I have been a distant but loyal admirer of Mark Bittman for a long time. I’m loving watching him stroll through Spain with his stunning companion, I’m always glad to see that Bitten has a new post, and though I don’t own any of his many, many cookbooks, many of The Trusted Food Advisors swear by them.
And now he’s out promoting Food Matters, his book about how we can address obesity and other health issues while reducing carbon emissions AND living more ethically by reducing our consumption of animal products and processed food.
If I were a cartoon character, I’d have cute little hearts for the pupils in my eyes.
What he’s done in his own life is eat only whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit until 6:00 at night, at which point he eats whatever he wants. He’s lost 35 pounds, but what he’s really talking about these days is what it would mean for all of us to cut down the meat, dairy and eggs – and processed foods – that we eat. He’s saying not to worry about being vegan or perfect or even consistent 100% of the time, but to make incremental changes that are good for you, and possible to live with.
He worked with a researcher who helped him determine that if every American were to reduce their meat/animal consumption by the equivalent of three fewer cheeseburgers a week it would literally be the environmental equivalent of taking every American SUV off the road.
The point, he says, is that small individual changes will make a huge difference if done on a large scale.
He’s my kind of food saint – a hypocrite who strives for doing well, and isn’t a sanctimonious jerk about it. I heart Bittman.
As I was listening to the interview last week, I was reminded of what I was eating a few years ago when I decided to try the anti-Candida diet. (You’ll forgive me for not wanting to relive the food traumas of that time by describing it in too much detail.) Breakfast was the biggest challenge with all the things that were verboten, until I came up with this really delicious, vegan, gluten-free, relatively high-protein, low-glycemic hot cereal. You’ll want to bake a couple of extra sweet potatoes the night before so you’ll be able to get this ready in regulation breakfast-prep time.
Amaranth-Sweet Potato Porridge
1 c. amaranth
1/4 t. salt
2 sweet potatoes, baked in their skins, cooled, pureed with 1/4 c. water with immersion blender or food processor
Place the amaranth, salt and 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to very low, and simmer gently for 20 – 25 minutes, until the tiny grains have expanded and are slightly chewy. Uncover, stir in the pureed sweet potato and add additional salt to taste. Remove from heat and serve. You could add a sprinkle of cinnamon or ginger or cloves if you like, but I prefer it as is with just a splash of soymilk.
Do my kids eat it? I assure you that you already know the answer.