Vegan Before Dinnertime

Before I begin today’s post, I’d like to issue a formal apology to my neighbors.

When I was blasting my Lionel Richie music yesterday and singing at the top of my lungs, I was completely unaware that the music was also playing just as loudly through my outdoor speakers.

I promise that you will be spared from all future mid-day Lionel Richie sing-a-longs from now on (though you don’t know what you’re missing).




Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll move on to the next order of business!

When I was clearing out some old bookmarks on my computer last night, I found an article from The New York Times called “Vegan Before Dinnertime” which I saved back in 2009.

The article was essentially about a plan that Mark Bittman, author of Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, developed.

If you’re not familiar with Mark Bittman’s plan, here’s the basic concept…

None of the following foods should be consumed before 6 pm (or dinnertime):

  • Animal products
  • Simple carbohydrates (for example, white rice, sugars, and white flours)
  • Junk foods (especially those that fall into the two categories above)


Before dinnertime, the following foods are encouraged:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes


When 6 pm rolls around, all bets are off and you can eat as you normally would.  In other words, this plan has people eating vegan about 80% of the time.

(For those of you who read my post on The Flexitarian Diet, you may notice that these two plans are very similar.)


Eating a healthy vegan diet has been shown to yield lots of wonderful side effects, such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Increase in energy
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Decreased risk of getting certain types of cancer and heart disease
  • Prevention of cataracts, arthritis, and osteoporosis
  • Clearer skin


Personally, I’m a huge fan of this way of eating, especially since it limits dairy and processed foods without completely taking them away.  This makes it more sustainable for most people who do not want to make the leap to a completely vegan (or even vegetarian) lifestyle, such as myself.

Then again, this is easy for me to say because I already eat this way.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

  • How do you feel about eating vegan before dinnertime?
  • Have you ever tried it?
  • Relating to the first part of my post, have you ever embarrassed yourself in front of your neighbors?  When I was in college, my tube top slipped down, and I walked out into the parking lot of my apartment complex completely unaware. Of course, there just so happened to be a bunch of people out there at the time.  I’d say that definitely qualifies as embarrassing!

Happy Wednesday!






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  1. I never really plan out my day around what I’ll eat and not eat, but I usually only eat meat once a day if at all. I didn’t know it made a difference in the time of day though, or does it? Is this just the strategy he has to keep track of when he eats meat, or is there a reason for the later time in the day? I would say I eat meat at lunch time more often and vegetarian for dinner…

    • thegrassskirt

      From what I could tell by the article, the 6 pm rule was just his guide and way of hitting is 80% for the day. I am sure that it could work if you substituted another meal. For me, I never eat animal products before dinner time anyway- unless I go out to lunch and their is salmon on the menu. You know me and salmon. 🙂

  2. My wife and I have been eating this way since the beginning of July. We both have lost considerable weight and have much more energy. In fact, I have a cold and usually would want to nap when I get home from work, but yesterday I had too much energy to nap!

    • thegrassskirt

      That’s awesome! I am glad to hear that this is working for you both! 🙂

  3. It’s an interesting concept, but I’ve always had trouble trying to stick to times when I should or shouldn’t eat things. In college, the no eating after 7 rule was big and I tried that and failed miserably. If you’re hungry, eat (sensibly), no matter what the clock says.

    And too funny about your outdoor speakers!

  4. I love this idea ( I also have a huge crush on Mark Bittman) – so many people see veganism, vegetarianism, etc as an “all or nothing” choice, but I think that adopting habits such as these reduce impact and improve health withouth people feeling like they can never eat a slice of bacon or a piece of cheese again. And thanks for linking to the article – I had heard that Bittman did this, but had never read the actual article before!

    • thegrassskirt

      You’re so welcome. Glad I could help! 🙂

      And I agree- this is the perfect way to gain some of the benefits of a vegan lifestyle without having to take the plunge completely.

  5. I like this idea too, I’ve been learning more about eating flexitarian style the past few weeks because I want to eat less meat but I don’t like cutting things out of my diet completely. This sounds pretty easy too and like you said above, you could be flexible with this as well. Like I love eggs in the morning so that could be my non-vegan meal for the day. I just like the idea of eating a more plant based diet but not necessarily cutting out all animal products completely!

  6. Interesting. I like avoiding meats and dairy when possible, but to be honest, I really love eggs for breakfast on the weekends and an occasional turkey wrap for lunch. I like the idea, but I need flexibility.

  7. That’s a hilarious story about your tube top, though I guess not so funny at the time. 😉 I can’t think of any embarrassing neighbor stories at the moment, though I’m sure they’ve heard me singing!

    I like the idea here — I’ve been sort of eating this way for the past week while juicing for some meals (with larabars thrown in), and I feel awesome!!


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