A Chef Tells All: How My Palate Changed After a 30 Day Reboot

By: Vincent Vanhecke

I was really enjoying juicing. It was giving me new life.  I really didn’t want to go back to eating but being a Chef and responsible for all the food that left my kitchen, it was necessary for me to experience dishes that went out to my customers.

So, I started eating again.  I very quickly realized that my palate had changed after my Reboot. Dishes, which I thought were amazing before, became mediocre.  I had now become more in tune with the nutritional aspect of the food that I ate versus the umami taste that Chef’s strive for.

My mind and body started telling me what was the most beneficial fuel to put in my mouth for my well-being.  I was having a really hard time eating cheese puffs, mini sliders, asparagus tempura, sautéed petrale sole, roasted rack of lamb provencale and grilled prime beef tenderloin, all the most popular items on our menu.  I wanted juice, or raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, pasture raised meats or lower food chain fish.

Refined carbs such as flour and sugar now do nothing for me. I can tell that they contain no beneficial nutritional properties.  I just can’t eat them anymore.  I classify these as dead food, so no need to put these in my body.  Other dead foods which are on my list are commercially produced oils such as canola, corn and soybean.  I use extra virgin olive oil for dressings or low temperature cooking and coconut oil for raw recipes (such as coconut date bars) or for higher temperature cooking such as sautéing fish.

Let me tell you a story:  I have been a Chef for 32 years.  I did a two year cooking apprenticeship in France in 1981, and spent five years over there continuing my culinary career.  Many recipes which I wrote down then, no longer work! Most of those recipes, involve flour, sugar and dairy.  I have been puzzled for years as to why they didn’t?  In my efforts to get back to health, I discovered that flour is no longer what it used to be! It is now so refined that it is better described as a chemical…many say an addictive chemical.

The same goes for sugar.  I have also seen everyday dairy go from raw grass fed to ultra pasteurized grain fed.  It was a shock for me to learn about how our food sources have changed without really being notified by governing bodies as to how and why these changes have happened.  “Organic” was the norm back then!  It wasn’t even called “organic”.  That’s what we ate all day every day!  People were way healthier then than now before these agonizing food changes and scientific developments.

Wholesome natural foods have brought me back to health.  If I may make a recommendation: Look at food from a nutritional aspect.  Don’t think or worry about the quantity of calories a food has, but the quality of calories that you are consuming. When you are consuming quality calories, your body will balance out automatically.

You are what you eat!  And quality food is also your best medicine.  Support your local farms, farmers market, and CSA’s if you can. Or grow your own!

Also, don’t forget that we are the consumers and most everything is consumer driven.  Each time you go to the store, you vote for what you are purchasing at the cash register.  Vote quality and change will need to happen.  Juice on! I still juice once or twice daily and love it.

Chef Vincent

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Vincent Vanhecke

Vincent Vanhecke is the Executive Chef at the Valley Club of Montecito in Santa Barbara, CA. He has been in the food service business for 32 years; born in Belgium, trained in France, worked in England and in east and west coast USA. Vincent started eating a healthier diet and juicing in January 2013 and has since dropped from 285lbs to 210lbs currently. Food is his livelihood. Vincent have been awarded many accolades including one of the" best young Chefs in America" in 1992, has been a guest Chef at the James Beard house in New York on 3 occasions, and on Great Chefs TV on Discovery Channel. Vincent loves food and enjoys the newfound relationship he has with healthier choices.

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