After self-publishing a cookbook in 1988, Rose Reisman focused on healthy eating with her 1993 cookbook, Rose Reisman Brings Home Light Cooking, which sold over 400,000 copies. Since then, she’s become an oft-quoted expert on eating well, and has appeared on TV and radio, worked as a teacher, and acted as a health and wellness consultant to businesses.
Reisman attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to become a Registered Nutritional Consultant, and holds a BA and an MBA from York University, in addition to a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto.
The mother of four ran a cooking school for four years, and launched Rose Reisman Catering in 2004. She offers full service catering and special event planning for corporate and social events, and even catering for movie
She has written 18 books, including cookbooks like The Complete Light Kitchen (2007) and The Best of Rose Reisman (2013). Reisman is releasing her 19th book at the beginning of next year. She elaborates on her wellness
plans through motivational speaking, cooking demos and corporate cooking challenges. She is also a Nutritionist and Adjunct Professor at York University’s Faculty of Health. Reisman also helps people eat well through Personal Gourmet, a daily food delivery service launched in 2008 that offers both weight loss and healthy living plans. She developed the meals with the help of dieticians and weight management doctors.
Reisman has been a regular guest on Breakfast Television, Cityline, CityNews and 680 News, Huffington Post Canada, and Metro News. She is the menu consultant for Glow Fresh Grill and Wine Bar and the Pickle Barrel chain.
Reisman has been a spokesperson for the national campaign of Breakfast for Learning, the national awareness campaign for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and has been an ambassador for the Canadian Diabetes
Association and the Princess Margaret Hospital. In addition, Reisman won the Shulich School of Business Alumni Recognition Award for Outstanding Public Contribution, was a Top 100 Award Winner (Trailblazer and Trendsetter
category) in Canada’s Most Powerful Women of the Women’s Executive Network, and she was nominated for the 2009 and 2014 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of theYear Award. She was a recipient of the Silver Culinary Book Award from Cuisine Canada (2005).
My Business Magazine caught up with Reisman, to discuss the ways we can all keep ourselves in better shape:
MBM: Did you always know you wanted to dowhat you do now?
RR: I was a school teacher for a few years, and wentback and did an MBA and a masters in fine arts. Cooking was just something I started back in the 80s, early 90s, andI just found out by cooking very delicious, high fat foods, when everybody flocked to my home. So I continued to do that and I became a good cook using loads of butter andcream and chocolate...
MBM: Well, who doesn’t like chocolate?
RR: Everybody loves it. But then I found my own family history wasn’t that healthy. I had lost my dad to heart disease in his 50s, my grandmother at 52 to diabetes type two.Everybody had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. And I was an overweight child.This was all going on in my early 30s. I was slim and running every day, and I had lost the weight I had as a kid, and I figured I was fine. But then I went for a routine physical and my cholesterol was literally off the charts like somebody in their 60s or70s, who’d been eating steak every day.And I realized what I ate, even though I exercised and maintained a healthy weight, was still clogging my arteries. And my family history was such that I couldn’t afford to do it. So it was literally then that I turned around, in 1993.I started researching healthier cooking, and I started to write my first book in healthy cooking. I’d written three or four books before that in higher fat meals.
MBM: How did this affect preparing food for the family and kids?
RR: We look at skinny kids, and if you have skinny children you kind of turn away as they’re eating junk because you think it’s not going to hurt them. But what I started to learn is that cholesterol, diabetes, all of these things start when they’re children. Today, they’re finding kids in their early teens who have already got blocked arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes. One kid out of three born after 2000 will have diabetes type two, and that’s all because of the fast food, high fat food, obesity. So when I started to look at these statistics and I started to do more research, I then went back and became a nutritionist. It really starts from the home when your kids are young.I really encourage parents to be the role models at home. I used to set the most delicious meals on the table, and they were good. I wasn’t talking vegan style, poached or steamed, but it was heart healthy fat, and my kids would often turn up their noses. But by osmosis over the years they picked it up. It was in the back of their minds. And today all four of them, they’re adults, they’re really good eaters, they exercise.That’s one of the reasons that I launched into the books, the media, the catering company, the restaurant consulting, because it’s really a great way to spread your message.
