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This post includes a written interview with Dr. Karen Lee, the author of the fantastic new cookbook, Paleo Cooking with your Air-Fryer!
What is an Air-Fryer and is it Healthy?
Before I share the interview with Karen, I thought it would be good to explain what air-frying is! Air-frying was new to me this year, and I had to look it up to figure out what it was. The name implied deep-frying to me, but air-frying is actually completely different than deep-frying.
Air-fryers are just mini convection ovens, so they’re just a smaller version of your h0me oven. The benefit of them being smaller is that the hot air moves more effectively over whatever food you’re cooking, removing moisture and leaving a crispy texture similar to that of fried foods.
Air-frying is ideal for:
- sweet potato chips
- re-heating certain leftovers that normally get soggy in the microwave
- and so much more!
But, air-frying is so much healthier than deep frying! Air-frying might even be healthier than cooking in your kitchen oven, because you can use less oil than you normally would.
I ended up buying an inexpensive air-fryer, and I absolutely love it. I’m hoping at some point to buy the nicer Philips model which has a nicer rack for cooking without letting the food touch the non-stick coating.
Paleo Cooking With Your Air Fryer Cookbook Author
I’ve been internet buddies with Karen for a few years now, and I’m so thrilled to share this interview where we discussed everything from her son’s intense food allergies to post-menopausal weight gain to her tips and tricks for making healthy food that is grain-free and delicious in the air-fryer.
Carrie Interviews Dr. Karen S. Lee: Chiropractor, Mother, Blogger, & Cookbook Author
Carrie: What’s your first memory of understanding the connection between food and health?
Karen: When my son was 3 years old, he developed a chronic cough that his pediatrician diagnosed as a cold. After not getting better for a month, I requested a food allergy test. And that’s when we found out he had food allergies to typical food groups for allergies and eczema.
Poor kid. He became a picky eater, afraid to eat things in fear that he was going to get sick. Try telling a 3 year old he can’t have pizza or a hot dog. Or he can’t eat the birthday cake at his friend’s birthday party!
So that’s when I noticed the connection between food and mental health vividly. Also, the connection was even more evident in my chiropractic practice, when patients who’ve been injured would eat the worst kinds of food because of self pity or out of frustration.
Emotional eating is so dangerous for many reasons but it can have direct consequences since food can impede the healing process after an injury, and can cause excess weight gain that puts more physical pressure on your body – hormonally and physiologically.
And emotionally, you end up looking at food in an unhealthy way which can be difficult to undo even after your physical health improves.
Carrie: What is one lifestyle change you’ve made in the last year that you’d like to share?
Karen: Luckily, my metabolism is fast and I never had an weight issue or food related problems. I also don’t have a sweet tooth and don’t like junk food.
But now that I’m post menopausal, my weight just literally dropped to my midriff area – no matter what I eat or don’t eat, how much I cut out. The weight – the flesh and muscles – just literally dropped to that area, thanks to gravity and hormonal changes.
So I started eating dinner earlier (now I know why there are Early Bird Specials! Smacks forehead!), stopped snacking after dinner, and move more during the day. (I go up and down the stairs at least 100 times). And my weight hasn’t changed that much and my waistline stopped getting bigger. I hope to keep it that way if I could help it.
Carrie: What are some products that make you life easier? How do you use them?
- Instant Pot
- Air Fryer
- Paleo Cooking with Your Air Fryer
- Keto Cooking with your Instant Pot (coming January, 2019)
Carrie: What’s your favorite vegetable and how do you like to prepare it?
Karen: I love ALL vegetables. Seriously. And I keep it really simple.
I saute garlic and ginger in high heat with avocado oil, add the greens, and saute until al dente. Not mushy or too hard. Just crunchy enough but cooked. Sprinkle with sea salt and a few cracks of fresh black pepper on top and I’m good to go.
Occasionally, I steam broccoli or cauliflower florets in the Instant Pot for “0” minutes and smother them with a ton of Kerrygold butter. I think I do this when I crave butter and use the veggies as an excuse to eat illegal amounts of it. True story.
Carrie: Do you have a mantra or piece of advice you can share with women who might be dealing with a chronic health issue?
Karen: GET HELP!!! I can’t say this strong enough. Women can be really stubborn, thinking, “we’re Wonder Women. I can do it without help.” I mean, that’s true and I’m not arguing with that BUT, when it comes to chronic health, you need support.
You need guidance and you need others to tell you – even if it’s just a virtual hug or “You’ve got this!” (even if you don’t have it) – that what you are going through is hard but you can handle it and I’m here for you.
There’s a saying in Korea, you have to talk about illnesses with others because there’s someONE out there, who’s suffered just like you, who might have an insight or an answer. Or know a doctor who helped them and maybe he/she can help you. You need to talk and share your story.
This is not political but Michelle Obama just published her memoir called Becoming and when asked why she wrote such a personal book, she said, she wanted to share her story – especially about infertility – so others can learn that it’s okay to talk about such a taboo subject. And to say that it’s okay for other women to share their stories. And she’s right.
Women can be fearful of sharing in fear of consequences. But if you’re going through difficult times, share YOUR story and get support. You just may hear someone sharing his/her healing story that may help you.
Carrie: What’s your favorite podcast or health/nutrition-related book?
Karen: Oh gosh. I have so many….I wish I had the time to read all the books that are on my bookshelf and on my night stand.
Let’s see… I like science-y times of books so I appreciate all of The Paleo Mom’s books. The books and her website taught me so much about Paleo way of eating. Her podcast is awesome too. And yours, of course, because it’s not as dry! LOL. Science can be dry…what can I say? I also enjoyed reading Dr. Christine Northrup’s book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.
I also like lighthearted funny food related books written by women. The latest light reading was by this year’s Food Network’s Star winner, Jessica Tom, Food Whore. Thin and light reading about food critics’ lives.
I recently got Chrissy Teigen’s (I know!!) two cookbooks, Cravings, and Cravings – Hungry for More because she has balls and I’d love to write casually like her. She’s a woman who doesn’t care what others think and writes how she speaks. I think it’s great. A few of my first cookbook reviews said they liked my casual writing style but I wondered what would happen if I wrote REALLY casually like Chrissy…LOL.
Lastly, I just received Danielle Walker’s latest book, Eat What You Love and I LOVE the title. I mean, how GREAT is that? Eat. What. You. Love!! What a concept, eh? Of course, her recipes are all so delicious and are all healing foods!
Carrie: What’s one recipe you’ve created that you love to share?
Karen: I really LOVE my Air Fried Coconut Shrimp recipe. You can make it with chicken, if you can’t have shellfish. But the recipe is really easy and you could even make it in the oven! So simple and nutritious since it uses unsweetened shredded coconut!
Thanks, Karen, for your amazing work in sharing recipes and information to support healthy living!
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