Exercise/Recovery/Nutrition. The three pillars necessary to build muscle, burn fat, and to supercharge your metabolism. Episode 48 of the InForm Fitness Podcast focuses on nutrition.
Adam Zickerman is joined by celebrity chef, Judson Todd Allen who presents the diet that helped him lose 160 pounds, featuring 60 guilt-free recipes packed with powerhouse flavor created especially for The Spice Diet.
Chef Judson’s diet plan is heaven for food lovers. Using the principles of food science, he offers a way to eat that feels indulgent as it satisfies food cravings and reduces appetite. His program will not only help listeners break their addiction to unhealthy foods without feeling deprived but will also inspire them to get into the kitchen to prepare irresistible, healthy meals.
The Spice Diet provides a full weight-loss program that includes meal plans, creative spice blends, easy-to-prepare recipes, and a heaping helping of motivation.
Adam Zickerman – Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution http://bit.ly/ThePowerofTen
For a FREE 20-Minute strength training full-body workout and to find an Inform Fitness location nearest you, please visit http://bit.ly/Podcast_FreeWorkout
Tim: Hey, InForm Nation. Welcome in to episode #48 of the InForm Fitness Podcast. I’m Tim Edwards, with the InBound Podcasting Network and a client of InForm Fitness. We’ll be joined in a minute with the star of the show, New York Times’ best selling author, and the founder of InForm Fitness, Adam Zickerman. Hey, real quick, we are very excited to welcome a new sponsor to the InForm Fitness Podcast. Over the past 47 episodes, we have interviewed several authors with books that contain content to help educate you in the science and mindset necessary to burn fat, build muscle and to supercharge your metabolism. You might remember our episodes with Gretchen Rubin. Dr. Sylvia Terra and Dr. Martin Gibala. Well, all of those authors, including our guest in this episode, narrate their books and are all available at Audible.
Audible is a subsidiary of Amazon and the world’s largest producer of digital audiobooks. So if you enjoy consuming your content through your ears, much like you do with this podcast, Audible is perfect for you. I’ll tell you what, we have a special offer for you, InForm Nation. How about a free audiobook? Here’s what you do. Simply click the link in the shownotes to audibletrial.com/inbound. Sign up for a free, 30 day membership trial and download any audiobook for free. Now if you decide to cancel your membership for any reason, you get to keep the book. Simple as that, you have nothing to lose.
A good choice for that first free audiobook would be the one penned and voiced by today’s guest, chef Judson Allen. Chef Judson’s book, titled The Spice Diet, include strategies and recipes that support the Power of 10 nutritional protocol, as mentioned in Adam’s Book, Power of 10: The Once a Week, Slow Motion, Fitness Revolution. Oh, and one side note about Chef Judson’s audiobook; it comes with a downloadable PDF with all of the necessary spices, charts, and recipes to fire up your metabolism. Okay, let’s get to it. Here is Adam Zickerman and our guest today; he calls himself the flavor architect, Chef Judson Allen.
Adam: Hello everybody, welcome to the show. We have a great guest today, I’m really excited about this. We have with us today, Chef Judson Todd Allen. He’s the author of The Spice Diet. The name of the book is called The Spice Diet, and the subtitle is, “Use Powerhouse Flavor to Fight Cravings and Win the Weightloss Battle.” Full disclosure, first of all. My publisher of my book, Power of 10, was working with Chef Judson, and Chef Judson wanted to put an exercise component in there. And I worked with Chef Judson, and part of this book has a high intensity training aspect to it. So I thank Chef Judson for inviting me to be a part of this book, but that’s not why I’m having him on the show. I actually like the book regardless. I’ve said this before in other podcasts, and this is why I like the book so much. Because when it comes to making healthy food choices, as Chef Judson points out in his book and as I point out a million times, this is not easy. It’s not easy to control your cravings and eat properly.
