"I live full-time in the world of omnivores, and I've never wanted to leave. But the Standard American Diet (yes, it's SAD) got to me as it gets to almost everyone in this country."
Six years ago, an overweight, pre-diabetic Mark Bittman faced a medical directive: adopt a vegan diet or go on medication. He was no fan of a lifelong regimen of pills, but as a food writer he lived--and worked--to eat. So neither choice was appealing.
His solution was a deal with himself. He would become a "flexitarian." He adopted a diet heavy in vegetables, fruits, and grains by following a healthy vegan diet (no meat, dairy, or processed foods) all day. After 6:00 p.m. he'd eat however he wanted, though mostly in moderation. Beyond that, his plan involved no gimmicks, scales, calorie counting, or point systems. And there were no so-called forbidden foods--he ate mostly home-cooked meals that were as varied and satisfying as they were delicious, but he dealt with the realities of the office and travel and life on the run as best he could.
He called this plan Vegan Before 6:00 (VB6 for short), and the results were swift and impressive. Best of all, they proved to be lasting and sustainable over the long haul. Bittman lost 35 pounds and saw all of his blood numbers move in the right direction.
Using extensive scientific evidence to support his plan, the acclaimed cookbook author and food policy columnist shows why his VB6 approach succeeds when so many other regimens not only fail, but can actually lead to unwanted weight gain.
He then provides all the necessary tools for making the switch to a flexitarian diet: lists for stocking the pantry, strategies for eating away from home in a variety of situations, pointers for making cooking on a daily basis both convenient and enjoyable, and a complete 28-day eating plan showing VB6 in action. Finally, Bittman provides more than 60 recipes for vegan breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, as well as non-vegan dinners that embrace the spirit of a vegetable- and grain-forward diet.
If you're one of the millions who have thought of trying a vegan diet but fear it's too monotonous or unfamiliar, or simply don't want to give up the foods you love to eat, VB6 will introduce a new, flexible, and quite simply better way of eating you can really live with . . . for life.
About the Author
Mark Bittman is the author of "Food Matters, " "How to Cook Everything" and other cookbooks, and of the weekly "New York Times" column, "The Minimalist". His work has appeared in countless newspapers and magazines, and he is a regular on the "Today" show. Mr. Bittman has hosted two public television series and has appeared in a third.
Dean Ornish, M.D., is president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, CA. He is assistant clinical professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and an attending physician at California Pacific Medical Center.