Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (April 30, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (379 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #38,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #62 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diets & Weight Loss > Low Fat #63 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diets & Weight Loss > Vegetarian #142 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Special Diet > Vegetarian & Vegan > Vegan
I've been following this type of lifestyle since last year and I've lost nearly 100 pounds so far. I didn't have to wait on this book because Bittman has openly shared his VB6 lifestyle for a few years, and I've read every article and blog post with interest. I couldn't wait to get hold of his new book and I ordered the Kindle version at midnight when it was released.VB6 is informative and inspiring. It provides the basis for a very liveable lifestyle that has the potential to turn your life around, just as it did mine. The book includes a 28 day menu plan to get you started, complete with a variety of delicious recipes. Weekly wildcards let you bend away from plants if you are in a pinch or social situation that requires it.The recipes range from simple to complex, but none require special skills or hard to find ingredients. The recipes include more nutrition info than most other healthy cookbook provides. They include calories, cholesterol, fat, sat fats, protein, carbs, sodium, fiber, trans fats, and sugar.I've lived a plant strong lifestyle, but not 100% plants, for the last decade. I still ate cheese and other dairy products. I ate seafood a few times a year. I also ate a lot of junk. Processed foods, too many grains, and way too much sugar. Definitely not enough vegetables. I battled my weight and felt terrible.I strongly dislike labels such as vegan and vegetarian. Labels give some people reason to judge others and their dietary choices, which is really just silly. They also evoke guilt and confusion when someone struggles to conform. This is NOT a book about being vegan. VB6 is not about perfection or 100% adherence to a specific plan. It's about making better choices that we can live with.
A disclaimer: I came to this book with a lot of skepticism. As a (vegan) fan of Mark Bittman, who has relied heavily on his columns in Runners World, his columns/recipes in the New York Times, and on his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian book, the concept of eating vegan only until 6PM, and then eating a heavy meal, did not make sense.But from Dean Ornish's foreword, endorsing the approach, I realized that if the few hours per day one is not vegan are in the morning, noon, or evening matters little. What matters is that most of one's diet is vegan, and that those evening meals aren't heavy, either.Bittman explains that his approach developed when his own doctor advised weight loss via a vegan diet as a requirement to avoid the diabetes and cardiovascular issues towards which he was heading. Even readers like myself, who don't have "numbers" pointing towards those problems, can recognize that weight loss is a benefit in relieving any orthopedic problems which are developing.There are a lot of "convenience foods" which people rely on, whether dieting or not, and Bittman goes into a lot of depth as to why the Lean Cuisines and packaged "diet" bars are really no better, for nutrition or weight loss, than their non-diet cousins. The key is making your own meals, and "cooking" doesn't have to be such a big production.Bittman explains the diet and then provides some great breakfast, lunch, and (non-vegan, but not very fattening) dinner recipes. The lunches include lots of salads and soups, and since I've never been disappointed with a Bittman recipe, I'm looking forward to trying these.
I was very hesitant to give Mark Bittman's VB6 only three stars. I have closely followed Bittman's writing in the New York Times for several years. I own two of his cookbooks, How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and use both constantly.But perhaps that is the problem. For anyone that follows Bittman or other similar food writers, there is really nothing new in this book other than collecting all of his recent ideas in one place. I actually read about Bittman's "VB6" diet over a year ago in one of his Times articles and adopted it for myself despite not having it explained in a book. I wasn't very overweight, but like Bittman I lost about 15 pounds quickly and, as he notes, noticed that as I ate healthier during the day, it changed my eating habits overall and I continued to eat healthy food at night as my cravings for highly processed junk foods subsided.An obvious benefit for the VB6 diet is its simplicity, but unfortunately this also leads to not having much to add in the actual book. The "diet" is just what the title says: eat vegan before 6 pm, and then you can eat anything you want for dinner so long as you try to avoid processed food and treats. Really, that's it. The majority of this book is devoted to explaining why such a diet works, and why you should avoid processed foods. Although this information is great for beginners or people with no real knowledge of nutritional science, most of this information is pretty basic to most people. If you want to know the details, I think you can gain a lot more from watching Robert Lustig's "Sugar: the Bitter Truth" video on YouTube or even reading Bittman's own columns about Lustig, without buying a book.The other major portion of this book is the recipes.
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