Well, I’ve always used a song lyric to kind of help guide people through these difficulties of making choices and that is, “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” And there are lots of things that we have to avoid, simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, the list goes on, but there’s plenty of things that we can have. And that’s the way I like to look at it. Don’t pine for the things you can’t have, like pizza and a lot of pasta. Think instead of the great things that you can have. What I love about your book, Chef, is The Spice Diet helps you love the things that you can have; with the use of spices. Just like some people, when they’re decorating their house, they’re afraid of color. They just paint everything white and tan in their house. Well, Chef, you’re helping people kind of get over that fear of using spices in their foods, and staying away from just salt and pepper. Which of course are great spices, but like, there’s a lot of spices that we can use. And we’re going to get into all of that, I’m going to ask you a whole bunch of questions about spices. I love to cook and I love to love the things that I’m allowed to have, because I am avoiding all of the things that I crave and I’ve never gotten rid of those cravings. I’m always pining for those things I can’t have and I always get over it, by thinking, what can I have and how can I make it taste great? And you say in your book, Chef, at the beginning of your book you say, “you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat well and healthy.” So that leads me to one of my first questions. I just want to maybe get some background on you, and I was wondering, where did your culinary journey begin, and what brought you to where you are now?
Chef Judson: Wow, great question, Adam. You know what, I tell folks all the time that my culinary background is a little different. I always say that I used to dream about food when I was a little kid. I knew that there was something different about me, I just never knew what it was. But the moment you begin to literally dream about food, the flavors, how you put them together; you know something is not right in your head.
Adam: You found your calling, so to speak, your dream.
Chef Judson: But later in life, to your point, later in life. It turned out to be my calling, it turned out to be the fact that this was something that I was very passionate about. So I followed those dreams, I followed that passion into high school, where I studied food science. And I went to the only urban agricultural high school in the city of Chicago. So let me just kind of put some framework around that. The city of Chicago, and a farming school, that is kind of — that doesn’t make a lot of sense in an urban area. So there were a lot of things working against it, but there were a lot of things working for it. So yeah, I was introduced to the science of food in high school. I decided to carry that on to University of Illinois [Inaudible: 06:25] where I went from an undergraduate degree, for college, where I continued food science and studied engineering. So again, a very different background. So I’m a food scientist, graduating from the U of I, and I would say a little later, I decided, I want to kind of get that culinary background as well. So I went off to Paris and I studied at Le Cordon Bleu and studied that European food culture. I traveled around and really kind of built my expertise around really understanding culinary at its truest core. Brought all of that back to Chicago and created my own culinary point of view. Along that journey, of course, I experienced a lot of issues with my weight. I experienced a lot of difficulties with food addiction, which started when I was a very young child. And I’ve really kind of been able to really create my, again, own culinary point of view, and that’s around healthy food with bold flavors.
Tim: You know Chef, I’ve often found that in interviewing thousands of people, those that are successful started on a journey because of some pain that they had in their lives, and they were looking for a solution. And that certainly seems to be your case, and now with your book and your restaurants, you’re helping other people change their lives and their eating habits as well. Tell us about that big break that you had that was a catalyst, I think, it sounds like, in your life and in your career.
Chef Judson: Like I said, I’ll kind of go back to that childhood moment where — not different from a lot of people in this world who struggle with weight. Or struggle with any addiction. It followed me for a very long period of my life, and it had such a captive hold on me that food literally controlled who I was. Again, I knew something was wrong with me and my family and my parents knew that something was off. When most people consume one cheeseburger and fries, or hey, we’ll say, maybe two cheeseburgers and a fry. For me, it was four or five. So it was to the point where nothing, no amount of food could really satisfy me. It wasn’t until I graduated from University of Illinois, having experienced the weight issues, having experience the ridicule, the bullying, all of that stuff that comes with being overweight. Having an addiction to food. But I graduated from the U of I and I was at an astounding close to 400 pounds. I remember getting a photo of myself at graduation. And they don’t send you a little itty bitty photo; they send you this life sized photo of you.
