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Ne-Yo Watches ‘What the Health’ Once, Goes Vegan

Ne-Yo Watches ‘What the Health’ Once, Goes Vegan



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“I’m not really a fruit and vegetables person. I never have been,” says the R&B star

Despite the endearing cluelessness of the video, Ne-Yo is just one of thousands of viewers who have now gone vegan due to convincing verbiage from the Netflix documentary.

On August 6, popular singer and songwriter Ne-Yo went on Facebook to post a video confessing a major lifestyle change: He’s gone vegan.

“Thanks to the What the Health documentary,” he says to his fans, “I’ve gone completely vegan. So I need y’all to send me some vegan recipes… Because I’m in the grocery store — lost.”

And lost he was. “We’re in the kale chips aisle…” he says, turning another corner with a furrowed brow. For approximately four and a half minutes of edited footage, a confused Ne-Yo wanders the store’s aisles, debating whether or not certain food staples are deemed acceptable for his newfound vegan diet.

He seems to be confused despite his past experience with veganism. He’s tried veganism in the past while living in Los Angeles. “I lasted about a month,” he confesses, but claims that his location made the lifestyle much easier to adopt. “This is about to be really difficult. I don’t cook, y’all. And my wife is on the other side of the world.”

Despite the endearing cluelessness of the video, Ne-Yo is just one of thousands of viewers who have now gone vegan due to convincing verbiage from the Netflix documentary.

“It’s really mind-blowing how blissfully ignorant I was for so long,” Ne-Yo declares. “The stuff that I was eating not knowing that they’re killing us, y’all. For real.”

But are the meat and animal-product industries really killing us? Many scientists, dietitians, and health experts have fought back against the film’s claims, unveiling faulty evidence and distorted science. Read more about the flaws scientists are finding in the contents of ‘What the Health’ here.

“I just want to say to all the cheese in the world,” Ne-Yo lamented, “I am so desperately going to miss you.”


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 Diet, and Here’s How It Went

Keep it vegan until six, then eat whatever you want. No calorie counting and no banned foods lose weight and get healthy, with a side-bonus of supporting a more sustainable food system. Sounds pretty good, right? Mark Bittman has been building toward this diet for years, and has now released his manifesto, VB6. I read the book. I tried the diet. Here’s what happened.

Before we launch into this discussion, I just want to take a time out. Diet, nutrition, weight, and healthy eating — these are all socially loaded and very personal topics. The opinions I share here are just that: opinions. I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, even this one, and what works for me (or doesn’t) might not work for you or the guy standing next to you.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now, partly because I wanted to give the diet a fair shake and partly because I just wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In the end, I decided that this was a conversation I wanted to have with you and the best way to get it started was to just be honest and totally open. I’m a little nervous — this is out of my comfort zone! — but I’ll do my best to tell you about my experience and what I learned from it as openly and fairly as I can.

About the VB6 Diet

This diet concept sounds pretty simple, right? Eat a vegan diet until 6:00 p.m., then eat as you would normally in the evening. In reality, this diet both is and is not quite that easy.

The basic idea is to fill your diet with a huge proportion of fruits and vegetables. Almost all fruits and veggies are in Bittman’s “Unlimited Foods” category. Round out your daily meals with beans, nuts, and whole grains (which are in the “Flexible Foods” category), and then consider meat and dairy to be “Treats.” The only foods that are really off-limits are processed foods and junk foods, though Bittman fully supports the occasional indulgence in a favorite candy bar or a bag of chips. While there are guidelines for how food should be eaten, nothing is truly banned here.

The principle behind this dietary approach is twofold: First, to support healthy food choices and an overall healthy lifestyle without radically changing your diet or throwing away all the food you love. Second, to support sustainable environmental and social practices through the choices we make, like the impact of our health on national healthcare costs and the environmental impact of a meat-heavy diet. Bittman goes into all of these principles in great detail in the book, including basic nutrition, the effect of diet on diabetes and heart disease, and how changing your diet in this way affects the environment.

Bittman also takes time to emphasize again and again that he’s not talking about a quick “fad diet” to lose a few pounds he’s talking about a shift in lifestyle and a sustainable, ongoing, long-term approach to the food we’re eating. The result of this shift is primarily to make you a healthier person — this can mean losing weight if you’re overweight, but it can also mean maintaining your weight if you’re already in the zone or just maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle.

