously. After giving it some thought he adopted this unusual diet: Before dinner he would only eat unprocessed vegan foods. Once dinner hit though, it was fair game. After just three months, eating vegan before dinner, reversed all of his conditions—and he’s stuck with it since. For six years now.
Bittman, in turn, has also become an advocate for healthful, conscious consumption. And at the end of the month his VB6 book is coming out with advice and recipes on how to follow this way of eating. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m reticent about food restriction in general, but I think Bittman’s approach has a lot of merit because it does not force you to cut out any one food or category. It also happens to be very close to how I eat already—unless I order in, I almost never eat meat or fish during the day. (Tofu, lentils, veggies and toast are my daytime staples.)
What do you think of the vegan before 6 approach? Is it something you’d consider adopting?
Our friends at GOOD (meet them above—we dare you to not be charmed!) have launched a new 30-day challenge for the month of June: go vegetarian, vegan, or just cut back on meat in a way that feels right to you. From their post:
It’s fast becoming a well-known fact that eating less meat is good for the earth. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said that “in terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, [people eating less meat] clearly is the most attractive” way to fight climate change.
He makes a strong point. And if our vegan challenge was a tad too hardcore for your tastes, we encourage you to get with the GOOD program instead.
What does your version of vegetarian look like? Could you cut out a few meat meals a week? Go vegan until six, as Mark Bittman does? Or maybe you’re ready to go all the way…
Speaking of animals, I know that a few of you are trying on a vegan diet for your new year’s resolutions so I wanted to share a discovery that I made this morning: the coconut milk cappuccino. [Note: neither of us is strictly vegan but we both enjoy what I'll call a vegan-heavy diet.]
After years of drinking my espresso black, I’ve recently rediscovered the decadent pleasure of a yummy cappuccino. (I blame the Dean & Deluca’s in New York where Siobhan and I ordered them on a whim this December. I’ve been on a cap kick since.) Like many people, I’m on the fence about dairy. Yes, it’s delicious and unless I really overdo it on cheese or ice cream, my stomach seems to hold up ok. But I have my reservations nonetheless, even about organic milk (which is what I use in my morning cappuccino).
So today I tried something new and made it with coconut milk instead. I realize that my obsession with all things coconut is reaching parody peaks at this point but here’s why coconut milk is great: 1) It brings fat to the party, which makes things taste better (it’s become my go-to for green smoothies as well), 2) it has a third of the calories, and 3) none of the sugar of regular milk. It also contains fewer ingredients than soy, almond or rice milk. In my opinion those tend to be overly sweet and kind of processed tasting. And by the by, a similar conclusion was reached on Mark Bittman’s blog.
Got any other great vegan tips for our brave friends? Share the love.