Bridging her zest for life and healthy eating, celebrity chef Nikki Shaw spoke at Williams Sonoma headquarters in San Francisco on Thursday, Feb. 13 for the company’s Black History Month series.
Through her “Get It… Got It” call to action for a healthier community campaign, Shaw provided food and health tips to keep illness at bay and unnecessary doctor’s visits away.
Before an audience of 50 guests, the Oakland-based culinary expert discussed ways to fight disease in the kitchen during a fireside chat with Williams Sonoma Merchandise Analyst Sherie Carter.
“Heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are all preventable,” said Shaw.
“When you modify how you eat, you can control your health….With a diet of more fruits, vegetables and lean meats with exercise you can live a longer and healthier life.”
Shaw shared her concern for the next generation of youth that tend to enjoy junk foods as opposed to whole foods. While enthusiastically teaching a public health class at a public high school several years ago, she used some pretty shocking tactics to ensure students understood that many of the items they consume, such as Hot Cheetos and sodas, are actually hurting them in the long run.
“I showed pictures of amputees and dialysis centers where people have to spend several hours a day on a machine that does what their own kidneys can no longer do which is filter the blood of toxins and waste,” Shaw recalled.
Shaw suggests healthy eating begins at home and habits of a lifetime start while you are young. “It is important for our youth to make good food choices so their bodies have enough fuel to learn and focus,” Shaw said.
For weight loss, Shaw suggests eliminating carbs. “I have my own love-hate relationship with carbs (carbohydrates) – carbs are not my friend,” she joked. “Be carb conscious. That includes bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, croutons on your salad.” Shaw also said to reduce the intake of sugar and salt. “Salt makes the body retain water.”
Kale and Brussels sprouts are superfoods that Shaw suggests adding to one’s diet.
“Kale and Brussels sprouts are filled with so many vitamins and minerals,” she said. “Roasted Brussels sprouts are amazing and paired with baked salmon is perfection.”
As far as food preparation is concerned, Shaw urged audience members to break some of the traditions passed down.
“As delicious as deep-fried foods are, they contribute to heart disease because the oil enters the bloodstream and thickens. It’s like sucking a milkshake through a straw, making your heart work harder to pump the blood throughout the body.”
In partnership with the American Heart Association, Shaw says she is excited to tour faith-based organizations to raise healthy eating awareness throughout the year.
The Williams Sonoma Black History Month program will also feature Venture Capitalist Lo Toney, Founding Managing Partner of Plexi Capital.
“It is very important to discuss the work that African Americans are doing in the community to prevent heart disease and encourage a healthy lifestyle,” said Carter.
For more information visit: chefnikkishaw.com