Eduardo Garcia, Type2:Heart-to-Heart

Eduardo Garcia, Type2:Heart-to-Heart


– Here to discuss our
relationship with food, health and how nutrition goes well
beyond counting calories, please join me in welcoming
chef Eduardo Garcia. (audience applauds) – It’s an honor to be
here in these talks today. It’s an honor to be in New York
City where my mother’s from. I have so much family and roots here and we’re here to talk about
our roots and our family and our culture, correct? That’s right. So, for me, food always
paramount in my family, I feel like it was always
sort of the epicenter of our conversations. Who’s getting it? Who’s cooking it? Definitely, who’s cleaning it? Right? And so, I wouldn’t say naturally but I fell into cooking at a young age. I started just working in a diner, working in the deli flipping burgers. I then went to culinary school
and from culinary school, I decided, all right
there’s something here. I’m gonna stick with this. I’m gonna keep working on this. And it wasn’t because I had
a heart-to-heart connection with who I was cooking for quite yet, it was truly just because
I enjoyed the camaraderie. I loved the action. I loved the hustle and
bustle of the kitchen. So, I went from culinary school and I got a job as a chef on yachts. I got a job traveling the
world, it was a dream. Yeah, in this photo, I’m
in the South of France with this case of tomatoes, just beautiful and I kind of look pretty
intentionally bound on these arugula and tomatoes and that’s because I am a chef. My job is to be the
champion and the protector between your health and how you get there which is nutrition, caloric count, food. And I feel like in my early 20s, I wasn’t quite getting there. However, traveling through
20 to 30 different countries, my home was a yacht. I would wake up in a new
port of call every single day and my job was to go to the market and find what was fresh,
find what was in season. But beyond all of that, what
superseded those things was, who am I cooking for? What are their needs? What are their desires? What do they love? What are they in the mood for? We may be in some obscure
island in the Mediterranean, they’re looking for
some obscure little clam for a pasta dish. Well, now all of a sudden, that’s my job, is to go do that, very very exciting. And what was really beautiful
about that experience though is that for me, my, one of my sweet spots is my family and cooking with my family. It binds us together. It brings all of us
together, I actually think. So, for 10 years I had the
opportunity to travel the world and work through a variety
of different diets, a variety of different needs and wants and then it all got to compound
invest when I got to go home to my father Manuel Garcia who
was the member of our family living with heart disease,
living with diabetes. And so, as a family, I got
to graduate through my 20s and every time I would come home, I had an opportunity to
share what I learned. And so, for me, food started
to sort of migrate in my career from a place of being good at
it and having the abilities to having a genuine
interest in the connectivity between cooking and how it affects the wholistic part of our well-being. So, it didn’t just end though with my dad. I stand here with all of you today a little bit as a miracle. In 2011, October 9th to be specific, I was electrocuted with
2400 volts of power from a unmarked and
unmaintained power source which landed me in the burn trauma ICU. I had 50 days in ICU fighting for my life, lost my left hand to that injury and effectively, was able to
come out of that experience not just a survivor, not just a hero to be on a magazine cover or
to be here even with all of you but rather as someone who could also say, hey I know what it feels
like to wake up every day and think at first glance,
I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do that anymore. I can’t can’t can’t. I’m saying no no no no,
that’s not the way forward. That’s not the medicine that
I’d like to prescribe today. So, from this experience,
I feel like connected with my father’s experience
and our family’s experience, sort of shepherding him through his diet. I had the ability to
graduate from this quote which was the quote that
the doctor on call in ICU when I was rolled in, a bag
of bones with a heartbeat, I was legitimately dying,
to being here in bed. I had never put on a prosthetic before and I know that all of you
out there who are suffering from heart disease or
living with diabetes, you’ve been in this place and it may look different
physically but in here is gonna feel the same. In that place is, who am I? What am I? What do I have still and
where in the heck am I going? And so, I had this
recipe that I’m here to, I wanna bring to everybody today and it starts with one
ingredient, that’s ownership. It is so vitally critical and important, it actually is the active
ingredient for that path towards the healthy recovery is to say, this is me right here, right now, today and give it a good hard look. Then from that place, you
have to spur into action, you have to get cooking. This was, love this capture. This is a one weekend to working with a prosthetic attachment,
trying to peel a carrot and I laugh because
there’s half of this photo is indicative of that professional chef and I’m peeling this
baby carrot and I’m like, let me just get that real
nice and clean and beautiful. I don’t peel carrots anymore. I realized it’s challenging
for me to hold a baby carrot and do the whole nine
yards and then it hit me, it’s like wait a minute. Why am I peeling this thing? There’s so many nutrients in the peel, leave it on there. Right? But you gotta start somewhere in order to learn that lesson. So, you gotta first own it
then you gotta get cooking. Third thing that definitely,
definitely came into my life like a hurricane was not
just get cooking again and what’s interesting is my disability brought me to this Renaissance for myself as a professional chef. You can cook for 20 years, you can cook for 10 years, 30 years and at some point guaranteed
regardless of your industry, you’re gonna hit a place,
you’re gonna hit a plateau and you’re gonna need
to know how to crawl up and kind of revitalize that. And so, for me not being able
to work at speed anymore, not having that same
