Here at Delta Dental of Arizona we love sharing unique and doable ways to take charge of your overall and oral health. From proper flossing techniques to mouth-healthy recipes that leave you smiling, it’s little daily habits that add to a lifetime of good health.
One of the easiest ways to improve your overall and oral health is to reduce your daily sugar intake, even just a little. And often this improvement takes place in your very own kitchen. That’s why we were excited to chat with Chef Aurore De Beauduy-Yasinsky, chef and owner of Sapiens Paleo Kitchen in Scottsdale.
The Paelo diet tries to closely resemble what our ancestors ate thousands of years ago, by focusing on whole-foods and avoiding processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, many dairy products and trans fats. While avoiding processed foods and sugars is important, every diet has its drawbacks so you should always talk to your doctor or nutritionist about the healthiest foods for your unique needs.
Chef Aurore has spent her life honing her culinary craft and doing it with health in mind—by cooking with wholesome ingredients that follow paleo diet rules, like avoiding sugars.
“Sometimes all I need to do is substitute the heavy cream for coconut cream or replace unhealthy grains with maca flour or arrowroot. All that’s left is to adjust water content and temperature. The best thing is when the customer can savor every bite without compromising their health with nutrient-void calories and artificial additives. If you want a healthy food to taste great—treat it with the respect it deserves,” said De Beauduy-Yasinsky.
In this latest installment of Food for Thought, Chef Aurore explains why a passion for cooking and healthy eating go together like peanut butter and jelly (or peas and carrots if you’re trying to avoid sugar).
JA: You have such a seasoned career and have worked in so many diverse culinary settings, can you tell us more about what sparked your interest in cooking and the culinary arts? Was this a passion of yours since childhood? How have you created a career out of cooking?
AB: For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to cook. My French grandmother was very passionate about food. She was also very proper and strict. She taught me cooking etiquette and how to keep the kitchen area organized and clean. She told me how to use the tools safely. All those skills became indispensable when I started at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. From day one, I was ahead of my cohort and was the first to be invited to the most prestigious hotels in Paris, like Hotel de Crillon for my internship.
I still use my grandma’s recipes, even today at my new restaurant Sapiens Paleo Kitchen in Scottsdale, where we specialize in refined French cuisine with paleo diet principles.
JA: You’ve mentioned that after moving to the U.S. from Paris, your creativity really flourished because there were no limits to how you could cook or the fusions you could dream up. Can you tell us more about the contrast between cooking in France versus cooking for an American palate?
AB: Classic French cuisine is inflexible, uncompromising and deeply rooted in traditions. French cuisine is all about the freshest ingredients, and its traditions of pairing proteins and vegetables with sauces and wines is legendary. American fine cuisine is yet to define itself. So many influences, regional interpretations and fusions are tearing it apart. That makes it easy to improvise and match ingredients that never cross each other’s paths in the places of their origins.
At Sapiens Paleo Kitchen we embody this trend by combining French cuisine with the mindfulness of the paleo diet. The paleo diet tries to eliminate all ingredients that cause inflammation, contribute to hormonal imbalance, diabetes, chronic diseases, etc. You may be surprised by the fact that those ingredients are all over your pantry and fridge. Those items are sugar, grains and grain products, dairy, soy, corn and processed food.
JA: Could you tell us more about your interest in educating the public about sustainable farming and chemical-free produce?
AB: It matters because industrial farming has virtually destroyed the delicate balance that took millions of years to establish. Most soils in the U.S. are so depleted of basic nutrients that a massive injection of synthetic chemicals is needed to sustain growth, further destroying the nutritional diversity.
The same can be said of the meat industry. Cows are ruminant animals, not adapted to consume corn and soy that they’re forced to eat. Not only is this feed nutrient poor, but it leads to discomfort from inflammation and bloating, requiring the use of antibiotics. Pasture-raised, grass-fed beef is nearly five times richer in all vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3. More importantly it’s free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Sustainable farming is a win-win for everybody—it’s good for the animal, it’s good for the soil, and great for the community.
JA: Sapiens Paleo Kitchen aims to change how people think about nutrition. At Delta Dental of Arizona, we know how important good nutrition is for overall and oral health. Can you tell us why incorporating well-balanced nutrition into the dining experience is so important?
AB: We’re revolutionary in many ways. We are the first restaurant committed to combating the biggest threat to our health—sugar. While most people know that sugar isn’t good, they don’t know the extent of how bad it is. Sugar is one of the biggest threats to dental care. Some of the most common foods loaded with sugar are also very acidic, making them destructive. Processed grain derivatives, modified food starches, bulking agents and artificial flavors are all common forms of sugar that most people can’t identify.
