Not a Diet Book

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In his new book Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes (Simon & Schuster, 2008), Mark Bittman discusses how to eat more sanely. He writes the New York Times column "The Minimalist" and the "Bitten" blog.

at Whole Foods (Bowery Store), 95 East Houston St.
Saturday, January 24, 2009 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.


Mark Bittman

Comments [49]


cosmo lee -- yummy dish but (and please joss don't fail me for saying this!) rice is no better in any way than grain. in a few decades, thanks to rice, no doubt chinese will be growing their rice from their farms in Minnesota. Already half their land is dead.

Jan. 26 2009 10:06 AM
Pleased from Brooklyn

I just tried my 8 grain hot cereal with soy sauce, olive oil, and scallions. Yum! Good to get a break from sweet in the morning. Thank you Mark Bittman.

Jan. 23 2009 10:22 AM
Cosmo Lee from Brooklyn

Are people ready to eat savory porridge? Oh, over a Billion already are - eaten daily by the Chinese. It's rice-based instead of oatmeal, but largely the same thing. If we dare to get out of our Western ruts, we might find that we actually like different things. Get it in any Chinatown - served in the mornings at noodle shops, often referred to as "Congee". It can be plain to western palates, but throw in some Oyster or Soy sauce - it's delicious.

Jan. 23 2009 01:11 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Thank you Joshjake, I’m aware of that (re; animal feed)… Actually, I deleted part of my comment before positing. It went something like this:
“Dent corn isn’t particularly kind to animals either. Perhaps if all beef and dairy cows were grass-fed, then you could kill several birds with one stone. Higher beef prices = less people eating beef. Grass fed only = less dent corn and healthier animals.” And “It seems like your ecological issue is with industrial harvesting and not with meat per se”
I’m sure the ultra hybridization of crops and animals along with industrial processes used to grow them and make them into food are far more detrimental to the environment than the idea of eating animal flesh alone.

Jan. 22 2009 12:26 PM
Tony from Manhattan

I find this so hypocritical following Mr. Bittman's food-orgy-TV-show on Spain (On the Road Again) and his cooking and eating monster steaks with Batali in Tuscany.

Nothing about this is new

Jan. 22 2009 12:24 PM

27/voter just an fyi majority of corn grown in usa is used for animal feed/ same w most rainforest acreage cut each day along amazon (some thousands of acres per day). i agree w your sentiment but in this case the argument against eating meat is the same as eating smaller fish like sardines rather than larger ones like salmon -- lower on the food chain reduces impact environmentally (as well as chance you will pick up chemicals, etc. along the way of that chain) chrs

Jan. 22 2009 12:02 PM


" I'll even eat a bowel of sauce for lunch it usually totally grosses everyone out"

Count me in the majority

Jan. 22 2009 11:58 AM

not sure why bittman is suddenly lecturing on eating healthy, he struck me as kind of a trader joes type of dude, not food coop. nothing wrong w sweet and salty, dude!

for nutritional advice i seek nutritional advice

Jan. 22 2009 11:55 AM
Raya from Manhattan

Mark Bittman said that there's no difference between grass-fed beef and industrially-raised beef.. There's so much literature out there that states the opposite - the quality of meat (and fat) from a grass-fed cow raised on a small farm, is so much superior than commercially produced meat, that I am very surprised by his statement. Not to mention the numerous deseases that industrially raised cows are aflicted with.

Jan. 22 2009 11:48 AM
hjs from 11211

why would anyone put that on oatmeal?
have u tried honey?

Jan. 22 2009 11:42 AM
Lance from Manhattan

I more worried about toxins in fish (from China) than toxins in beans.

Jan. 22 2009 11:41 AM
O from Forest Hills


I did, I put hot sauce. People got mad at me on the subway that day. It was very embarrassing.

Never again!

Jan. 22 2009 11:37 AM
hjs from 11211

please try something else on your oatmeal

Jan. 22 2009 11:30 AM
Kathy from Glen Cove, NY

Thanks very much to Mark, as I gave up fish for exactly the same reason. Even though various organizations make lists of 'safe' fish, there's no getting around the fact that we've overfished our waters very heavily and fish populations are at unsustainable levels. I no longer eat fish (or any animal flesh) at all and instead eat beans and other sources of protein.
More people associated with food ought to be 'fessing up to the this very unhappy fact.

Jan. 22 2009 11:29 AM
Mike from Inwood

Jim [28] I've used a crockpot for 30 years. Reduce all spices in a crockpot, by half or more. The crockpot makes all spices more intense.

Jan. 22 2009 11:29 AM
Mike from Inwood

Alex [20] A complete protein can be had by combining brown rice, a legume, onions and garlic. Tasty, too! Have you ever seen a 'yellow-toned' Mexican?

Jan. 22 2009 11:26 AM
O from Forest Hills

and what does he have to say about people are allergic to soy and if they eat it they get diarrhea?

