An Energy Bar a Caveman Would Club You For

I talk a lot about nutrient density evolving to be next to flavor, texture, appearance, portion size etc. while creating dishes and more importantly when choosing our own meals at home and in restaurants. This idea shouldn’t be such an eye opener to chefs and consumers considering the reason we eat is to nourish our body, isn’t it?

Never mind all the myths surrounding the year of 2012, we are facing the fact that our high maintenance lifestyles will soon burn up all of our natural resources and quite possibly only the self sustainable will survive. Maybe not in my time, maybe two generations from now, but it is not far-fetched looking down the road we are headed. Without getting too in depth, as I like to keep this blog light, is that what it will take for people to start recognizing that the food you put into your body will either benefit you, prevent and even reverse disease or will harm you and rapidly do just the opposite?

Let’s take a trip back to the primal days when there were no 5 star prix fixe menus and million dollar Coca Cola ads sugar-washing the brains of children. The intellect was not nearly as advanced and the mechanical resources obviously minimal. No grab and go crap or even the machinery needed to make vats of MSG or refined sugar to poison the population with. Even if there were, like many animals, our human ancestors would have listened to their body’s needs and intuition and not ingested the toxic substances. They probably wouldn’t have been fooled by shiny labels or convenient packaging. If only we could maintain that mindfulness and eat for optimum survival, our population would be a much, much healthier one.

Sadly, it is our cultural influences through the media and advertising that lets us think eating fast food and Cocoa Puffs is acceptable. On top of that is our hectic lifestyle that tells us that we don’t have time to cook at home or to stop and grab something nutritious to our health. “There is just no time!!”

While working with individuals and families on how to simplify cooking nutrient dense meals at home, I am always on the lookout for a convenience food that is organic and nutrient dense. There are a few decent grab and go bars that are natural and just what they should be without any man made extras, but, then there is one that has 52 superfoods in it! Yeah, 52…

They’re called Good Greens bars, based out of Shaker Heights, OH, and not your typical dry flavorless health bar. With super greens like spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, barley grass folded in next to spinach, Nova Scotia dulse, beet juice, alfalfa sprout, and hemp powder to name a few, you would think these bars tasted bad, real bad. Not the case. From the level of sweet, clean and chocolatey flavor I figured they must be juiced up with sugar to mask the Z-52 formula. Nope, these bars are low glycemic and suitable for diabetics. More-so, the carbs here are “Good Carbs,” stabilizing blood sugar levels and insulin production as well as curbing hunger.

Not only is one bar a full serving of your fruit and vegetables for the day but it’s the DHA and Omega 3s that improve cognition, the acai berry, green and white tea extracts that increase energy and the chia seed, ginger root, aloe vera, milk thistle and ground flax powder that are going to detoxify your cells while you are on the go.

The only problem with these bars, for me, is that they are not stacked up in place of Snickers bars and Skittles in the candy aisle of every grocery store with shiny packaging and cartoon characters to market them the way these junk food giants do. I love the idea that the superfoods are snuck into these delicious bars. Oh and they will most likely sell for around $2 a piece. Not bad for the amount of nutrients you get for just 200 calories each.

There is also Good Greens powder that can be used in smoothies and juices and contains all of the same benefits as the bars. Go to http://try.goodgreens.com/ to get a free sample and also a 50% discount on your first purchase.

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“Where has your Mouth been Anyway?”

(recipe follows)

