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Chef Art Smith on How to Survive Thanksgiving with Diabetes

Chef Art Smith on How to Survive Thanksgiving with Diabetes

You may know the name Art Smith, the talented chef, restaurateur, and author, but you may not know he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

"For years, my doctor had been telling me that I needed to lose weight and warning me that I was at risk for diabetes, but I never changed my lifestyle," says Smith. "I didn’t exercise, had very little energy, and weighed more than 325 pounds. That all changed when I had a scare and thought I was having a heart attack."

Since his scare, Smith has been refocusing his life and eating habits to become a healthier individual. He even teamed up with Merck and Taking Diabetes to Heart (a resource of diabetes-friendly recipes, as well as other helpful tips) to tackle the serious issue of bringing delicious, healthy recipes into a diabetic’s kitchen.

We recently sat down with Smith to discuss his experience of living with diabetes and tackling the tough sweet season of the holidays!

The Daily Meal: Tell us a little bit about your struggle with diabetes and what your first holiday was like after finding out about it?

Art Smith: After my type 2 diabetes diagnosis, I became serious about my health and worked with my doctor to develop a diabetes-management plan that was right for me, including diet and exercise, and setting individual goals to manage the ABCs of diabetes — that’s "A" for A1C, also known as blood sugar, "B" for blood pressure, and "C" for cholesterol. I also made sure that I stuck to a consistent eating schedule to manage my risks for high and low blood sugar.

One of the more difficult aspects of diabetes management can be adjusting the way you eat and not giving into temptation, but as a chef I know it’s possible to make favorite recipes in a healthier way and that moderation is key, so I decided to remake some of my favorites so that the holiday was just as joyous.

TDM: Aside from sugar, what do home chefs have to consider when cooking for a diabetic guest?

AS: Home chefs shouldn’t treat a diabetic guest differently, because there are certain things they should be careful with for all guests! Everyone should be conscious of salt and sugar intake, as these are not good for anyone, and you can still make a delicious meal that’s healthy for everyone without a lot of those things.

A helpful tip on salt: Just use a pinch when needed. I also like to use an acid like lime or lemon juice instead of salt in a dish because it gives great flavor without the sodium.

TDM: Do you have any easy weeknight staples?

AS: I oftentimes cook from my book, Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort, which has diabetes-friendly and health- conscious recipes. The book is all about healthy cooking and good eating, without losing the flavors you love. The book has very modern healthy dishes as well as lightened-up classic comfort foods that are fine to eat in moderation, such as Un-Fried Chicken with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

TDM: How can families make it fun for young diabetic kids on the holidays?

AS: A great dessert option for kids is fruit kebabs — they are fun, and healthy, to eat. Another alternative is to give them apples with almond or peanut butter.

TDM: What is the best etiquette for serving diabetic guests? Ways to make sure everyone feels included?

AS: Just because someone has type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean they have to eat alone! Through my partnership with Merck and Taking Diabetes to Heart, I’ve started cooking up delicious, diabetes-friendly dishes that everyone can enjoy. We have a great website, TakingDiabetestoHeart.com, where you can find my delicious diabetes-friendly recipes which can ensure everyone feels "included" yet still taste great for everyone around the table. I also tell people to try to give lots of healthy options during a meal, like a variety of vegetables and to serve salad dressing and sauces on the sides so people can choose whether they put it on their meals or not.

TDM: What are some good staples to have in your home to be prepared for a guest who has this specific diet?

AS: There are a few things that are always in my kitchen: fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, extra-virgin oil, and whole grains such as quinoa. As a general tip, people living with type 2 diabetes as well as those committed to eating healthier foods should try to avoid foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

TDM: What is the most surprisingly flavorful diabetic adapted recipe?

AS: One of my favorites is my ''un-fried” chicken. That's because I am well known for fried chicken, which may be the crown jewel of Southern cooking. I like un-fried chicken even more because it is healthy and something the whole family can enjoy. The chicken is soaked in tangy buttermilk and then coated with flavorful breading, just like fried chicken. The difference is that it's baked.

TDM: What are you planning on doing for your Thanksgiving table?

AS: I don’t believe in a fat-free Thanksgiving, so what I do is enjoy it, and then go back to my plan. Moderation and watching portion size is also key around the holidays.

