Start a Delicious Revolution with Chef Joy Houston
Chef Joy Houston
Jonathan: Hey, everyone! Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus smarter science of slim podcast. Today’s guest is giving me a run for my money in terms of vibrancy and amount of time spent smiling, judging by her website and also our pre-chat chat that we had. She is named aptly. You’ll see why in a second. But before we get into that, she is a graduate of the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute.
She’s a certified Raw Food Nutrition Educator, who helps people incorporate more fresh fruit foods into their everyday diet. You’d seen her on NBC, the Huffington Post. She does a lot of work on Whole Foods. She is a joyous, smiley chef who is aptly named “Chef Joy Houston”. Joy, welcome to the show.
Joy: Jonathan, thank you so much for having me.
Jonathan: Well, Joy let us start back in the past when we had little smiley Joy. Tell us how we went from little smiley Joy to today, the whole fresh food advocate, Chef Joy Houston.
Chef Joy Houston
Joy: Well, like so many stories of the adventure through health, mine had a sad beginning. I was told that I would not have a title with my current husband whose name is Travis. He is just one of those magical, amazing man who was born to be a father. After all the struggles for a difficult Irishwoman like me to find love, I was really gutted when they said, “No kids for you. Sorry. You’ve been trying for 2 years. You pretty much just struck out.”
They hand you this pamphlet with your options. Adoption is on that list. All these surgeries are on that list. It just turned into one of those Charlie Brown moments where the teacher is talking and it’s “wawawa”. I looked at that thing and something click inside me and just said, “No.” That “No. This can’t be right. There has to be a solution. Gosh darn it! I’m going to find it.” So I started digging.
As the universe would normally do it, laid out a lovely path in front of me. By opening a door in a really weird way, my husband had put something on my iPod about health because he knew I was just reading every health book, everything I could get my hands on. He said, “Baby, I heard this thing from Tony Robbins. He’s a Huge Tony fan. I think you’re going to love it. So not being a huge Tony fan at the time. I thought it’s a little bit ‘rara’ for me.
I listened to it anyway. I figure things landed on my doorstep for a reason. I’m going to listen to it. Sure enough, it was the 3rd knock on my thick skull about the concept of alkalizing. I have this rule in my life, Jonathan where a concept or a book or a person is mentioned to me 3 times and I don’t listen, then I’m being a fool because it was strike. It was knock number 3. I thought, “Okay, I’m digging deep into this alkalizing.”
Luckily for me, Dr. Robert Young is local here in San Diego. So it was very easy to dive into all of this information, study under him and go to talks and lectures. I dove into alkalizing like a crazy woman. It had amazing, amazing health benefits for me right off the bat. It didn’t help with my fertility right away. But things that I just thought were a part of me, those extra 5 lbs. For me, it was extra 5 lbs. that hang in the thighs that seems to be something that my family likes to do – the women in my family likes to do. Five lbs. on each thigh seems to fit us well.
Cystic acne which I had struggled with my entire life and I thought, “Okay, I just got to deal with it.” Those things just melted away while I was trying alkalizing. But the one bummer thing was I have always have a passion for culinary. Alkalizing diet is a lot of broccoli and a lot of almonds and a lot of leafy greens. Really not much else. Even things like high grade balsamic vinegar which I had prized myself on my collection and all these quality oils and eccentric amazing aged cheeses, all those things did not fit into that protocol.
So I start getting really freaking bored. As luck could have it, right about that time, Robert Young had Chef Chad Sarno who you might know he’s the co-author Kris Carr’s book, “Crazy Sexy Diet”. He’s also another investor chef for Whole Foods. He’s a huge guru in my world. When I first learned of him and he was kind enough to share all this information about where he went to school and where he trained and what inspired him, I went down that rabbit hole. I went as quickly as I could.
In dieting and before I committed to going to the school, before I committed to getting certified in the Science of Raw Food Nutrition, I became my own experience of a miracle. I was on raw food 3 months when I got pregnant. Obviously, the alkalizing had been a big change. The raw foods just really step it on to the next level. My body was firing on all sort of cylinders. I felt like I look younger, felt younger, had more energy. I just felt amazing.
Honestly, Jonathan if someone else would have told me, I would have thought, “You’re full of it. Really it can’t be that simple. You just eat whole foods and leave them in there pretty much raw form or barely processed and you’re going to feel so amazing. Yeah, right.” But because I experienced it personally, that’s when I dove in. That’s when I went to the school and I sought out the knowledge to be able to share what I had went through with other people. I wanted the skills and the knowledge to back up my own experience and be able to share it with others.
