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Home > Green News > SOLUTIONS MAGAZINE > Special Reports > Special Reports and Featured Products about Green Best Practices > Awards and Kudos > Green Solution Award Winners

Mark Bittman Promotes Food Sustainability

Mark Bittman presents the history of American food decline and connections with climate change, disease and obesity.

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TheGreen Solution Award - CaliforniaGreenSolutions.com Mark Bittman never formally trained as a chef, but his weekly New York Times food column, The Minimalist, meshes accessible and inexpensive ingredients with "anyone-can" cooking techniques to produce delicious dishes. Bittman's funny, informal approach to food-craft extend to his blockbuster TV programs (which retain delays and mishaps that other producers would edit out), his blog, Bitten, and ambitious cookbooks, like How to Cook Everything and The Best Recipes in the World.

After a decade as the "Minimalist," Bittman has emerged a respected spokesperson on all things edible: He's concerned about the ecological and health impacts of our modern diet, which he characterizes as overwhelmingly meat-centered and hooked on fast food. His revolutionary How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (sequel to How to Cook Everything), is a bestseller, and his memorable talk at the 2007 EG Conference (available now on TED.com) delivered a stinging condemnation of the way we eat now.

Key points: Plants matter. For health, for the environment.

Livestock produces more methane gas and greenhouse gases and heart disease than transportation!

Locavore -- eating only locally grown food is great for California, but not very feasible for the rest of the country.

1900 -- everyone was a locavore. Shipping food was unnecessary. Everyone had a cook! Margarine didn't exist. No restaurant chains. No national brands. Vitamins hadn't been invented. You ate food.

1930s -- foot started to travel! Food became processed fashions, not food. Then canned and frozen tv dinners were invented to prevent loss of fresh foods during travel. Convenience boosted feminism and created convenience...and variety of food.

By then cattle were taken off grass and fed on soy and grains. New drugs kept them alive!... Healthy was another story. Ag policy subsidized the beginning of dietary destruction.

Fast food came. Home cooked meals lost quality as canned and mixed foods and store bought cookies and cakes

By 1970s, organic food sprang new interest. Fresh food was valued. Food production had become industrialized. Yogurt was 'sold'... as sweets that was closer to candy than nutrition. High fat and spice content made the fast foods more appealing than the bland foods served at home. Meat, junk food, cheese led the way.

...and then there's perversion of organic concepts
...and trucking food 5,000 miles
...and making choices and acting for global survival

18% of ghg are attributed to livestock production.
30% of land surfaces are dedicated to raising the animals we eat.

There is no good reason to eat the amount of meat we eat...but we eat TWICE as much protein as is recommended. Recommended: .5 pound per week...we eat that PER DAY!

We eat animals to have an odd form of malnutrition...obesity and disease.

Watch Mark Bittman's riveting history and nutrition lesson about the food you eat.

VIDEO: at TED



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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