Zinc@shade restaurant inside Manhattan Beach’s premier luxury boutique Shade Hotel held a special screening party for fans of NBC’s The Biggest Loser television series, allowing them to watch the episode with the show’s celebrity chef Devin Alexander as she shows America how to cook healthy on a budget.
Cookbook Author Chef Devin Alexander, nutritional expert for the show since 2006, shared some of her food makeover secrets and recipes for her famously decadent tasting but healthy dishes, for a special 30 Days of Devinly Decadence menu at zinc@shade restaurant. Creator of Biggest Loser Cookbook series, Alexander has maintained her 70-pound weight loss for close to 20 years.
She lives and eats her message, “You don’t have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy—eat what you love, do what you love and own it,” said Alexander, adding, “foods that are otherwise off-limits, when given my Devinly Decadent spin, are completely guilt-free as well as delicious!”
Her menu included dishes such as Grilled chicken and roasted pepper pizza, meatball marinara, Little devs big mac makeover , Devinly delites™ lemon bundt cake and Devinly delites™ chocolate chocolate muffins.
Enjoy her recipe for Sweet Potato No-Skins with hints for lowering salt and getting children to try the dish.
She took the time to answer our questions:
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU ESTIMATE THAT YOU KNOW PERSONALLY HAVE YOU HELPED?
Literally 10s of thousands in person; hundreds of thousands via books, etc. I owned a catering business and taught healthy cooking lessons to celebs and individuals for 9 years prior to transitioning into the media world. I’ve appeared regularly on television for the past 10 years (since March of 2003) and have travelled the country since 2006 doing personal appearances and speaking engagements inspiring others all while weight loss coaching.
WHAT DO YOU HEAR FROM READERS?
I get letters every week where people say they love my recipes because they are EASY and the WHOLE family will eat them. Daily, I get letters saying that people can’t believe that my food is “diet” food.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR PEOPLE ABOUT EATING HEALTHIER FOOD IN APPROPRIATE QUANTITIES?
There is so much misinformation about portion size. And most people think you only get a few bites of an item if it tastes great. I make large, satisfying portions that are Devinly Decadent!
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR YOU?
My personal obstacle was that I thought I would have to give up brownies and all of my Italian family favorites if I wanted to be healthy.
WHAT’S KEPT YOU MOTIVATED TO STAY HEALTHY?
I was brutally picked on as a child and teen and then lost the weight through Devinly makeovers. So it’s easy now. I eat the foods I love guilt-free!
DO YOU REALLY THINK THERE’S ANYONE LEFT WHO TRULY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THEY SHOULD BE EATING AND WHAT THEY SHOULD AVOID?
Absolutely! I think we “should” all over ourselves. You don’t need to eat plain chicken and steamed broccoli to be healthy. I’m a true foodie and I’ve maintained a 70 pound weight loss. If others saw what I ate, they’d sign up for the “diet”, in a heartbeat. Most of the time people say things like, “Chili Cheese Fries”? How can you eat Chili Cheese Fries? And they taste it and are shocked!
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MAIN CAUSES FOR THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC IN ADULTS? IN CHILDREN?
In adults, lack of choice–currently I’m working with Shade Hotel and it’s been a challenge to source healthier products for the masses…and we’re trying. Much of the default product available for order is super fattening. And then a lot of people think that healthy food can’t taste amazing. In children, it’s lack of activity and growing up at where everything is about staring at screens and very few stay-at-home moms and dads cooking for them and providing healthy options. Also, people don’t know how to shop on budgets and then how to store food properly so it lasts a long time.
WHY DO MANY LOSE WEIGHT AND THEN GRADUALLY PUT IT BACK ON?
They diet in a deprivational way and then go back to their old “habits.”
WHAT DO YOUR BOOKS OFFER THAT ISN’T AVAILABLE IN OTHER BOOKS/WEBSITES?
Foods people love in a healthier way that respect the originals–you won’t see me adding fennel seeds to mushrooms and calling it, “sausage”! And I don’t use a ton of chemicals or processed foods like some people doing makeovers do. Eating to be skinny if you’re putting chemicals in your body is NOT healthy in my book. My recipes are lower in calories, but also in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, etc. And I make it a point to use fiber-rich ingredients and as many natural products as possible.