My growing interest in food politics has lead me to start reading authors like Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma is still on my to-read list), watch documentaries like Food, Inc., and learn more about biofuels and farm subsidies. One great book that I read recently was Food Matters by NYT Columnist and famed cookbook author Mark Bittman.
The book is half summary of the current state of food & health in America (we're up shit's creek). The second half is composed of guidelines and recipes to start to change the way we eat to help our health and the environment (this is where he gives us a paddle).
From the book that you can browse here at Google Books:
"Here's the summary: Eat less meat, and fewer animal products in general (I'll get to specifics on page 93). Eat fewer refined carbohydrates, like white bread, cookies, white rice, and pretzels. Eat way less junk food: soda, chips, snack food, candy, and so on. And eat far more vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains—as much as you can.
If you followed those general rules and read no farther, you'd be doing yourself and the earth a favor. And I'm by no means the only one who thinks so."
Bittman lost a lot of weight by sticking to "vegan until six" and then eating close to how he ate before, but with more vegetables and less meat. Little was off limits, and he indulged in the occasional hamburger and desserts. He lost 35 pounds and lowered his cholesterol and blood sugar and slept better at night.
None of this is brand new. I think Salon nailed it when they called this book "applied Pollan." Before I read the book, I had already incorporated most of the recommendations into my diet (except I am not always vigilant since I find it difficult to not order dessert when I go to a new restaurant). I highly recommend this book and think that the role of food in public policy is only going to become more important with obesity and environmental issues on the rise.
"Lose Weight! Save the Planet! Become a Lessmeatarian!"