This is not an option for them.

Jan. 22 2009 11:25 AM
Healthy Eater from Upper West Side

How about Bison? I hear that it's a delicious substitute for beef and is lower in cholesterol. Overall more healthy to eat on a regular basis than beef.

Jan. 22 2009 11:24 AM
Ellen Bremner from New London, CT

What is the difference between purchasing prepackaged fresh pasta and the boxed dry pasta.

Jan. 22 2009 11:23 AM
Hungry from New York City

Hey Mark, when will the Minimalist teach us how to make Horchata?

Jan. 22 2009 11:23 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

This entire discussion is directed at the well-to-do, socially aware upper middle class. What are people less advantaged, impoverished supposed to do? When they can't shop at Whole Foods or whose neighborhoods don't even have a real supermarket. Those are the people we should be helping.

Jan. 22 2009 11:22 AM
Jim from Brooklyn

I recently dug out my crock-pot from the 70s and found a crock-pot cookbook also from the 70s. The first time I tried it the food was so salty I had a hard time eating it. I always reduce the salt when I use this cookbook now. Have our tastes changed that much? I don't remember food from my crock-pot being that salty 30 years ago.

Jan. 22 2009 11:22 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I’m not sure if Mr. Bittman is aware, but all of those calories in soda are from plants, not meat. They’re coming from dent corn. Before you were cut off by Brian, you were mentioning the huge amount of corn grown as animal feed, but that corn is also grown as human feed. Corn starch, corn oil, corn meal, corn syrup... All from dent corn which I’m sure is far from ecologically sound.
Also, if people ate more vegetables, where would these vegetables come from? South America? Africa? Are you concerned with the fuel use? Would these crops require more forest land to be cleared? Would these crops use pesticides and divert water from rivers or deplete aquifers?

Jan. 22 2009 11:22 AM
Robert from Manhattan

Is high fructose corn syrup as bad as we have been led to believe? Lately, there seems to be a lot of differing opinions.

Jan. 22 2009 11:21 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

No dairy??? Is Bitman insane? Milk and cheese have been around a long time. As for pasta & sauce -- he's going completely against what Italians do -- which is pasta with a light dressing of sauce, not drowned in it. I agree about portion sizes.

Jan. 22 2009 11:21 AM
sarah from philly

Speaking of Microwaves....

Shouldn't they be banned too? If we're staying close to the earth with eating then shouldn't we be staying close to the earth with cooking? If I take lunch I just don't put it in the fridge. Luke warm works for me!

Jan. 22 2009 11:20 AM
O from Forest Hills

This segment is such a waste of air time.

I am listening for the later segments but this is such a waste of time.

I get so annoyed with the way people tout that they have the way to eat.

I am prediabetic and can't have carbs. I have to eat meat. I have PCOS and need to eat low carb.

I am completely disregarding this.

Jan. 22 2009 11:20 AM
John from New York, New York

I've adhered to a diet similar to what Bittman advocates for years. Additional benefits are that I rarely get indigestion and that I rarely get fatigued. Without the sugars in processed food, my only dips in energy are just after a workout, and they don't last.

Jan. 22 2009 11:20 AM

in re proposed "soda tax"

Juice needs to be looked at. The percentage of juice method that is current standard makes mango, passionfruit, guava, pineapple, other pure juices that use concentrated pulps (to ship long distances?) and mix with water in the same class as soda and coolaid type juices.

Jan. 22 2009 11:19 AM
alex from Brooklyn

I understand decreasing animal product consumption. However, we also need those complete proteins found in animal products. It's just a matter of choosing lean meat over, fatty cuts. I find most vegans and vegetarians are rather clueless about how to combine the proper amino acids from plant products that compose complete proteins. That's why so many of them are frail and yellow toned.

Jan. 22 2009 11:19 AM
Meghan from Montclair, NJ

When Brian first mentioned the No-Knead Bread recipe that Mark Bittman "brought to the masses", my mother and I looked at each other and started laughing as we stood there listening in the kitchen. Last night, when I had mentioned to her that I wanted to take my first crack at making some homemade bread, she told me she had seen an interesting-looking recipe in Bittman's column a while back.

My dough is currently bubbling away in its bowl on the counter (hour 13 of the rising process) and I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Jan. 22 2009 11:19 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

MB's comment about the light bulb ruined any credibility he had. He choses what's good for the earth based on what he likes, not on what's best for us has a hole, so we'll just eat what we like. He needs to change what's in his head, before I'll change mine.

Jan. 22 2009 11:19 AM
sarah from philly

My FAV pasta trick! I'll even eat a bowel of sauce for lunch it usually totally grosses everyone out, but if you're eating good sauce then a lot of times it's better than tomato soup! Hurray!

Jan. 22 2009 11:18 AM
Mike from Inwood

Lance [12] Do you mean that we should minimize our consumption of paper by not buying the latest book?

