Saturday, May 25, 2013


That morning I turned on KCRW and caught the tail end of Evan Kleiman's interview of Mark Bittman I was immediately encouraged to change my eating habits.  A longtime fan of Mr. Bittman's cookbook, How to Cook Everything, I was intrigued to hear him talking about his new approach to eating, which he coined "VB6" (an acronym for "Vegan before 6:00" [pm]).  In short, Mr. Bittman advocates eating vegan all day, until the last meal of the day when you are free to indulge a little. The idea is to eat healthy whole foods, and reduce your carbon footprint by only having a maximum of one non-vegan meal a day.  He promotes eating less meat and dairy, and when you do have it, consuming only the highest quality meat and dairy products, namely organic, humane, hormone and antibiotic free options.  This immediately made so much sense to me, so I bought his book, read it cover to cover, and went shopping!

You know, my very wise husband once pointed out to me that as human beings, we are really only meant to eat what we can gather, grow or kill ourselves.  Well, I don't have the ability (or the inclination) to kill anything -- at most, maybe I could catch a fish -- but I can certainly gather, process, prepare and cook food, and perhaps on occasion I could even trade some of those skills in for some kind hunter's meat.  The point being, we are not supposed to be eating meat all the time.  In fact, the mass production of meat in our society is destroying the environment as well as our collective health.  Yet meat can be DELICIOUS, so we must be judicious about the quality and quantity of meat we consume.

I've been following the VB6 plan for about three weeks now, and I feel great.  I thought it might be fun to share some of my experiences and recipes in this casual format, so here goes!

Today my friend Susie and I hit the Playa del Rey Farmer's Market bright and early.  There I discovered a great VB6 breakfast option -- a delicious vegan tamale made with corn, spinach and artichoke hearts.  It totally hit the spot.  I then hit the produce stands in search of VB6 recipe inspirations and snacks.  Here are some of the delicious and nutritious items I bought. (Note, the wine was already on my table.)

The green beans were fresh and beautiful, as were the tomatoes, so I decided to make one of our favorite Turkish dishes, Zeytinyagli Taze Fasulye (Green Beans in Olive Oil), a delicious and perfectly compliant VB6 meal.  This dish is generally served at room temperature or even cold, so it is a great dish to make ahead and bring to work for lunch.


Wash and clean about 1-1/2 lbs of green beans.  Many people remove the top and tail, and cut the beans in half, but they are much better long, and there is absolutely no reason to remove the tops as they are tender and delicious.  Place the beans in a big pot or Dutch oven.  Next, slice 1 white onion.  Again, it's common in this recipe to grate the onion or chop it all up into small bits, but it's soooo much better texturally when the onions are cut into very long thin strips.  Similarly, I peel and slice two or three large tomatoes into rather big chunks.

Add the onions and the tomatoes (sliced into 8ths) to the pot of green beans.

Sprinkle with Kosher salt, and grate in some lemon rind.  Just a little lemon rind adds real depth to the flavors of the dish.  Next pour in 1/2 cup of good olive oil and heat on high for several minutes, turning mixture with a wooden spoon until the beans turn very bright green.  Then add about 2 cups of boiling water, and cover and simmer until the beans are tender (but not mushy).

Put the beans onto a serving platter with some of the juice from the pot.  Season with about two tablespoons on fresh lemon juice, as well as salt and pepper if needed.  Garnish with lemon and chopped parsley and serve at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold. 

The Green Beans in Olive Oil, served with Red Quinoa made for an especially good VB6 lunch today!  And if I were serving this for dinner, I would definitely top with plain yogurt.


  1. I have been changing my eating habits as well. You should check out a video on Netflix called Forks over Knives. It shows how eating vegan can cure many of today's illnesses. I will try the green bean recipe.

  2. That's awesome, Vicky. I will definitely check out the Netflix video. Let me know what you think about the green beans.