Chef AJ Teaches Us That Healthy Food Taste’s Good!

Nick: Tell me your favorite stories of people
that you’ve had an impact. You showed these incredible pictures. Chef AJ: Yeah. I’m trying to think. There are so many. There was a girl and her name is Sheda [0:00:11]
[Phonetic]. She was in the photographs who lost a hundred
pounds. Her uncle had died from gastric bypass surgery,
perforated the main aorta, and she was devastated, a very close relative. She had suffered from metabolic syndrome,
Syndrome X, on medication for pre-diabetes, all the usual high cholesterol which people
think is [0:00:31] [Indiscernible] of insufficiency, which is not. And so, she was told by the doctor that she
would never lose weight without bypass surgery, that it would take a Herculean effort for
her to ever lose weight. It was very demoralizing — Nick: Bypass of the intestinal — Chef AJ: Yeah, he wanted her to have gastric
bypass, the procedure that killed her uncle and she’s like, “No way.” When somebody tells you you’re never going
to be successful, it’s demoralizing, a doctor especially or somebody you look up to. And she was devastated, but instead of getting
mad, she got even. And luckily, I found her right at the right
time and she took my ultimate weight loss program. She’s kept the hundred pounds off for a year,
and the weird thing is that when I met her, she had a ruptured tendon in her foot and
she was wearing a boot. She was wearing this boot for a year, so she
really couldn’t do a lot of exercise, and four doctors said, “You’re going to have to
have surgery to fix this tendon.” Well, after eating whole food, plant-based,
oil-free for a year, the tendon miraculously healed and the doctors were like — well,
this is what they say, “It’s a miracle” when they don�t want to give credit to the plant-based
diet. Well, we don�t understand spontaneous remission,
but tendons generally don�t regenerate. I just think that’s an amazing story that
this was a side effect of eating a healthy diet. Nick: I had two clients that I never forgot. It was in the early days when I was working
with Nathan Pritikin and then after that, I went on to develop my own health education,
Delgado Protocol. It was a gentleman named John and he was a
real estate agent and he said, “Listen, I call on homeowners and I give them fliers. I want to help them sell their home,” and
he’s a big man, real big, tall but really big. We’re talking obese, but a big man. And I said, “John, just come to our six-week
class.” I found somewhere around six weeks was the
time because we’d start off with food preparations for people and we would serve the foods along
with the lecture. We mimicked what we were doing at the Pritikin
Longevity Center and I had all the slides and information, updated them, and I still
to this day have all those programs that I created with Nathan Pritikin. And it’s interesting because John told me
at the end of the fourth week, the fifth week, he said, “I almost gave up. The foods were just�” because of the sugar
and salt, and Pritikin was really strict. He did no sugar or salt — Chef AJ: Yeah. He’s like Goldhamer, yeah. Nick: He’s as strict as he could get, and
by the sixth week, we told the clients, we said, “Bring a potluck. Bring a dish that you’ve learned to prepare.” And the other reason we were able to keep
them on track, they had to fill out 24 food recall. My mom, Beatrice, who’s now 82, she was at
the front desk. They were not allowed in the classroom unless
they filled out their food log — Chef AJ: Yeah, it does help keeping a food
log. Nick: Huge. So on the sixth week, John brings his dish
like everyone else does. He shares it with the class. He tells the class what was in it, how he
prepared it, and he’s beaming with a big smile and he says, “Doesn’t it taste great?” And after the class, he comes up to me and
says, “Nick, if I had not realized that I had the ability to make a better recipe than
you, I think I would’ve given up,” and I’m thinking to myself his recipe tastes just
as bland as my original recipe — Chef AJ: Yeah, but his ability to taste it
was what — neuroadaptation. Nick: His taste buds changed. Chef AJ: And they do change. Like I said, people do not give it enough
time, and plus we live in an environment where people are always trying to get us to eat
crap no matter where we go because it’s so hard to do the right thing when everybody
else is — Nick: [0:03:48] [Indiscernible] pie and you
eat one of our pies at the class and it’s like, where’s the sugar? And your taste buds go, oh, and then after