Jan. 22 2009 11:17 AM

I have such respect for Mark Bittman. My wife and I cook from his vegetarian book many times every week. we have also started making our own bread every week! We follow his advice scattered throughout the book and could not be happier!
A HUGE thank you to Mr. Bittman!

Jan. 22 2009 11:17 AM
RCT from NYC

MORE SAUCE ON PASTA! I am Italian -- you are talking about soup, not sauce!

Jan. 22 2009 11:17 AM
Mike from Inwood

Our collective eating habits are a large contributor to poor health, but connnecting it to global warming is a red herring. Far more important is overpopulation. If the human population continues to grow, it won't matter if we're eating straw & grass. Why not campaign for minimizing population, too?

Jan. 22 2009 11:15 AM
Lance from Manhattan

It's not that his assertions are new.
His book is new.

Jan. 22 2009 11:15 AM
RCT from NYC

I read Mark's book last night, and have the following comments:

1. Corn syrup and other additives and fillers seem to be the real culprits in obesity;

2. Red meat may be bad, but fish is good. I eat fish every day. Why put so much emphasis on beans, which are high carb, high calorie, and cause bloating, rather than fish?

3. Local is great, but I'm not giving up citrus fruits, e.g. lemons and oranges, which the last time that I noticed were not growing in Manhattan, except in vegetable markets.

My point is that you are on the right track, but are conflating health and ethics. It's the additives and hormones that are important.

Jan. 22 2009 11:14 AM
Fish from brooklyn

How come the eating of meat and its effects on the environment was never mentioned in Al Gore's movie "an Inconvenient Truth?

Jan. 22 2009 11:14 AM
alex from Brooklyn

Is it true that we're the only country that uses high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar in our soda? Also, I'm an avid exerciser and often consume whey protein shakes quite often. What is your opinion on such supplements?

Jan. 22 2009 11:12 AM
Stephen from prospect heights

How are Mr. Bittman's assertions new? Francis More Lappe in "Diet For a Small Planet" was making similar assertions close to 40 years ago and Jethro Kloss 100 years ago in "Back to Eden."

Jan. 22 2009 11:11 AM
Lance from Manhattan

An interview with Mr. Bittman was aired on NPR this morning. It seemed to me that he was not particularly well informed on the topic of healthy eating, rather that he is just jumping on the go-green bandwagon.

For example, he suggested that a healthier way to eat is to buy a bag of fruit (or fruit and vegetables) and eat from that throughout the morning and afternoon as an alternative to eating meat-based meals prior to dinner. Unfortunately, fruit is loaded with naturally-occurring sugar calories, which the body converts to fat (not good for your heart)!

Jan. 22 2009 11:10 AM
Nancy from Brooklyn

Being a casual vegan, I love MB's Vegetarian book along with his Minimalist column and NYTimes videos.
It's been an invaluable voice to the cause to eating less meat and dairy. MB more than anyone has won over many of my family members. We now have 4 of the Vegetarian books among us.
Thank you!!!

Jan. 22 2009 11:09 AM
Nancy from Brooklyn

Hi Mark,
I'm a casual vegan and LOVE your vegetarian book along with the Minimalist column and NYTimes videos. Your direct but casual and jokey approach to the argument to eat less meat won over many of my family members. There are at least 4 of your How to Cook Everything Veg books among us. To have your voice added to this cause to eat less meat and dairy is priceless to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Jan. 22 2009 11:07 AM
John Celardo from Fanwood, NJ

Weather reading his columns in the Times, hearing him on the radio, or watching him cook with famous chefs on TV, Mark Bittman always seems like a long time friend. I’ve made many of his recipes, and always find them easy to follow, easy to provision, and delicious. Thanks Mark.

Jan. 22 2009 11:06 AM

my doc told me to change my diet by eating more oatmeal etc re cholest.

it worked. knocked by cholest. down by 100 pts! very healthy cholest. levels (i worked out 3-5x per week before and after the diet change).

but now he says accdg to my blood test i'm "eating way too many grains." now i'm no curmudgeon but this sounds like a prevention magazine funhouse if there ever was one...

Jan. 22 2009 10:30 AM

Hey, Mark Bittman, thanks for the "bit" on no-knead bread from Sullivan Bakery - it's a winner. Glad to hear the new book is a nod to planetary (and coronary!) health.

I don't know if Mark mentions it in the book, but some of my Indian friends taught me that high-protein lentils and legumes taste best when prepared in a pressure cooker.

It's not just the flavor, but the texture - there is none of the graininess that beans can sometimes have when prepared by boiling.

By investing $40 in a pressure cooker you can: Save money. Save TIME (which means you'll be more likely to cook at home.) Save cooking fuel. Save your gut and your coronary health. And save the chickpeas from tasting grainy.

Jan. 22 2009 08:12 AM

"No Knead Pizza" by Julia Moskin -- comment, MB?

Jan. 22 2009 06:30 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.