Chef Judson Todd Allen recently penned a new book titled The Spice Diet that teaches one how to use flavor to break addictions to unhealthy foods without feeling deprived. In his book, Allen, also known as the Architect of Flavor ®, shares his personal story of being addicted to food, encourages weight loss and shows readers how to pair the perfect spices and ingredients, (excluding salt, sugar and processed foods) to yield simple and flavorful meals that also happen to be healthy. He also shares 70 simple, yet healthy recipes in the book and offers the reader tricks that he’s used to make his favorite foods as healthy and tasty as they are healing.
Having traveled the world to places like the islands of Jamaica and the Bahamas searching for hidden culinary treasures, Allen has uncovered indigenous spices, ingredients and techniques that he’s since used in his delectable food preparation. Equipped with a degree in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in entrepreneurship from DePaul University’s Graduate School of Business, Allen has a vast amount of experience and serves as a current advisory board member of the DePaul University School of Hospitality. Helping to fuel one of his passions of eradicating childhood obesity, Allen launched the CHEF BLEND weekend, an annual event designed to celebrate the inspiration of flavor through healthier, locally sourced foods. During this event, Allen also likes to showcase other chefs’ masterpieces and works of culinary art.
Rolling out spoke with Allen to get some tips on what you can do to keep your appetite in check while eating healthy, yet flavorful meals during the holiday season. Check out his exclusive interview below. Chime in on the comments to let us know if you can feel where Allen’s coming from.
What can one do to not overeat during the holidays?
I must admit, back in the day I used to “go in” during the holidays. I am talking about saving your appetite all day and easily making three trips to the long, never-ending buffet of food. If the immediate activity after dinner was not a deep sleep, I did not feel I accomplished [about] my holiday eating duties. Now, my mindset is completely different. It’s not about how much I can eat; rather, getting a taste of the holidays [on] one plate. Here are some of the methods I’ve adopted to ensure I don’t overeat during the holiday [season]:
- The morning of the holiday dinner, do one two-hour workout (low or high intensity)
- Before dinner, I drink water and snack on fresh fruit and things like hummus to fill me up with healthier options
- By the time I am ready to eat dinner, I have already satisfied my hunger and now just feel compelled to take small tasting amounts of what I want.
How do you set eating goals during the holiday?
For so long, I believed that many of us have associated setting eating goals with deprivation. You know what I’m talking about: the good ole’ “… this week I am cutting meat out of my diet,” or “… I am no longer eating any sweets.” For many of us, these goals become broken promises to ourselves, which lead to further depression, doubt, frustration, etc. I personally encourage others to now set goals based on reality. The method that has worked for me that I outline in my book is [that] I changed the way I thought and felt about healthy food using flavor. I got rid of the salt, processed sugars and carbs and replaced them with bold powerhouse flavors that left me feeling satisfied.
There are foods that I truly enjoy; [however], now I just eat them in a healthier way. For example, I have always enjoyed ice cream, now I make a nondairy, low fat, all naturally sweetened buttery macadamia nut “ice cream” that is beyond satisfying; its damn near sinful!
Name three meals that you recommend for the holidays.
As a nod to my granddads Louisiana roots, every holiday it is an unspoken requirement that my andouille sausage, chicken and crab gumbo be served. The recipe is on my website and a must try! Also, during the holidays, my family likes to blend tradition with non-tradition. I now introduce a nice spread of healthier options exploding with flavor to our menu. The signature dishes I recommend are my pecan crusted salmon and my oven roasted Brussel sprouts with a roasted garlic and lemon vinaigrette.
Follow chef Allen on FB at @ChefJudsonToddAllen and @TheSpiceDiet, or on Instagram at @JudsonToddAllen and @TheSpiceDiet, as well as on Twitter @JudsonToddAllen and @TheSpiceDiet. The Spice Diet book is now available for pre-order at Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, Walmart.com and via TheSpiceDiet.com. The book launches Jan. 16, 2018.