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Healthy eating: A great start towards a healthier life

Local chef Nuno Grullon blends instincts with mom's tips

D. Kevin McNeir | 8/14/2013, 1:02 p.m.
If the old adage, “you are what you eat,” has any truth to it, then people of color, particularly Blacks, ...

If the old adage, “you are what you eat,” has any truth to it, then people of color, particularly Blacks, may be guilty of eating their way into obesity, diabetes and other avoidable health problems simply because of their diets. For example, how many times have you driven up to a fast food restaurant for fried chicken or a cheeseburger in the last month? How often do you take a “nutritious” frozen food item from your freezer and popped it into the microwave with the belief that now you’re ready to take on the world?

Perhaps you’re ready to join a growing number of consumers that are choosing to change their diet and go “organic.” Of course, you still have to somehow navigate the maze of organic food labels, benefits and claims that can be confusing. And then there are those daunting questions that must be addressed. What do all the labels mean? Is organic food really healthier? And, is the added cost to your grocery bill worth it?

Local chef Nuno Grullon, whose family hails from the Dominican Republic and who grew up in the Bronx before making his way to Miami, has been preparing organic lunches at The News Lounge [5580 NE 4th Court] for the past few months in order to “meet the needs of a growing market.”

“I’m a co-owner in this lunch venture along with the Lounge’s owner, Cesare; while it’s a work in progress, so far things are going great,” Grullon said. “And yes, there is a difference in organic foods — both in how they’re grown and processed. Farmers can’t use synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs) or petroleum-based fertilizers. As for organic livestock, they must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They can’t be given antibiotics, growth hormones or any animal by-products. As a chef and expert on nutrition, I’m convinced, along with a lot of others, that organic food is often fresher, tastes better is is particularly good for children and fetuses and pregnant women.”

Grullon added that he goes organic because such diets are good for one’s immune system as they help consumers avoid what is often called “accumulated build-up” of pesticide exposure in the body — something that happens from years of consuming processed foods that have chemicals, preservatives, herbicides and insecticides.

Grullon prepared several dishes that he says are easy to make: zucchini souffle, yellowfin tuna tartare, a steak and portabella sandwich and a green wrap filled with free range chicken breast and artichokes. In a word, each dish was “delicious.”

“Growing up in New York, I watched my mother cook all the time and learned how to prepare meals from scratch,” he said. “I learned the chemistry — how to use the right spices. I guess it came in the blood. I’m self-taught but I’ve had a lot of other chefs inspire me. I dream about making special recipes — organic, of course — and think our community needs to understand that there are real benefits to eating non-processed food.