During many years of covering bodybuilders and fitness influencers men’s Health, I’ve seen my fair share of “bro meals”. You know: chicken breast, broccoli, brown rice. food as fuel; Eating as an act of pure sustenance. Substantial, and soul-destroying.
So when I meet up with former model-turned-celebrity chef Ronnie Wu in Los Angeles to talk about her new cookbook Have You Eaten Yet?: Craveable Recipes from an All-American Chef, I was pleasantly surprised that he suggested we go to Magnolia Bakery for dessert. And at a table full of treats—lemon squares, chocolate cake, and a banana pudding that she correctly predicts will change my life—Wu explains that while the book includes a section on healthy recipes, it Also reflects his philosophy around food.
“Have you eaten yet?” It was a common thing in Wu’s household when he was growing up, and he always thought of food as a source of very real pleasure – something that would continue to provide in his writing and in regular places like TV shows. does best for The Rachael Ray Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Drew Barrymore Show And Todayas well as appearing as a judge on Netflix is this cake?
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“Participating in a meal and enjoying a meal with your friends and stuff is such a fun, enriching experience,” he says. “That’s the point. Like, you want to live a rich life instead of constantly making these rules and imposing parameters on yourself. It’s a tough way to live.”
“Sometimes you just have to eat bread,” he adds. “For your mental health.”
How hard is it for you to eat for pleasure while staying in shape?
I imagine that for most humans, eating just for fuel is not enjoyable. I did this during my modeling days where I had to be in a very specific shape every day, all the time. Because when you’re a model, you can’t have ups and downs. I remember once I was turned down from a campaign because the client said I looked “stuffy” in my clothes. I was the skinniest I had ever been. It was near the end of my modeling career, and after that I started taking it less seriously.
Now, as a chef, it’s all about feeling good in your own skin. I like to stay in shape physically, but also mentally. And I think in order to achieve that balance, you have to get over your cravings sometimes. I eat very healthy for five days, and then one or two days a week I let myself eat whatever I want.
If I want a donut, I’ll have a donut! I wouldn’t just have, like, a Hundred Donuts.
On those five days, are you really on top of counting your calories, macronutrients, etc.?
I just fill my fridge with as many colorful vegetables as I can. And because I hate wasting food, and I hate wasting money, I usually end up eating it all. I don’t count calories, and I don’t track my macros. I actually don’t even know what they are! Its too much work for me. If this is what you’re dedicating your life to, it’s understandable, but for me it’s just about feeling good and living a healthy life that matters: mentally and emotionally as well as physically. From.
Eating something delicious is my favorite way to celebrate something or reward myself. And when I’ve worked really hard, there’s nothing like that hunger pang where you feel like you’re about to eat something Delicious,
What does an average day of eating look like for you?
Monday through Friday, I usually start my day with a banana or apple, two hard-boiled eggs with hummus, some Medjool dates, and a small glass of water. Depending on when my schedule allows me to hit the gym, I either drink a protein shake (frozen blueberries, almond milk, one scoop of Super Greens powder, one scoop of collagen powder, and two scoops of protein powder ) or just eat a can of sardines with an avocado.
If I get hungry in the afternoon, I’ll usually have some nuts and dark chocolate. For dinner, I’ll roast some lean protein (fish, turkey, or chicken) with two to four types of vegetables—I try to switch up the colors of the vegetables throughout the week. However, when it comes time for the weekend, I’ll eat whatever my body is craving as a reward for itself.
What’s your all-time favorite weekend treat?
To be honest, my favorite cheat day treat always changes, but if I had to choose it would be Potstickers, Fried Chicken Wings, and a Really Moist Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
If there’s one thing you want people to take away from your book, what would it be?
A little arsenal of recipes they’ll come back to again and again…and maybe get a few laughs reading my ridiculous stories.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom, covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. Her work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller, and MTV.