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Week: 526.5 Guest: Don Mauer, Author of "Lean and Lovin' It!" Topic: Learning to cook low fat- One Part Host: Steve Girard Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: He had always been the heavy, and I don't mean the bad guy, just the heavy. And...he had always been a cookin' guy, after all, he made what he liked best, and he made it well. Today, Don Mauer sits with me to talk about a journey into fitness, and turning his talent for cooking into a new, low-fat career with his book called, "Lean and Lovin' It....Exceptionally delicious recipes for low-fat living and permanent weight loss" See, Don, I told you I'd get the whole title in...but now we don't have time for the interview. Only kidding....Don, give me the one sentence that describes you....

MAUER: I ask my editor in Chicago, for my column, to describe me in one sentence, and she told me, "its' easy, you love to eat". I've been cookin' since I was 15 years old, but the biggest problem in my life, when you try describing Don Mauer is; I was heavy since I was 10 years old, and by the time I got to be 42 years old, I weighed 308 pounds. I was compulsive about making things taste good, that meant butter, whipping cream, rich oils, high fat foods....I used to save bacon fat in a glass jar in my refrigerator, porkchops taste much better when you sauté them in bacon fat!

NEMA: So, what made you change your way of thinking?

MAUER: I read an article back in 1988 about a man who was over 90 years old who competes in cross-country races, but he wants to be the oldest man to compete in a cross country race....at 100 years old. I never thought about how long I was gonna live, I went, " I want to live to be 100 too." Now, this is like 1988, I probably weighed over 300 pounds, and I smoked more than 3 packs of cigarettes a day...So I went," I've gotta make some serious changes in my life if I'm planning to live to be a hundred."

NEMA: So, you quit, went to your doctor's for your first checkup, and he gave you some marching orders, right?

MAUER: He handed me a sheet of paper with low cholesterol, no cholesterol , reduced cholesterol foods on it, printed on both sides and said, you've gotta start eating this kind of food. End of cholesterol conference.....How about a little assistance on how I make this part of my life, doc? Y'know I had more than a hundred pounds to lose...and y'know, he said if you lose a half a pound a week, you're talking about over two years before you can get your weight down to normal....and that's not the strongest immediate gratification that you can do.

NEMA: So, you went to the bookstore for help....and you made a pretty good choice ...

MAUER: A food counts book...by Corey Nutzer....a complete book of food counts, it had all the information in it. What I realized was, if I'd gotten to 308 pounds, I obviously didn't know the right kinds of food to be eating. I went out also, and bought low-fat cookbooks. I started making low-fat meals from the low-fat cookbooks. And the food was terrible....it was dry, it was flavorless, it just was lousy....and I went, "I'm in deep trouble here," so I went back to my own, personal recipes, all the high fat ones, and I had several boxes of them...cause I'd been cooking over 30 years. And started taking my old recipes and taking all the fat out of them. ....And the food was just as bad as it was in the books. And I realized there was a problem here...How can I eat the right kind of food if it doesn't taste good. So I started using smaller quantities of things...instead of a quarter cup of oil to sauté in, I'd use a teaspoon in a non-stick pan....or instead of putting four eggs in a cake, I'd use two egg whites for every whole egg for three of them, and one whole egg, so I was only getting five fat grams from one whole egg yolk instead of 20 fat grams from four whole eggs. So I decided I was on the right path...I was starting to teach myself some new techniques, and I started re-doing my whole recipe collection.... the food tastes great....and I can stick to it for the rest of my life...and that's in a way, how the book came about.

NEMA: Don Mauer....His book, "Lean and Lovin' It". I'm Steve Girard.

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Last modified: November 01, 2021