TDM: What should guests keep in mind when prepping Thanksgiving specifically?
AS:
I think it’s helpful to be organized — the hardest thing about Thanksgiving is not the calories, but the stress from planning the holiday. Try to relax and enjoy it.

Also, when you’re prepping for the big holiday, don’t forget your own health! In addition to eating healthier, I stick to a consistent eating schedule to help manage my blood sugar. Most people living with diabetes are aware of the importance of managing high blood sugar — one of the defining characteristics of diabetes — which can lead to serious long-term health problems. However, for individuals on certain diabetes medications, low blood sugar can be caused by skipping meals or excessive exercise, which can make you feel shaky, dizzy, sweaty, hungry, and, sometimes, faint. During the holidays, specifically, it’s hard to stick to that plan, but by prepping ahead of time and keeping my dishes diabetes-friendly, it’ll be much easier to be in control.


Oprah's Former Chef Art Smith is Half the Man He Once Was

There’s just a lot less of Smith to love these days, and he has never felt better. A diabetes diagnosis 6 years ago, just shy of his 50th birthday, was a wake-up call that led to a stunning 100-pound weight loss.

These days when Smith is recognized, people do double takes. Yes, he’s still that Art Smith, but a healthier version.

Smith was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for 10 years. He was also a celebrity chef on 'Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.' Now he's working on the launch of a new restaurant in Naples, Italy, and is currently the executive chef of Lyfe Kitchen, a healthy (and delicious) restaurant chain in Culver City, Playa Vista and Palo Alto, California Boulder, Colorado Evanston, Illinois and Henderson, Nevada.

Juggling a demanding schedule is second nature to Smith. But having diabetes took some getting used to, despite the fact that the disease runs throughout his family. “My family has been challenged with type 2 diabetes for many years,” says Smith whose mother has type 2.

“I lost a father and a grandfather due to complications of the disease, so I know diabetes. I know I need to take responsibility. I understand the repercussions of dealing with it—or not dealing with it.”

Just like so many dealing with diabetes, the bestselling cookbook author and confirmed foodie went through a period in his 40s when he was busy and stressed. His weight began to steadily skyrocket. At his highest, he weighed 325 pounds.

“I’ve always been challenged with my weight. The pounds built up steadily and kept building. Like I said, I love food. I love creating great meals and I love to eat,” Smith says.

Life stresses also entered the picture.

“I spent quite a large part of my life taking care of other people, but not myself,” he admits, explaining that a few years ago, his partner had cancer (which has since gone into remission).


Five Minutes With Art Smith

In 2008, Chef Art Smith was at the top of his game—having grown from Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef to an in-demand TV personality in his own right. But in the midst of a successful career, he faced a scary diagnosis: Type 2 diabetes. At 325 pounds, he finally had to confront the fact that his weight was putting his health at risk.

Now a spokesman for Merck’s Taking Diabetes to Heart campaign, Smith is speaking out about how he lost 120 pounds and has kept his diabetes under control—all without sacrificing his love of good food.

Spry: How did you feel when you were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes?

Art Smith: It wasn’t really a surprise because I have it in my family, and have lost family members. I understood what it could do and how this disease could affect you. When my doctor said, “You have to lose weight,” after the diagnosis, I looked at it as a challenge. He said, “Just lose 20 pounds,” and I said, “It’s my 50 th birthday—let’s lose 50!” So we worked on a plan together. And by losing weight with my doctor, I’ve been able to keep it at a place that I’m not at risk. I still have to be careful and manage my diabetes.

Spry: What habits were hardest to break?

AS: Before, I would not sleep a lot, and when I ate, I ate very late. And I’d eat 3, 4, 5 peanut butter sandwiches at 11 or 12 at night. I was drinking diet soda by the case. And I wasn’t eating breakfast. Now I always start the day with oatmeal. If there’s one meal you can’t skip, that’s breakfast.

Spry: What are the major modifications you’ve made to your diet to make it more diabetes-friendly?

AS: I only use extra virgin olive oil—I don’t cook with butter. I only use butter for baking, and that’s only for special occasions. I don’t drink or use any kind of artificial sweeteners at all. I eat a tremendous amount of Greek yogurt. I just try to eat things very whole, like skinless, boneless chicken. I do eat red meat, but not a lot of it. When I go to restaurants, I try to fill up on salads.

Spry: How do you recommend diners approach asking for modifications or healthier options at restaurants?

