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Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,066 Ratings  ·  676 Reviews
From the award-winning champion of culinary simplicity who gave us the bestselling How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian comes Food Matters, a plan for responsible eating that's as good for the planet as it is for your weight and your health.

We are finally starting to acknowledge the threat carbon emissions pose to our ozone layer, but few people h
ebook, 288 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Simon & Schuster
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Mar 13, 2009 Mindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those in search of the Cliffs Notes to Michael Pollan's work
Shelves: food, non-fiction, 600s
If Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Mark Bittman all invited me to a dinner party on the same evening and I could only accept one invitation, I'd take Bittman's. This book doesn't offer many new insights, but Bittman comes across as less dogmatic and self-righteous than the other two. He seems like someone I could enjoy a meal and a conversation with. And his cookbooks taught me how to cook.
Two years ago, Bittman, an admitted foodie, was overweight. Over the course of one month, however, his cholesterol and blood sugar were down. His sleep apnea was gone and he was fifteen pounds lighter. Major changes all by eating healthier, the details of which Bittman discusses at length in the book.

Food Matters is broken up in two sections. The first looks at food consumption and how that impacts global warning (factory farming, yes, but mass produced baked goods are one of the largest contrib
Jan 11, 2009 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many readers will, no doubt, be tempted to turn this into a 'diet book'. It's not and the author makes it clear that it's not his intention. It is nothing more than a call to sanity in regards the way we eat and the contents of our meals.

It's refreshing to hear someone make so much sense when it comes to food. The message is simple and logical: eat less animal products, more plant products and cut out pseudo-foods. This will lead to better health, lost weight, money savings, and a clear conscien
Apr 23, 2011 Zelda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update: Ooooh. Recipes! Automatic four stars!

I kind of can't believe I'm reading instead of using it as kindling for burning my recyclable plastics but it was sitting there on the library shelf and before I knew what was happening I was attacked by a pack of ninjas. In the chaos of the ensuing ninja bloodbath the book ended up in my bag. I was feeling peckish by the time I got home so the subject of food, even heavily spiked with all manner of eco-nonsense, appealed to me and I started reading.
Adela (Lita)
Mar 16, 2009 Adela (Lita) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
This is a good alternative to Pollan's books if you're too busy to read them and want a shortcut to start eating healthy, earth-friendly, affordable food. But you will not get the intellectual pay off that Pollan's books give you. Bittman is smart and concise. His book is about giving people the short story about industrialized farming and a practical approach to everyday eating.
Jan 25, 2009 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The things this book says will come as no surprise to readers of Omnivore's Dilemma or Animal Vegetable Miracle. Well written, but framed more as a diet book. Helpful for someone looking to overhaul their diet.
Jun 17, 2011 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very thought-proking information on how our way of eating (lots of meat, fast foods, and packaged foods) effect our enivornment, not only our health. Made me look at food from a different perspective and now I want to make some changes in my diet even more than ever. The information and statistics portion of this book is a small portion and quick-read. It is followed by many yummy-sounding healthy (and environmentally-friendly) recipes. I will probably buy the cookbook which followed up this boo ...more
Mar 07, 2009 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Bittman makes so much sense! His plan to add more veggies and grains to your diet is entirely doable. His recipes are delicious and uncomplicated. His is a healthy eating plan I seem able to actually follow. (Of course Jim has lost weight, sigh.)
Jun 28, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Very good advice on better eating that is much more realistic than many books about changing food habits and not preachy. Motivated me to make some healthy, incremental changes. Looking forward to trying some of the recipes too.
I found this a very helpful book for someone who has read Kinsolver and Pollan and wants to find a way to put their ideas into practice, but who has to cook for a family, and can't turn everything upside down all at once.

Bittman starts with an overview of the key concepts that Pollan addresses in The Omnivore's Dilemna, but then moves into very practical suggestions. Essentially, he is putting his own spin on Pollan's "Eat food, mostly plants".

