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Bittman's new Food Manifesto

Here is his article from the NYT this past week: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...

I thought it was an interesting and timely article.

But I also found this article very interesting. http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_d...

It certainly is enlightening. Hypocritical? Maybe. Sometimes I think we are willing dupes.

Before you decide to get rude with me I like Bittman, read Bittman and have a cookbook written by Bittman. I just think it is important to think before accepting what is said.

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  1. Consumer freedom? I noticed there were no weights mentioned in their comparison. That would make a difference.

    jb

    1. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?...

      This is a group whose members have a vested interest in people continuing to consume processed food.

      1. The consumer Freedom article somehow misses the entire point of what is considered "healthy" now. It looks like they only compare on calorie count, saturated fat and salt. There is alot more to eating healthy foods and minimizing damage from some foods than those criteria. I almost expect to see a warning about not eating eggs because they might raise cholesterol.

        I would happily take a grass fed, chemical free hamburger, with plenty of organic fixin's- full of calories, fat and salt over a fast food burger with less....and I wouldn't just be choosing it because it tastes better.

        16 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          I would happily take a grass fed, chemical free hamburger, with plenty of organic fixin's- full of calories, fat and salt over a fast food burger with less....and I wouldn't just be choosing it because it tastes better.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~
          amen :)

            1. re: sedimental

              But is it not misleading to say that fast and convenient is "BAD" and made from scratch "GOOD"? People should be able to just decide for themselves what they will consume, let the market drive what will be offered and stop trying to control folks thru "I know what's good for you" manifestos.

              I think people who have passions for things (like food) sometimes blindly follow people they think of as "Gods" of that thing without critically thinking of what makes actual sense. What is actually good for us in the larger scheme. Instead, some get haughty and defensive at the mere mention that one might not blindly follow.

              Give me a homemade hamburger, unless I am at work and cannot do it, then thank goodness for my healthy choice. So glad I have the freedom to opt in and out of each.

              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                You are correct. Free market is a good thing. People are choosing fast food and prepared food in record numbers. The market is deciding, especially poor people that enjoy the "dollar menus". They are also the most sickly and costly among us with diet related problems at the root of much of it. Also the market contains the "too busy" populace that is easily duped into thinking they are eating healthy when they are not.

                I am all for free market, but I also think that there is a place for health concerns that don't mislead those folks. I am not convinced that the "healthy eating" bandwagon folks have as much money, time and determination to upsell healthier food...as corporate food pushers have money, time, and motivation to upsell crap food.

                It is probably too much to ask McDonalds to run a continual tape of the movie "Supersize Me"..... so a little Bittman air time doesnt hurt IMO. LOL

                1. re: sedimental

                  I am not convinced that the "healthy eating" bandwagon folks have as much money, time and determination to upsell healthier food...as corporate food pushers have money, time, and motivation to upsell crap food.
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  we don't. well, at least not the time & money...otherwise i'd just get myself a trailer with a decent kitchen and spend my life driving around the country teaching people how to prepare and enjoy nutritious, delicious food!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Yes, I suspect your motivation would not be based on making huge profits. Well, unless it was a food truck (not a trailer) and you charged for the lessons, then they could eat the lessons...hmmm....maybe we should talk ;)

                    1. re: sedimental

                      right after i posted that i realized that i actually *could* do it if i just found a few nutrition/healthy food companies that were willing to sponsor it.

                      i've actually been toying with the idea of starting a gluten-free food truck here in LA...but perhaps i should be dreaming a little bigger ;)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I think that could be HUGELY successful. If you don't do it, someone else will.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          so apparently Jamie Oliver beat me to it! grrr.

                          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03...

                          i personally would have chosen different wallpaper ;)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            oh my gosh please do start a gluten-free food truck, that would be absolutely amazing

                            1. re: edgarallanho

                              yeah, i liked the idea a lot more before everyone and their brother started a food truck...

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/782930

                    2. re: Sal Vanilla

                      "People should be able to just decide for themselves what they will consume, let the market drive what will be offered and stop trying to control folks thru "I know what's good for you" manifestos."
                      _______
                      The 'free market' isn't really doing the deciding when your competition is subsidized and you are not. Look more closely into how large food producers operate in America and you'll see that many of Bittman's points are right on. You might still take issue with him asking for subsidies for producers that sell whole foods directly to consumers and supermarkets, but you can't ignore the fact that in today's America processed food has the full backing of subsidy and legislation whereas growers of varied and ready to eat crops by and large do not.