I’m really only touching on Bittman’s main points here. If you’re interested in the details, I recommend reading his book:

A Bit About Me and My Pre-VB6 Diet

I consider myself to be fairly average on the whole. I am in my 30’s and am fairly fit. I got into the habit of running a few years ago, and now I run between 15 and 20 miles a week. I am not overweight, but I still always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. I went through a phase of doing Weight Watchers a few years after college, and while I don’t actually mind all the counting involved, it’s also hard to maintain that strict Weight Watchers diet indefinitely. In recent years, I’ll go back on Weight Watchers for a few weeks to get myself back into a comfortable weight zone and then return to normal eating.

I was already eating pretty close to a VB6 diet even before I started. It wasn’t entirely conscious on my part, but I primarily ate vegetarian during the day and then normally (i.e., with some meat) at night. Over the past several years, as my awareness about the meat industry has grown, I’ve eased away from most commercial meats and focused instead on buying smaller quantities of better-quality meats, which usually means using meat as an accent ingredient in a dish rather than the main focus (like, pasta with a link or two of chopped sausage in the sauce instead of steaks for dinner). I also have gradually moved away from processed foods and only eat them now as special treats.

Sounds a lot like the VB6 diet already, huh? This is a big reason why I thought I’d give it a try — it wasn’t that radical of a shift for me, so why not?

What really appealed to me about the VB6 diet was (and is) its promise of simplicity. As I’ve gotten further into my 30’s, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be (ahem!) and I don’t shed the pounds as easily as I once did. It really really frustrated me that as someone who cares about food, understands basic nutrition, eats what is unarguably a healthy diet, and who regularly exercises, I was still gaining weight. It was a slow gain, to be sure, but the numbers on the scale certainly weren’t going down. I am just as affected as anyone else by how I look and how I think I should look according to our social norms, and as much as I tried to remind myself that I was healthy and looked “Fine! Just fine!” … well, it was tough.

My biggest hope was that by following the VB6 diet, my weight would stop creeping upwards and settle wherever it is naturally supposed to settle. I hoped that if this diet did that, I would stop mentally counting calories every time I eat an avocado or crave a cookie, and just enjoy what I was eating. That sounds so sad to say out loud, especially given my love for food and my career as a food writer! But, my friends, it is the truth. Our relationship with food is complicated, and I am certainly no exception.

Concerns I Had Going into the VB6 Diet

I am the type of person who likes to know the rules and the limits going into something. This is why Weight Watchers has always appealed to me — it is totally cut and dry, and I always know exactly where I stand at the end of the day.

The VB6 diet is much more … touchy-feely. This lack of strict rules is partly what attracted me to it in the first place, but it also made me worried. Bittman breaks foods into the categories I mentioned before: “Unlimited Foods” like fruits and vegetables “Flexible Foods” like nuts, grains, and beans and “Treats” like meat, eggs, and milk. I get the unlimited foods and I understand the treats, but it was that “Flexible Food” category that made me confused.

Bittman says to eat these foods sparingly during the day, but it’s ok to give yourself more latitude at night. In his examples of daily meals, he mentions that if you had a serving of whole grains for breakfast, you should skip them at lunch. He doesn’t talk a lot about portion sizes or how to balance the amount of these flexible foods in your daily diet. I understand that I shouldn’t just eat rice and toast all day without a good helping of fruits and vegetables, but without knowing the limits, it was hard for me to tell if I was being too strict or too lenient with my food choices, or what that might mean for my overall diet and weight.

Bittman also seems to rely a lot on the VB6-er’s natural instincts and cravings, and how we can expect them to change as we stick with the VB6 diet. He says, “Some nights you’ll probably find yourself skipping animal foods all together once you become comfortable eating VB6-style.” This is an idea he repeats many times throughout the book, and as a former vegetarian who never stopped craving meat despite reassurances that I would, reading these words filled me with dread and suspicion. We’ll see, Mr. Bittman, we’ll see …


Watch the video: Ne-Yo Shares Why He Chose to Become Vegan (August 2022).