a few weeks you go back to [0:03:56] [Indiscernible] and you go — Chef AJ: It’s too sweet. Nick: Too sweet. It’s like, what happened? So John, I followed with him. A year later, he’s dropped over 140 lbs. Chef AJ: Amazing. Nick: Ten years later, still the weight’s
off. Twenty years later, still in great shape. And so, I see this as the ultimate lifestyle
approach to helping people because you have to get them to that early period that’s tough
and I think it’s that first six weeks, somewhere in there. We used to do 12-week classes, but sometimes
there’ll be a drop-off. People would miss classes or whatever, so
somewhere around six weeks was about right. I remember I had a client named Colleen and
she worked in a hospital at the food commissary area and she says, “I can’t do this. Look at all the food we serve at the hospital,
the food that makes us sick and nearly dead and fat.” Chef AJ: That’s the funny thing, is you go
in for — I had a friend that was in there for possible diabetes or heart attack and
while they were waiting for his results, they were serving him beef stew and apple pie and
milk. Really? It’s like they want to ensure repeat business. That’s why they have so many McDonald’s in
the lobby of children’s hospitals. [0:05:03] Nick: Wow. Yeah, it’s so tragic. It’s so tragic. And part of it, let’s face it, the lobbyists,
the food industry. I believe Trump owns a meat company. There are things going on. I love our government. I love our country and at the same time, we
have too many special interests that are so powerful that they are affecting all of us
and causing our medical care costs to be nearly causing us to be bankrupt. Chef AJ: If it ends in ‘industry’, avoid it
— sugar industry, dairy industry, beef industry, pharmaceutical industry. I don�t know of a kale industry. Do you? Because if there are, they’re pretty quiet. Nick: “So Colleen,” I said, “Listen, come
to the classes. We’re going to teach you.” You have a class coming up May 9th that I’m
going to go to. Chef AJ: May 7th. Nick: May 7th in Sherman Oaks. Chef AJ: Sherman Oaks. Nick: So it’s going to be a food demonstration
class and the whole program. And I notice that when you teach, when we
talk classes, if we just gave them the didactic, the education, the reason to do it, here’s
the science, Caldwell Esselstyn, all that good science, but if you did show them the
practicality of food preparation — I never forgot the health educators that I hired back
then. They knew the science. They would do the slides and presentation
every night and they’d enroll people to classes, but the food demonstrators, my mom and Chris
and other people that were doing it, Denise, I remember to this day. I look back now and 20, 30, 40 years later,
I follow up with these people. They’re still in great shape. They look fabulous, but the educators that
didn�t do the food preparations, did not learn the steps of how do we go through the
routine, way overweight, heavy, and these guys knew the science. Chef AJ: Right, but you can’t eat the science,
and that’s why our mutual friend, Dr. John McDougall I think has been so wildly successful
because he had Mary making 2000 delicious recipes and teaching people how to do it. Nick: For me, it was my mother and my staff. Our whole house was a food preparation venue. We would take full four-course meals to 100
to 500 people showing up to these events. We literally fed the whole — we didn�t
have the hotels feed them. We didn�t even allow the hotels to feed
them. Now, they’re pretty [0:07:03] [Indiscernible]
that hotels make you, “No, no, we got to serve it.” “You can’t.” Okay, whatever. Chef AJ: You have to teach them how to make
it. The thing is that when you eat healthy, healthy
food tastes good and it is a process. People that are raised in a healthful manner
like Dr. Goldhamer’s family, they love Brussels sprouts. They don�t need flour and sugar and oil
and salt and animal products. Again, we like what we’re used to eating and
that’s a fact. And so, if you eat something often enough,
you’ll learn to like it, even vegetables, but vegetables can’t compete. We’ve talked about the release of dopamine
in the brain. Foods in a lower caloric density like fruits
and vegetables don�t send off all those feel good bells and whistles like chocolate
and pizza and that’s why people are eating these unhealthy foods because they have a
high caloric density and they stimulate more dopamine in the brain, so they need to find
other ways to feel good like exercise and your favorite activities, sex — Nick: Sex, yeah, sex.

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