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An Executive Chef’s Perspective on leading a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle - Chef Avril Romain - SWAGGER Magazine
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An Executive Chef’s Perspective on leading a Healthy Lifestyle

As a French Executive Chef transplanted in Toronto for nearly a decade, I’ve overheard a lot of misguided ideas, and misconception of what eating healthy REALLY means. With my experience, and expertise, I’ve worked on this brief outline below, broken into 4 core themes on how to approach a healthier lifestyle. Hopefully providing you with the tips you need to live and eat healthier, but also a more sustainable way of living. Something to think about with Earth Day just around the corner!

 

Sustainability

This is a hot topic right now. Although it’s nothing new, it plays a very important role. About 5-years ago, chefs began to really promote this farm-to-table concept. A start, but not really the entire approach.

You must think deeper than this. Of course, we should absolutely try to only go to the farm and avoid, pre-packaged goods, plastic bags, middlemen, etc… But unfortunately, this sometimes can be a utopia.

So what can we as consumers do, you ask? Well you can strive to more strategically source your food. Buy as much local food as possible, from your town, your province, or country — as much as possible. If it grows in “your backyard”, so to speak, you don’t NEED to buy the possibly cheaper imported alternative.

Ask questions! Make sure the items you’re buying isn’t over fished, over farmed, or over produced either.

Watch your portions, that’s the part of sustainability that is sometimes left out. Sure you did a good job, you bought a beautiful salmon from BC, ocean wise. You’re respecting the environment and my advices. But then you go and eat 12 oz of it in one meal…

That isn’t sustainable. You don’t need to eat large steaks and meals, we aren’t wired this way. We should only eat what our body NEEDS to function. If we all eat smaller responsible quantities, that our bodies need. We will give a chance our planet a chance to regenerate itself organically, and produce enough of everything for everyone. Make sensible choices, and you will do good for your own help, and the health of the planet.

 

Seasonality

There are 4 seasons per year, right? WRONG! There are 52 seasons in fact. So eat what comes out of the ground when its supposed to, and pick it from the trees, when it’s suppose to, to ensure all the sun kissed flavours and nutrients you need and deserve are there.

Yes, but my winter months how will I get all the other items that aren’t easily available to me. Not necessarily, you can always cure, preserve, pickle, and store…so many ways to keep foods readily available to you –like our past generations.

So if I ever catch yourself eating a strawberry in January… We may have a problem! Believe me, not only will you be doing yourself a favor, but your wallet too. Take it from a Chef, we spend days and months sourcing the right ingredients and planning our menus around all of this to best serve the right dishes at the best prices all year round. So next time you walk into your favorite restaurant and see the “Chef’s Specials” you will know why!

 

Healing through food

Headaches, indigestion, fever, colds, heartache, stomach  and muscle pains, they happen to all of us, and our automatic reflex is to reach for the medicine cabinet. But what if, we could prevent illness, and feel better through eating all the right foods?

A lot of Asian countries believe that food is not only nutritious, but also a way to be healthier and longevity. Ginger, chilies, aloe, onions, garlic. Their lists go on forever. But foods can very easily, and cost effectively, treat a lot of your aches and pains in life.

Do some simple google searches and you’ll be amazed!

A quick tips that have done me right is to drink a lot of water, and keep a really high acid diet. You’ll see a difference in your skin, and overall wellbeing.

 

Exercise

It’s no secret. You’ve probably done It all, but yet you feel you might not be quite ready to be on the cover of your favorite fitness magazine just yet. Right?  Well think about the ancient times, people had to hunt for food. But now humanity has gotten to a point where they are even willing to pay a premium to have fast foods like McDonalds delivered even right up to their doorstep, with apps like UberEats and more. Now don’t take it the wrong way, they get the best of us, and the convenience is just way too appealing to not turn to it in our busy lives we all live.

Now I am not asking you to run out and hunt, but there’s always other ways to make up for that lack of exercise in our daily lives. From walking that extra block by parking your car a little further, maybe taking the stairs to your office or condo floor, or even walking to that further grocery store just to get that extra block of exercise in. There are so many ways we could introduce a little more fitness and exercise in, that not always depend on being at your local gym or having an in-home setup either. Playing sports or even ride a bike ride is also good for your heart and lungs, and if you feel really motivated to get a membership or go to your building’s gym facilities, then kudos to you too. And how could I forget, Yoga. A great way to get in that exercise, and stress relief too.

 

You’re on your way to a Healthy Lifestyle!

Wishing you a happier and healthier tomorrow.

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Food Contributor Chef Romain Avril is best known for his appearances as a judge on Top Chef Canada All-Stars, and as a competing chef on Chopped Canada. He’s also recognizable as a frequent guest chef on programs such as Your Morning and Breakfast Television, as well as in media such as Toronto Life, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, and The Telegraph. Chef Romain is also an Executive Chef ambassador for Nespresso, and Monogram.

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