Mark Bittman's Vegan-Before-6 Meal Plan

After a serious health scare, food journalist and author Mark Bittman radically changed his diet and quickly lost 36 pounds. Today, he's sharing his simple one-rule plan to help you do the same. Learn why going vegan before 6 p.m. could be the secret to better health.

Posted on | By Mark Bittman

In 2006, food journalist and author Mark Bittman was 30 to 40 pounds overweight, pre-diabetic and suffering from high cholesterol. He was eating carelessly and on track for serious health problems until a doctor intervened and told Mark if he wanted to live better he needed to increase his intake of fruits and vegetables and eliminate meat and dairy from his diet. Hesitant to completely give up all the foods he loved, Mark came up with a plan that changed his life and can change yours, too: eating vegan before 6 p.m.

The program has just one simple rule: Avoid meat and dairy from breakfast until dinnertime. Instead, load up on foods that are packed with nutrients, not calories – fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils. When dinnertime rolls around, however, you can eat whatever you'd like. The plan is easy, doesn't require a lot of sacrifice and works: Mark lost 36 pounds after just 4 months of eating vegan during the day.

Get started on the plan today with these breakfast, lunch and snack recipes from Mark.

Breakfast: Scrambled Tofu With Spinach


2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tbsp garlic, chopped

1 tsp salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 tbsp red chili flakes (or 1 or 2 fresh hot red chili peppers, minced)

1 1/2 lb fresh spinach, trimmed and rinsed well

1 1/2 lb firm or silken tofu, drained and patted dry


Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onion and garlic and sprinkle with salt; cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic is soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the chilis and cook, stirring, until fragrant, less than a minute. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the spinach and 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and fairly dry, 5 to 8 minutes.

Crumble the tofu into the pan and stir, using a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and combine the tofu and vegetables; adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning. When the mixture starts to stick to the pain, it's ready. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve hot or warm.

Article written by Mark Bittman
After a serious health scare, food journalist and author Mark Bittman radically changed his diet and quickly lost 36 pounds.