Tips & Tricks

Lessons Mark Bittman Has Taught Me.


This is Mark Bittman. He’s kind of my favorite.

He is a food writer with The New York Times (author of the weekly column “The Minimalist”), as well as the author of what is possibly one of my most prized books, “Food Matters; A Guide to Conscious Eating”. He also happened to write a hefty cookbook by the same name.

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to recommend a book as much as this one (maybe  in a screeching second after The Hunger Games). Not only am I eating healthier (or more “sane” as the man himself would put it), but I feel really science-y and smart when I’m able to shoot out fun facts about the food industry and nutrition- something that Mark writes about in an entertaining, yet eye opening way that makes you really assess your own eating habits and want to change it for the better. Best thing is, it’s not just about food benefitting the body- it also highlights reasons why the environment depends upon a healthier diet, AND why we can actually save money and time in the end by choosing healthier foods.But enough of my fan-girl rantings.

For those of you sillies who won’t go out and get this book right away, I thought I’d share some of the most valuable lessons I’ve taken away from Food Matters- a little taste tester of the book, if you will.

Eating Meat Kinda Sucks for the Environment

Eating the typical family of four steak dinner is a rough energy equivalent of driving around in an SUV for three hours. While leaving the lights on at home.

If we each ate the equivalent of three less cheeseburgers a week, it would cancel out the effects of all the SUVs in the entire United States.

Switching from eating red meat and dairy to eating chicken, fish, and eggs just one day a week is the equivalent (in greenhouse gas emissions) of driving 760 miles less a year. 

To reduce our impact on the environment, we need to focus more on eating foods that require little to no packaging, processing, or lengthy transportation- we need to increase our reliance on whole foods, mainly plant based foods. 

Cheap Soy, Cheap Corn, Cheap Lives.

Corn and soy are extremely dominant crops in United States; so dominant that America does not even grow enough edible fruits and vegetables for every person to eat our government’s recommended five servings a day. To achieve these full five servings, we’d be dependant on imported vegetables!

More than 50% of the corn grown in the United States is being fed to animals-who are meant to be grass fed- and most of the remaining corn is in junk foods, corn oil, and ethanol.

Forests are being destroyed in order to make room to grow more of these crops- meaning decreasing resources.

Despite the fact that a cow’s digestive system is developed to eat grass, mass “farmers” are feeding their animals with corn and soy due to the fact that grass is less efficient for animal feed when they are running mega-factory farms.

The Government Isn’t Really Helping that Much

The government spends close to $1 billion to buy commodities from farmers every year to help provide healthy and affordable meals to kids at school. However, according to a recent study by the USDA, school lunches routinely fail the government’s own nutritional standards.

In the 1970’s, the meat industry was taking a hit. The Secretary of Agriculture told discouraged farmers to continue growing wheat, feed crops and cotton, and ensured them that they would get paid for their work. This created overproduction and made farmers rich. Today, this costs taxpayers about $19 billion a year and only benefits about 3,100 farmers.

Someone has to eat all this food that is being produced, and producers made the plan to process their grains into profitable and easily transported things like animal feed, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, and oil. Therefore, junky food is cheap.

To get more information, please go check out Food Matters


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