I can go on and on about my ideas on the evolution of nutrient dense ingredients to develop, what I feel should be where flavor profiles are headed these days. I didn’t plan on making my blog just about my awesome food, mouth watering pics and recipes. Although I have been getting requests for recipes, diet plans etc., I have held back from the food because I first wanted to give readers a look at what is driving my passion as a chef and bring their attention to a few important topics.
There are many issues in the world that I cannot single-handedly do much about, but as a chef, there are a few that I can put my efforts towards. Like eliminating and suggesting those I work with to be done with ingesting toxins. The majority of chefs are still buying and using them and the people being poisoned by them as a result of being misled by advertising and marketing. By “toxins” I mean refined sugar, white flour, iodized salt, hydrogenated oil, and MSG in its many disguises. To me these are the worst food products. They are the leading causes behind our deadliest health problems. This is not breaking news and you don’t have to wait to be told by a doctor to eliminate them and start eating the right foods.
I could contribute to slimming down that obesity epidemic I’m always writing about even by just using my creative talent with flavors. Making whole foods (not messed with by processing or refining) and lean proteins combined with nutrient dense superfoods taste good is something that an average person who has been taking the easy way out to get flavor won’t be able to do for long. Most will cringe at the idea of adding whole grains and the fiber that’s in the fruit and not just the sugary juice to their diet.
Leading by example as a chef that is not using my career as an excuse to let my health go, is bringing my “progressive modern” lifestyle of a chef into the kitchen. My latest venture is consulting with people one on one in their homes on how to simplify cooking for themselves and their families and soon to hold group demonstrations on “Eating to Live.” It will only be a matter of time before I am opening my own concept and spreading the knowledge of who benefits when we cook and live this way.
Before I can even start to introduce the food that will bring maximum benefit to your health along with great flavors, colors, textures and so on, I have to ask you, “Where has your mouth been?” Has your tongue been slathered with white flour, sugary drinks and sauces, MSG and other addicting flavor enhancers found in all grab and go food for most of your life? If so, let’s wean off of that crap and give your tongue a good scrapping to start fresh. Your mouth plays a small role in digestion and unfortunately most people rely on what goes on here, flavor, texture etc., to determine their diet. Becoming aware of what your body’s real needs are is part of enjoying nutrient dense foods.
For someone who is already eating a diet that is eliminating, refined sugar mostly, but all of the aforementioned will enjoy food that is, not lacking, but not based on rich flavors through fat, salt and other magical man-made fairy dust.
So it’s been long enough, here is one simple recipe that I have created using my favorite one pot mixing grains and starches technique. Full of protein, essential vitamins and minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Add animal protein if you want but one serving of this dish will give you at least 15 grams of protein. The misconception of needing to eat meat to get protein is another blog. I am by no means a vegan, still consider myself a full on omnivore. When it comes to getting the most nutrient dense calories though, I do eat a ton of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Red Quinoa – sweet potato-figs-toasted pecans
2 cups red quinoa
1 1/2 cups sweet potato (not peeled, small dice, about ¼ in cubes)
1 cup dried figs (stem removed, cut in half)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted is optional)
1 bunch baby arugula
31/2 cups vegetable stock (or just water with a little sea salt)
1/2 T maple syrup
Sea salt to taste

 

 

 

Rinse quinoa in a medium sized saucepan with vegetable stock over medium heat. Bring to a slow simmer. 4 minutes in add sweet potatoes and cover for the next 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take cover off, liquid should be almost gone. Add figs and take off of heat. Let stand for a few minutes and stir in maple syrup and pecans. You can serve it over the arugula or fold the arugula in.

This is a fine example of a nutrient dense side dish. Feel free to swap out the pecans for walnuts or whatever you like. The figs can be a different fruit like cherries also. Arugula can be spinach or watercress. Bringing sweet components into your savory dishes will fulfill the sugar craving we all have. Have fun with it.

Grace Prayer Evolves to Break Bad Habits

Every religion, whether Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Islamic or even non-religious humanists have a form of a Grace prayer. I was brought up in a non-practicing Catholic household. A picture of Jesus on the wall and a crucifix here and there, church on some holidays; is a pretty common theme where I’m from. Saying Grace before dinner is something I never did or even had been present at the table during until my late twenties. Although, being told to be grateful for the food I ate or scorned for how ungrateful I may have acted at times was common language.

The acts of saying a prayer before a meal, in most religions, is to offer thanks for the food you have been given. This brief moment that is taken in silence before a meal is a tool that is also used in Dr. Epel’s study relating stress with eating habits.