                      The idea that consumerfreedom.com is actually pushing for a free and fair market (at least in the food industry) is ludicrous. They're a propaganda and lobbying organization backed by the large corporations whose interests they represent.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        "The 'free market' isn't really doing the deciding when your competition is subsidized and you are not."

                        Yes, this exactly. Subsidized out the wazoo.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Hear hear!

                          People also have their own choice in whether or not they choose to acknowledge these manifestos -- nobody is trying to shove advice down your throat and "control" you. Likewise, most people already have the choice to buy whatever they want, particularly towards the foodmakers that are backing the group, so this "consumer freedom" organization is excessive and pretty pointless. It seems pretty immature to me -- like kids who just want to plug their ears and say "nananananana" when anybody says anything counter to their beliefs. But I suppose that's just politics.

                          Anyway, if the health of the consumer populace declines despite all this knowledge of what is generally accepted as healthy, and they want to have their "consumer freedom" and buy whatever they want despite this knowledge, then let them do that. Isn't it just general common sense that whole foods are good for you and processed ones are bad?

                      2. re: sedimental

                        oh my god, yes! it's insane for the CF people to say that a Stouffer's ANYTHING -with chemicals, preservatives, and who-knows-from-where food sourcing - could be near the realm of healthy, not to mention healthier than Bittman's version (or than what you can produce at home by being even moderately concerned about what you buy). I am by no means a health food fanatic and I don't go to extremes in either direction, but it's absolutely misleading to tell people that processed foods are healthier than what you can make at home if you are even a little bit aware of what you buy. that's really just egregious. and no surprise, really, in view of MeIMM's link above!

                        ETA: and SalVanilla - I'm really not trying to be rude to you - just completely disagreeing with what CF is trying to say.

                        1. re: sedimental

                          I SO endorse this message. We keep getting advice to eat more of what's completely non essential to human health, and less of what we will die without enough of.

                          I don't think replacing environmental stress with pancreatic stress and a a diabetes epidemic is the way too go, either. BTDT, when under the thrall of the idiotic CSPI reccos years ago.

                        2. The second article fails to address the overwhelming majority of the points raised in the NYtimes Bittman piece. And those it does address, it doesn't address particularly well, using arbitrarily selected recipes (one might say conveniently selected recipes... with less than standardized portion sizes, BTW - how much does a Bittman burger weigh in comparison to a Big Mac?) and making the false implication that 'healthy' can be measured solely as a function of fat, calories and sodium.

                          I won't hide that I'm sympathetic to many of Bittman's views. You can object to his points by waxing poetic about the free market, but doing so betrays that you've understood little of what Bittman is talking about, little about the political and financial realities of the food industry. Still, I'm willing to hear or read a thoughtful counter argument. The Consumerfreedom article isn't one. It is mostly ad hominem. And it doesn't even make a strong case at that.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I also in the Bittman camp, but am very uncomfortable with any legislation that would tell any restaurant what it can and can't serve. Just as I'm bothered by the FDA's stance on raw milk products. Education, honest science and an even playing field. Isnt that what the free market should be based on?

                            jb

                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                              Right there with ya. I don't want to legislate what people can and can't choose to eat. I just don't want that used as a strawman every time someone talks about ending subsidy for manufacturers of processed foods, loosening that industry's grip on our legislators, and writing legislation that is less punitive and damaging for smaller growers of ready to eat produce. They're two completely different issues and you don't have to support one to support the other.

                          2. I like and agree with the majority of what Bittman writes here and also with what he has written in the past.

                            I also found the "dish-to-dish" comparision in the CCF article to be ridiculous. There is way too much infomation left out to even believe it was a valid comparison :white or dark meat?, 1 serving vs 1 piece?, weights?, ingredients, etc, etc. I became curious about who is behind the CCF organisation and found that it was created in 1995 with money from the Phillip Morris tobacco company and is currently funded by the food and restaurant industry. CCF defines it's mission as fighting against "a growing cabal of food cops, health care enforcers, militant activists, meddling bureaucrats, and violent radicals who think they know what's best for you, [who] are pushing against our basic freedoms.".