As a long-time food writer for the New York Times and the author of several best-selling cookbooks--including the essential How to Cook Everything--Mark Bittman is all about food. So when mounting weight and health issues prompted doctor's advice that should consider a vegan diet, he said (somewhat incredulously), "Come on. You know what I do for a living."
But as he thought about it, he came to a career-friendly solution: If he was good most of the time, maybe he could be a little less good part of the time and still reap the benefits of a healthful diet. He called his plan VB6, or Vegan Before Six. In short: eat good foods from waking until 6:00 p.m. (or as good as you can get/abide), then do whatever you want after. And through four years of living the "Flexitarian" lifestyle--during which he lost 35 pounds and gained the attendant rewards of a plant-based diet--he realized he had a book on his hands. The result was VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health ... for Good.
Bittman stopped by the Amazon offices for a chat with Senior Editor Mari Malcolm and our guest Makini Howell, a Seattle restaurat eur and the author of Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle's Plum Bistro, her new book from Sasquatch Press. Even though he was coming to the end of a long book tour, he thoughtfully commented on the challenges of part-time veganism (and how it's changed his non-vegan hours), the wider implications of industrialized farming, and the despair of engineering a no-regrets meal at a typical airport restaurant.
Watch the interview: