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Interview with Gary Glenn, Executive Chef of Mt. Nittany Medical Center, About Healthy Cooking

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Medical Minute: 5:03

Dave Kurten:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”.  Today’s guest is Gary Glenn, he is the Executive Chef of Mt. Nittany Medical Center.  Thank you for spending some time with us today.

Gary Glenn:  Sure, Dave.

Dave Kurten:  First of all, with the holidays fast approaching, big family meals are at the forefront of everybody’s minds; what are some the top ways to incorporate healthy cooking in your position as Executive Chef as Mt. Nittany Medical Center?

Gary Glenn:  Ya know Dave, it starts with any cooking methodology for myself, my cooks, and my staff at the Medical Center.  Fresh ingredients is the most important thing.  We like using fresh ingredients for everything, as everyone should.  We maintain the quality and integrity of the vitamins, along with any cooking methods that you use.  You don’t want to destroy the product that you’re cooking; overcook or undercook.  Proper cooking methods are key to maintaining vitamins and minerals, which maintain a healthy diet.

Dave Kurten:  What are some tips that people can use everyday in their kitchen to make healthier meals for their family?

Gary Glenn:  Well again, starting off, again, using the fresh ingredients.  Some of the basic things that I try and teach people is don’t use process foods.  Process foods are usually high in sodium, higher in fat content, a lot of preservatives; things that our bodies truly don’t need - ‘fresh is the best’ is what they say.  Use an olive oil instead of butter, another quite simple method you can use.  A lot of people like using margarines and butters and things in their baking and cooking methods.  There’s a lot of substitutions, especially in baking, that you could make with different yogurts and cottage cheese, different types of flours, those types of things if you like baking a lot and you like the pastries and sweet end of things to try and stay away, steer away, from those carbohydrates as much as you can; a lot of the sugars and fats that are really unnecessary for the body.  The other thing is use less salt.  Today’s population, as you know, there’s a very large population of obese and overweight people in today’s society and a large part of that is because of processed foods, salts a large factor in heart patients and heart attacks and strokes and one of the best things that you can do is cut out salt all together.  There’s enough salts in some of the foods that you purchase and canned products and things if you look at the ingredients, it will kind of blow you away, actually, what you see when you read the label on some of the ingredients.

Dave Kurten:  If you could give one piece of advice this holiday season for a healthier meal, what would it be?

Gary Glenn:  Well, again, sticking to the fresh.  You can take the standard turkey dinner and the best advice that I have for anyone is there’s so many fad diets out there, every year, New Year’s resolutions – everybody’s making their New Year’s Day plans “I’m going to go to the gym”, “I’m going to eat healthier”, “I’m going to try to lose weight”.  Number One: cook with fresh ingredients, use fresh herbs, use fresh stocks if you’re going to make soups or stews, or your gravies instead of buying canned products.  For a holiday meal, I’m not about restricting; I don’t like to teach restriction, I like to teach moderation.  Instead of having two huge plates full of product, cut yourself down to, you know, limit yourself to a round a 12-1500 calorie intake per day and for those who maybe don’t understand that, some of the areas that you can get help in – we have a great website that you can go to mtnittany.org, you can also look in some of the books that will teach you about carbohydrate counting, different intake ratios.  But going back to what a traditional healthy meal would be is instead of maybe roasting your turkey, grab a breast of turkey that you could put on your grill and roast it to a nice temperature, about 165 degrees on the grill, bring it in, slice it down; substitute maybe mashed potatoes, do some mashes cauliflower instead, a lot of people don’t realize that if you boil some cauliflower, mash that up, add some seasoning to that, it adds a great substitution for the starchiness and all the carbs that are in the mashed potatoes that everyone oh, so, loves.  And sometimes, even if you don’t tell your kids, they won’t even know its mashed cauliflower – I’ve done that several times, myself and it’s actually a great substitution.  Fresh vegetables on the grill, rather than adding a ton of butter to them and salt and pepper, maybe just steaming them off in a pot or even throwing them on the grill; a lot of different vegetables go well on a grill, zucchinis and squashes and different ingredients like that are much healthier than throwing a slab of butter or use fresh olive oil – a great substitution!

Dave Kurten:  Our guest today has been Gary Glenn, who is the Executive Chef of Mt. Nittany Medical Center, thanks for joining us today.

Gary Glenn:  Sure. 

Dave Kurten:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”.


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