The biological effects of stress cause us to unmindfully choose the sugary, salty fatty foods. One key way to relieving this stress is, of course, exercise (I say, get some Crossfit in your life). But what caught my attention about her approach are the meditation practices throughout the day and especially before meals. Epel emphasizes using these brief moments of mindfulness and awareness to become in tune with the body’s needs and eating based on caloric need NOT emotional need. This means taking a minute to observe the food you are going to eat with all of your senses; its sight, smell, origin and more importantly, what its nutritional content is going to do for your body.

Can the meaning and purpose of saying Grace evolve to also include this awareness? I feel it is such a widely known ritual so many are comfortable with and could easily be the relative starting point for this very beneficial tool.

Is having a constant consciousness a life skill that could benefit many people struggling with bad eating habits, especially those in the restaurant industry that are constantly picking at whatever is around? I remember the first time I decided to do a fruit and vegetable fast. I had hit a plateau in my force feeding habits in hopes of gaining weight and decided to give my body a break and try to get my appetite and taste buds back. Talk about being mindful. I was literally pulling my hands from my mouth as they were instinctually trying to feed me bits of chicken salad and tortilla chips. I never had to be mindful of what I was eating on that level. That fast and a few more soon after brought the discipline I needed to break any long standing eating habits I had formed and become aware of my body’s needs.

I picture the traditional thought process while saying Grace to be about gratitude, maybe some humility and love for those around you, and that is great. It is also something that is dwindling with time as is the amount of people attending church and synagogue. In fact, studies show that a big percentage of people are lying about attending services.

My opinion is that if taking that moment before meals and throughout the day was meant to bring awareness to what you are consuming and your body’s needs and not synonymous with a religious saying or action, it would be more widely accepted and utilized to prevent bad eating habits. Maybe there is no words said and it is that silent few minutes of just listening and feeling your body’s needs and acknowledging your cravings for different nutrients.  Give it a shot. Try a fruit and vegetable fast if you have never and gain that discipline we all need. “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley (1826-1893) from The Conduct of Life

Choices: Overweight Doesn’t Mean its Over

Just a reminder: The Weight of the Nation streams online for free on HBO.com.

The second of this four part documentary, Choices, first reminds us that Americans have built a cheap food model as a result of being mislead through television and advertising. It is the profitable foods that are in our face the most that become our go to options as we constantly look for the more convenient way to eat.

At the National Institute of Health they are trying to look at what drives obesity through metabolic clinical research in hopes of developing better therapies to treat and prevent it. They can see the brains response to more pleasurable foods but the biological systems involved in obesity are complex and have posed a challenge to science. The sensible conclusion of most studies: Small changes in lifestyle will reduce weight. To me that means more discipline in making healthier choices driven by the desire to want to live.

The documentary reiterates much of what has been said for years about diet, exercise, and diabetes and obesity prevention. When it comes to fad diets, author of The 100 Year Diet Susan Yager, tells us these diets are meant to be temporary, if they solve the problem they will be out of business. The legitimate dieticians, doctors and researchers all have the same suggestions about this shift in lifestyle in order to lose weight. The first suggestion to prevent obesity is:  Stop drinking sugary drinks! Soda, red bull, orange juice, any sugary juice extracted from its fiber needs to be eliminated. Dr. Robert Lustig Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF says, “The sugar in the fruit is nature’s way of getting you to eat your fiber.” I agree. There is a reason that nature does not produce little sacks of pure fructose. We are not meant to ingest sugar without fiber present.

It is not breaking news that to lose weight, caloric intake must be a few hundred less a day than what your body needs to function. Those calories do not need to be all carbs/no fat/no protein, all lean protein/some fat/no carbs, or whatever the next 2012 Diet of the Mayans before the Apocalypse might suggest. Obviously nutrient dense calories would be ideal here and resisting trans fat and toxic calories are common sense. Toning down all three macronutrients; protein, carbs and fat is suggested. They talk about not going extreme with a caloric intake that is too low, starving yourself, because it will slow your metabolism and therefore burn no fat.

