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Day Two Keynote: Mark Bittman

Author and foodie Mark Bittman makes a great living embracing his Inner Vegetarian. About 10 years ago, Bittman was more than 30 pounds overweight, had worsening cholesterol and suffered from sleep apnea... pretty much descriptive of today's average American, middle-aged male.

Calling on his earlier exposure to healthier eating, Bittman developed a plan that he dubbed "Vegan Before 6," where he ate nothing but plant matter until dinner time. Within months, he lost the extra weight, his blood glucose had stabilized, his cholesterol dropped 40 points and his sleep apnea was gone, gone, gone.

Since then, he's been trying to get Americans to eat less meat. "I figure if I could get everyone to see the value of eating rice and beans one meal a week, I would have attained my goal." It's one he's still working towards through his three books and his "The Minimalist" cooking column in the New York Times.

Bittman's personal journey is certainly not unique. We live in an era where the knowledge of the connection between food, diet and health resonates with more and more of us. And it is this newfound knowledge we all take with us into the supermarket when we go shopping. We start reading labels, scrutinizing ingredients and (hopefully) shopping a little smarter.

Supermarket retailers have played an important role in this evolution, and it's one they will continue to play as more of us Mark Bittman-types come through the doors looking for diet-based solutions to our middle-age woes.