Food and Dining Radio Show – 7.11.08
Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Joseph Cooper (JC)
Fred Tasker (FT)
Stephanie Klein (SK)
Howie Kleinberg (HK)
LG: Stephanie is here to talk about how she conquered the problem herself. Also here is Howie Kleinberg. He’s a well-known Miami Chef from the show Top Chef and he was also at camp with Stephanie. Welcome Howie. Of course Fred Tasker is also here. He’s the wine columnist for the Miami Herald.
FT: I’m going to talk about wine and diets. And it could get ugly.
LG: Ugly? Wine?
FT: Don’t shoot the messenger.
LG: Let’s go to Stephanie. Your book is Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp. Why moose?
SK: The kids at school used to call me moose. When I went home to my parents and cried, instead of comforting me, my father started laughing and said “what a great name.” Thanks Dad. And I was shipped off to fat camp to fix the problem.
LG: You were also sent to a diet doctor.
SK: Yes, I was 8 at that time.
LG: She told you you’d always be fat?
SK: Yes, in the way that you always have that identity with you. And I do but I am an adult now and can tell myself the truth and get past that.
LG: What suggestions would you give to parents or children?
SK: To be sensitive. A kid knows that they’re overweight. I think really it comes down to bringing out the best strengths within your children. Show them they can achieve things and set goals and we did that at fat camp. It’s less about exercise and more about portion control.
LG: Well this is a difficult problem. Were your parents overweight?
SK: No. It was portions. I would take healthy foods and eat a lot of it. I had so much academic pressure so I would reward myself by eating.
JC: Did you sneak it at school?
SK: Yes, bake sales! I love them to this day. But I wouldn’t let anyone see me eating it.
LG: So it was psychological?
SK: It’s both. I love food. And I balance it now.
LG: And she looks balanced now. She’s kept it off.
SK: Thank you.
LG: Let’s go to Howie. How did you meet Stephanie.
HK: We met at fat camp.
LG: And this is the first time you’ve seen each other since then?
SK: It’s the first time we’ve seen each other since 1993.
LG: So did you find the camp helped you?
HK: Yeah, loosing weight but also it was good to see other people struggling with these things. Seeing other kids dealing with the same issues helps you see your not the only one. It helps you learn more about life style changes than a diet. It’s not about a quick fix. It’s about learning how to eat healthier and exercise.
LG: You went into a business that difficult for someone who went to fat camp.
HK: I always liked food so I figured, if I’m going to eat, I should learn how to eat healthy.
LG: You’re about to open a bar-b-q restaurant in Miami. What will that be like?
HK: It’s going to be traditional bar-b-q. It’s not typical health food but it’s important to keep moderation in mind.
LG: That’s an important point. You don’t have to give up certain foods because you won’t.
SK: You’ll quit. You should enjoy things but know when to stop.
LG: That’s one of the points of my book The Portion Plan. It’s the amount that’s important.
SK: It’s mindful eating. Don’t eat past the point where you’re saited.
SK: It’s hard to stop eating past the point where you’re full when there’s something you love.
LG: For some reason we learn that. Because when you’re a baby you won’t eat past the point of being full. Somewhere we lose that.
SK: It’s probably in part comforting and a coping mechanism.
LG: Once you lost the weight, did you return to being fat?
SK: I write about that in moose. When I was in college I fell in love and started to feed the one I loved. When Shakespeare said “Love is Blind,” he was having a fat day. I find when I am at my thinnest I was miserable. One time someone said “you look so great” and I was going through a divorce.
LG: Now you’re remarried and have twins. How do you do it now?
SK: I eat but in small portions. I believe in living life with gusto but also being healthy and realizing that my body is a vehicle for who I am so I want to be good with it.
LG: Do you keep up with people from camp?
SK: Yes, I speak with people. The relationships are kind of like a fraternity. It has a cult-like following because we bonded so closely.
JC: Is it like military?
SK: No, not really. It’s camp fires, lake…fun. But they had as moving more than others.
LG: It was nice to meet people who are the same.
SK: We could make fun of each other! It takes the sting out.
LG: Well we’re talking with Stephanie Klein. She’s the author of Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp. We’re talking also with Howie Kleinberg who is a Miami Chef. We’ll be back with more.
LG: And we’re back. I’m Linda Gassenheimer. We’re talking with Stephanie Klein. She’s the author of Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp. We’re talking also with Howie Kleinberg who is a Miami Chef. They met each other at fat camp. It’s now dinner in minutes time. I’ve got a full plate here of Steak with Green Beans and Roasted Potatoes. If you want the recipe go to my website dinnerinminutes.com. So Fred, what are we drinking today?
FT: Wine and diets puts me in an awkward position. Regular dry wine isn’t too bad. A four ounce glass is 120 calories. The problem is this: it turns out that medical studies say wine is a wonderful stimulus of the appetitive. So people who consume wine consume 20% more food.
LG: Drinks are called an aperitif because they increase the appetite.
FT: They give wine to the elderly because it helps stimulate their appetite. So if you’re on a diet you can drink alcohol-free wine. They make it into real wine and filter out the alcohol. What it lacks is the heft of wine. On the other hand, this is all depressing me so much I’m going to have a glass of wine.
LG: Let me give you a happy note. As you know my book for the Diabetes Association says you can have wine. Men can have two 5 ounce glasses and women can have one glass. The whole point is to enjoy your ofod.
HK: It’s important for people who are going one day a week to splurge you should go out and enjoy yourself.
LG: Stephanie, how do you feel about that?
SK: I would never cut wine out of my diet. You live once! I think it’s moderation. I’d rather be good all week.
LG: Plan ahead.
SK: have a splurge night. I wrote in the book about how I went to a diet dictator in Manhattan. He was a real MD and he gave me shots and appetite suppressants. I did it and I wouldn’t eat all week long anything bad but on the day after weigh in I would eat whatever I wanted.
LG: How does vitamin B help?
SK: Something from the 80s. Who knows. You hear ridiculous things.
LG: Also you had an extraordinary experience. When you were pregnant your doctor told you to gain weight.
SK: My doctor said, “you need to gain 50 pounds.” It was frightening. For twins you need to put on weight. It reminded me of my adolescence and my years of moose.
LG: How could you take it off after the kids?
SK: I had the foods I enjoyed but in moderation.
LG: How will you handle this with your children?
SK: I think it’s a question of fairness. I would never deny my children. I think I’ll say “we’ve all had our portion and that’s how it works.” You can always have more but that’s not always how it works. I won’t reward them with food. We’ll go to the amusement park or spend time together instead. It’s bringing out kids talents and show what they can do. That’s how I’ll reward them. With confidence.
LG: That’s very important.
SK: It’s not just self-esteem. It’s learning about setting goals for yourself. I write about it on stephanieklein.com.
LG: Howie, when is the restaurant opening? What’s the name again?
HK: Not soon enough. It’s called Bulldog Bar-b-q. I think it’s interesting. Before I started cooking professionally you only know so much about food. Once you start cooking you start seeing all these other vegetables and grains. Now that chefs are more apart of the mainstream children can start to see many types of food that they can taste and appreciate. We didn’t know about those when we were growing up. I think it’s important for parents to go and shop organic and try new foods.
LG: And where is the restaurant?
HK: 154th and Biscayne Blvd.
LG: Thanks for a great week. I’m Linda Gassenheimer. Join me next week for more food news and views.