Michael is also an advocate for eating well for long term health, having suffered a stroke in late 2009 while out to dinner with his family that nearly claimed his life.
Though he had been diagnosed with diabetes 10 years earlier and was medicating himself as needed, he wasn't paying attention to what he was eating, eating on the run as so many busy chefs do. The experience completely altered his outlook and inspired him to write the cookbook Blood Sugar, created for diabetics as well as anyone taking an interest in eating for long term health.
“It’s essentially a philosophy of making good food as healthy as possible by making simple tweaks and adjustments to how you cook and what ingredients you use. Whether you’re a diabetic, as I am, or not, it’s important to eat well for your long term health. The Blood Sugar philosophy focuses on foods that are low GI, high in fibre, low in sugar and low in carbs. “
The recipes use subtle tweaks to ingredients choices and cooking methods to minimise the long term effect on the body that delicious food can often have.
Michael has also used the Blood Sugar philosophy in the menu for his restaurant O Bar and Dining, through things like:
• Using grass-fed instead of grain-fed meats to provide higher levels of saturated fats that reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes
• Steering away from high GI or high carb dishes (avoiding polenta, white rice, mashed potato, etc)
• Wherever possible using nuts, grains and seeds that offer higher levels of protein and fibre
• Using reduced amounts of dairy and saturated fats – butter, cream and olive oil are still used but only as much as is required. The kitchen always use non-stick instruments to minimise the amount of greasing required during the cooking process
• Grilling and poaching wherever possible
• Using only the freshest, seasonal produce and seafood
For all of us who strive to incorporate this philosophy into our diets at home, Michael has this advice:
“The process has to start in the supermarket, you have to be actively considering what you’re buying and whether there is a better alternative. It’s important to read labels to see what’s really in your groceries. Lots of fresh food and lean proteins are a good start but the key is to plan your meals ahead and stick to your list. If unhealthy foods aren’t in your fridge and pantry then you won’t be tempted.”
Try Michael's Baked Choc 'n' Nut Ricotta Cheesecake recipe and his Roasted Salmon and Baby Nioise Salad recipe.
Visit www.obardining.com.au for more information.