Ironically, the same foods are behind the obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer crisis. I committed to eliminate the ingredients that have a direct effect on poor health. Sapiens Paleo Kitchen is a 100% sugar-free zone. That’s why our desserts are sweetened with non-glycemic natural sweeteners like monk fruit and Stevia.
Unfortunately, sugar is not the only contributing factor to poor dental health. Vitamin deficiency can also contribute to rapid tooth decay. Dental health serves as an accurate reflection of overall health and well-being. Eliminating sugar, processed grains, soy and other processed ingredients is the best way to prevent dental problems. I see it as my mission to make healthy food as delicious as master-chef prepared treats. I hope this will influence my customers to maintain a healthy lifestyle for years to come.
JA: Reducing your sugar intake does decrease your risk for cavities, tooth decay and tooth loss. How do you develop your menu with these paleo tenants? What does recipe development look like when you’re swapping out ingredients like artificial sugars?
AB: Eliminating sugar is only difficult in the beginning because all traditional recipes call for sugar, and you are constantly forced to find a substitution. Sugar is not only a sweetener, but it also helps structure by adding bulk to a recipe. Caramelization ads texture and flavor. So, to achieve the same result, you may have to sub out all properties independently. For bulk and structure, sometimes coconut flour will work; for sweetness, we like monk fruit. With trial and error, we can create fantastic, decadent desserts that are much healthier alternatives to treats that contribute to chronic diseases like diabetes or cavities.
JA: What’s your favorite ingredient to use or dish to cook for yourself?
AB: While I always enjoy cooking, whether for my clients or my family, cooking for yourself gives you peace of mind that every ingredient is selected and prepared carefully. My advice is if you want to protect your health, learn how to stay away from processed food. Learn how to cook, practice every day and lead by example by teaching your family what eating healthy means.
JA: When you’re at work, what are you happiest doing? What brings a smile to your face each day?
AB: I love to work with fresh vegetables brought by our local farmers. When you open the box, you never know what you may find inside. Last time it was full of beautiful greens such as spinach, tatsoi, two-color sage, sorrels, giant leeks, black kale, rosemary and fragrant dill. It also had rutabagas, parsnips, white beets, caulini and purple carrots. How can you not get excited about seeing this beauty in front of you?
Ideas start popping into my head immediately and daily specials are formed in seconds. Well-executed and artfully-plated dishes always bring a smile to my face. This is a never-ending pursuit of perfection.
JA: Do you have any advice for home cooks who want to find ways to create healthier meals? What’s something a home cook can do easily to up their game and make their next meal stand out?
AB: Don’t wait for the perfect day to come. Next time you are shopping, skip the aisles and go to a fresh produce section. Begin with things you know, but always bring home something you’ve never tried before. Avoid boiling your veggies too much to protect the nutrients. Generally, quick blanching in hot water and sautéing will produce the best crisp texture while keeping all nutrients. While organic is best, conventional veggies also work if you wash and peel them.
JA: What does healthy living mean to you?
AB: The purpose of following the paleo diet is not to live for forever, but rather to live well into your maturity. It breaks my heart to meet people who worked very hard all their lives to acquire a comfortable nest egg to retire and instead of enjoying their best years, they’re stuck with a never-ending cycle of lab work and doctor’s offices while taking multiple pills and finding themselves in constant pain and discomfort. Practically all chronic problems result from a mindless nutritional approach. Eating means to satisfy nutritional needs. Many of us still eat as we are merely surviving, yet survival and well-being are two different objectives. Which one is worthy of pursuing? It’s a personal choice that will determine your health in the very near future.
Chef Aurore’s Recipe for Asparagus Bisque
This is a delicious and healthy soup that’s perfect for a chilly, winter afternoon. It’s free of sugar, dairy, gluten and soy. Serves 8.
- 3 bunches of organic asparagus
- 1 onion
- 2 shallots
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 celery roots
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 14 ounces of coconut cream (1 small can)
- Remove asparagus florets (2 inches from the top) and save for garnishing later. Chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
- Peel and chop the onions, shallots, and celery root.
- Spread the chopped onion and celery root onto a sheet pan and place in the oven at 375 degrees. Roast them for 30 minutes. Add the shallots and asparagus to the tray and roast for an additional 15 minutes.
- Place all roasted vegetables into a medium sized pot and add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Add coconut cream and 1 clove of garlic. Let it all come to a boil then remove from heat.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until you reach the desired creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Blanch the asparagus florets in hot water briefly and shock with iced water. Use as a garnish for each cut of your asparagus bisque.