So fast forward now, Maverick is 41/2 years old. He’s the most amazing boy, healthy, full of life and energy. Born at home with a doctor and a team of midwifes. It was just the most amazing experience. All that after having been told, we would never have kids. So I have huge gratitude toward raw foods and the power of what they can bring to people’s lives just by that experience alone.
Jonathan: Joy sharing your story of nutrition, not only enhancing your life but enabling you to create new life is nothing sort of awe inspiring. I’m curious because it takes… it show… it takes this whole idea of feeding ones family and how choices about our nutrition or about much more than just us to a whole another level.
Now, in your new role… well, not that new anymore. Maverick is over 4 years old. Role as mother, eating a whole foods nutrient dense unprocessed lifestyle oftentimes, I’m sure you hear as I do, it just doesn’t work in a family environment or in a busy family life. What have you found there?
Joy: I think that is a matter of shifting your priorities to match your values. That’s not always difficult. That’s always easy. It’s difficult with finances. It’s difficult with time. It’s difficult with energy. But we all know that the more we push all of our energy resources towards what we value, the happier we really are. Because if I take a lot of shortcuts and I was to go back to the way I used to eat before, before I knew better, I would feel that in my body immediately.
To me, it’s just not worth it. The opportunity to be able to give Maverick and my family, everybody in my family, the opportunity to feel their best and shine the most of their light through in who they are and their experiences with everyone else every day that just makes me feel like supermom, Jonathan. It’s everything I want. People don’t realize how much of their light, of what they have to give is diminished by being on a roller coaster of highs and lows that have to do with sugar and fats and proteins and not having them in the right balance.
We don’t want to be a subject to the ebb and flow of the type of food. We’re subject to the ebb and flow of a lot of other things but when it comes to food and also exercise, I believe, and even our feelings to an extent, I believe we can control those things. It’s really easy to control what’s on your plate. It’s really easy to control whether or not you exercise. Your feelings maybe, it’s a little bit harder because so many other people affecting your thoughts and the way you feel. But when it comes to sitting down to eat, really if you only buy the right stuff at the market and that’s all you have in your house, it becomes a whole lot easier to take the time to do it.
Now, there’s 2 things that I’ve seen have to be present in order to succeed with the family. You have to carve out time. So at our house that’s Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. So Sunday morning we get a few things in the fridge that are ready-made and easy, right? So that’s when we make a batch kale chips or a batch of flax cracker or we get some pesto ready to rock. Or maybe, a cashew cheese sauce.
Something where… when we come home starving, all we have to do is run a zucchini through one of those cool little veggies spiralizer gadgets and toss it in the sauce that’s ready-made or grab a handful of kale chips or get some carrots out of the fridge and dunk it in some raw ranch. We have the same shortcuts at our house that people who are picking up cartloads full of junk at Costco have. We have the same shortcuts. But we set ourselves up to succeed by having the right junk food, if you will, the right fast food or quick food on hand in our refrigerator at any given time. That is the key to our success.
Jonathan: Joy, so many things you just said resonated with me so I’m going to try to keep this as brief as possible. There’s two I really want to highlight. One is that this isn’t an either-or thing. I literally… I cannot… so many people think that eating food means you can’t have convenience. That’s just… it’s literally just objectively not true. Joy can sit here and list out to you.
“Oh, you like eating potato chips? Okay. Well, here’s the non-deadly alternative to that. That is just as convenient.” “Oh, you like eating this? That is out there. Please, please don’t lose sight of that. We can make work for you.” The other thing, Joy is I so appreciate you using the analogy of your brightest light. Because we often hear people say that making that shift from eating potato chips to eating kale chips is hard.
But what I think is not stated there is how hard it is to go around life in darkness. Think about that literally. If your light is not shining, if your car is stuck in 1st gear, how much harder is life every minute of every single day? So we want to talk about hard versus easy. I actually don’t know if we want to have that conversation because it is a heck of a lot easier to go through life when your light is on and you can see where you are going and you can fully engaged your environment than it is otherwise. What do you think?
Joy: You are 100% correct. There’s so many people who are bringing that point to light. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Lissa Rankin but her “Mind Over Medicine” book is a good little example of that. There’s so many great examples of that. I have this huge belief that… I don’t know you’re a big power, love attraction believer. But I certainly am. I find that the cleaner we eat, the less we are subject to that ebbing flow that I was talking about.
The more we can really have our satellite dish, if you will, or any of the mirrors that reflect our light, the cleaner those things are, the easier it is for us to simply focus on what it is we want to generate in life. What we want to give. What we’re here to offer. It’s easier for us to do that efficiently on a clean diet. There’s no denying it. There’s just no denying it. I challenge anyone in your audience to just do it. Take it on. Take it on for a week. Take it on for 21 days, whatever magic numbers sort of pops into your head.