Scientists in this study do not agree with the Biggest Loser’s approach to intense physical activity being the primary solution to lose weight. Although exercise is just as important as diet, portion control and gradual weight loss is much more effective for the long run. What exercise does do on top of burn calories is reduce stress and raise levels of opioids, the chemicals in the brain that allow us to feel pleasure. Sugar, white flour and fatty foods also raise this level and eliminating these without adding exercise is part of the struggle while transitioning to a healthier lifestyle.

 

As far as diabetes prevention as talked about in this film, Dr. Epel of USCF conducted a study with two identical twins in their 50s to see if a lifestyle intervention could decrease diabetes. In 95% of cases, if one twin has diabetes, the other one also gets it. The patients in this study were the Daly twins. The one who was a little less active and a little more overweight got the warning of pre-diabetes from his doctor in his early 40s. He continued his lifestyle while the healthier one increased exercise and a healthier diet to prevent his chances even more. Ten years later the unhealthy twin has full on type 2 diabetes while the healthier twin does not. Doctors are suggesting that with weight loss, exercise and proper diet that he can reverse this health problem that could take his limbs if not his life someday.

The stress epidemic is in direct relation with the obesity epidemic. Part of one study is to teach the patients about bringing awareness to their food and listening to and feeling the body’s cravings for foods. Being able to see when we are eating out of stress is key in maintaining a healthy weight. Stress literally causes your body to go into fat storing mode and look for these fatty, sugary foods. When the brain is stressed it sends a message to the adrenal glands to release adrenalin and cortisol. Cortisol floods the body creating enzymes in the fat cells that turn them into fat storing machines. This rush floods the brain and like the drive for a drug pushes you to look for these fatty unhealthy foods.

To sum up, no matter what you are genetically predisposed to or what your current state of health is, through a few small changes in your lifestyle you can achieve a healthy weight and prevent and reverse disease such as diabetes high blood pressure. This is a topic that I am very passionate about have began working with clients through Plant Based Body on a one on one basis. Going into their homes setting up their kitchens teaching them how to simplify cooking these healthy foods at home is how I am beginning to make this my life.

Two days ago I was laid off from the hotel I was at after 3 ½ years. I am now looking forward to pursuing my passion full time and helping those around me find the love that I have found for nutrient dense food. I have the ability to bring my 17 years of culinary experience to show them how to utilize what nature has given us and make this lifestyle that much more simple.

Obesity is Crippling our Nation

For those of you that didn’t get to watch The Weight of the Nation on HBO, I pulled out some important information on Part 1 Consequences and Part 2 Choices. Part 1 looks at a study that started back in 1972 to prove that heart disease starts in childhood, the Bogalusa Study. This is the first study to autopsy children who had died from accidental and non-cardiac causes in search of heart disease. 20% of these children had fat deposits in their coronary arteries along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Of the 16,000 participants in this study, 77% of obese children remained obese as adults while only 7% of healthy children became obese as adults.

Nine of the top ten states for obesity are also our poorest. In some of these poor neighborhoods, children have a 1 in 3 chance of diabetes. African American or Latino children have a 1 in 2 chance in developing diabetes and, they say, at this rate most will die before their parents. Overall though, unlike in the past, obesity is affecting all classes of people, not just the poor.

I learned that a diseased liver has a huge role metabolically on obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. Cryptogenic cirrhosis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is found in 13% of normal weight children and 38% of obese children during autopsies.  25% of adults have excess fat in the liver. This disease did not exist before, in adults or children. Doctors do not know the specific reason behind it but that it only exists in people that are overweight or obese. Researchers say this modern disease could be the leading reason behind liver transplants in the future.

The statistics of health problems behind obesity and overweight individuals are endless. 20% of cancer death in men and 14% in women are related to overweight or obesity. 66% of people with arthritis are obese. You are 83% more likely to get kidney disease and 80% more susceptible to dementia if you are overweight or obese.

Type 2 diabetes mostly affects overweight and older adults and accounts for 90% of people with diabetes. Currently 25 million people in the U.S. are diabetic, another 79 million are pre-diabetic and 5 million are walking around undiagnosed.

