'The Food Dude' talks about balancing freshman 15 and budget

Sept. 29, 2011 at 4:29 a.m.

Kevin Roberts,  aka: The Food Dude, brings a unique level of humor to the campus of Victoria College during his road show. Roberts covered a variety of topics from nutrition to fun foods.

Kevin Roberts, aka: The Food Dude, brings a unique level of humor to the campus of Victoria College during his road show. Roberts covered a variety of topics from nutrition to fun foods.

"You're doing shots!" Kevin "The Food Dude" Roberts yelled in the dining room of the Victoria College Student Center.

While ears perked, Roberts, the first speaker in this year's Lyceum Lecture Series, poured a few rounds of what he called Mother Nature's protein: soy milk.

Roberts, a chef, author and host of the TLC's "BBQ Pitmasters," brought to VC his "cook or starve" mentality. Particularly pertinent to the college crowd, Roberts focused on how to balance the dreaded "freshman 15" with a skimpy checkbook.

He began with breakfast, demonstrating a quick breakfast bagel sandwich with cream cheese, turkey and tomato.

To bypass some of the carbohydrates, Roberts said he cores the inside of the bagel, removing the bulk of the carbs.

"Any coffee freaks in the house? Who likes the speed? Who likes the shake?" he asked to a room buzzing with activity.

While VC staff passed out samples to the crowd of more than 300, Roberts explained how the lightest roasts of coffee contain the most caffeine, compared to, say, a shot of espresso. The best coffee, he said, actually comes from McDonald's, which uses Paul Newman organic coffee.

The mention of fast food segued into French fries, which is one of the five foods Roberts implored the crowd to avoid.

Most fries, he said, are filler. To satisfy the fry craving, Roberts demonstrated how to cook a potato in the microwave.

Pulling out his knife and poking the spud, he explained, "First you have to shank it. Martha Stewart taught me this in prison."

Before the laughter died down, Roberts continued to reveal the other foods to avoid.

After fries and cheap burgers was "crappy cheese."

"Has anyone seen an orange cow running around?" he asked.

The best cheeses are the unprocessed ones, like blue and parmesan, he said.

Then there was soda, which earned gasps when Roberts demonstrated the 12 tablespoons of sugar found in each can of soda.

Finally, iodized salt should be replaced with sea salt or kosher salt, he said.

"If you can avoid these five things, you are golden. You can pretty much eat everything else on the planet."

Now that he'd warned what not to eat, Roberts delved into the savory stamps of approval.

Green tea with lemon or lime juice, kiwi, grapefruit, anything with the word "berry" in it and even dark chocolate are good antioxidants, he said.

Apples and pickles are good sources of fiber, which Roberts said is the number one nutrient missing in the American diet.

"Our colons are very angry at us," he said. "Those processed foods become trapped in your colon. Fiber expands the walls of the colon and flushes food down. It's like, 'You're not paying rent, you gotta go.'"

Mustard, hot sauce and vinaigrettes offer big flavor and low calories, while olive oil is "liquid gold."

"You don't need to buy the $30 bottle of olive oil with Rachael Ray's picture on it going, 'sucker,'" he said, giving the thumbs-up. "You can buy the cheap stuff," he contended, holding up a bottle of generic-brand olive oil from H-E-B.

Roberts quizzed the audience with several nutrition and health trivia questions, which failed to stump the crowd filled with at least 60 VC nursing students.

After the presentation, a group of students said the soda and sugar demonstration would probably stick with them most.

"During our breaks, that's the first place we go - the Coke machine," said Brittany Langridge, 25.

"Now we're not," countered Sarah Perez, 21.

Langridge, who said she started a new diet on Monday, would be trying out some of Roberts' recipes, especially one of his grapefruit, honey and cinnamon concoctions she'd tasted.

"I think that was good to hear because you always hear a list of things you can't eat, and he was telling me what I could eat," she said.

Perez, meanwhile, was going a little further in her quest for Roberts' food.

She'd had a trip planned for San Diego, Calif. this weekend, and was surprised to find out during the presentation that Roberts owns a restaurant in downtown San Diego.

"I'll bring y'all back some leftovers," she said.



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