AS: After I was diagnosed with diabetes, I started requesting that my restaurants be more respectful of customers’ dietary needs. Then it became more of a mission statement for me, and we started incorporating it into the menus. I think it’s called conscious consuming: Don’t spend your money if they won’t do what you want. Any chef worth his salt these days is going to be focusing on health—we live in a time of reckoning. Type 2 diabetes is something that will challenge our world for quite some time. People want a choice, and they want to know what’s in their food. We have to be transparent about it.

Spry: How have you maintained your weight loss? Has it been a challenge?

AS: I lost 120 pounds in a 3-month period, and I have kept off over 50 percent of it. It has a lot to do with the weather. The weather in Chicago can be cold. The summer is when I lean down and get thinner. I might start spending my winters in Florida so I can look after my mother, and the winters are milder there so I could do more.

But it’s a constant goal. I try to keep extremely active. We had this long train ride from NY a few days ago, and when we got off the train, everyone jumped in the car to go to the hotel, but I walked.

Spry: Your cookbook also includes a lot of personal information about your weight struggles. Why did you want to share that?

AS: I started cooking because I was bullied, and when you cook for people, they love you. The book has a fairly detailed story about what I went through in my career—I felt like if I lost the weight I’d lose the funny. My weight played an important part in my success. I think what I hope the reader will do is read the book and be inspired and see that they themselves can lead a healthier life. I was always taught by Oprah that the effect we have is far greater than we realize.

Spry: What was it like to cook for Oprah?

AS: Working with Oprah, I met every possible health specialist. She herself has come to believe that fresh is the best approach to living a healthier life. I love Miss Winfrey. What I love most about her is that even if she herself felt like she needed to watch her weight, her guests still needed to eat well. She loved fish so I’d always do different kinds of fish dishes.

Spry: What’s your best advice for someone struggling with weight?

AS: I know how they’re feeling. I’ve felt it, too. You have to find the happy. You have to look for the happy—whether it’s music or hanging out with friends. It’s not something that is just going to happen. It’s something that you have to purposefully work toward.


Celebrity Chef Art Smith Kickstarted His Weight Loss Journey While In Quarantine

Celebrity chefs are sharing their recipes online during quarantine to inspire both new and experienced cooks to try new things in the kitchen. Chef Art Smith is inspiring people in a different way, as he is sharing his weight loss journey online for all to see. Since February, Art has lost 70 pounds all thanks to a friend who came to visit before the health crisis began.

Art specializes in southern cuisine and was Oprah's personal chef until 2007. In February, before any official lockdowns were put in place in the United States, Art's friend Lucas Cancelier came to visit. Lucas is a rugby player and fitness trainer from Argentina, and while visiting he decided it was safer if he stayed with Art's family in Florida instead of flying back home during the pandemic.

Since then, Lucas has been helping Art accomplish new fitness goals while in quarantine. Art has told TODAY that he has struggled with his weight in the past and believes his appearance reflects his work in the kitchen as well. In 2008, Art was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

"When you go into a restaurant and see a chef that looks heavy or sloppy, what do you think? You'd maybe think that the food is going to be heavy and sloppy," Art told TODAY. "I think this affects everything. You have to be good to yourself and take care of yourself to be a good businessperson."

While quarantined with Lucas, the two began working together toward Art's fitness goals. At first, Art set a goal of losing 30 pounds, but he has since lost 70. "February 1, 2020 a friend from Argentina came to visit and saved my life," Art wrote in an Instagram post earlier in May.

Lucas put together simple workout plans for Art to follow and paired them with a quick jog during the day. Art has also cut down on processed sugars and sweet treats, which he also wants to reflect in his cooking. The chef has been sharing "Healthy & Comfort Cooking" tips on his Instagram that show mindful versions of dishes like mac & cheese, pizza, and pastas. As for his ongoing fitness goals, he hopes to be able to run the Walt Disney World Marathon as soon as he can.


Oprah’s Former Chef And Type 2 Diabetic Art Smith Discusses New Cookbook

STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Oprah’s former personal chef paid KCAL9 a visit Monday!

Chef Art Smith was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2008, when he weighed more than 325 pounds. Since then, he has lost 120 pounds through better eating and working out.

Smith also has a new cookbook, Healthy Comfort, which features 150 recipes with easy-to-follow directions.

