I recently read Mark Bittman’s Food Matters and find myself returning to it often. The book discusses the current state of food in the U.S., and the resulting environmental challenges, obesity and health problems. Similar to Michael Pollen, Bittman offers eating strategies focused on moving away from processed junk “food” and consuming a primarily plant-based diet. He says this approach not only will help people lose weight, but also will slow global warming.
The book is full of great ideas for creating healthy, earth-friendly meals. Bittman encourages readers to prepare simple things like pots of grains and beans to have on hand and use throughout the week. He says that with the right ingredients in your kitchen, including fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits and smart meat choices, it’s easy to throw together delicious meals.
I’ve been taking this approach a lot lately making large portions of dishes that I can eat for a few days. I’ve experimented with the ingredients – everything from quinoa with chickpeas and zucchini to whole-wheat pasta with turkey sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. The other night, with a huge bag of sweet potatoes on hand (I know, I’ve been obsessed lately) I tweaked a quinoa recipe I found on About.com.
I roasted sweet potato chunks (tossed with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper) and prepared the quinoa in chicken broth, then tossed the two together with more oil, salt, cayenne pepper and fresh lemon juice. I topped the dish with spiced pecan pieces. It was so simple and made a great lunch the next day.
As I experiment more and more in the kitchen, I’ve found that eating whole food – and knowing where that food comes from – makes a huge difference in the way I feel physically and mentally. Knowing that this approach helps the planet is a huge added bonus.