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Book Recommendation: Mark Bittman

11 Jan

You may know Mark Bittman as the author of “How to Cook Everything” and its spinoffs, or as the author of “The Best Recipes in the World.” You should, however, know him as the author of “Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More than 75 Recipes,” a book that is both interesting and useful. Trust me: this book belongs in your kitchen!

Bittman’s project with this book is to outline a way of eating that is both healthful and socially responsible. In his research for this book (and, before that, for changing his own lifestyle), he assembled a compelling body of research for his theory, which is, essentially, that animal products require a lot more resources to produce than plant ones, and that plant foods are better for you.

Rather than advocating going vegan, however, Bittman argues that moderation is the key. He sets forth an eating plan that is heavily plant-based, supplemented with small amounts of meat, eggs, and dairy. He argues that changing the ratios of our meals, so that they are mostly plants with some animal products, works very well to satisfy us while promoting health and good stewardship.  He offers sample meal plans and his own personal approach (he is essentially “vegan before six”–eating almost entirely plant foods for most of the day–and less stringent at dinner, which is a more difficult meal for a self-proclaimed foodie to modify).

And…well…those 75 recipes? They are F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.  Seriously, these are some good recipes. I have already made several of them and I have only owned this book for three days! All offer excellent health profiles, as well as socially responsible ingredients.

As for how this book relates to PCOS: I feel that women with PCOS have to work a little harder than the average person to stay healthy and maintain a reasonable weight. I also think, based on my own experiences, that reducing processed carbohydrates and other refined foods can help manage PCOS. This book gives excellent suggestions for doing those things, and fits in nicely with a healthful and satisfying culinary lifestyle. I highly recommend it! And if you buy it and cook from it, please comment and let me know which recipes you tried and how you liked them. (For the record, I have tried the basic tomato sauce and the frittata; both were awesome. I’m about to eat his breakfast hot cereal…and it smells great.)

product: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta

18 Oct

I love this stuff: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta.

This pasta is a mix of corn flour and quinoa flour. It is higher in protein and lower GI than regular pasta. It tastes like real pasta, not like twigs. I am not a fan of whole-wheat pasta, so I’ve had to do some looking around at different options. I still wouldn’t eat it every night, but on those occasions when you’re just about crazy wanting some macaroni and cheese–this is a great option. I’ve found it at health food stores and some regular supermarkets [Harris Teeter, some Giant stores]. It’s great with pesto!

One note, though: it doesn’t swell when it cooks, at least not like wheat pasta does, so you may end up with a smaller batch than you expect.