An obese person costs $1400 more a year to insure while a diabetic person costs $6600 more a year. It comes out to $150 million dollars a year to insure overweight and people with diet related problems with half of that money coming from state funding. That means everyone pays out of pocket for this epidemic. In North Carolina and Alabama these obese employees are forced to pay higher premiums to stay insured. Also the case in some private sectors, or they will just avoid the cost all together and move the jobs to India or China. When it comes to our military, 27% of people trying to get into the military cannot because they are past the weight requirement.

So to sum up Part 1, Consequences, the next leaders of this country are dying before their parents from diseases they shouldn’t have. The workforce is so unfit that companies are moving out of the country to fill jobs. Military, police, the men and women that protect this country are not only limited on new recruits by 27% because of obesity but 3-5,000 service personnel a year are discharged for being overweight. Never mind the whole in America’s pocket the health care cost is burning through.

As a consumer, a diner in a restaurant, a citizen of this country, you have a decision to be part of this problem or make some changes to be in the solution. As a chef, a restaurant owner, anyone in the feeding people business, we also can either keep on feeding this problem or make some changes to benefit our guest’s health.  This obesity epidemic is crippling our nation.

This is preventable. This is not one of those unfortunate acts of nature that we just have to accept. This is not the product of a tsunami.”-Jack Shonkoff, MD Director, Center of Developing Child, Harvard University

My synopsis of Part 2 Choices, will follow soon.

You Can Reap the Benefits of Kale and Still Be True to Your Roots

From the moment I first consider a positive change in my life until the time I begin to act on it could be months, even years.  For some, they can go a lifetime without ever having taken the action necessary to better their well being.  Whether it’s quitting smoking, working out, eating healthy or spreading a message through this blog I first had to get over the fear of change and be receptive to what my natural born intuition was telling me.

I recently visited back home in Boston and took my mother to this nice family-run Italian seafood spot tucked away in Ball Square, Somerville. The conversation was good, I seemed to take the long awaited discussion down the healthy road and fill her ears with words like “nutrient dense” “raw” “bee pollen” “juicing.” “This way of eating not only prevents cancer but studies show can stop cells from growing.” “Watch Forks over Knives!” Most of these words my mother has never heard from anyone but myself. That’s because where we are from the only diets we hear about are Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem or alterations in a diet to refrain from certain foods by doctor’s orders.

Like many of my relatives, my mother’s brother and father both died of colon cancer at the same age of 51 and she herself has diverticulosis. When I am presented the opportunity I attempt to chisel away at my family members and friends one by one to deconstruct the eating habits that so many of us grew up knowing.

Now after having a delicious dinner and some of the best meaningful conversation we have had in a while, I see an old employer of mine. He is a pretty overweight guy, middle aged, and Italian background. He runs his family’s deli and restaurant right there in the same square we are in. “Hey Mike, How are you doing?” He says he’s good, little bigger than the last time I saw him, always smiling; his grandiose mannerisms remind me of a politician in election season walking door to door, kissing babies. I only worked for him for two months during Christmas in 2004 for extra money so we didn’t really know each other that well.

I remind him that I am in Miami now and tell him it is good to see the pics of his new breakfast spot on Facebook. With a distant look in his eyes he says, “Yeah, I saw you post something not too long ago too… It wasn’t very Boston.”

It wasn’t very Boston? Hmm…. I was speechless for a second. Was it the pic I put up of kale wrapped around California watercress saying “love at first sight, juicing has never been so sexy?” The organic veggies I was about to juice one morning and had to share the beauty of first? I don’t really post often and when I do it is along those lines.

I am not surprised that he would look at kale like a foreign entity from outer space. This is the mindset in this neighborhood and unfortunately the way you eat represents who you are as a person, as a Bostonian. Had I been in the right situation I would have loved to drill (I mean educate) him on why I eat the way I do and how it has an impact on those around me and my menus. Give him some input on why he will not be seeing much below his waste without a mirror much longer if his belly gets any bigger from eating all the sugary waffles and crap he posts pictures of online.

