Mark Bittman And Less-Meatarianism

mark bittman food mattersIf Jane ever leaves me, I'll know where to find her. She'll be back in NY looking for Mark Bittman. She loves the man, even if he's older than the typical male who might turn her head. Why does she love him? Well, there's his cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. She religiously reads his blog, Bitten (he's not the only one writing posts), and column, The Minimalist, in the NY Times.  But more importantly, she loves his message -- "eat less meat." Bittman is not vegan, nor is he vegetarian, but his message may do more to get the average person to consider eating vegan occasionally than appealing to peoples' ethics.

Bittman's new book, Food Matters, talks about the importance of eating less meat, and how that trumps every other action: eating locally, eating organic, eating "humanely" processed animal product (if there is such a thing).  He talks about the 60 billion animals that are killed annually to produce food, and how that is conservatively estimated to double by 2050.

His message to omnivores is to be a "less-meatarian,"  and vegetarians should strive to be "less-dairytarians."  And we should all strive for incremental (and therefore, sustainable) changes.

This is so do-able for everyone.  If you've been trying to convince the people in your life to go vegan, you probably haven't met with much success.  But THIS message doens't require any major "sacrifice."  We can save 6 billion animals if every human cuts down their meat consumption by 10%.  (And 1 billion if we get Americans to eat 10% less.)  10% doesn't seem like an unattainable goal.


  1. I never even picked up his cookbook as I know he’s not vegetarian. But he is spreading the word about less meat…relating it to the trendy anti-global warming campaign.

  2. I also adore his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I use it almost exclusively. While he is not veg, I appreciate how he educates that even a small shift in eating patterns can have a significant and far-reaching impact in the world.

  3. I read that 10% figure in John Robbins -The food revolution.
    If america cuts meat by 10% there will be enough grain saved from raising livestock to feed every starving person on the planet.

  4. Hi kara,
    Jane loves his cookbook because, in addition to the recipes, he’ll give you several options for how to change things around. ie Coleslaw: regular, or citrus based, and with quinoa. He also indicates which recipes are vegan and those that can be made vegan (and how to do that). I think it’s his conversational tone that really works for Jane. If you’re unsure, but interested, perhaps you can borrow a copy from your local library.

    Hi Becky,
    Jane’s said it’s the one cookbook she’d get anyone going veg. She finds it very inspirational. And yes, his message is potentially more impactful than most other vegan outreach. Most people are more likely to make a small change to their diet rather than a radical one.

    Hi vernon,
    Thanks! I knew I’d read it somewhere and neither Jane nor I could remember where though. There have been comments that distribution issues will not allow for that “saved” grain to actually make it to the starving people. But I’m sure the logistics could be worked out over time.

  5. Thank you for sharing this! I am a vegetarian that is lactose intolerant and who has a mild allergy to dairy. I find his message very informative.

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