Toss the Junk Food to Stay Fit

Personal trainer Gregg Butler helps Farai Chideya make room for healthy foods.

Personal trainer Gregg Butler helps Farai Chideya make room for healthy foods. Devin Robbins, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Devin Robbins, NPR

In this week's fitness challenge, Farai Chideya invites her personal trainer to help clean out the junk food from her kitchen to make room for nutritious fare.

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FARAI CHIDEYA, host:

And now we turn from cleaner air to a healthier diet. Today is National Clean-Out-Your-Refrigerator Day. Are you ready to say goodbye to the unhealthy food in your fridge?

Well, to keep me honest on my fitness challenge, I invited my trainer over to help me toss the junk and make room for nutritious foods.

(Soundbite of knocking on door)

CHIDEYA: Who is it?

Mr. GREGG BUTLER (Personal Trainer): Gregg Butler.

CHIDEYA: Hey, Gregg, what's up? How are you doing?

Mr. BUTLER: Good. Hello, Farai Chideya.

CHIDEYA: So you're here to torture me, huh?

Mr. BUTLER: I'm here to look in your refrigerator and see what you've got in there.

CHIDEYA: That's kind of like looking in someone's, like, underwear drawer. Nobody really wants anybody going through their refrigerator.

Mr. BUTLER: Yeah, the locked box in the closet. Let's see what we've got going on.

CHIDEYA: I have to admit, I haven't been particularly good.

Mr. BUTLER: Well, I walk into your kitchen, the first thing I see is New York style garlic chips of the deli variety. Although they're baked and say no trans fat, they are still very, very high in carbohydrates. So those are going away.

CHIDEYA: Okay.

Mr. BUTLER: So there. Now you're already eating healthier because they're not there.

CHIDEYA: Well, there's actually another bag in the pantry. You know what, why don't we go the pantry first?

Mr. BUTLER: All right. So, and these are shiitake mushrooms. They're fine, good to cook with. I guess you could snack with them if you wanted. Don't dip them.

CHIDEYA: Don't dip them.

Mr. BUTLER: Don't dip them in anything.

CHIDEYA: What about the rum?

Mr. BUTLER: Oh, Captain Morgan. Yeah, he's going. A lot of liquor holds a lot of sugar. And sugar, just like a carbohydrate, is very hard to break down for your body. So especially if you're drinking a lot of rum, because this is a 1.75 liter, that probably alcohol by volume you're retaining weight.

CHIDEYA: Tell the Captain to go bye-bye.

Mr. BUTLER: Yeah, Captain.

CHIDEYA: Let's throw the Captain...

Mr. BUTLER: Captain and the garlic chips are going in the trash. Somewhere, pirates are crying. There you go.

CHIDEYA: All right.

Mr. BUTLER: All right.

CHIDEYA: This is a little bit of a shelf of shame right here.

Mr. BUTLER: This is another shelf of shame. All right, you have a lot of cooking implements here. You have sea salt. You have a nice spice cabinet. Those are fine, but you definitely want to use just pinches. And of course, Cadbury roasted, Caramello - I don't even know what these are - some sort of heavy, heavy chocolate candy bar. Honestly, it feels like it's three pounds. You do not want to put this inside of you.

CHIDEYA: It will be at least three pounds of my butt, right?

Mr. BUTLER: Yeah, exactly. It'll be three pounds on your hips. So these, although they do have roasted almonds in them, are absolutely going away. Two, there they go.

CHIDEYA: Doesn't chocolate make you feel loved or something? Don't I need that?

Mr. BUTLER: Well, chocolate doesn't make you feel loved. And you know what, Farai, you are loved.

CHIDEYA: Without the chocolates?

Mr. BUTLER: Yeah, without the chocolates. You can do it without the chocolates, I'm pretty sure. And I'm sure to self-help books. This, we got another pantry. Wait, what is this?

CHIDEYA: Uh-oh.

Mr. BUTLER: Oh my goodness. This is not good for you. Nectar guava concentrated fruit juice. Wow. This is not good for you. Do I even need to say why?

