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A Day in the "Vegan Before 6" Diet

A Day in the "Vegan Before 6" Diet

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When Mark Bittman's doctors told him he had pre-diabetes, pre-heart-disease, and high cholesterol, the New York Times food columnist knew he had to take back control of his health. The catch? He didn't want to give up the pleasurable aspects of eating, such as dining out and indulging in favorite foods. 

With that in mind, Bittman decided to embark on a diet he called "Vegan Before 6:" He'd eat plant-based meals and snacks before six o'clock, and at night he'd enjoy whatever he wanted. Here, the best-selling author shares three of his all-time favorite recipes from the new The VB6 Cookbook to illustrate what a typical day looks like in the VB6 diet. 

RELATED: Mark Bittman: "You Will Lose Weight" Eating Vegan Before 6

Grains Marinara

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This recipe makes a strong case for why you should always have cooked grains in your refrigerator: It's unbelievably good, and you'll find yourself returning to it constantly as a springboard for quick one-skillet lunches. You decide if you want the tomatoes almost raw, coddled, or saucy. It scales down for one or two servings quite easily.

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Steak au Poivre with Mushrooms

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When 6 o'clock rolls around, it's time for the evening meal. While anything goes at dinner, the lessons learned from eating plant-based foods during the day will almost certainly carry over to your after-6 choices. Soon you won't need an eight-ounce steak to satisfy you; two to three ounces will do the trick. This recipe features pan-cooked mushrooms, which are irresistibly delicious, especially when paired with steak. The trick is to stir them just enough to prevent burning but infrequently enough to let them caramelize a bit. (Same with the leeks, whose sweetness contributes mightily.)

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