That is a picture of Mark above. He is the author of one of my favorite cookbooks, How to Cook Everything. I've blogged about it before here.
The man pictured below is Dr. Tim Keller. He is the pastor at Redeemer Church in New York City and the author of several awesome books. He can preach like nobody's business. (Most of his sermons cost money to download, but here is a sampling that you can get for free.)
My number one preacher to listen to is, of course, my husband. All of his sermons are free.
Anyway, Dr. Keller is a side note. I was just struck by how similar these two fellows look, and how I trust both of their advice implicitly. The above white baldish man with glasses is my nutritional mentor, the below my spiritual (well, he's one of them. Most of them are already in heaven).
My husband is not balding (yet), but he does wear glasses occasionally, so I guess I kinda trust him.
Food Matters. The book was birthed by his realization that as a nation, we are filling up on junky food and it's bad for us and our planet. It's a clarion call to return to vegetables and minimize our intake of meat and processed foods, and he includes 75 recipes and a two-week meal plan to get you started. It's like a kinder, gentler, more practical version of Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, which says a lot of the same stuff, but makes you feel guiltier.
Here's Michael Pollan, by the way:
OK, Michael Pollan is also white, balding and wears glasses. But I only have room for so many mentors, and he's too nutritionally dogmatic for me. We would not be a good team. If Mark Bittman caught me red-handed with a Snickers, he may be disappointed but he'd let it slide; Michael Pollan would probably wag his finger and lecture me about high-fructose corn syrup and industrialized agriculture.
Here's another "by the way": Michael Pollan was once on NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, which I love to listen to on my iPod. And my favorite, hands-down favorite moment EVER on that show was when Michael Pollan and Paula Poundstone faced-off over her favorite food, Ring-Dings. You can listen to it here.
All of this to say that, even though I sided with Paula, Ring-Dings are really not the answer to all of life's problems.
And even though I whole-heartedly agree with Mark Bittman's approach to "sane eating" (as he terms it), my personal food choices do not reflect what I believe to be true nutritionally. Just ask any of my pants.
So what to do?
Well, I'm revving the blog back up, and one of the reasons I'm doing so is to journal my way through a self-imposed month-long challenge of eating like Mark Bittman would, using the recipes found in The Food Matters Cookbook (a follow-up to the original Food Matters). Maybe I'll make myself a WWMD bracelet to remember my commitment to nutritional excellence when I find myself staring longingly at the Oreo Cakesters I drop in the kids' school lunches every day.
I hope to discover a balance. Life would be a hard, empty shell of its former self if I could never again eat a Giant Chewy SweetTart. Birthdays would lose a bit of their luster without a trip to Chick-Fil-A for a Peppermint Milkshake in the middle of December. But, I don't think it is good to hate vegetables (and drinking unflavored water, for that matter), and I kinda do. Vegetables and whole grains and water are our nutritional BFFs! I treat them like red-headed step-children.
Will I love them one month from tomorrow?
I would like to find out.