IN THE KITCHEN WITH MIKE GORMAN
Tell us about yourself:
I have struggled with my weight for my entire life. Food obsession and morbid obesity were my norms. I spent most of my life alternating between short periods of dieting and gluttonous excess. Food quality was never a concern, it was about volume and value. In 2013, I managed to get to a low of 210lbs; down from 540lbs using a Paleo style diet. However, within 6 months, I had regained almost 300 pounds. I struggled to find a way to reach my weight loss goals and break free from the cycles of food addiction that dominated my life.
In 2017, I decided that I needed to try again. I finally realized that the missing piece in everything was losing focus on my desire to stay alive and to fight for my health. I had once again given up on ingredient quality and was chasing binges. I had done research and the keto diet seemed most in line with my needs and with the good whole foods that I loved to eat. I started the keto diet in February of that year at 470lbs, and today, just over 3 years later, I am again down 300 pounds from my heaviest point and working on mastering maintenance. The magic of my way of life now is not weight loss, but the true sense of control over food and my body that this lifestyle has given me. I am no longer a slave to my appetite. I choose my food now based on how it will make my body feel and support my health. I have gotten to the place where food is now fuel, fuel that can certainly be enjoyed, but is no longer the source of entertainment itself. Working as a holistic ketogenic nutrition coach now this is the lesson I strive to share will my clients, and truthfully anyone who will listen!
How did you get involved in cooking?
I have been cooking since I was a child! Learning from my mother and grandparents about our family traditions. Those foods though were certainly nothing like what I cook today! I will be honest that my food addiction was a primary driver of my thirst to learn more about cooking. I read cookbooks like most folks read novels, and often took classes to increase my skills. In college, they offered a class that used a Julia Child cookbook as the text and focused on technique. It was truly an eye opening experience to learn that I didn’t need all the frozen and boxed foods to create easy simple meals. When I did finally place a priority on my health I started using my skills to keep my food interesting and fun! “Diet food” does not need to be boring. With good knife skills and a well stocked spice cabinet you can create magic!
Describe your cooking style:
I describe my cooking as an adventure! I rarely make the same dish the same twice as I am always looking for new ingredients and flavors to explore. When you are a ketogenic cook you are looking at a palate that many people see as limited but to me I instead see it as a challenge. Its why I love connecting with companies like US Wellness Meats, I never know what I might find when I explore their offerings!
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
My first experience learning about grass-fed meat was when I discovered the paleo diet in 2010. I started to not only learn about the nutritional advantages of the meat but also about the care and welfare of the animals. These became important priorities for me when I worked on my own health. Living a ketogenic lifestyle I eat a fair amount of meat and knowing that the meat I am choosing was raised properly and well treated gives my choices meaning.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
I think that often grass-fed meat gets a bad reputation for being very lean, so my favorite recipes often involve a cut like a chuck roast where you can easily create a tender and flavorful meal loaded with plenty of healthy fat!
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
The tool is easy, a well seasoned cast iron skillet! My top 5 ingredients? I feel like I am going to turn into a cliche here but I would say ribeye steak, bacon, butter, onions and salt. I could certainly live on them forever! I would pray I got lucky and found some wild peppers growing amongst the palms on the island!
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Always try something before you say “I don’t like that!” For many, many years I did this, and man, I missed out on some amazing flavors for decades. I still regret waiting until my 40th birthday to try oysters, but luckily it’s never too late to give them a go!
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!” By Walt Disney. Don’t let a recipe, a cut of meat or a new cuisine intimidate you. Break it all down into individual steps and get going. You will be amazed in the end by what you can do!
Anything else you want to share?
The biggest lesson in my life has been that food is neither best friend nor bitter enemy. It is instead the most powerful tool we have for improving our health! What matters most is what you put in your mouth, so make sure your choices are good!
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