CHIDEYA: It's a sugar.

Mr. BUTLER: It's a sugar and it's a concentrated sugar. When you have a strenuous workout, your body's going to crave sugar, glucose. But that should not come from guava nectar concentrated juice. It should come from pears, pineapples, apple juice even. It says from concentrate on the bottom for a reason, because it's not good for you. So this one's going to make a nice dive. Bye.

CHIDEYA: Okay.

Mr. BUTLER: All right. What do we have in here?

CHIDEYA: Whole can of jalapenos.

Mr. BUTLER: A whole can of jalapenos.

CHIDEYA: That can't be bad for you.

Mr. BUTLER: I guess it depends on what you're putting the jalapenos on. You can keep them, just make sure that you're not putting them on nachos, you know.

CHIDEYA: No. Speaking of which, why don't we turn to the fridge because I've got a little queso.

Mr. BUTLER: You have plenty of queso.

CHIDEYA: I've got a queso addiction.

Mr. BUTLER: Here we go. All right, first thing I am seeing on the center shelf is cheese. Wow. This is shredded cheddar. This is a lot of cheddar cheese. It's about a pound of cheddar cheese and this is going away. For what reason, you might ask, Farai?

CHIDEYA: Why?

Mr. BUTLER: Farai, why? Why, why?

CHIDEYA: Why? Why, Gregg Butler?

Mr. BUTLER: Why am I throwing away the cheese? Because the cheese is bad, dairy protein. Let's put it to you this way. Dairy protein is not the sort of protein you want. Dairy protein, essentially when in...

CHIDEYA: That's what I had as a child.

Mr. BUTLER: Well, you know what, I'll call your mother later. But women tend to hold dairy protein in the midsection. That's where it goes.

CHIDEYA: Not good.

Mr. BUTLER: Not good. There it goes. I'm seeing chicken now.

CHIDEYA: We have good chicken and bad chicken.

Mr. BUTLER: Let that - I'm seeing fried chicken. This is definitely the bad chicken. The skin-on chicken, it's hard to find in California. You go to the grocery store and you see boneless skinless. The skin just is fat. It's a nice layer of fat. You know, we have a nice layer of fat underneath our skin, that's what you'll find in between the chicken skin and the meat. So he goes away. Bye, Mr. Chicken. That pollo's loco.

Oh what do we have here? Oh, hot fudge microwave toppings. I don't even know where to begin. Bye.

All right. Soy milk. Good. Good alternative to regular milk, that's good.

CHIDEYA: I'm not going to have any food left.

Mr. BUTLER: You're not going to have any food left. But at least you'll know where to shop and how to shop. Lump crabmeat, another good thing for you. A lot of - high in protein, not high in carbs. So good. You know you can throw this on stir-fry, you can throw this on salads, you can throw this on anything. So that's pretty much all you have in the refrigerator.

CHIDEYA: So, Gregg, now that you've decimated my kitchen - you've thrown away cheese, yogurt, butter, bread, soda, wine, juice - what should I use to kind of replace some of these things?

Mr. BUTLER: Well, a lot of these things you don't need to replace. If you're craving a big can of pineapples in heavy syrup, you know, don't try to find another can. Go to the fruit and pick out fruit that you like. You don't want soda; you don't want concentrated juices. Other than that, a lot of the stuff you won't need to replace.

CHIDEYA: You know, Gregg, thanks a lot. It's a little sobering to realize how much work I have to do to reform my eating habits, but I know that you'll be there.

Mr. BUTLER: I'll be here for you.

CHIDEYA: Gregg Butler is my personal trainer and he's based in Los Angeles. He is not, however, responsible for what I eat, although I wish he were. You can catch him on the upcoming season of the reality show Workout on the Bravo channel.

To hear some of our earlier adventures in fitness, just visit our Web site, NPR.org. And on the next challenge I learn to salsa dance, a fun way to burn calories on the beat.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Group: (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

CHIDEYA: That's our show for today. Thanks for sharing your time with us. To listen to the show, visit NPR.org. NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.

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