Many men and women work their whole lives in the restaurant business and never consider that a change in their lifestyle could benefit all of those around them. The thought to eat better and get to an ideal body weight, without a doubt, crosses their mind but is a mere attempt with the fear of change and, in this biz, lack of organization and time management.

The only way I was able to get on the path and stay there was to realize that at the end of the day all I have is my life. I am not the face of the restaurant I work in, or the money in my bank, or a newspaper article or even the name printed on the bottom of a menu. If I am constantly looking for the time I have lost, repairing and amending arrangements I have missed and letting my health go, who am I living for?

Chefs, waitresses, F+B Directors, none of them, put their own well being before their job. For me that includes my meals, my exercise, my state of mind and my well being come first. Before I put myself out there to offer my opinion, articulate my culinary talent or serve a meal to a hungry guest, I will have taken care of me first.

It feels almost disloyal for a chef to think of himself first or take a few minutes out to prepare himself something of sustenance. Well, let’s just say I am over that feeling. That was my delusional perception of how available I needed to be to prove myself and my work ethic to my employer. With a little organization and planning, I am able to maintain a plant based diet, get my Crossfit on and train for Tough Mudder in July, a challenging 12 mile military style obstacle course; seeking organic stress relief through ancient remedies such as sauna therapy, yoga and meditation are rituals I will not live without today.

Many people are living to eat, when they should be EATING TO LIVE! Life is short. Our bodies are the only vessel we have to carry us through this journey. My next visit back home I will be sure to walk my old stomping ground, green juice in hand, with pride. Maybe even pass out some healthy info on how to prevent losing sight of your family jewels.

Pro-mo Chef Influences Coworkers

One of the reasons most young chefs are motivated to get up and go to work every day is for the instant social interaction with the attractive front of the house staff. The endless hook up potential from the constant flow of newbies keeps the pep in their step when kitchen life gets stale. I wouldn’t be here today had my father’s parents not met this way when she was a carhop and he was a cook back in 1948.
I am fortunate to be in a South Beach rooftop lounge/weekend party scene where there is no shortage of attractive wait staff and bartenders. The all female wait staff wears nothing more than booty shorts and a bikini top most of the time. No matter how young or how blessed with good genes they are, you would think that they were on strict diets with their slender to sculpted beach bodies. Just like any one working in a busy venue, they can also neglect their diet and have the workhorse mentality just grabbing what they can fill their belly with. It’s usually Easy Mac or those two dollar cheap sandwiches at Walgreens across the street. Just because someone looks average on the outside doesn’t mean that they don’t feel sluggish and inattentive from not eating the right foods.
The first thing I did when I came up to this venue two years ago was change the menu. About as much effort went into this sad excuse for food options in this $700 a night hotel as did the workplace it is produced from. This venue had been operating for two years before I got up here and the extensive changes I had made did not go over well with the staff and I was not making any friends here for quite some time.
I stayed consistent with the standards I hold as a chef and began to get some recognition from some of the girls who liked my food. I would educate them on the menu and give them specific menu descriptions. Most of those carefully typed packets I would find stuffed in their stations, unsurprisingly. When you’re selling 70 grand on a Saturday and only seven of it is food, the 10 ingredients in the jerk chicken marinade is not their priority.
Like any relationship between a chef and wait staff, time is of the essence. The more and more I initiated change in my diet and began to share my knowledge with the ones that were receptive, the more I began to notice how I really could impact those around me.
To prove how the lifestyle of a chef can impact those around them I conducted a small survey via email with the wait staff that I work with most.

The first question I asked:
1) What idea comes to mind when you think of the lifestyle or the image of a chef? (ie: body type, demeanor, influence on others)
Three of the four girls said they picture an unhealthy male with comments like “not-so-health conscious, sloppy, overweight and out of shape.” Shisney, a native of Brooklyn and a 10 year veteran in the industry, expressed just what I was waiting to hear. She has grown accustomed to the fact that all chefs are “jerks and rude,” and it should be expected. She said, “Most chefs just want to satisfy the customer regardless of how many empty calories they throw in their food and could care less about what kind of influence they are on those around them.”