His own approach has been to avoid dairy and meat
Feb 10, 2009 Andi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I heard about this book from Salon, and I probably found it on Salon because I was looking for information the illustrious Michael Pollan, who I adore. But when I read this Salon review, I knew I had to get a hold of this book - here would be a book that would help me put into practice, practically (like that?), what Pollan has told me in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Here I would finally figure out how to eat healthily and responsibly. . . you can see I had high hopes f ...more
Mar 10, 2009 Colleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who care about what they eat
This is largely redundant with Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food, is written with more invective and fewer sources. However, I liked the fact that he pointed out that the treatment of animals in the meat industry is cruel (at best) and that anyone w/ an ounce of compassion should be able to recognized that (especially all the pet owners out there). He also emphasizes the huge effect that meat production has global warming, which is massive beyond belief. The best part of the book though i ...more
Apr 14, 2009 Gail rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-cooking
I'm so annoyed that I bought this book in hardcover. What a waste of money. I believed the hype. Don't read this book. Just read The Omnivore's Dilemna and enjoy some good writing and investigative journalism. This book is just a weak distillation of what I have already read in other books. I think he was just jumping on the bandwagon. The book is set up like a typical diet book, even though it clams not to be. First comes the personal testimony, then the persuasive bit, then the meal plan, then ...more
Natalie Barnes
Apr 17, 2013 Natalie Barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I've had a few friends change how they ate recently and so i was intrigued. I looked up several books about health and diet and from the summaries, this was the one i was most interested in. i really liked it. he gives the hows and the whys to eating more plants, less animals, and cutting out junk food. i enjoyed reading the facts he had but also how simply he feels that everybody can just do a little better to make an impact. his writing style is very easy to read. he comes off a bit bitter, ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Lex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Bittman and his simple approach to cooking. In this book, he distills some of the important points from Michael Pollan's books. I'm probably not his target audience as I agree with all of his points and have been trying to follow, for a year or two now, the eating habits he advocates.

However, he did put concrete numbers to some abstract ideas about the way we eat. For example... "To give you an idea of how much more energy goes into junk food than comes out, consider that a 12 ounce can
Feb 06, 2009 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I [heart:] Bittman, but this book didn't have much new to say. Basically just Bitty's take on Michael Pollan's rules: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." The first few chapters explain how Americans have a screwed up relationship with food, but there hasn't been much to report since In Defense of Food or even Food Politics. The last half is recipes and meal plans designed for Bittman's "vegan until dark" diet, most of which are available in his other cookbooks.
Jan 07, 2015 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Bittman organized a cult, I'd join. I'm ready to shave my head and sell my belongings.
In the meantime, this is a must-read. It backs up ALL the reasons I am vegetarian and gives readers a sensible, non-punitive way to eat less processed food, lose weight, and put less of a strain on the environment. I'm all in.
Natalie Tyler
Bittman is one of the best food writers of our time. Along with Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, and a couple of other authors, he makes a lot of sense about the parlous state of today's supermarket.

I highly recommend this book as a starting point or even a middle-of-the-way point for anyone who is trying to improve the quality of his or her diet, eating, health, and eco-consciousness.

Also lost in the many positive reviews of Bittman is the fact that he's a great writer and his writing is a real
Jul 20, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many ways, this is the same book as every "we've gotta change the way we're eating!" food book that's come out in the last 5 years. BUT, here's why it's my favorite. Two reasons. 1. Bittman has read all the Michael Pollan & co books, so now you don't have to unless you're really into being bummed out about corn. 2. The back half of the book is dozens of killer recipes to help you practice what's being suggested. Or, you know, just triple the meat and halve the vegetables, and you've got a ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Franny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Like the man who "gets religion", Mark Bittman is out to convert everyone to his way of eating (or at least to buying and reading his book) - and he's not too concerned what he has to say to do it. Early on in the book I was annoyed by statements like "Overconsumption has been supported and encouraged by Big Oil and Big cahoots with the federal government and even the media industries". A little paranoia with your salad Mr. Bittman? Also, "Our instincts, as human animals, ...more
As other reviewers have said, this book's messages are similar to those of Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle. But Bittman actually says something I don't think I've ever read before (and that I believe is true): that it's okay to go hungry once in awhile! Americans have become "accustomed to feeding ourselves at the first sign" and we could think twice before eating from simple hunger. We might occasionally consider embracing our hunger! Shocking.
Mar 12, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking-food
This book reads like a beginner's guide to eating better food and making better choices. Bittman lays out a lot of information in an easy-to-follow format that will help the reader understand the realities of our food decisions and the impact they have on the greater world.

