Here at The Natural Epicurean we spend our time training professionals to cook fabulous healthy and delicious food. We believe – and the research supports – that the type of food we prepare based on the 5 Essential Healing cuisines is vital to building and maintaining personal health. We also believe that even beyond training professional chefs, we can make a contribution by teaching people to cook at home more frequently. Up until now, we’ve been encouraging people to cook out of common sense and experience – it seems obvious that if you cook your own food, it will be healthier, cleaner and more nourishing. [Read more…]
When Jehan Strauss of 3 Potato 4 asked me if I was interested in taking over the annual Vegan Thanksgiving, I gave a resounding “YES!” without any trepidation. What better way to introduce The Natural Epicurean and our amazing plant-based mission to the New Orleans community? And boy am I glad that we took on the challenge!
I have been coming to New Orleans for over 25 years and have known, in my heart, that she would eventually be my home. I have always been inspired by her resilience and by the courage of her citizens. Not to mention, New Orleanians know how to live! And they make every day count. So it is an honor to bring my passion for healthy living to such a dynamic and vibrant community.
This past week, we were fortunate enough to be featured in two online news outlets. It’s great to see such positive feedback from our students and followers.
The first article, “Pro Vegan Grilling Tips From the Natural Epicurean,” by Samantha Lester at Peaceful Dumpling, gives insight into our public classes. She shares 4 tips that she learned from this past Saturday’s Vegan Grilling and Charcuterie class, including:1) Be adventurous. 2) Use color and presentation to invoke more traditional foods when desired. 3) Don’t overcook your grilled fruits and veggies. 4) Use creative cooking techniques to spice up traditional foods.
It is one of the cruelest ironies that poverty and obesity so often go hand in hand. As a culture, we look down on people who are overweight, all the while creating a fast-tracked system to getting there.
In a 2007 NY Times article, Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, sites a study done by Adam Drewnowski, an obesity researcher at the University of Washington. Drewnowski challenged himself to purchase as many calories as possible using just one dollar. The results defy common sense.
For one dollar, Drewnowski was able to purchase 1,200 calories with of cookies or potato chips, while on the other (healthier) hand, he was only able to manage 250 calories worth of carrots. For those who are trying to stretch a limited budget, this means unhealthy, overly calorie-dense foods are the only option.
Although one would think that the less money you have available, the less calories at your disposal, at least in the U.S., what Drewnowskis study proves, is that the less money at your disposal means the more likely you are to have an OVERconsumption of calories. The problem is, most, if not all, of these calories are empty – nutritionally void. Or, worse yet, nutritionally detrimental – harming and interrupting to the body’s natural processes.
The link between obesity and malnutrition is not often considered. We tend to think that an over consumption of calories means more than enough vitamins and minerals are available for the body to function. Unfortunately, the opposite in generally true. The problem of malnutrition in the U.S. is as much linked to obesity as it is to any other factor.
So the perfect storm is created. Through the mental manipulation of advertising and other social factors and chemical manipulation of additives and highly refined and engineered ingredients, certain sectors of society are cornered into bad health. This is a self-perpetuating system for many large corporation who rely on people to buy their cheap, junky food, while the next corporation relies on people to buy their dangerous drug to mask the problems created by the cheap, junky food. And when these people come to officials asking for help improving their food options, they are often met with scorn.
It’s time to revamp the system.
I’m not one to promote “isms,” but as the director of a plant-based, health-supportive culinary school, veganism is one “ism” I can wholeheartedly get behind. And with all of the beautiful people that grace magazine covers, star in tabloid spreads, and win awards for their craft, vegan is becoming an exceedingly popular “ism” to be a part of in today’s culture.
Jared Leto boasts about his vegan pancakes in between touring with Thirty Seconds to Mars and picking up numerous statues for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. He’s a busy vegan with great hair.
The 1990s introduced us to Blossom Russo, the perky teen played by Mayim Bialik. Mayim is still on the tele entertaining us with her character Amy, in The Big Bang Theory, and has published two books, one of which is dedicated to promoting a vegan lifestyle with family friendly recipes, Mayim’s Vegan Table.
We can also add Alicia Silverstone, Jessica Chastain, and Joaquin Phoenix to the list of vocal vegans. (I’m sure there even more flying in under the radar in Tinseltown, not quite ready to let their vegan flag fly.) [Read more…]