Chef Smith will be signing copies of his cookbook on Wednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. at LYFE Kitchen, 9540 Washington Blvd., in Culver City.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon:

20 medium brussels sprouts, cleaned
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD Cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Thinly slice them until you get to the chunky white core of the brussels sprout (about three-fourths of the way down), then discard the rest of the brussels sprout. Place the sliced brussels sprouts in a medium mixing bowl and add the olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts, and pecorino Romano cheese. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to let the flavors marry before serving.

ASSEMBLY Divide the brussels sprout salad among 4 bowls and topwith freshly ground black pepper.

Per serving: 250 calories 22 g fat 4 g sat fat 8 mg chol 151 mg sodium 10 g carb 3 g sugar 4 g fiber 7 g protein 132 mg calcium

Watermelon and Feta with Lime and Serrano Chili Peppers

Believe it or not, watermelon and feta make a great pairing. Toss in some hot chili peppers and cilantro and you have a salad to delight everyone who tries it. Buy seedless watermelon for this-you won’t be disappointed when you try it!

3 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into large dice (about 6 cups)
2 serrano chili peppers, seeded and minced
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup low-fat feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup cilantro leaves

METHOD Place the watermelon in a large mixing bowl. Add the minced serrano chili pepper and lime juice to the bowl and toss gently until combined. Sprinkle with the feta and cilantro leaves and toss once more to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Per serving: 54 calories 1 g fat 1 g sat fat 3 mg chol 119 mg sodium 9 g carb 7 g sugar 1 g fiber 3 g protein 34 mg calcium

Unfried Chicken with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

With tongue in cheek, I call this chicken “unfried.” That’s because I am well known for fried chicken, which may be the crown jewel of southern cooking but is a dish I avoid these days. I like unfried chicken just as much. The chicken is soaked in tangy buttermilk and then coated with flavorful breading, just like fried chicken. The difference is that it’s baked. This dish was on the menu at LYFE Kitchen. I first prepared it when Oprah’s movie Beloved opened. One of the many lessons I learned from Oprah is to offer people a choice at meals, and one of those choices should be a healthy one. To this day I honor that lesson in my home and my restaurants.

For the chicken:
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce or another hot sauce
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
1½ cups multigrain or whole wheat panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1½ teaspoons onion powder
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika

For the brussels sprouts:
16 brussels sprouts, cut in half
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish:
1 lemon, quartered

METHOD To prepare the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a mixing bowl, mix the buttermilk and hot sauce. Submerge the chicken pieces in the buttermilk and soak in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but no more than 24 hours.

In a gallon-size plastic bag, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, black pepper, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Seal the bag and shake until well mixed. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and transfer directly to the bag with the bread crumb mixture. Shake the bag until the chicken breasts are evenly coated with the bread crumbs. Remove the chicken breasts from the bag and lay flat on a nonstick baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes or until just cooked through.

To prepare the brussels sprouts: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place brussels sprouts in a medium mixing bowl, toss with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the brussels sprouts in a medium ovenproof baking dish and roast for 20 minutes or until caramelized and tender.

ASSEMBLY Divide the chicken and brussels sprouts among 4 serving plates, and squeeze the lemon over the chicken.

Per serving: 427 calories 12 g fat 3 g sat fat 79 mg chol 349 mg sodium 45 g carb 6 g sugar 9 g fiber 40 g protein 185 mg calcium


World Chefs: Art Smith shares weight-loss tips in latest book

NEW YORK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Celebrity chef Art Smith, who shed 100 pounds (45 kg) after being diagnosed with diabetes three years ago, shares his weight-loss tips and healthy recipes in his newest cookbook, “Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort.”

Smith, known for his Southern-inspired cuisine, has six restaurants dotted around the United States, including Table Fifty-Two in Chicago and New York’s Joanne Trattoria, which is a joint venture with the parents of pop star Lady Gaga.

Before opening his own restaurant the Florida native spent 10 years as the personal chef of media mogul and actress Oprah Winfrey. He has also cooked for President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

Smith, 53, spoke to Reuters about healthy living, losing a television job and cooking for former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Q: There are so many diet cookbooks out there. Why did you decide to do one?

A: With this book, it was first one that the publisher allowed us to include calories counts in. Before they wouldn’t do it . That showed how people have changed. When they asked me to write another book I said I don’t want to do a diet book. I want to show people more of a lifestyle, and how I eat and how I would like to eat. And what I did was that I put together a lot of delicious, healthy recipes.