Questions #2 and #3:
2) How many health conscious chefs have you worked next to? If so, tell me when and if he or she had a positive impact on your diet.
3) In what ways have you benefited from working with a chef practicing a progressive modern lifestyle? (Me)

Before I go on to their answers I just want to remember that chefs are dishing out millions of meals a year to their trusting guests. Combined with advertising and marketing companies, chefs are the almighty leaders in the food industry. This idea that we can and should be knowledgeable of nutrition and composing our dishes accordingly should not be far-fetched or left to only the small amount of health conscious concepts. Just saying…
Three of the four girls did not read onto Question 3 and said that I was the only chef they have ever worked next to that has had a positive impact on their diet. Their experience ranges from 9 to almost 20 years working in restaurants and hotels with chefs and sadly not one has posed any influential enlightenment as to what the right foods can do for your body, mind and spirit. I am not the least bit surprised, but moving forward, this neglectful pattern in a chef’s role needs to go out the window with white flour.
Lisa, a 39 year old Miami native, has been in and out of being a “good” vegetarian for the last 20 years. In the past 6 months she has really utilized picking my brain and says in Question 3, “The ability to communicate with you about new ideas and recipes has encouraged me to get excited about certain ingredients and revisit vegetarianism in a whole new way.”
More than improving her own vegetarian diet with superfoods like bee pollen and spirulina, she and Shisney as well, express how they are bringing it home to their sons. Lisa’s four year old is asking for the apple juice mixed with super green powder full of spirulina, kale and spinach. Shisney has replaced cow’s milk with almond milk at home and is sneaking wheat flour and quinoa into her two year olds diet. “I want to instill in him at a very young age the importance of having a well rounded diet so that he can live a full life and not think of it as a diet but as a way of life.”
Marielle, a 29 year old going for her second BA, this time in Psychology, gave me short answers and felt like she didn’t say enough. The one thing she did say was that she now has an awareness of her sodium intake due to me constantly reading her the labels of her grab and go microwaveable crap snacks. She also remembered our talks about bee pollen a while back. Hmm… from Easy Mac to bee pollen and an awareness of sodium. I’ll take that. It sounds like she now knows about nature’s only complete food essential to sustain human life and also how to prevent the many problems associated with a high sodium diet. Chefs aren’t doctors, we should just know the food we are serving and its effect in the long run.

4) How do you think people would feel about dining if they knew the chef, at all levels of cuisine, had their health and not just their taste buds in mind?
It should be assumed that the chef cares about his guests enough to not load there food with toxins and empty calories. For a split second, we all take that assumption the moment we sit down in their restaurant. Of course no one would spend money in a place that they felt their health was being jeopardized. Then we chuckle to ourselves at how much crap was used to create that rich decadent flavor we are tossing around our mouth. But it’s SOOOO GOOD!!
So, the answers here were pretty much a given. Obviously, they would want the person cooking their meals to genuinely care about their health. The idea just seems so out of the ordinary. It’s like the chefs are unreachable and far too busy to think of what? Our health too! I say it does not increase your work load to use more nutrient dense ingredients and less empty calories. With the right knowledge we can work smarter not harder.
They all said they would be more comfortable going out to eat and go more often. Good news for restaurants and diners, win-win situation. Healthier guests, go out to eat more, live longer. Sweet!

“People need to realize that you can still have delicious food and have it be healthy.”
“When I know a restaurant serves organic/hormone free meat, I feel much better about eating there.”
“The forward thinking chefs are those in my opinion that would gain much respect because taste buds change and so do people.”

I, myself, also have a hard time finding the ingredients and nutrient content I generally eat and would also go out more often. I feel this is where the food industry should be going. The challenge for a progressive modern chef today should be targeting his/her menu to appease the health conscious crowd. We lead the way in our own lifestyle, demonstrate our talent on our menu, and our diners follow.