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FoodCanHeal.com
Email Chef Steve at chef@foodcanheal.com

About Steve...
My Story and why I'm here.

A picture is worth a thousand words!


BEFORE:
Weight: about 230 pounds
Triglycerides: higher than 1070 mg/dL
Cholesterol: higher than 403 mg/dL



AFTER:
Weight: 170 pounds
Triglycerides: Normal
Cholesterol: Normal

Life is a funny thing; never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I’d be writing about health or cooking plant-based, low-fat food; let alone eating it...not a chance.  For most of my life I’ve actually been playing for the other team!  People would never think of coming to me for health advice, just the opposite, I’ve always been the guy to come to when you want to be bad; and not just with food! 

 

I started in foodservice in 1976 at age 15, enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in1984, and have enjoyed a diversified career in the hospitality industry as a Chef, Food and Beverage Director, Food and Beverage Consultant opening 13 restaurant facilities, and eventually General Manager of a AAA 5-diamond resort property in the West Indies.  Much of that time was spent in the Caribbean and Gulf states of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.  I got caught up in some personal issues and never finished the very last quarter at the Culinary Institute of America; what we call “restaurant row” where you work in the front and back of all the restaurants on the property. 

 

I came to Columbus Ohio in August of 1999 to create an internet sales business with my brother Dave selling rare and out-of-print videotapes first on eBay and then shortly after on Amazon.  Dave had spent an enormous amount of time and energy developing the idea and called me when it started to take off.  We were wildly successful and I proceeded to sit on my rear for 16 hours a day 7 days a week in front of four televisions and two computer screens previewing and selling videotapes.  I lived the life of a videotape purveying vampire, never leaving the house except to make the mail drop between 3:00 and 6:00am, seven days a week, 365 days a year – a record for consecutive days at the 24 hour airmail facility at Port Columbus International Airport I’m sure I hold to this day.  That’s when I ate.  You can imagine for yourself what my diet consisted of.  The only places open are the Waffle House, Wendy’s, Steak and Shake, and...oh yeh...the donut shop about 4 miles outside of town on East Broad Street, across from the Kroger where after 4:00am you could pick up a bear claw still warm from both the flyer and the sugar glaze...mmm!  Now there’s somethin’ you can’t just eat two of!  I can’t really tell you how many cups of coffee I drank a day, but the “before” picture with the two 3-pound cans of trans-fat laden non-dairy creamer will give you an idea.  We always had at least five or six of the gimungous cans of coffee and creamer on the back porch. 

 

One of my Brother’s favorite quotes used to be from Frank Zappa; “cigarettes are food.”  We lived by that, but I’d add coffee for sure.  We learned to live without a lot of things in those days, sleep, regular showers, and fellowship with other human beings, but the wheels at out-of-print-video would have stopped turning altogether if we’d ran out of cigarettes and coffee!  Morgan Spurlock lived that way for just a month and made a movie called Super Size Me.  I did it for 4 years!

 

The sittin’ around and the fast food took their toll and on June 23, 2003 just a few minutes after 10:00am at 230+ pounds I waddled into Grant Medical – downtown in Columbus Ohio – holding my chest.  At first testing – 2 weeks later – my cholesterol was over 403 mg/dL and triglycerides over 1070 mg/dL.  On November 19, 2003 – almost 5 months to the day later – I weighed 171 lbs (on my way to bouncing off of 155 pounds in January 2004), My cholesterol was at 161 and triglycerides at 87; drugs were used for only about 20 days – less than one full prescription; a self imposed comprehensive lifestyle modification to a plant-based diet was responsible for the weight reduction and much of lipid profile normalization.  You can view the lab reports for yourselves!


                                       

The lab report on the left is from a blood sample taken on July 3, 2003, ten days after my visit to the emergency room.  My lifestyle modification started on the very same day as my hospital visit and I know that I dropped a tremendous amount of weight in those 10 days; my guess is as much as 10 pounds, probably more.  Dropping Cholesterol and triglycerides from 403 and 1070 mostly through lifestyle modification is an achievement, but my – now educated – guess is that the lipid profile seen in the July 3rd report reflects a substantial reduction from the numbers that were recorded on June 23rd in the emergency room.  I am still trying to recover those records.  If those records show a cholesterol level of 450-500 mg/dL and triglycerides of 1300 mg/dL it would not be a surprise to me.  I’ve seen my own triglycerides drop a few hundred mg/dL in just a weekend along the way down to 87!

 

It wasn’t easy; let me assure you of that!  Even though I was a Chef, and a decent one, all I really knew how to do was use salt, fat, and sugar.  And I was good at it; that’s what I was trained how to do!  But I now know that that is the easy way out for a chef.  You don’t really have to cook well at all to please the general public by ringing their salt, fat, and sugar taste bud bells!  I had to go back and learn how to cook all over again from scratch.  The first thing I did coming back from the hospital on June 23rd 2003 was reach above the stove and bring down that coffee can full of bacon grease and toss it away.   I learned how to save grease like that from my grandmother decades ago in Chattanooga and no matter where you found me in the world if you looked on top of my stove you’d have found that coffee can full of bacon grease.

 

What I did was apply the logistical skills I gained as a professional chef to the home kitchen environment.  It wasn’t enough that my food was healthy, it had to be good, and not just good it had to ring those same taste bud bells I was used to my “regular” food ringing or I wasn’t going to eat that way.

 

During this lifestyle modification process I was amazed both by how many other people were similarly affected and by the lack of professionals successfully assisting them with the hands-on, day to day mechanism of diet and lifestyle modification.  It occurred to me that as a professional Chef personally affected by heart disease I was in a very unique position to fill that need.  I outlined a program that would get me to that point and started with arranging to complete my last quarter at the Culinary Institute of America 20 years after I originally started; (a great story I’ll elaborate on some in the Healthy Cooking with Steve CD v1.0).  I entered Columbus State Community College 10 days after graduating from the CIA (autumn 04), transferred to the Ohio State University in winter 2007, and was admitted to the Medical Dietetics program in the School of Allied Medical Professions for autumn of the same year.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude (.02 away from Suma) on June 14, 2009.

...so here I am...

The idea for FoodCanHeal.com was born in the first couple of weeks of July 2003.  “Healthy Cooking Live!” grew out of a cooking demonstration I did for the Student Dietetic Association at the Ohio State University just a few months ago in February 2009 and it has blossomed into the “Healthy Cooking Live!” events I hope you will purchase a seat for right here!