Take it on. Eat clean. Get all the junk out of the way. All that time that you used to spend craving sugar or carbs or salt or whatever your sort of guilty pleasures are. Every time that pops into your mind, I double dare you to focus instead on what it is that you want to do or bring to this world. I guarantee you, you’ll take huge steps on that 21 days or 2 weeks, whatever you choose that you would not have done otherwise. It just simply makes life easier to show up in full force when you are eating a clean diet.
Jonathan: What else is there, Joy? It’s a short list that you invest. Because let’s be clear here, right? You do this. I do this. People who do this lifestyle. Many of our listeners, we set aside some times. You do Sundays and Wednesdays. My wife and I set aside a bunch of time on the weekend as well. I got a bunch of time, a few hours to do bulk food preparation. Then, we spend less time preparing food throughout the week than I would imagine most Americans do. Because we do that preparation on a weekend.
But we are spending time on that. But where else can you spend 2 hours doing something which is not a burden? That’s not like you’re out in the snow with hail beating down in your kitchen. You’re listening to music. You’re with your family that benefits noticeably every single aspect of your physical, spiritual and emotional health. How else could you invest that time more wisely?
Joy: I can’t think of any answer to that question. It’s an investment in self. It becomes… for me, it becomes of a meditation. It’s my time to imbue that food with everything that my family wants. My daughter has her eye on getting into a Humboldt State. I have my eye on bringing my first hard good to market. A super food coffee replacement. We sort of… all of us are working together.
We think about what it is that we want in life. We think about that food being the fuel to get us there. I think there’s something really magical about doing that, whether I do it alone if they’re busy or we do it altogether, I just think it adds that extra special sauce that you might not taste it but you feel it in your everyday life.
Jonathan: It seems like a great way to honor yourself on a deeper level. I’ve used this analogy cautiously in the past because I hope it doesn’t rub people the wrong way. I see what you think about this, Joy. But that which we put in our body in any other context, being selective and being intentional is prized. It’s something that is pretty universally valued because things are going into your body.
When we can savor and cherish and value what we are putting into your body many times a day, I think subconsciously that makes us see ourselves – differently see ourselves as a valuable and see ourselves as a worthy container. What do you think?
Joy: I absolutely, 100% agree. It also connects us to everything else. No matter what your spiritual beliefs are or your religious beliefs are, if you had paid for, let’s say organic kale and all these things that people complain are more expensive than conventional produce. When you sit down to eat that or when you’re preparing it and you think about, “Wow, all the people who harvested the seeds and then germinated them and planted them in the ground and cared for them. Who truck them to the market or the farmer’s market where we picked them up and brought them home?”
If you think about it that way, it really ties you into the whole. For me, that’s important. We have this idea of, “There’s meat. What I need to accomplish. There’s what you need to accomplish. What also separate and we’re busy, busy, busy. We marched along aside one another but not together.” Eating is one of those things that I believe not only empowers us as individuals. But it also is a great reminder that we are all connected. We are connected to the earth that grows our food, to the people who bring it to us. It’s just a great reminder. It’s fueling us but its part of the whole.
Jonathan: Joy, I could wax philosophical here with you all day, literally. Because we’re absolutely on the same wave length. But I want to spend the rest of the interview if you don’t mind because you are a chef, how… what are some of your favorite ways and you found with your clients, the people you worked with to incorporate like the most bang for your buck? So you don’t… you can’t do this all the way. Let’s say, at least not yet. What are 3 things you can start with?
Joy: Well, I think that it should be customized for the individual. So I think the answer to that question is to say to yourself, “What are the 3 things that I really love eating? Like I get a lot of enjoyments out of them. But I realize that they might not be in my highest invest good. They might not be of the most service to me.” Right? So let’s just say that cheeses, your number 1. Maybe, candy or sweets, your number 2. Maybe, fried chicken is your number 3. Right?
So we would just want to take baby steps toward each one of those things. Right? So we wouldn’t say we’re going to take you, if you’re addicted to sweets and you love sweets, you’re not going to go from a snickers bar to raw brownies. I would just ask you to take baby steps and say, “Hey, why don’t you try an organic? Maybe, just try the dark chocolate that doesn’t have so much cream.” I like people to just sort of create granitite.
They’re not saying good, bad. They’re saying, “What’s the spectrum? How far down that spectrum am I willing to go?” Because if we push people past what their willingness is there becomes resentment. Then, they’re eating the food but they hate it. Even me, when I counsel people one-on-one, I’m like, “Hey! If you found yourself saying, ‘Oh, that Joy. She’s such a witch. I wish I could just have this. Then, you know that you’re on the wrong path. You’ve gone too far, right?”
