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From the award-winning champion of culinary simplicity who gave us the bestselling How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian comes Food Matters, a plan for responsible eating that's as good for the planet as it is for your weight and your health.

We are finally starting to acknowledge the threat carbon emissions pose to our ozone layer, but few people have focused on the extent to which our consumption of meat contributes to global warming. Think about it this way: In terms of energy consumption, serving a typical family-of-four steak dinner is the rough equivalent of driving around in an SUV for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home.

Bittman offers a no-nonsense rundown on how government policy, big business marketing, and global economics influence what we choose to put on the table each evening. He demystifies buzzwords like "organic," "sustainable," and "local" and offers straightforward, budget-conscious advice that will help you make small changes that will shrink your carbon footprint -- and your waistline.

Flexible, simple, and non-doctrinaire, the plan is based on hard science but gives you plenty of leeway to tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, schedule, and level of commitment. Bittman, a food writer who loves to eat and eats out frequently, lost thirty-five pounds and saw marked improvement in his blood levels by simply cutting meat and processed foods out of two of his three daily meals. But the simple truth, as he points out, is that as long as you eat more vegetables and whole grains, the result will be better health for you and for the world in which we live.

Unlike most things that are virtuous and healthful, Bittman's plan doesn't involve sacrifice. From Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing to Breakfast Bread Pudding, the recipes in Food Matters are flavorful and sophisticated. A month's worth of meal plans shows you how Bittman chooses to eat and offers proof of how satisfying a mindful and responsible diet can be. Cheaper, healthier, and socially sound, Food Matters represents the future of American eating.

Topics: Farming, Fruits & Veggies, Mindfulness, Sustainability , The Environment, Guides, and Cookbooks

Published: Simon & Schuster on Dec 30, 2008
ISBN: 9781416578970
List price: $13.99
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The advice strikes me as sensible (more plants, fewer animals, whole grains... you know the drill) and the book is well-written. One thing I especially liked was Bittman's easy-breezy approach to cooking, which mirrors my own. Cook up a mess of quinoa! Eat a bunch of it, throw the rest in the fridge and eat it later! Put on a pot of beans, because beans are always good. Make some stock- don't sweat the ingredients, just toss in some real food and simmer it. Yeah. Sensible. The recipes were appealing, but nothing leapt off the pages at me.

In short, nothing you don't already know, if you've paid any attention to the whole foods/slow foods/locavore movement in the last several years, but a nicely balanced approach with personal anecdotes and easy to follow recipes.read more
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I love to read about food, the environment, and health. I coach folks daily on improving eating habits with respect to personal and environmental considerations. Therefore, Bittman's book was a must read for me.As a fitness and wellness professional, I highly advocate reading Food Matters. What you will gain is a realistic, non-preach-y guide to approaching food. Weight management follows suit. Finally, an author who reminds us what food really is, recognizes that label scrutinizing and calorie counting are beyond what's necessary, and suggests practical and interchangeable recipes based on nature's bounty.You have to get this book. Read it and refer to it regularly. Not a ridiculous amount of new information, but such a human approach to nutritious, satiating, and environmentally-friendly eating- 'sane eating', as Bittman terms it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
a good reminder to cut back on the meat and carbs and the definite no-no's - junk food and pop; also includes recipes and a meal planread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

The advice strikes me as sensible (more plants, fewer animals, whole grains... you know the drill) and the book is well-written. One thing I especially liked was Bittman's easy-breezy approach to cooking, which mirrors my own. Cook up a mess of quinoa! Eat a bunch of it, throw the rest in the fridge and eat it later! Put on a pot of beans, because beans are always good. Make some stock- don't sweat the ingredients, just toss in some real food and simmer it. Yeah. Sensible. The recipes were appealing, but nothing leapt off the pages at me.

In short, nothing you don't already know, if you've paid any attention to the whole foods/slow foods/locavore movement in the last several years, but a nicely balanced approach with personal anecdotes and easy to follow recipes.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I love to read about food, the environment, and health. I coach folks daily on improving eating habits with respect to personal and environmental considerations. Therefore, Bittman's book was a must read for me.As a fitness and wellness professional, I highly advocate reading Food Matters. What you will gain is a realistic, non-preach-y guide to approaching food. Weight management follows suit. Finally, an author who reminds us what food really is, recognizes that label scrutinizing and calorie counting are beyond what's necessary, and suggests practical and interchangeable recipes based on nature's bounty.You have to get this book. Read it and refer to it regularly. Not a ridiculous amount of new information, but such a human approach to nutritious, satiating, and environmentally-friendly eating- 'sane eating', as Bittman terms it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
a good reminder to cut back on the meat and carbs and the definite no-no's - junk food and pop; also includes recipes and a meal plan
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Mark Bittman's Food Matters is not the most original book in the world. Its basic thesis states that we can lose weight, save money, and protect the planet if only we devour less meat and junk food. Shades of Michael Pollan's condensed wisdom: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."The difference between Pollan and Bittman is that the latter's a professional gourmand who can tell you many, many ways to prepare non- (or less-)carnivorous meals. Food Matters is basically In Defense of Food with recipes -- a LOT of recipes. Useful! I've tried a couple of the recipes already, with great results. So even if you don't need to be convinced that factory farming is wasteful and high-fructose corn syrup is evil, you can still get a lot of practical use out of Food Matters.
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This was an automatic purchase -- I enjoy Bittman's column, he was my favorite part of that Spain show, and I'm very interested in the subject matter. The usefulness of the first half depends on how much in this genre you've already read. It's consistent with what everyone else has said and relatively mellow about it. And having already read so much of that topic, I was mostly looking forward to the recipes. There are some good ones, but they do get redundant -- inevitable, maybe, when the range of ingredients is narrowed. Surprisingly, considering how many cookbooks he's already written, there were quite a few typos in the recipes. And a cross-reference from the recipes back to the sample menus would have been a huge help. Produce is definitely cheaper in NYC than it is out here; I wouldn't be able to regularly use these recipes for that reason alone. But I'll certainly try a few.
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Bittman writes on many of the same aspects of food that Michael Pollan has in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food: the problems with industrial farming, the epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the US, and the prevalance of fast and processed food products.After a weight gain and health caution from his physician, Bittman developed what he calls simply “sane eating,” or the Food Matters approach. He chose a mostly vegan diet for breakfast, lunch and snacks, and a looser approach for dinner so he didn’t feel deprived. He stresses many times that this has worked for him, but to take your own life, habits and preferences into account. The approach he advocates is simple, and eminently adaptable. This is not a strict regime, or a punishment. Instead it’s an adjustment of your approach to cooking and eating that focuses almost entirely on what you can and should eat (lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains), what you should eat in moderation (dairy products and meat) and what you should avoid (overly processed artificial foods and industrially produced meat.)While Pollan wrote “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” from In Defense of Food, Bittman not only takes you through why it’s important, but also puts it into practice with 77 easy-to-read and good-to-eat recipes. As Laura Miller at Salon noted when it came out, Food Matters is applied Pollan. Bittman is an experienced cook and recipe writer; he’s the author of the New York Times’ Minimalist column. The recipes are easy to follow, and he offers myriad variations and ideas. Throughout he has an upbeat, encouraging tone that urges new and experienced cooks to experiment and have fun.
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