One of my favorite food people in the media is Mark Bittman, and he has a new book out, where he helps people learn how to cook without having to resort to processed foods. The basic gist of his way of eating is to eat fruits and vegetables morning and noon, and have a meat entree (if you want) at dinner time. He calls the idea VB6 or ‘Vegetarian Before 6’. This idea is really the gist of what I am trying to do with my diet changes and with my life. Eat moderately, eat vegetables and fruits, and don’t sweat anything, but especially don’t sweat weight. I am not trying to lose pounds, I AM TRYING TO LOSE HABITS.
In an interview with Salon magazine at Salon.com, Bittman describes the difference between a diet and a change of habit this way…
What I’ve been saying is that dieting is about deprivation. And this, at least in the beginning, is more about delayed gratification. You’re unlikely to see so-called results in a week, and the other thing is that if you want to see results you will be have to be pretty strict. But one needs to be non-dogmatic or one is going to freak out and say, “This isn’t working for me,” and give up.
It’s hard to convince people to be moderate. We hear, “You can only eat this way and if you go off, you’re bad.” With this, if you go off it, don’t worry. But live mostly that way forever. That doesn’t mean that if you’re dying for a slice of pizza you don’t have it; it means that’s not your everyday.
If you agree with me that what you need to do is change what you are eating so that you can get off the blood pressure and cholesterol medicine train, then you owe it to yourself to get these two Bittman books. The first is the VB6 philosophy book. Super Quick read, and very informative.
After you are done with that one, read it’s companion book, that describes for you how to make the VB6 concept happen as easily as possible, in your busy life. The VB6 cookbook tells you how to cook these foods. If you have never read a Bittman cookbook it’s not like any other one. He gives you a basic idea of how it’s done, guidelines, and then suggests some variations on it to make the dishes your own personal favorite. This gives you the idea that in order to cook good meals you don’t need to read your recipes like the bible, where any deviation is a sin, but you can mix and match ingredients. It is encouraged. He lets you play with your food! This twelve dollar book is a great introduction to the Bittman method of cooking.
When you are done with those two books, you should then get the encyclopedia of cooking that has been around for quite a while, it is called, humbly, “How to Cook Everything”. When I say encyclopedic, I am hardly kidding. This book comes in at 1056 pages, and has instructions on how to make the most basic ingredients like Mayo and Ketchup, all the way to the fanciest of dishes. Each recipe comes with the list of Bittman trademark variations.
There is also a “How to Cook Everything” app for your iPad, that has all of the bells and whistles. It is easily the best recipe app on the market.