One of the things I have noticed as a chef is that each generation, starting from our grandparents, seems to know less and less about food. I notice that our generation knows more about a Hollywood Celebrity’s personal life. There are more people out there that know more about where a shoe designer has come from and less about where that chicken they are eating was raised. Doesn’t this make you think of where your morals are and where they should be?
I recently went to Ecuador with my good friends from ROAM Adventures and I was so amazed at the South American eating habits. Any chance I got, I would check out what the local markets carried, as well as what was on the menus at the restaurants and it was an eye opener to say the least. They didn’t have produce imported from halfway around the world or meat sections the size of a football field. They carried what was local and in season. If avocados and langoustines were in season then that’s what everyone used. The local meat markets carried what they would sell for that day and that day alone. They would have four or five chickens hanging for sale and you know that they were killed that day. Something else that was so refreshing to see is, if you lived on the coast your diet consisted of a lot of seafood, and if you lived on the inland then you relied on beef, pork and chicken and no seafood. Some restaurants on the inland did carry seafood but that was mainly to satisfy the tourists. Ecuador may be classified as a third world country and may be far behind the technology we have in North America but we can take a page out of their lifestyle in regards to their daily diets. Rarely did I see a person over weight.
For the most part obesity is preventable as well as treatable. It should be looked at as a preventable issue not a disease that needs curing. It should be a one day at a time solution and even more so one bite at a time.
When most people eat, they keep shoving food in their mouths until they feel full and then shortly after feel bloated and gross. It actually takes time for our stomachs to tell our brains that we are full, but most of us don’t allow this to happen. A good thing to try to help solve this issue is the 10 minute rule. Eat a small portion of food and wait for 10 minutes and see how you feel and go from there.
As a chef people often think that I must make elaborate meals at home every night and I eat so well, but the truth is good food doesn’t have to be fine dining. You can eat very inexpensive food and still have it taste amazing as well as be really good for you. A fresh salad with grilled chicken, fish or steak is so satisfying when some thought is put into it. I have to admit as well that I am nowhere near perfect when it comes to my eating habits, but it’s the moderation and balance that it’s all about. I am not going to turn my life upside down with my food I eat as I don’t expect you to do either.
There is a reason why you feel gross and bloated after eating at a greasy fast food joint. It’s your body trying to reject whatever it is that you just ate.
Next time you go shopping, go to the produce section and ask questions about what they have and what’s good. I deal with most of them on a regular basis and they are all extremely knowledgeable about the products they carry. You may even be surprised with what tasty treats they have hidden in the back and have yet to be put out on the shelves.
It doesn’t have to be rocket science to be good, just understand what you are using and what you want to do with it.
-Chef Jamie Hertz