Adam: It’s a poster.
Chef Judson: For the first time in my life, I’m looking at myself for who I really was and that was an overweight, a really obese person. I always tell people that — they say, well, didn’t you see yourself in the mirror growing up anyway? And it’s funny because when I looked in the mirror and I was overweight, I was struggling with obesity, I wouldn’t see an overweight person. I could control what I looked at. I would look at my face and I was okay with that, the smile, whatever, and I was fine with that. But for the first time, really, I had to look at this image and that’s when I began to shed tears and I blamed everybody but myself. Everybody was the culprit but me. But it wasn’t until I really came to terms and the grips of why I got to where I was. What I went through as a child, all of those hard moments in my life, that really had me turn to food as that coping mechanism. I had to really address those things and then I had to acknowledge them and release them. That’s when I decided, this was the point where I was going to take that healthier lifestyle journey and be successful at it. From a career perspective, I had an opportunity to work for — I call him one of the greatest and biggest names in entertainment and entrepreneurship today, Steve Harvey, and that was a true and total blessing, I tell you. I remember listening on the radio one day and I was in the car with my family. And Steve Harvey made an announcement and he said, I’m looking for a chef in Chicago that can help me to not only lose weight, but in the process, I want my food to be flavorful. I remember looking at my mother and I said, did you hear? I was hitting my mother and brother, like, did you hear this? He’s looking for me; the architect of flavor, he’s asking for me. I felt like he was directly calling me on my phone like dude, I need your help. He had just moved to Chicago to film the first season of his daytime talkshow and everything happens for a reason. Unbeknownst to me at that time, I had no idea that people that were a part of my team at that time, knew one of the folks that worked directly with Steve Harvey. She said, you know what, I’m going to reach out to his folks. He sent over my information to one of her friends, who worked directly with Steve Harvey. It eventually got to him; he called me on my phone and I literally get a call from Steve Harvey. I’m like, am I sitting here dreaming? I’m looking at the phone and his iconic voice. He’s like, I hear you’re a chef, I hear you’re a healthy chef, you cook with flavor. He said, what the hell is a food scientist anyway? I remember that. So he’s going on and on about this.
Adam: I can totally see him saying that.
Chef Judson: Exactly. And it was funny, he said, I want — I would like for you to come and meet me at my studio. Now, mind you, I’m on the phone with him that day. He’s like I want you to meet me tomorrow, 5 AM in the morning, and I want breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared. But the biggest challenge was, I wasn’t in Chicago, I was in Tennessee. So I hop on the first flight out of Tennessee and head to Chicago. Don’t get to Chicago until close to 11 o’clock at night, and I go to a 24 hour grocery store. I prepare that whole night and I get to Steve Harvey by 5 AM and nail it. He loves the food and the rest is history; I was with him for over four years. So he really had an opportunity to enjoy healthy food, with all of these different flavors and profiles and cultural influences. I never served Steve the same thing, ever.
Tim: Wow, in four years? That’s crazy.
Chef Judson: So it really showed him…
Adam: Like his wardrobe.
Chef Judson: Exactly, literally like his wardrobe. It changes every season, he never wears nothing a second time.
Adam: Never wears the same suit twice.
Chef Judson: He doesn’t, and I tell you, I’m right there always to get clothes when he doesn’t want them.
Adam: This book is cool because it’s not just a recipe book and it’s not just a diet book. It’s learning how to eat healthy and it’s learning the principles of healthy eating. And then, it’s showing you the practical aspects of it and actually cooking and really learning about spices, and not having that fear of spices. Let’s start at the beginning. Chef, what is a spice actually?
