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Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes Paperback – 29 Dec 2009
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"[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 "
"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
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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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.
3. He talks about the wonders of various fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain alternatives without usually giving you the details about what each one offers in the way of nutrition and digestion characteristics, depending on how they are prepared.
4. He expounds upon all of the problems of feed-lot produced beef, likes the idea of grass-fed beef, but never tells you in detail the benefits of grass-fed cattle.
5. The list of recipes is a good one, but it's hardly enough to provide all of your eating needs. Why not provide a full cookbook to support his concept?
6. I went to the store to check out those dastardly food manufacturers to see if they were in fact pulling all of the tricks that he described. Some were and some weren't. It made me realize that I need to develop a list of items that I've researched and why I chose them so that I can then compare them to new offerings when those are provided.
7. When all was said and done, I was struck that what he was telling me to do was pretty similar to what I do already. So what did I gain from the book that I didn't know already? Mainly that seltzer bottles use a lot of energy in their production. I'll skip seltzer in the future and go back to tap water exclusively. If I had bought a vegetarian cookbook, I think I would have been better off.