Candice Kumai: Inexpensive, Deilicious and Healthy Eating

Candice grew up in San Diego, surfing and going to the beaches.  As a little girl, Candice recalls playing “cooking show” in the sand box.  At the age of 15, she became a model and traveled the world for 10 years on moceling assignments. 

However Candice always dreamed of pursuing food as a profession.  She loved cooking and bringing people together through the social aspects of eating.  Candice learned the essentials of her family’s food traditions from her mom and grandmothers.

While she attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Candice achieved honors as “Top of the Class” and was on the President’s and Dean’s lists.  After two terms of baking, Candice had a rude awakening.  She was making a small salary as a chef and still needed money for tuition so she got back into modeling. 

“I had to teach myself about balance and moderation – and pronto,” says Candice.  Fortunately it didn’t take her long to figure out how to trim fat grams and calories while still eating great and staying healthy.  Candice had to learn to pinch pennies and says she knows how it feels to stretch the budget without blowing her diet.

After getting pulled out of culinary school to compete on the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef, Candice was cast as the host for Lifetime’s Cook Yourself Thin.  This cooking show showed Candice that she was making a difference in people’s lives. 

“It was amazing and gratifying to see the pounds lost by people who had successfully followed my approach to healthy eating,” says Candice.  She says many people use the excuse that eating healthy seems so expensive.  She promises that she can help us feel healthy, look fabulous and eat great – all for less money that we think.

While creating a recipe, Candice always thinks, “What health benefits am I getting from the food I am putting into my body?  She calls these “Foods With Benefits” or FWBs.  In each of her recipes, she notes exactly what FWBs we are getting from each which will help us make better food choices. 

“I just want people to know that this is the life that I embody,” says Candice.  “This is me sharing my recipes and love of food.”

She says she found 7 slimming ways to stretch food and save calories and cash: 

(1) make your own dressings and marinades (you control what goes in them)

(2) Boost ground beef with veggies (add sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc. to make meatballs, burgers, etc. go farther)

(3) Re-think your plate (fill at least half with veggies, give protein ¼ and ¼ to whole grains)

(4) Don’t waste leftovers (Burritos, stir-fries, lasagne, sandwiches and omelets are great for leftovers)

(5) Go “ovo” board for dinner (eggs are an inexpensive way to eat protein)

(6) You “can” afford fish (if you can’t afford fresh, go for canned)

(7) It’s a breeze when you freeze (get in the habit of freezing leftovers right away and use within 2 – 3 months.

For more information about her recipes and her benefit for Japan, please visit her website: www.stilettochef.com.

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