Q: What were your food nemeses?

A: When I was diagnosed with adult diabetes, the doctor said, ‘Control your diet or I have to put you on medication.’ So I went on medication rather than address the diet. I did that for a year or so but I wasn’t getting better. One of the biggest problems with my diet was that I would use sugar and caffeine to keep my energy level high.

I am a bit of a high-strung person. I would be drinking six packs of diet sodas everyday and eating huge amounts of food at night because I hadn’t eaten anything else during the day.

Q: So your diabetes came at a crossroads in your life?

A: At 49, I saw myself in a not very good place with my health. I’ve cooked for billionaires, celebrities and all kinds of people. I was used to cooking food more on the healthy side for them. I have been doing it for years. Whatever diet they brought to me, I did it for them. I never liked diets. I don’t think they will work.

The word diet and the word gourmet really bother me because they segregate people from the table and from food. One is like ‘I’m not going to eat enough’ and the other one is too fancy to eat. I felt like I wanted to bridge the two together because I want to show people that they could have their health and feel comfortable about it.

Q: Do you think your weight loss affected your image?

A: I literally lost a television show with a major cable news network because of my weight loss, because they wanted a heavy-set chef just eating food across America, and I wouldn’t do that. I’m not going to be one of the types who is going to eat 50 doughnuts. That’s not the type of message I want to put out there.

Q: You have cooked for former South African President Nelson Mandela. What did you make for him?

A: I cooked for Mr Mandela three times. The first time I cooked for him, Miss Oprah said, ‘Mr. Mandela will come and visit.’ I don’t get star-struck but I was pretty star struck. I called his chef and asked him what he liked. He said he liked oxtail and he liked biriyani (an Indian rice dish).

Then Oprah called me and I was such a mess. At 35,000 feet or wherever they were in Oprah’s jet, she said Madiba (his clan name) just wanted to tell you the oxtail was pretty stellar. “Did we pack any on the jet?” I just feel grateful that I had the opportunities to cook for him and he enjoyed it.

Unfried Chicken with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (serves 4)

1 tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce or other hot sauce

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut in half

1-1/2 cups multigrain or whole wheat panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

16 Brussels sprouts, cut in half

1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, mix the buttermilk and hot sauce. Submerge the chicken pieces in the buttermilk and soak in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but no more than 24 hours. In a gallon-size plastic bag, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, black pepper, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Seal the bag and shake until well mixed.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and transfer directly to the bag with the bread crumb mixture. Shake the bag until the chicken breasts are evenly coated with the bread crumbs. Remove the chicken breasts from the bag and lay flat on a nonstick baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes or until just cooked through.

To prepare the Brussels sprouts: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place Brussels sprouts in a medium mixing bowl, toss with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the Brussels sprouts in a medium ovenproof baking dish and roast for 20 minutes or until caramelized and tender.

Divide the chicken and Brussels sprouts among 4 serving plates, and squeeze the lemon over the chicken.

Per serving: 427 calories 12 g fat 3 g sat fat 79 mg chol 349 mg sodium 45 g carb 6 g sugar 9 g fiber 40 g protein 185 mg calcium (Reporting by Richard Leong, editing by Patricia Reaney and Jackie Frank)


Comfort Fuel

"RUNNING SAVED MY LIFE," SAYS ART SMITH, 51, who was Oprah Winfrey's chef for 10 years and owns restaurants in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Four years ago, Smith&ndasha Southerner raised on biscuits and gravy&ndashoverindulged in all his favorite comfort foods. And it showed. At 325 pounds, he had type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. "I knew I had to do something," he says. With the help of coach Az Ferguson, author of The Game On! Diet, he started walking, then alternating walking and running. "Pretty soon I was running along the lakeshore in Chicago, listening to Lady Gaga on my earphones."

Smith also started to rethink his diet. He realized "the recipe for healthy eating isn't that complicated," says Smith. "The less processed, the better." As the pounds slipped off (he's lost 120 to date), his blood pressure returned to normal and his diabetes vanished. In 2010, he ran his first marathon in Chicago in 4:32. Three weeks later he ran the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. and shaved 10 minutes off his time. "When I finished my second one even faster, I knew I could do anything," he says. Smith was so hooked on running that when he and his fiance, Jesus, got married, they didn't hire limousines to take their guests from the wedding to the reception. They handed out running shoes. "If you love your friends and family, you want to keep them healthy. That was the message we wanted to send."