velocity in the kitchen, it challenged me to say, hey, you could wake up
every day and think, I can’t do all these things. I keep dropping pans. I keep dropping tools. It’s very hard for me to open an avocado. How do I? How do I? How do I? Or you could say, no. I’m gonna reinvent who
I am and what I can do. And so in thinking about food, I said, well all right, if I’m gonna
be paying dividends into this, let’s start really cooking but
I’m gonna go nine months out. I’m gonna start planting seeds. So, I took this beautiful lawn that I used to throw the
ball on and do other things and I tore it up and I planted a garden and I said, I’m gonna learn
how to grow my own food. I’m gonna learn how to
grow heart-healthy food. I’m gonna make this enjoyable. I’m gonna make this
something that I wanna do. I got into foraging again. I was a boy scout as a kid. I always had a passion for
kind of fishing and hunting and going out in the woods and I started to go out and I
started to look for nutrition where it lives. I started to go find it. So, I created an adventure. I created an experience around
eating and cooking, right. So, instead of looking at sort
of this tremendous obstacle every day, rather every
morning when I woke up it was this tremendous opportunity of where’s this gonna take me? Where’s this adventure gonna go? From there, I realized
I started to find myself cooking over open fires, being
outside more, being in nature which I truly feel is
a prescription for life and then cooking whole foods more. Again, not peeling the carrot, taking whole squashes and saying, I’m gonna roast this whole
squash just like this. And so, on the one hand, from
the perspective of a recipe and a method, we all could look
at this heart-healthy recipe and say, gosh there’s a lot to do there. And yet at the same time,
my encouragement to so many as a chef is always, hey, make it simple. Bring it back. Just start by roasting a whole
fruit or a whole vegetable. That’s kind of the
experience and enjoy that. Watch, it takes less time. And then of course, I brought
my experience back home. And so, needing to invest
more into what I was eating, how I was eating and then of
course how my dad was eating and those around me, it meant
I found myself at home more which was a beautiful beautiful thing for being someone who travels twice a week and is consistently on the road. So now, when I’m home with my wife we say, hey, what are we making tonight? What are we cooking? And so, this perceived
obstacle of how to eat healthy and how to take care of our bodies, we shifted, we kind of
shifted it on its axis and said no, we’re not gonna
see this as being a challenge and we’re not gonna see your amputation and what you’ve gone
through as a disability but we’re gonna drop the
first part of that word and say, well this is our new ability. Let’s focus on that, let’s invest in that, let’s put the time into making dinner something that we celebrate
and we do together. And then it started to
do this, it started to go and it started to pop out and it was no longer
just myself and my wife, it was friends, it was
family, it was community. And so, annually and if you’re
ever in Montana, hit me up and you are welcome. But we plant garlic together and then we tend those gardens together and it’s not just with
the friends anymore, we invite the local youth
communities to come in. We work with the cancer center. We tell them to come in. We work with those living with diabetes and with heart conditions and say, hey, come on over. Here’s my address, let me
show you how to do this and let me encourage you and
your family and your community to get together. And if you’re tailgating
on a Sunday, bravo. Go do it, go team. What team? Go team and you know and when you’re talking to your buddies and someone’s bringing the drinks and someone’s bringing
that, you let them know, like hey, no bun for me
but pick up some lettuce for me, right. And so, you need to tell that to them and you need to invite your community into being a part of your
celebration of who you are. So, here we go. This is my recipe for
all of you out there. This is my recipe to take this challenge, whether you’re suffering from diabetes or you’re at risk with stroke
or possible heart disease, here’s the recipe. And the first one like I
mentioned is take ownership. Who am I right here, today? Not yesterday, right here today, who am I? What am I in love with? What do I want and where do I wanna go? And then secondly, take inventory. Establish what you can’t
eat, that’s very important. Your doctor will love you for that. But then after that just leave it here, don’t carry that with you. You know it, you can learn that once and then focus on all of the
opportunity in front of you. This is what I can eat. This is what is good for me. This is these are my vital nutrients and then embrace them, bring them in. And then share those learnings
with those around you. If we do not open the door to others, how can they come in and help? And I speak from first person experience, embracing my father’s
struggle with heart disease and diabetes brought us closer than, well I’m five days from
his memorial, here. So, it’s indicative to be here speaking with all of you today
and it brought us closer that I can tell you. It truly connected us
from just being father son to truly being like
almost compatriots, right, like almost we were on the
front lines of this together and it turned into this radical adventure of how to make tortillas and spicy food and these like Mexican
dishes that we’re like, okay, well we’re not gonna fry it in oil, let’s go back to our roots, let’s take heart-healthy almonds
and let’s take pomegranates and let’s take sesame seeds. And what we realized was I
was geeking out as a chef and I was like, dad, not only
is this good for your heart but this is real cooking. This is fun, man, right? So, then once you communicate, the play time, the collaboration,
start collaborating, invite friends to participate, invite your community to participate. And then the final part is allow for joy, allow for joy, make it a fun event. This is a beautiful celebration of life. Food is medicine. So, there’s my recipe for all of you. Thank you so much for having me today. (audience applauds)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *