Tuesday July 10, 2012
The Green way
IT'S EASY: Green believes you can make a scrumptious meal that is healthy for you.
TO SOME of us, healthy eating is really just a myth.
Certain foodies donít believe that cutting out fat, sweets, oil, butter, cheese, milk, cream will make a satisfying meal. And if it is not deep-fried with an amazing dipping sauce, it's just not food, right?
Well, think again. Chef Daniel Green believes you can make a scrumptious meal that is healthy for you. And he is an authority on this matter as the handsome chef has transformed himself from an overweight teenager to a model by changing his eating habits.
Unhappy with his weight as a teenager, Green started creating his own recipes by experimenting with food, flavours and spices. He decided to come up with a healthier way of preparing food using healthier ingredients without compromising its natural flavours and taste. And Green also believed in greens.
Green's philosophy is simple. You can still maintain the natural flavours of your favourite types of food by simply omitting ingredients that contain the most calories, thus leaving you with a much healthier alternative.
And obviously, he hit the right formula as he lost 65lbs adopting his new diet and has now kept it off for over 20 years.
So successful was his transformation, he modeled for about four years and worked with companies such as Gucci, Martini, British Airways, Hilton Hotels, Raddison Hotels, Vodaphone, Pizza Hut and Barclayard. He was also featured in two television commercials, one of them alongside Claudia Schiffer.
Green has written several books that have been sold worldwide: Greenís Cuisine, Greenís Green, Healthy Eating for Lower Cholesterol, World Dining for Life, Modern Dining for Life, and Healthy Dining for Life.
OIL-FREE: Green cooking the eggplant during his demo.
Green was present in Malaysia for a cooking demonstration, Kuali's Healthy Dining Workshop with Daniel Green, organised by Kuali recently.
He charmed the crowd and shared tips on creating some hearty and delicious meals using authentic, healthy ingredients.
Later the chef, who is quite the sight for sore eyes, sat down with Kuali for a quick chat.
Kuali: How and where did you first make your breakthrough as a celebrity chef?
Green: It didn't just happen overnight, of course. I had this passion for cooking food without fat and I lost weight from it. So I wanted to share it with the rest of the world. It happened very slowly, I had an opportunity to appear on the Food Network and later Good Food Magazine picked up my story. I really wanted to share and show people that food containing high percentage of fat doesn't necessarily make it tasty and flavourful.
What do you mean by taking out the fat?
To me if you eliminate butter, cream, cheese and deep-frying you got a really simple way of making anything healthier. But don't forget to indulge once in awhile. So what you can do is, stick to a healthier menu between Monday to Friday or Saturday, then take a day off and just go for it. It makes it a lot easier on your body and mind.
In your opinion, what would a healthy fast food restaurant serve (aside from Subway's menu)?
I've actually been trying to do that for about a decade now and I don't think people have gotten to doing something like that. Like, coming up with a wrap and go concept. Because you see every cuisine has something that tastes marvelous. There's Japanese, Thai, Indian etc. It's just a matter of extracting the bad, fatty bits and turning it into something wholesome. Maybe remove the mayonnaise and omit the deep-fried stuff. Something along those lines.
Green: 'To me if you eliminate butter, cream, cheese and deep-frying you got a really simple way of making anything healthier.'
Can you share a couple of alternative ingredients to make any meal healthier?
Well sure, for example, instead of full cream milk, you can opt for skim milk. And instead of Parmesan cheese, try mozzarella or feta cheese. These are the least fat containing cheese. And where you can use soy sauce, use that instead of salt. Oh and yes, sesame oil, use that. It brings out an amazing taste in some dishes.
What's the ideal healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner combo?
I must always have breakfast. It's a great form of energy to start the day off. I like to eat. So I make sure I have every meal, I never skip meals. They have to include lots of protein, such as fish and other types of seafood. If I want to have any type of poultry or meat, I make sure it comes from the healthier part of the animal. Just pick the right parts and you've got a great-tasting fillet mignon for example.
What do you eat when you travel?
Loads of stuff, really. Like in Hong Kong, there are these pancakes wrapped with duck skin and they are incredibly delicious. So, there's no way I'm not going to have that. If there's something authentic that looks delicious, I'm definitely going to try it. I don't deprive myself, of course. When I want to be bad, I am really bad!
What have you had while here in Malaysia?
Oh, the chili crab here is fantastic, even though its deep-fried, I had to have a taste of that! And I've had Nasi Goreng. But me being me, I'm constantly thinking of ways to make these stuff lighter and a little healthier but still keeping their flavours, of course. But there are some dishes you just can't change or you're going take out the authenticity from it.
HEALTHY COOKING: Green was present in Malaysia for a cooking demonstration organised by Kuali recently.
God forbid, what would you do if you ever gained back the pounds you've lost?
Ouch. No, I don't think I'll let myself get to that level. When I'm on holiday, I will let myself go and indulge. I make sure I don't go too far though and constantly have this thought in my head and stick to moderate amounts of everything. I've been able to keep the weight off for 20 years, so I'm pretty confident I'll be alright (chuckles).
Without the chefís hat, who is Daniel Green?
Oh, someone who loves being in the plane, actually. So basically it is traveling and I'm glad they come hand in hand. Of course, I also love being with the family. It's always wonderful.