Smith is preparing to run the Chicago Marathon this month for Common Threads&ndasha cooking program he founded that teaches low-income kids about health and nutrition. And while Smith's diet is much healthier, he hasn't given up his favorite comfort foods. "When people think healthy, they think of a salad. But that's not the only choice. It's easy to remake burgers, fried chicken, and burritos into meals that don't go over the top on calories." Here's how Smith does it.

Start simple
"Recipes with just a few ingredients are the easiest to adapt," says Smith. With simple soups, it's easy to reduce ingredients you should eat less of&ndashhigh-fat dairy and salt, for instance&ndashand boost healthy ingredients like vegetables or whole grains.

To make corn chowder, reduce the cream and add cashew butter, which contains heart-healthy oils. Soak raw cashews overnight in cold water. Put in a blender (adding cold water to cover) and blend on high until smooth.

Use butter and oils sparingly
Swap butter, which is high in saturated fat, with vegetable oils&ndashmost of which contain unsaturated fats. But remember that while oils like olive and canola are healthy, they are still high-calorie, so go easy on them.

In pie crust, replace some butter with oil. Use 1/4 less oil than butter (for 1 cup butter, use 3/4 cup canola).

Pack in vegetables
Many runners don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. Smith, who loves Swiss chard, collard greens, asparagus, and broccoli, tries to add veggies to every meal.

Add broccoli, corn, or spinach to classics like tuna casserole, or use as toppings for homemade pizzas.

Go light on meat
The healthiest cuisines, from Asia to the Mediterranean, use meat sparingly. By eliminating or cutting back on the amount of meat in comfort-food favorites, you'll reduce the saturated fat in your diet.

Instead of sausage in pasta sauce, add cannellini beans. In meat loaf, swap half the beef with lentils.

Art Smith's favorite grains for fueling his marathon training runs

Black Rice
Its color makes any dish look dramatic while reducing inflammation. "I cook it like white rice and add onion, garlic, celery, and olive oil," says Smith.

Quinoa
High in protein, quinoa tastes similar to wheat. Have it in place of your oatmeal topped with dried fruits and nuts.

Barley
It thickens soups without adding fat. "I use it instead of rice in risotto," says Smith. "It's the perfect meal after a tough training run."

Wheat Berries
"I love their chewy texture, and enjoy them as a prerun snack. But you can also add them to salads," says Smith. Southern Unfried Chicken

Baking keeps the fat content of this comfort dish in check. Serve ART SMITH'S Steel Cut Oatmeal Risotto (recipe below) as a side dish.

1 cup buttermilk
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce (try Louisiana Hot Sauce)
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons black pepper
1-2 teaspoons hot red pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking-oil spray

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Submerge the chicken breasts in the buttermilk marinade. Allow to soak at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. While the chicken is marinating, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and the rest of the spices in a gallon-size plastic bag. Shake to blend. Using tongs, remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and place directly in the bag of bread crumbs and spices. Shake the bag well, until the chicken breasts are evenly coated in bread crumbs. Remove the chicken breasts from the bag and lay flat on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Allow to chill uncovered in the refrigerator 30 minutes. Lightly coat each chicken breast with cooking-oil spray. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

CALORIES PER SERVING: 323 CARBS: 27 G FIBER: 4 G PROTEIN: 39 G FAT: 7 G

Steel-Cut Oatmeal Risotto

"I love risotto," says Art Smith, "and making it with steel-cut oats makes it extra healthy and delicious.

1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup steel-cut oats
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cup sliced fresh asparagus
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 to 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, heated
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

In a large pan add olive oil and oats. Cook oats for three to four minutes. Add the onion, garlic, asparagus, and mushrooms stir briefly to combine. Stir in 1/4 cup of broth at a time until it is absorbed by the oats. Continue adding broth until the oats are creamy and al dente, 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley. Serves four.

CALORIES PER SERVING: 217 CARBS: 38 G FIBER: 6 G PROTEIN: 9 G FAT: 5 G


Oprah Tackles Diabetes

Spurred by a diabetes epidemic that directly affects nearly 24 million Americans, Oprah Winfrey dedicated her February 4 show to the disease. "We're trying to save lives today," she told an audience of people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and friends and family of those with diabetes. "[It should be] a big wake-up call for you and your family."

