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Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes [Hardcover]

Mark Bittman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 30 2008
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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"Bittman...offers this no-nonsense volume loaded with compelling information about how the food we eat is doing damage to the environment, what changes to make and why. ... [His] recipes...make earth-friendly eating doable and appealing." (Publishers Weekly)

"[Bittman] reports his own passionate belief in agricultural sustainability and slow food, and he touts a new diet that not only offers guilt-free pleasure but also makes Americans look as good as the beautiful people he hangs out with. His prescription: become aware of where food comes from; choose foods intelligently; pay attention to broad, inclusive nutritional principles; balance intake and exercise; snack judiciously; and make sure that whatever one eats, it’s as attractive to the palate as it is to the waistline. Bittman’s fame will generate lots of attention, and his commonsense advice, while not new, bears the hallmarks of contemporary nutritional wisdom." (Mark Knoblauch Booklist) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Mark Bittman is the author of Food Matters, How to Cook Everything and other cookbooks, and of the weekly New York Times column, The Minimalist. His work has appeared in countless newspapers and magazines, and he is a regular on the Today show. Mr. Bittman has hosted two public television series and has appeared in a third.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Food Matters is a lightweight (pun intended) look at how your eating choices affect the environment, your health, and your weight. Mark Bittman provides familiar arguments in favor of enjoying food choices that don't use as many resources that are also good for you to eat. To underscore the point, he describes how he lost weight by changing to more environmentally friendly choices (fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and relatively little eggs, dairy, fish, chicken, and beef). The book ends with some recipes to help you switch from animal-protein-centered dishes to ones that either have little protein or none. He also teaches you how to prepare and keep masses of vegetable- and fruit-based ingredients ready to go for tasty eating.

As far as this book goes, it's well done . . . but it's just not enough for many people to buy and use the book. Here are some examples of problems with the book:

1. He argues that you shouldn't buy out-of-season fruits and vegetables from halfway around the world because of all energy expended. In many developing countries, out-of-season fruits and vegetables are the way that poor farmers are trying to get out of poverty and use less environmentally damaging methods. Mr. Bittman doesn't differentiate between who is producing the out-of-season fruits and vegetables and how they are produced. In some cases at least, doing the opposite of his advice can be an environmentally friendly decision.

2. He focuses on food-related ways to reduce the carbon footprint without considering how you cook and store the food and that impact on carbon footprint.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Good starter for eating healthy Sept. 6 2010
This is a great book for someone new to the topic, who wants to start eating more mindfully in terms of the environmental and health impacts of what we put in our mouths. I agree with many of Prof Mitchell's points, but the introduction offered here is a non-intimidating source to get people going in the right direction. The recipes are simple and adaptable and provide a guideline to get started on healthy eating. For more in depth exploration of the topic, I recommend the Omnivore's Dilemma as an entertaining and enlightening read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What we all should read May 26 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Such an awesome book. Very useful!
I've recently changed the way I eat, and this book compliments it very well. It gives good insight to non healthy foods and obviously healthy foods. Fantastic recipes.

This book is a must for anyone wanting to change their eating habits
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great information! April 21 2009
Everyone should read this book to get a grip on what we are doing to ourselves, animals, and the effect of it all on our planet. Easy to read, and informative without being extremist, and half the book is recipes. If you have not yet, definitely check out Mark Bittman's column, The Minimalist, in the New York Times, and also his other GIANT recipe books, which are encyclopedias for the kitchen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a beginner to real food April 30 2011
By jill
This book is great for anyone who has just woken up to the world of Big Food, and to the toxic chemicals that are stuffed in everyday prepared food. It gives a great breakdown of why things have become this way, what can be done to help (on a mass scale and within the daily food choices you make), and how to start eating real food. The recipes are creative, thoughtful and totally unique - I've been a full-time cook for almost 7 years and the recipes really blew me away! They're simple and easy to follow, and very customizable to your own tastes/pantry shelves.
I would also recommend In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan; read it after this one, as it goes a bit more in depth about the issues behind the Western diet. I've also heard The Omnivore Dilemma by the same author is also a good read.
However I think if you have already gotten yourself onto whole foods and off the junk, you might find the recipes interesting but the rest of the book you will probably already know. I would highly recommend, in this case, purchasing one of Bittman's recipe books. I just got How To Cook Everything Vegetarian in the mail and find myself sitting in one spot for hours, completely enthralled as I flip page after page, occasionally darting through the book to his many references and recommendations, all with recipes within the massive 1000 page book, with a block of post-it notes and a pen handy. Amazing chef and author.
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