Despite his logical approach, I have to say I don't like the tone he takes when talking about overweight people. From comments he has made in interviews, along with descriptors in the show (ugly, disgusting, horrible, etc.) and the caricature of the junk food eating guy at the gas station, there is an element of visual vanity instead of the notion of 'I need to lose weight because I'm unhealthy.' This attitude might turn off a lot off a lot of people before they even listen to what he has to say.
What Alton Brown has to say about eating a healthy diet makes sense on the chalk board, but needs to be fleshed out more to make sense when you're planning your menu for the week. It would be helpful if he posted an example menu for a week or two on his website so we can see how he managed to fit all of the foods on his list into his daily routine, and also how he planned meals. Of course, anyone who's cooking for a family knows the real kicker: how do you change your eating habits and change the habits of everyone in your household at the same time? Additional recipes would be great too. The items he prepared on the show sound delicious.
Well, I'd have to try the avocado-sardine toast before I can say how good it is, but the fruit smoothie and ginger almonds make my mouth water. I do love kippered herrings, but finding good avocados, especially for a reasonable price, seems to be difficult lately. The smoothie looks really good. Alton has a problem with milk tempting him to eat cookies and such, plus he mentioned he's lactose intolerant on a previous episode, but it would have been informative to compare the nutrition of milk vs. soy milk for making a smoothie. The blender was a top notch Vita-Mix model like you'd see in a restaurant though! Finally, I'd skip the pepper in preparing the almonds, but that's just my personal taste. I'll have to look up more almond variations so eating one variety doesn't get boring.
The book. No Alton has not written an autobiography on his diet yet, though he has mentioned the idea. I have mixed feelings. While it would be interesting to know all the details, it also would move his image one step closer to the Rachel Ray type of over-marketing that he has managed to avoid. I also find a heavy dose of irony in buying a few cook books full of delectable dishes like fried chicken and lava cake, then picking up a diet book by the same author. There is one major tidbit of information that Alton left out of the show, and one that was crucial to his losing fifty pounds: EXERCISE.
Yes, that's right, he didn't just follow the diet plan as laid out on the chalk board. He also had to combine a heavy dose of exercise into the regimen. There's no easy way to lose weight, at least not any healthy and easy way. I see Alton's lists of foods as a new way of eating for him, not a method for losing weight. If you're going to lose weight you have to burn off all those extra calories you have stored. He touched on the issue of taking in too much energy at the gas station, but never really got around to how you are going to get rid of what you already have stored. This would veer off course for a food show, but it gives the impression that you just follow his food list and you're going to shed pounds. I was surprised by this omission since AB's always explaining cause and effect or how and why things happen.
Overall, a good show. I like the recipe selection and would like to see more along those lines. I like the logical way he went about changing the way he eats, but don't like that he failed to mention how much exercise was involved in burning off 50 pounds. I also have some questions remaining when I look at his lists and think about how I would implement such a program and I'll leave you with those.
Questions for Alton Brown:
- How do milk and soy milk compare nutritionally? They're two very different items.
- What happened to pork and poultry?
- Alcohol: are you talking mixed drinks or beer too?
- What about other common food items: rice, eggs, cheese, other seafood, etc.?
- Just how many copies of Good Eats: The Early Years do you have sitting around the studio?