Indeed, Bittman is the most commonsensical of food writers, though it's clear that he loves to eat and that his palate has high standards. So when he joins the growing crusade preaching the gospel of avoiding processed foods and eating a mostly plant-based diet, you know he's not just doing it 'cause Michael Pollan, author of last year's popular In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, said so.
Bittman's journey began with the realization that global livestock production accounts for more greenhouse gas than cars, trucks, planes and trains do. The catalyst was a constellation of health issues of his own. And so Bittman changed not so much just his diet but his philosophy of eating. The results: 35 pounds lost, better health, a clearer conscience and his latest book: Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating (Simon & Schuster, $25).