Chef Judson: You know, it’s interesting, a spice can come in many different forms. It can come in the form of an actual plant, a seed. It can come from a bark. But how I define it, so people understand it in layman’s terms, it’s really one of those flavoring agents. That opportunity to bring flavor to food, and it comes from a natural source. So where we find that some people call these manufactured spices that are full of salt and all of this other stuff, that’s chemically produced in a lab. A real spice is something that you literally take from a tree, from a bark, from a plant, from a seed. That you manipulate it in a way, either you can grind it, you can dry it, whatever. But it brings a certain flavor profile to whatever you’re cooking and that’s what I appreciate about spices. Spices are healthy for the body; it has so many benefits, not only from a flavor, but also from a health perspective as well.
Tim: Chef, a question I have regarding the spices; are all spices created equal? Meaning, if I go to a regular grocery store and they’ve got all the spices there on the shelf. Compared to maybe something like Thrive Market or Whole Foods. Are all spices created equal or are there levels of nutrition and value and flavor, amongst different types of spices and how they’re created?
Chef Judson: That’s a really great question. Nowadays, you have spices that are organic, which gives a different process in how the spices are treated. So you have a lot of people now going towards organic spices, whereas before, it was just kind of spices are spices. But I would say that spices, literally, are spices. There are no spices that I would say are more nutritious than others. You can get spices that have a better quality; so if I’m getting my spices directly from India, they may be a little bit more intensified. So the curry you find in India may be very different from the curry you find in Jamaica. So the flavor profiles will be different. The intensity will be different, and when I say intensity, I just mean the potency of it may be different. So I couldn’t put all curries in the same category, and I think a lot of people, when they go to the grocery store, they just see curry and think, well curry is curry. But you have different types of curry that come from the different parts of the region. So depending on what part of the region they come from, they can have a different flavor profile. They can have a different effect on the body and they can also have a different intensity profile. So I would say in that respect, yes, but from more of a nutritional perspective, probably not.
Adam: It depends what you’re cooking too. You’re not going to use some spices with certain meals because they just don’t go together. It’s kind of like certain colors don’t go together, they clash. So there are probably some foods and spices that work much better together. Matter of fact, you talk about that in the book, that combining these spices together works really well and then there are other spices that don’t work so well together.
Chef Judson: One of the biggest things I hear from people before they read the book is, I’m afraid of spices because I don’t know how to use them. They stick to black pepper, salt, seasoning salt, and maybe some lemon, because they know to use that, right? Salt and pepper on chicken, salt and pepper on beef, whatever. But when we get into things like smoked paprika or turmeric or cinnamon or coriander. They’re like, okay, what is that, how do I use it? It’s not necessarily that they don’t want to use it. Again, they just don’t know how. So the book really guides them. I guide them in that process to say, let’s take cinnamon, let’s take coriander and let’s take tumeric. We add it to shrimp and olive oil and garlic and you’ve got an amazing deal that’s full of flavor, and this the flavor profile that you get. So I take all of the guesswork out of it for people, and I take the intimidation out of it for people. That way, they don’t feel scared to use the spices and they don’t mind going out and going to the spice aisle and picking up what they need, when they know how to use it.
Tim: You do a really great job of simplifying how to use these spices in your book, and you mentioned tumeric a minute ago. What about bioavailability of these various components of these spices, because I know you’re the architect of flavor, but also one of the things I loved about your book. It goes beyond just making the flood flavorful with these spices, it is using these spices for those that might need to lose weight or fight inflammation. You mentioned turmeric. I’ve learned in the past that tumeric paired with black pepper or a good source of fat, the turmeric works better within your body. What about some of the other spices with the bioavailability of them? Do you have any other combinations that might work well?
