Chef Ryan Hutmacher in conversation with Jyoti Lazzaro, a great Chicago-based cook in her own right, ran a very successful webinar on Saturday May 23, highlighting for the Arogya community several elements of healthy cooking. In a part-talk, part-recipe demo session, the authentic and accomplished Chicago-based chef discussed roasting vegetables and the importance of texture, keeping the audience engaged throughout.
“The whole healthy eating thing is a practice. But the word healthy can have a negative connotation. Lets face it – It makes us feel deprived, like we are cutting out our favorite tasty foods,” Hutmacher said.
He asked the audience, “What keeps people from eating better?” The Arogya Community answered immediately, hitting several of Chef Ryan’s key points:
- Healthy food is not tasty in perception
- Time, that fresh foods take longer to prepare
- Eating too much!
- Cost of fresh food is higher
- Money, and deciding what to eat
- Convenience is very important – cooking healthy fresh food is a lot of work
- Time and preparation are key
- Healthy eating is especially tough when you have a sweet tooth
- Tempting unhealthy food at social gatherings with friends
- Food labels can be confusing
- No support from other family members
- Food “deserts” – lack of healthy, fresh food in several communities
During COVID we confront emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, as we discussed in the last webinar on mental health. Mindset and mood are really important for healthy eating, and in these uncertain times we cannot trust ourselves to make the best decisions about the food we eat. 20% of the calories we consume are allocated right to our brain. How do we put clean food in our bodies so we can fuel our minds?
Chef Ryan introduced the importance of texture as a key element in the psychology of satiation. In his recipe Crispy Glazed Brussels sprouts, he showed us how to build creamy + crunchy + chewy textures to feel full and satisfied.
During the session, Jyoti and he also highlighted:
- The importance of boosting immunity, especially during these COVID times, with more veggies, and by minimizing processed foods.
- Transform vegetables and whisk away bitterness by roasting.
- Elevate natural sodium in veggies with lemon juice or acidity.
- Bake chickpeas and kidney beans for added crunch.
- Half your plate should be vegetables and fruits, 25% complex carbs, and 25% lean protein. This follows the recommendations of the US’s MyPlate, and is core to the approach followed by Arogya for the development of MyThali.
- Olive oil is a healthy oil. Grapeseed oil or avocado oil may be suitable for high temperature cooking.
Thank you Chef Ryan and Jyoti Lazzaro for giving a lot of yourselves to this session. Their great conversation and colorful personalities kept the audience engaged around healthy eating and home cooking. This is important not only for boosting immunity and preventing NCDs but also for staying alert, vibrant and productive during and after COVID.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want the recipe, or to listen to a recording of the webinar.