During the hour, Winfrey spoke with experts about the causes of diabetes, the difference between type 1 and type 2, the disease's complications, risk factors and warning signs, and prevention. "It's commendable that Oprah Winfrey is focusing on diabetes," says Richard Bergenstal, the American Diabetes Association's president of medicine and science. "Type 2 diabetes and its complications disproportionately affect African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans."

The talk show host also announced a partnership with Walgreens pharmacy: On Friday, February 5, Walgreens will offer free diabetes screenings. You can visit a 24-hour Walgreens pharmacy or one that has a Take Care Clinic between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to get your blood glucose tested and to learn if you're at risk for the disease. Don't have a 24-hour Walgreens or Take Care Clinic near you? Call 1-800-WALGREENS (1-800-925-4733) to make an appointment at your local store.

Mehmet Oz, MD, a cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and host of The Dr. Oz Show, explained to viewers why diagnosing and treating diabetes early is key. Though The Oprah Winfrey Show primarily focused on the type 2 diabetes epidemic, Oz made a trip to the hospital to interview a 44-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes who had a foot and half a leg amputated and was receiving dialysis for kidney failure. "Try and take care of yourself early," she said, "because I didn't when I was young."

In another segment, Ian Smith, MD, creator of The 50 Million Pound Challenge and author of The 4 Day Diet, went to a church in Dayton, Ohio, where nearly all of the African American parishioners have type 2 diabetes. Smith taught the congregation about nutrition and implored churchgoers to take diabetes seriously.

"Why wait until it's a crisis situation? People say, 'I'll make a change tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow,' " Smith said. "And that's what's killing people because by the time they get diagnosed, the complications happen and it's too late."

Exercise physiologist Bob Greene, author of The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes, joined Smith to teach the churchgoers about physical fitness and its effect on preventing type 2 diabetes. "We don't move as a culture, and it's a huge culprit in accelerating this disease of diabetes," said Greene.

And chef Art Smith, who once appeared on the Oprah show to cook a high-fat, high-calorie, carb-heavy Southern-style cake, reappeared Thursday with a message: Get tested for diabetes. Smith dropped 85 pounds and reversed his type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.

Diabetes is a leading cause of death in the United States, which is why Winfrey ended the show with a call to action: "No more excuses," she said. "The denial ends today."


Merck and Celebrity Chef Art Smith "Cook Up a Recipe" for Better Type 2 Diabetes Management

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. , May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada , today announced its partnership with celebrity chef Art Smith on Taking Diabetes to Heart, an educational program to help people living with type 2 diabetes better manage the disease. Smith, who lives with type 2 diabetes, will be traveling the country "cooking up" some of his favorite delicious diabetes-friendly recipes, sharing tips for diabetes management, and encouraging people living with type 2 diabetes to work with their health care provider to develop a personalized diabetes-management plan with goals that are right for them. Smith will also be challenging local restaurants and food trucks in select cities to make at least one of their menu items diabetes-friendly.

Smith, the former personal chef to celebrities and past contestant on the hit shows "Top Chef Masters" and "Iron Chef America," was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2008, when he weighed more than 325 pounds. After his diagnosis, Smith worked with his health care provider to develop a personalized diabetes-management plan and learned simple ways to make some of his favorite dishes more diabetes-friendly. By sticking to this plan, Smith lost more than 100 pounds and now has his diabetes under control.

"As a chef living with type 2 diabetes, I know that managing the way you eat is critical and can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be," Smith explains. "That's why I'm working with Merck on Taking Diabetes to Heart to share my diabetes-friendly recipes that the whole family can enjoy and to work with restaurants and food trucks to make some of their menu items more diabetes-friendly."

By challenging restaurants and food trucks in select cities to feature diabetes-friendly dishes, Smith is also helping to show people with diabetes that they can still enjoy eating delicious meals, even while they are dining out with friends and family.

"Healthy eating is important for people with type 2 diabetes, but it's just one part of a comprehensive diabetes-management plan," says Robin Goland , M.D., Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York . "People with type 2 diabetes should speak to their doctor about a treatment plan—including diet, exercise and, if necessary, medication—that will help them maintain good control of their blood sugar and better manage the disease."