MBM: Reams of books are printed each year about food, and there are dozens of TV shows about food. Why is that, particularly today?
RR: It’s almost like they call it food porn. It started back when I was entering the food world. I had my own TV show in 1998 to 2002. That was when the Food Network was just starting to get launched. I thought a show like that would never be successful. I thought no one would watch 24 hours a day of food. Boy, was I wrong. People loved it. And the shows got crazier and crazier, and more reality and more extreme. They’ve done these studies from Harvard that people who watch these shows are actually heavier than other people. Nobody really wants to watch a healthy cooking show. There’s only one or two healthy cooking shows, out of 35. It’s ridiculous. Like you’re piling up butter to your elbow when you’re mixing, and people just love watching that decadence. But when Paula Deen came out, and she was diabetic, all of a sudden people went, ‘you know you can’t be that heavy’. You don’t see in senior homes obesity in people in their 80s. If you notice that, people die off in their 70s, 60s, from cancer, heart disease or stroke, or diabetes when you’re obese.
MBM: What’s a beginner’s mistake in the kitchen?
RR: I would think sometimes unless you really have a food gene, people think they can just whip something off, and not measure and not read the recipe. And there are a handful of people like that. I’d say 99 per cent of us can’t do that. I test and experiment, measure. Then when I wrote my cookbooks it really made me a fine mathematician to measure down to the last spoon of flavour. And I tell people now, ‘here’s my book, here’s my recipe, follow it 100 per cent and you’ll have incredible success. And once you have that success, play with the recipe, because now you know what it should be like, the texture, the flavour.
MBM: What’s a recent discovery, or a long-time favourite food?
RR: A couple of foods that I like, that allow me to maintain a really healthy body weight, are quinoa and Greek yogurt. Quinoa is the only seed/grain that’s considered a complete protein. A half a cup is equal to three ounces of chicken or fish. So on the day that you don’t want to eat the hormone injected chicken, that everybody’s worried about today, or the farm raised fish, you can have quinoa. Put dressing on it, make it with tomato sauce, and it is a powerhouse of nutrients. But the most important thing is after you eat a bowl of quinoa versus say white rice in a Chinese food situation, you burp, you eat again, you burp. Whereas with quinoa, you walk away full and you’ll find you won’t get hungry for about three hours.And that’s because the glycemic index, your blood sugar’s rising very slowly. Whereas with white rice or with white starch, what I call an empty grain, it’s rising quickly and then it crashes, which means you need more of that food. And Greek yogurt you can have it plain or mix it with berries for breakfast. You can even have Greek yogurt with quinoa. Greek yogurt has 18 grams of protein, for 3⁄4 of a cup, which is unbelievable. More than you could ever imagine in eating fish or chicken in the morning. So it’s a super breakfast.
MBM: So let’s talk about coffee culture, with coffee on every street corner.
RR: I think coffee by itself is great, and the studies now prove more and more that it lowers cholesterol. It’s got some great antioxidant powers. The key is, you can’t be drinking coffee after coffee after coffee. If you’re starting to get anxious, or you’re not sleeping at night, you’re drinking too much! The problem is that coffee shops are mixing in whipping cream and syrup and tonnes of sugar. If you have two double doubles every day, you’ll gain something like 12 to 13 pounds in a year. Just from the cream and sugar in those two drinks. It’s not coffee. It’s candy.
MBM: What’s in the pipe with Rose Reisman?
RR: One thing that is exciting for me, in my new ventures in business in my catering company, is that we’returning our 10,000 square foot kitchen into a nut free facility. We’re targeting the elementary schools now, to get kids proper, homemade lunches. That’s ready for September, and we have about 14 schools signed up, so it’s very exciting.
Dave Gordon has penned more than a thousand articles, and more than five hundred editorials, on every topic imaginable. He writes regularly on domestic and international politics, current events, culture, relationship issues, and much more.
He has spent time in the newsrooms of the Toronto Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, National Post and eye Weekly.