I really enjoyed this book. For the past few years we have made a conscious effort to enjoy more locally produced foods, less meat, and this year we are starting a huge garden. The goal is to make better decisions that improve
May 31, 2015 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I like about Mark Bittman is that I like everything he writes. Books, editorials, cookbooks. He's always spot on. As a public health nutritionist myself, I believe that Bittman (along with author and food writer, Michael Pollan) has the rare capability to write about food, diet, and nutrition in a simple and compelling fashion that is the result of the combination of a deep understanding of his subject matter, clarity of thinking and a skillful voice.

For anyone who works in the arena, Food
The book is organized into three sections - a wild rant, advice on "conscious eating," and recipes. The wild rant consists of the early chapters wherein the author implies the government and 'Big Food' are engaged in a conspiracy to make you eat food that is bad for you and bad for the planet as a whole. The second section gives advice on eating in a way that is good for both you and the planet. The advice will not be surprising. eat a diet composed primarily of fruits and vegetables augmented w ...more
Anita Louise
Mar 26, 2010 Anita Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Food Matters" is something I had been doing intuitively for a while now, but this book helped me to take it to the next level.
Excellent book for improving both the health the planet and our bodies.
I saw him speak about his book at University of Washington, and I felt inspired to go home and eat more veggies and fruit!
Jan 20, 2009 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-food
Michael Pollan's books are much more informative, but I still liked Mark Bittman's easy, straight forward presentation and his recipes are always reliable. I think this book is most suitable for someone who is interested in the most basic explanations of a healthy diet and the problems with our food supply chain.
Sep 27, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Food Matters: A Guide To Conscious Eatung is about not just eating right or eating healthy although it does talk about that. It is about eating not only to better your health but also to lessen the carbon footprint of America's overconsumption of just about everything. It explains how the amount of meat we eat as a country and the methods now used to raise enough meat for our voracious appetites has almost as disastrous an outcome on our environment as fuel emissions. It explores the inhumane wa ...more
Jen Quintanilla
This book didn't teach me anything I didn't already know and (maybe?) for that reason it felt a little simplistic to me. While eating well is simple, the book really oversimplified things. I kept waiting for some in depth information on any of the topics Bittman brought up and never got it. Even the introduction of the idea that one should eat like "food matters" kind of didn't go beyond "eat a lot of plants." Which, yea you should eat a lot of vegetable and fruits but there was no discussion of ...more
Jan 26, 2010 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Suzanne by: Stephanie White
Even though I already knew some of the facts of this book, it was still inspiring to me. I enjoyed the recipes and I like the ideas. I'm going to buy a copy.

I got my copy and now I'm re-reading it.

Now I'm trying some of the recipes in the book.
Jan 06, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie, nonfiction
Simple, straightforward talk about how eating more plants and less animals is beneficial all-around.

It's sort of an accident (really) that I chose to read this book; I've owned it for a while and I wanted to make my January reading list be made up of books that I've owned but not read. The fact that it's a 'healthy eating' book that I'm reading in January (when all the resolutions about dieting and health come back in full force) really wasn't planned.

I really like Mark Bittman as a food writer:
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UW-Parkside Library: Food Matters 1 3 Dec 18, 2012 10:28AM  
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  • What to Eat
  • Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair
  • Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You
  • Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally
  • The 1,500-Calorie-A-Day Cookbook
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  • Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen
  • An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
  • The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef's Craft for Every Kitchen
  • The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
  • Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets
  • Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness
  • The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter
  • The End of Food
  • Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms
  • Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty
MARK BITTMAN is one of the country's best-known and most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of New York Times on food policy and cooking, and is a columnist for the New York Times Magazine. His "The Minimalist" cooking show, based on his popular NYT column, ...more
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