Most people living with diabetes are aware of the importance of managing high blood sugar—one of the defining characteristics of diabetes—which can lead to serious long-term health problems. However, for individuals on certain diabetes medications, low blood sugar can be caused by skipping meals or excessive exercise, which can make you feel shaky, dizzy, sweaty, hungry, and, sometimes, faint. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your health care provider if you experience these symptoms. Your health care provider can recommend changes to your meal plan, exercise plan or medications to address your low blood sugar.

"Merck has remained committed to helping people with type 2 diabetes understand how they can better manage the disease through patient education and practical steps," said Peter Alberti , U.S. marketing leader, Diabetes Franchise, Merck. "We are thrilled Chef Art Smith is sharing his story and demonstrating to people and food providers some simple, tangible ways to make healthier choices."

Visit www.TakingDiabetestoHeart.com for Art's delicious diabetes-friendly recipes, questions to ask your health care provider during your next visit, information about how restaurants and food trucks in your area are participating in the program, and more resources, such as tips on cooking and grocery shopping, to help type 2 diabetes patients and their caregivers better manage the disease.

About Art Smith
Art Smith is an award-winning cookbook author, executive chef and co-owner of 5 restaurants, including Table Fifty-Two in Chicago , Art and Soul in Washington, D.C. , Southern Art in Atlanta , Joanne Trattoria in New York , and LYFE Kitchen restaurants in Palo Alto and Culver City, CA.

As the former personal, day-to-day chef to celebrities, Smith has received some of the culinary profession's highest awards and has made regular television appearances on programs such as "Top Chef," "Top Chef Masters" and "Iron Chef America." This year, Art has also released his newest cookbook, " Art Smith 's Healthy Comfort." Art is working with Merck on the Taking Diabetes to Heart program to help people living with type 2 diabetes better manage the disease.

About Taking Diabetes to Heart
Taking Diabetes to Heart is an educational program from Merck to help Americans living with type 2 diabetes understand that small, but important, changes in their lifestyle can help them better manage the disease. For more information on Taking Diabetes to Heart, as well as tips on living a diabetes-friendly lifestyle, visit www.TakingDiabetestoHeart.com.

About Type 2 Diabetes
Nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 90% to 95% of these people have type 2 diabetes. One of three American men and nearly 2 of 5 American women born in 2000 will develop diabetes sometime during their lifetime.

When someone has type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin and/or the insulin that the body makes does not work properly. This causes blood sugar levels to become too high, and the body may also keep making sugar even though it does not need it. Once a person has type 2 diabetes, it does not go away, and having diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as heart disease and stroke.

Patients also can reduce their risk of serious complications of diabetes by managing the ABCs of diabetes—A1C, also known as blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Type 2 diabetes patients should work with their health care provider to talk about their blood sugar goals and develop a personalized diabetes-management plan that's right for them—including diet, exercise and, if appropriate, medication—and stick to that plan.


Recipes from Chef Art Smith

Blueberry Lime Smash

Ingredients:
1 oz Vodka
1 oz Simple Syrup
Frozen Blueberries
2 Limes (cut in quarters) – 1 lime (4 quarters used for garnish)

Directions:
Fill an old fashioned glass with cracked ice to chill. In a mixing glass, add simple syrup and one lime (sliced in quarters). Muddle to extract the juice without forcing the rind from the lime. Dump the ice from the glass into the mixing glass, add vodka and shake. Pour the entire drink with the ice into the chilled glass and garnish with four lime quarters.

Cucumber-Mint Fruit Cooler

Ingredients for Cucumber Juice:
2 seedless cucumbers, chopped
2 cups green grapes
3 kiwi fruit, peeled
1 large bunch of fresh mint
Juice of 2 limes
1 cup of water

Ingredients for serving:
Limes wedges
Frozen green grapes
Sliced kiwi fruit
Sliced cucmber
Mint Sprigs
Vodka (chilled)

Directions:
Place the cucumbers, grapes, kiwi, mint, lime juice and water in a blender. Blend until super smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl or pitcher. Pour the puree through the strainer into bowl/pitcher. Press on the pulp to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp. Fill a pitcher with lots of ice and pour in the cucumber juice. Mix 1 cup of chilled vodka into ice and cucumber juice. Garnish glasses and enjoy!


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