Chef Judson: Sure. So that one thing that I always love — I’m a spice fanatic, I love spicy food and this kind of gets into — it gets a little bit into that but also, how do you fight cravings as well. Which is also very important, because that affects our body as well. So one of the biggest cravings people will have are sweet and salty, and one of the things I think that begins to alter the brain’s perception is, if I’m craving salty, one of the things that counterbalance that is, let me give you spicy foods. If I’m enjoying spicy foods, then my interest in salty foods may decrease. So I may not crave salty foods as much. They’ve done a lot of research out in China, that really kind of justifies this. So when you’re bringing things like cayenne or bringing things like spiced paprika, or hot peppers into your diet. In a dried form or in a spiced form. Those are things that help to speed metabolism, it gives you the energy that you need and it also has been shown to reduce or aid in weight loss. As you’re building your metabolism, you’re losing weight. It just naturally occurs in our body. So those are some things that I think are positives when it comes to the spices. One thing I would spare the spicy things with are different things that bring a natural sweet element, because that helps to curb your desire to want sweet foods after you enjoy a meal. I tell people, one of the biggest things is to make sure that when you’re consuming a meal, you’re satisfying different elements of your taste buds. So one of the things are, if I’m going to enjoy a super salty meal, a cheeseburger, and it’s full of salt. I’m probably going to want something sweet after, I’m going to go to the cheesecake, I’m going to go to the brownie. But if I say, you know what, I’m going to enjoy a stirfry that gives me sweet, that gives me salty. That gives me a little bit of the spicy that I’m looking for, but all in a natural form. Not using processed ingredients, right. Then, my desire to want that cheesecake after has been decreased because I’ve satisfied that sweet element on my taste buds. So it’s combining spices and ingredients that can kind of help reduce the cravings and reduce other things that can go on with our brain function and with our body function, if that makes sense.
Adam: That makes total sense, that was great. You also talk about substitutes to satisfy your cravings. For example, you talk about substitutes for people that are chocoholics. Or substitutes for people that have a sweet tooth. How do you satisfy, for example, a salty craving, people that love salt? That’s a big one, people love salt. When they start eating healthier and they get rid of all of that processed food, they’re giving up a lot of salt and I bet that becomes a problem for people. So how do you deal with that one?
Chef Judson: So to satisfy the salty piece, and I’ll use — I’ll go for the cravings of potato chips first. So one of the things that I came up — a recipe I came up with was brussel sprout chips. And instead of using the potato, which is super startchy and the salt, the sea salt that I’d put on there that makes it really good. I said, let me get brussel sprouts and take off the leaves of those brussel sprouts. And I would bake those, get them super crispy, and the I would use some of my spice blends, that don’t have salt in them. But you’re left with these amazing flavor profiles. So like, I came up with a recipe for jerk brussel sprout chips, which are amazing. You get the sweet, you get the spicy, you get the aromatics in there. And you’re left not really craving salt because what’s on your tastebuds is the fact that you’re getting all of these other flavor profiles kind of popping off. Another thing if people just desire to go for the salt shaker in a meal. One thing I like to do is incorporate things like vinegar and citrus, citrus zest because those are things that help you to salivate and those are things that kind of get your taste buds alivened a bit. And I’ve found that those are the things that actually help reduce the craving for salt as well. So there are things like your vinegars and you can get out to the grocery store and get so many types of vinegars. Apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar which has a sweetness to it. Different flavored vinegars, but also the citrus zest. Like lime and lemon are my best friends. I keep a lime and a lemon in my refrigerator at all times because I know if I’m making shrimp. Instead of going for the salt shaker, I’ll put lemon juice in there, I’ll put some lemon zest in there and I’ll add some fresh parsley and garlic. And I don’t crave the salt because I’ve got so much flavor kind of nestled in that recipe, that it just pops.
Adam: That’s great, chef. You just reminded me, when you said that so many of these premade spices, they come with a lot of salt in them. I remember when I started putting dry rubs — I love smoking meats and I would make a full pack of brisket in the smoker and I’d go to the store and look for all of these different rubs that they have. Some are salt as the first ingredient. So that’s how I ended up making my own rubs for it, because I didn’t want all that salt. When I started using those rubs, when the product was finished, it’d be like too salty and I don’t mind salt. So if it’s too salty for me, it’s going to be too salty probably for a lot of people. In any case, I love your spice combinations that you put in. I mean, wow, that’s really cool because like, you don’t have to be lazy anymore and go and buy some premade, prefabricated rub in the store. Who knows how long it’s been sitting there and how fresh it is. You can make your own rubs or your own spice mixes and you have a whole bunch here. Can you talk about some of them, like what some of your favorites are? This is really exciting, this book is full of these different — what do you call them, spice…
Chef Judson: They’re spice blends.
