People of Interest
Chef AJ, author of Unprocessed, has followed a plant-based diet for over 33 years. With her unique ability to create healthy foods that taste great, she teaches how to easily bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into a diet to prevent and reverse many lifestyle diseases. Chef AJ is a chef and culinary instructor in Los Angeles, California.
The quirky Chef AJ's favorite T-shirt says, "My IQ is higher than my cholesterol." In the space left behind by omitting common staples like sugar, salt and oil she adds the spices of fun, creativity and energy to her dishes.
Chef AJ has not had an easy go of it. Overcoming disease has been a major motivation for her lifestyle choice to eat a plant based diet. She has suffered from bleeding colon polyps, adult onset asthma, agoraphobia, obesity, anorexia, and she recovered from being paralyzed and in a body cast for a year after he spine was crushed in an accident.
"I have been a culinary instructor for over 12 years and have heard every imaginable excuse as to why people can't follow a plant based diet," says Chef AJ, "My favorite was 'my life is too hard and I have mental problems'. That got me thinking 'if you only knew' and so the seed was planted."
Chef AJ's nutrition mission initially began with an epiphany during college after which she decided she could no longer harm animals.
"I became vegan in 1977. I was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. I was studying to be a veterinarian but I had to cut the head off of a salamander as part of a research project. There was no PETAor PCRMback them to help me. I followed orders and that was what Oprah calls an 'aha moment'. I realized I could never kill anything again for any reason and in that second I decided to never eat or wear animals again. Unfortunately, I also got thrown out of the pre-vet program."
But even before that Her Aunt's mother, Meme, first ferried her down the canal of eating meals that were both nutritious and healthy. Meme drew on her experience of learning to cook at the Cordon Bleu in creating gourmet whole food meals for AJ and her family.
"If I hadn't experienced eating real food as a child, I would probably be like so many other people I know who eat only processed foods and animal products: fat, sick and nearly dead (which, by the way, is the name of a wonderful movie!)"
Of course Chef AJ, a resident of California, loves movies. She even stars in a show entitled "The Chef and the Dietician". She and a dietician named Julieanna Hever put a unique spin on traditional staples like PB&J Bites and Disappearing Lasagna. So far she and Julieanna have produced over fifty episodes.
Chef AJ is also an author. Her most well know book is entitled Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and your Ideal Weight. This book features even more of her recipes, such as "Not So Sloppy Joes", as well as a helpful walk through the grocery store aisles to aid in the food selection process.
Plant based eating has helped Chef AJ to live a happier healthier life. This culinary trailblazer's books and videos can inject fresh perspective into old worn out recipes or inspire food combinations never tried before.
Chef AJ has recently produced a DVD called The Unprocessed 30 Day Challenge - DVD Set which is available for purchase on her shopping cart site. In case you are wondering whether Chef AJ understands the challenges involved you can look at this before and after picture which she recently sent us.
The video embedded below is an episode of the Chef and the Dietician which is a series of YouTube videos staring Chef AJ and Julieanna Hever.