Mark Bittman has new food book out called “VB6”. Mr. Bittman is a food writer for the New York Times and I read him regularly. He admits that he was close to 50 years old and his weight and health numbers were high. His doctor recommended he go vegan. In a recent interview he says:
“That was 6 years ago, and though I ate my share of plants, the idea of avoiding meat, dairy, poultry, and even fish seemed impossible. As a compromise, I decided to take his suggestion—most of the time: I would eat vegan before 6 PM.
By day, I'd adhere to a super strict vegan diet. I decided to go even beyond that: Until suppertime, I'd also abstain from hyper-processed white bread, rice, pasta, and junk food. I cut out alcohol, too. Once the sun went down, however, I'd be a free man, eating whatever I wanted, usually (but not always) in moderation. I might have pasta Bolognese with salad; I might roast a chicken; I might stir-fry some vegetables. I've kept it up ever since.”
He lost 36 pounds at the beginning but over the 6 years has gained 10 pounds back. As we all know taking the weight off is not the really hard part, keeping it off is the continuing struggle.
Mr. Bittman says that he eats vegan before 6 pm, because it is impossible to go out with friends in the evening. Going vegan takes a lot of planning to make sure you have fresh or frozen food available. A plain plate of broccoli is not appetizing so you need recipes to make it look different and time to prepare it. Are you going to take your lunch with you always and vegan or vegetarian choices at restaurants may not be low calorie.
How many family members would be willing to be vegan? My husband would rebel and go to the local fast food place if there isn’t some meat on his plate along with the vegetables. He is not a picky eater but tofu is not on any of his lists of foods he will eat.
Mr. Bittman proposes that cheating is allowed, but how easy is it to justify that piece of pizza for lunch and the hamburger for dinner. Cheat that way over a few days which drifts into weeks, and the pounds will come roaring back. What about the holidays, birthdays, weddings and picnics?
The other really important point that is not expressed in any of the interview articles is that PORTION CONTROL is the key. If you read any of the recipes and look at the portion sizes, they are small. The recipes are wonderful but you can find great recipes in the Spark recipe file.
I have been following the low Cholesterol food plan and it looks very similar to Mr. Bittman’s plan. It is still not easy to keep away from the food I love to eat. But reading a book is not the answer for me for the long run. It really is a change in my view of food and coming to terms with the fact that there are foods I cannot eat in the amounts I want and be healthy. I cannot cheat because the scale and my clothes let me know. At least it is nice to know that someone of Mr. Bittman’s stature has come to the same conclusions. But SparkPeople help me with staying on a healthy course through every day.