I ask people to look at their top 3 foods that they would like to reduce or change or upgrade, as I like to call it. Take a baby step in the right direction. Now, some people are just Type A extremist. Those are the people who often tend to yoyo diet, too. So I try to caution them and say, “I know even if you’re Type A self says, ‘No way I’m going from deep fried breaded fried potato chips over here to raw kale chips.’” That’s great.
But I would definitely encourage those people to do a journal to make sure that they’re venting about everything and they could possibly can get it out. Because if you don’t then it will come back and you’ll be back on those breaded fried potato chips in a couple of weeks. So take what you need to do. Your top 3 things that you feel you need to change. Take small steps to continue to upgrade, right? So maybe, you go from fried chips to baked chips.
“Okay. Now, I’m ready to try some really cheesy kale chips. Then I end up over here with a simple kale chip and then dehydrator tossed in olive oil and sea salt in the wall of whale and tea salt before you know it. I’m just eating a snack that’s full of fiber. That’s nutrient dense. That’s hugely beneficial for my body. Whereas a month ago, I was eating potato chips.” If you’re not familiar potato chips, when you fry a potato in forms a toxin called “Acrylamide”. That’s very tightly regulated in the EU but not as much here, unfortunately.
You would be going from eating a toxin covered potato chips to eating a nutrient and super food that can get a lower cholesterol. Increase your bowel movements. It’s really help you out in all this ways. That’s one small change. The awesome thing is once you’re gotten through that list of 3 things and you’ve elevated them, your body will automatically start wanting more change.
Just like eating bad food is a spiral that goes downward and downward and compiles extra weight and extra health problems. The spiral goes both ways. That’s not a one way ticket. It’s a spiral that goes around and around either direction. Really bad self and feeling awful. It also can elevate you as high as you’re willing to go.
Jonathan: It’s so amazing and encouraging Joy to know and to see that there’s so much hard science just backing up the fact that if any listener out there feels that their body is fighting them to keep them out of heavier weight or a self-par level of health. As strong as you feel your body is working against you now, if you get it the right inputs, it can and will and it’s been proven work that hard to push you in the other direction, just like Joy is saying. That is something to be excited about, I think.
Joy: I think so, too. If you feel like your body is trapped, if you feel like you are in a state of addiction around food, that’s the time to really do something. To draw a line in the sand and decide to clean your slate. Give yourself a Tularosa, if you will. Just get all the carbs and sugar and unhealthy fats out. Give yourself a clean slate. Then, add that foods one at a time so you can see. You can create your diet.
Not my diet. Not Jonathan’s diet. Not the diet of the week according to the New York Times bestseller list. But your diet. Right? That’s when you really take your health into your own hands is when you get off everything that’s kind of junkie for a little bit of time. Then, you add back in based on your own body’s responses to things. I think that’s really where the power of things like cleansing and temporary diets. That’s where those things that can be really, really useful. From there on out, it just has become a lifestyle.
Jonathan: Joy, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant words. What’s next for you on this journey?
Joy: What’s next for me on a journey? I am doing a 6 week program called, “Rocking Body Revolution”. It is an exploration in the power of eating for attraction. I’m not talking about attracting the next lame guy or gal, either one. I’m talking about really amplifying and cleaning up your powers of attraction by getting off foods that don’t serve you and getting on foods that absolutely fuel your highest self.
I’m doing that for 2 reasons. One because it’s really personal connection for me. I only take 20 people through that course at a time. We coach individually. One-on-one together every week. We also meet as a group using Google chat every week. So it really uplift me to do that. I’m doing that as a precursor for my new book, “Eating For Attraction”. That’s really to get more input and more life stories. I do this once a year.
It’s really one of my favorite things that I do because of the connection that is offered. Both between I give up myself to that group and they give of me. I always end up learning just as much from that group as they learn from me. So one of my favorite things that I do. There is information about that at deliciousrevolution.com, if that’s something that you or your audience is interested in.
Jonathan: Joy, I love it. Speaking of learning more as you mentioned, listeners if you want to learn more about the delightful woman we’ve been chatting with today, Chef Joy Houston, you can do so at deliciousrevolution.com. Again, that’s deliciousrevolution.com. Joy, I know it’s not out yet but remind us the name of the book so we can keep an eye out for it when it does come out.
Joy: Eating for Attraction.
Jonathan: Love it. Love it. Love it. Joy, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure.
Joy: Thank you, Jonathan. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Jonathan: Listeners, I hope you enjoyed this delightful conversation as much as I did. Please remember this week and every week after. Eat smarter, exercise smarter, let your light shine and live better. Chat with you soon.