Discovering Real FoodFri 22 Aug 2014
Story by Chef CJ
As one of the Ambassadors for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I was asked why I decided to live my life consuming real, wholesome healthy foods. My answer is simple, this life style choice chose me.
I have to admit this question did through me for a loop. I did not have the answer right away and it took me a while to realize living a great life with a regular diet of real, healthy, wholesome food actually chose me. I lived most of my life eating a poor diet and tones of processed products without even having a clue what they might do to my body or health and what made it even worse is the fact that I have been battling a digestive disease my for most of my life. I am an example of my environment and how as a society, everyone has been led to believe that the food they consume on a daily basis is good for them and will not affect their health. The sad truth is a huge percentage of what we consume has little to no nutritional value to it at all and can harm your body in so many ways. It is mind boggling how we as a universe went on this hike of culinary discovery and derailed the health part.
Before I attended culinary school, I used to associate healthy food with tasteless tree bark and thought any form of a diet just left me feeling deprived and unsatisfied. It was not until that first day of class when we made quiche without a crust that my mind had opened and I discovered that I had it all wrong, it was not the food that I didn’t like, it was a certain way it was cooked and presented to me that I did not desire. The quiche had seven different ingredients that I thought, I hated. I just so happened to eat the entire batch not even leaving any for my classmates to taste. It was at this very moment the light bulb went off and I realized I knew nothing about the one thing I refer to as the biggest love of my life, and that is “Food”.
I walked into culinary school thinking I had studied enough and this would be a piece of Deep Dish Pizza Pie (Chicago Style Baby). The coined phrase I so often used when it came to the culinary field was “I got this” suddenly went to “I have no idea”. I suddenly realized the entire reason that I decided to attend culinary school did not even exist and as a society, we had everything wrong when it came to consuming food. What is labeled diet food and most commonly resembled the flavor and texture of tree bark was more than likely not even healthy for our bodies. Often diets are a mistake and many usually end rapidly because we deprive ourselves by thinking we are on the right track to good health, only to be discouraged by the lack of progress because the food is often tasteless and is not satisfying.
My major breakthrough that happened when I joined the Food Revolution volunteer team is that I realised that real food does not come in wrappers, but instead it is grown by farmers and hangs out in the produce isle. It is fresh in its original form. You can recognize it by sight, and can pronounce it by name. The real healthy food in the world comes with no labels and more than likely has more health benefits than we can imagine. There is something amazing about locally sourced produce that to me as a chef has become priceless.
It has led me on a discovery to embrace real food. I have to say being six months into my junk food detox, I have never felt better in my life. My body and the way it feels has actually led me to a healthier lifestyle.
After going through the best hardest and most amazing experience of my life, I feel it is my duty as a human being first and a Real Food Ambassador second to share my knowledge with the world. This is how this life choice chose me; it chose me because I chose to live!
About the author: Born and raised in Chicago, Chef CJ moved to Bowling Green Kentucky to lead a simpler lifestyle and to make a subtle change in his family’s quality of living. Stricken with Crohns disease at a young age left him struggling with health issues his entire life. This very struggle led him into becoming a Real Food Ambassador and was the very reason he dedicated his life and soul to educating America about how amazing real food can be. This mission will be his life work and he has never been happier.
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