So, this quest for a better way of eating got kicked into high gear when I picked-up Mark Bittman‘s newest book, Food Matters. Bittman will be familiar to some as the author of How to Cook Everything, AKA in our house as the big, yellow cookbook with no pictures.
Food Matters is exactly the book I needed. If you’ve read Michael Pollan‘s food-related work, there’s probably not going to be any new information for you here. (In fact, in the first 120 pages, Bittman references Pollan about a dozen times.) Lucky for me, I haven’t read Pollan’s books (though The Omnivore’s Dilemma has been sitting on the piano since it came out it paperback). So, I was greatly impacted by Bittman’s arguments about the relationship between the way we eat and our impact on the world around us. Did you know that “global livestock is responsible for more than one-fifth of all greenhouse gases – more than transportation”? Okay, smart guy, well I didn’t, and I’m man enough to admit it.
In his introduction, Bittman continues, “by simply changing what we eat we can have an immediate impact on our own health and a very real effect on global warming – and the environment, and animal cruelty, and food prices. (Yeah, I’m pretty sure he means cruelty to animals, not by animals.) It sounds too good to be true, right? But I’m just idealistic enough to give it a try.
It comes down to eating less of some things and more of others. Basically, less meat and more plants. The amount of energy a food necessary to produce meat is outrageous, and in excess it’s effects on our health are pretty shocking too. So, eating less meat is good for everybody.
None of this is revolutionary, of course, but Bittman’s book was just practical enough, and exactly jarring enough at just the right moment get me our of my food-funk and inspire me to make some real choices and change in my day-to-day.
I started by immediately eating all the plants in our kitchen, leaving me with a freezer-full of junk. I grabbed my wife when she got home and apprised her of my plans. She get, rightfully, a little nervous and asked, “What’s for dinner?” “Chipotle, my love!” (What can I say, we have a show running and I was short on time.) We each ate a very full full veggie bowl, I stuffed an apple in my bag and we ran off to change the world.
Be here next time when Acacia and I visit Whole Foods, learn to love soy nuggets, and discover the ugly truth behind our favorite foods. AND, I’ll answer the most important question of all, “Where does Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream fit into all of this?”