vegan before 6pm.

Monday, May 6, 2013

vegan before 6pm

mark bittman's new book vb6 (vegan before 6pm) came out on april 30 and i've been reading bits and pieces on the subway. i recently re-watched forks over knives on a flight back to nyc and i daresay it remains one of the most life-changing documentaries i've seen. the thought of a vegan diet literally reversing disease is not surprising to me, but cold hard evidence of it actually doing so is reassurance that our health care system may not actually being going to hell in a hand basket. or maybe that's the other way around? rather, the more important question remains... why are so many doctors prescribing lipitor instead of a whole-foods plant based diet?

vegetarianism has always been an easy choice and i've never felt the push to go vegan. honestly, i still don't feel a push to go vegan though there are days when i look back and realize two of my meals were completely animal-free in every way. bittman's new book suggests eating a vegan diet on a daily basis up until 6pm, when you are then allowed a free meal of whatever you choose. chances are you will start to make wiser choices after 6pm, but steak for dinner is just fine too. his have your cake and eat it too experiment was enough to quickly reverse his high cholesterol without the use of drugs amongst other perks including weight loss, etc. granted, a lot of diets could do the same but his focus was on choosing a healthier lifestyle all together.

one of my most dreaded assignments as a nutrition intern was teaching a class to patients and their family members who had just been through open heart surgery. i was given the material to cover as well as those plastic food replicas that are supposed to help you with portion size or whatever. according to the "material" i was recommending a lot of grilled chicken, fish, and i can't believe it's not butter! spray slathered on your vegetables. granted this was six years ago and the whole-foods movement hadn't necessarily caught on, but i had a hard time advising anyone to use fake butter spray, or even meat for that matter. to make a long story very short, i was asked told to specifically stick with the material. also, fake butter spray is the devil.

have we finally come far enough to be prescribed a plant based diet as opposed to medication?

photo by evan sung.

19 comments:

Debbie said...

do you have any thoughts on the fasting for 2 days a week diet?

susan said...

well this conversation fascinates me as I am struggling with the decision to go vegetarian (and have been for years). I will see that documentary for sure, and I'm not surprised that diet alone can do more than any drug.

rebecca said...

debbie-
thanks for the question. are you referring to the 5:2 diet? i don't recommend any sort of diet that can't be sustained over a long period of time as the weight will likely come right back as soon as you stop.

it's easier to think of it this way... is this "diet" something i could follow for the rest of my life? sounds a bit concrete, but making small changes towards a healthier lifestyle in general is likely the better choice. and patience of course!

Kim said...

My husband and I made the switch to "vegan at home" about a year and a half ago after watching "Forks Over Knives" and researching plant-based diets. As for the prescription over diet debate, I've talked to a few friends in the medical profession, and they told me that if they prescribed plant-based diets, most people wouldn't follow them. So, drugs it is. But, I think people should at least be informed of their options. Maybe for every 9 people that won't make the switch, one would?

Abby said...

I've been making little changes ever since I saw "Forks Over Knives" and read "In Defense of Food" a few years ago. From what I've gathered, it's easier to doctors to prescribe drugs instead of a change in diet because of all the pressure from drug companies. Medication is a big business, whereas whole foods are a harder sell. (At least that's my mostly uneducated take.) It's discouraging, but I keep hoping that if more people take up the plant-based diet, maybe the whole-foods movement will strengthen.

rebecca said...

kim-
yes! the key is being informed in order to have that option.

Christina C said...

We naturally have started eating way more fruits and veggies over meat products in the past year. I completely think the vegan before 6 is a great idea, but I have a had time giving up my morning yogurt. When it comes to eating meat, our decision was to only eat organic, humanely raised meats. It's harder to find and way more expensive but again, how much meat do you really need?

Nothing grosses me out faster than seeing those huge tubes of ground meat at the store. Really, why would anyone think that's a good idea?

Elizabeth said...

"Forks over Knives" is such a fascinating documentary. What I found most interesting was just how much more animal products we eat now than we did even just one hundred years ago. I think the key is to stop seeing fruits and vegetables as sides, and that they can be a meal. Medications are amazing when needed, but I think they are overused.

Lena at A Crimson Kiss said...

Elizabeth nailed it, at least for me–I used to see fruits and veggies as add ons, and a "meal" required meat. Since we moved to SF though, we've slowly but surely cut it out of our diets–but I don't know if I could give up poached eggs or risotto with a dreamy handful of Parmesan!

Anonymous said...

From my (humble) place as a nursing student I think the reason why a lot of doctors are not prescribing vegan meals instead of statins is because at this point in time the generation of patients they are treating will not comply to such changes, but they will comply with taking pills. But if what they are teaching us in nursing school is true, a shift has been set into motion and we will see exactly that happen in our lifetime! Prevention is coming down the pipe in a huge way.

Erin said...

I had heard of Mark Bitman's vegan until dinner concept before, but I didn't know he wrote a book! Is it more writing/theory, or more recipes? We're a mostly vegetarian family at home, and keep dariy to a minimum... but I can't give up cheese and eggs. I am mindful of amounts, though, and try to always add more veggies to each meal.

I love the "vegan at home" idea Kim mentioned, too! Either of these ideas is so much more realistic for me compared to a full on vegan diet.

ASR said...

mmm... I'm wondering what you think of the Weston A. Price foundation and their view point on food. www.westonaprice.org

rebecca said...

erin-
more writing/theory than recipes.

Danielle E. Alvarez said...

Gosh, I hope so.

marissa (stylebook) said...

gonna kindle that book; thanks for the rec! if i can still have the occasional scrambled egg dinner, i'm in.

Anonymous said...

Try vegan 24/7! There are many reasons why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years. Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org/.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone read Dr. Esselystn's book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease"? Or, has anyone read "The China Study"?....Amazing how even a "little" bit of oil, dairy, meat can interfere with good health.....Check out "The Healthy Librarian" on Facebook and learn amazing researched facts and enjoy recipes that will change your life!

victoria | vmac+cheese said...

Such a great post. I saw Bittman on Real Time with Bill Maher last week and it was the first I had heard about the book. I love that it's boiled down a simple way to eat better. I try to eat healthy as much as possible (though lately, it just hasn't been possible), but re-framing how I might approach food during the day makes having a more healthful diet much, much easier. Thanks for spreading the word!

Jill V. / TerraSavvy said...

I have been a vegetarian since 13 years old and knew, even at that young age, meat was causing me to feel sick. My instinct that followed was to remove all animal sourced foods from my diet and my life changed for the better from that point on.

I have made all of my friends and family aware of Forks Over Knives and agree, it is also one of my favorites. So reaffirming that my early life decisions were spot on!

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