Adam: Spice blends. I can’t wait to start using some of these.
Chef Judson: Yeah, these are great. Adam, you hit it on the nail. It’s like, people don’t have to go out and buy those prefabricated, pre-boxed, whatever you want to call it, spices now, because they’re full of sodium, they’re full of sugar. They’re full of all of these things that we don’t necessarily need and it’s so simple to buy the fresh spics or the spices and then make your own mixes.
Adam: One part of your book that I really liked, Chef. You have what you call the startup spice rack. So what are some of the staple spices, outside, of course, the ones that we all know about. What are some of the startup spices that you think everyone should start working with, outside of the typical ones?
Chef Judson: Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say a couple of the really, really great ones that you want to add to any startup spice kit. I’ll tell you, these change over a period of time. Depending on how my taste buds change, but for right now, I would say lean more towards the smoky paprikas or the spicy paprikas. I’m really into this paprika kick right now, because paprika does so much not only for flavor, but also for color in food too. So it makes our food sexy and that’s important. I would say tumeric, of course, tumeric is something that you want to add to any startup kit. Back in the day, it would not be anywhere near a startup kit, but because tumeric now has so many benefits, both flavor and healthwise, it’s something that I recommend people add to their kit. Dried thyme, thyme is one of the, I think, it’s just like — oh my gosh, I call it one of the best spices you can have because I put it in everything. Of course your onion powders and your garlic powders are always essential, because those, I think, are the basis for everything. Garlic and onion. But I would also encourage people, Adam, to go towards a channel outside of the spice range. And I would say that the three ingredients that I would also have on hand, which I wouldn’t consider necessarily spices, but enhance flavor would be, parsley, fresh parsley. Some type of lemon or lime zest or juice, of course fresh limes and lemons. And fresh garlic. So those would be the ones that I encourage people to get.
Adam: Alright chef, this is great. I can go on and on with this, and this book has so much more to it. I highly recommend it, there are so many great recipes in here and if you really want to love the one you’re with, and not pine for the things you can’t have, this is the book for you. And don’t worry about using color. Paint your room red and use tarragon and use cardamom and use all of these great spices. Don’t be afraid, and that’s the big lesson here. Not only that, you get the health benefits to boot. So thank you so much Chef, I really appreciate you coming on.
Chef Judson: Thank you for having me on the show, you all.
Tim: Special thanks to Chef Judson Allen, the author of The Spice Diet, for joining us here on the InForm Fitness Podcast. As I mentioned at the top of the show, you can pick up Chef Judson’s audiobook for free, just by clicking the link in the show notes to audibletrial.com/inbound. You’ll sign up for a free 30 day membership trial and download The Spice Diet. If you decide to cancel your membership for any reason, at any time, you get to keep the book. And while you’re in there, you can pick up audiobooks from our other guests that we’ve had on the show, and you’ll enjoy discounts of up to 30%, just by being an Audible member.
Speaking of free stuff, if you have not yet tried the Power of 10 workout for yourself, click on over to informfitness.com. There, you’ll find a free, slow motion, high intensity workout waiting for you. All you have to do is click the “try us free” button right there on the home page; fill out the form, pick your location, and then experience a free, full body workout that you’ll complete in just 20-30 minutes. One last request from us here at the InForm Fitness Podcast. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button in whichever podcast app you might be listening. We have close to 50 episodes for you to binge listen, and if you don’t mind, we would really appreciate it if you took a couple of moments to leave us a review. Until next time, for Adam Zickerman and Mike Rogers of InForm Fitness, I’m Tim Edwards with the InBound Podcasting Network.