True You Food – A Review
While there is much more to obesity than simply what we eat, for many, what we eat does play a pretty significant role. In this culture of fast-food, microwave meals and take out, home-cooking has become the exception and not the rule. And over the years in support groups and online forums I keep hearing from people that really just sometimes don’t even know where to start when it comes to building healthy, home cooking habits.
There’s a few really good resources out there, from local cooking classes to online courses, but for those who have had bariatric surgery, wouldn’t it be great to have something that focuses on their specific dietary needs… from pre-op, through surgery, and beyond?
There’s been a few times over the years where I’ve done cooking videos, and toyed with the idea of doing cooking classes and such, and while I’ve got a number of years of experience working in commercial kitchens, I am far from being a chef.
Well, that’s where Rose Archer and True You Food comes in. Rose has been a chef for over 20 years, and she just so happens to be married to a bariatric surgeon. Over the years she would do some things for the patients of her husbands practice, but then finally decided if she put this down on video, she could share it with patients all over the place.
Rose is a chef, so she heavily leans on a medical team to make sure what she teaches is safe for bariatric patients. Dr. Stephen Archer is a bariatric surgeon, and Vanessa Cobarrubia is a registered dietitian. I’m pretty sure what she presents is probably in line with the program they use at Summit Medical Group in Bend, Oregon, where Stephen and Vanessa practice, but Rose is pretty up front about making sure to work with the folks at your surgery center as well, and make sure you’re doing things you’re all comfortable with.
Before I go any further, I do want everyone to be aware that True You Foods is a paid membership service, and that they did reach out to me early this year and provide me with a free membership. They didn’t ask for anything other than feedback, and while I consider myself rather proficient in the kitchen, I thought it would be worth checking out.
At the moment, the True You Food site has all of the videos broken down into 11 categories. There’s some basic intros, a section on the various healing stages after bariatric surgery, then she gets into the nitty gritty of teaching various cooking techniques from knife skills to braising and sauteing, along with some basics on things like aromatics to sauces and salads. Most of the videos on done as part of sharing various recipes that you can start cooking for yourself.
You can go through the videos in whatever order you wish, but they’re sort of laid out in a way that it may well be worth just starting at the top and working your way down. Now I mentioned she has a section on knife skills, and by that I mean over 40 videos on using knives. The first few are general info, such as how a good knife is your most important tool, but the majority of videos are Rose showing how to cut specific food items, from artichokes to zucchini, and a lot of foods in between. And she doesn’t show just one way, she typically shows many different cuts for each item, such as slices, julienne and the like.
I haven’t watched all of the videos myself yet, but I have checked out most of them, and have gotten some good ideas from some of her recipes. On the page for each of these videos, you’ll also find a link to a PDF file with the recipe as well as links to videos for some of the skills you need for that recipe. For example, the above image is from her Tuna Salad With Aromatics recipe you have the link to the recipe, how to cut an onion, celery and lemon, and a video about fresh herbs.
In addition to the recipes in the videos, there’s a number of additional recipes available, links to some reference articles and studies, and some blog posts about various things from Rose.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t sure just what I would get out of the site, since it is geared primarily towards those looking to learn the basics, but Rose even addresses this in her FAQ. She basically agrees, that there are some who feel really confident in the kitchen and proficient with their skills, and that they may just not find anything new here. But she goes on to explain that she shares techniques she learned as a professional chef, including methods and efficiencies that only come “from years in a hot kitchen”. And I would agree, but that’s coming from someone that reads cookbooks for pleasure and inspiration. Just as in other aspects of life, even in the kitchen (or maybe especially?), I think we all can always be learning more.
As far as the videos themselves, the production quality is top notch. They use very good camera angles to show details and Rose is very clear in her explanations. Rose comes across very personable, friendly, and is an overall good instructor. While she’s not there to walk you through things directly, by being able to re-watch any video as much as you need, it’s pretty darn close to having her there with you.
While I haven’t heard where she is at on it, when I first provided some feedback to her in April, I asked if she was going to keep adding content. She assured me she would be, and some of it is now available for free on YouTube.
So, speaking of members, like I said, True You Food is a membership website, which means membership costs. When they first offered me a membership it was a one-time fee. And, it wasn’t cheap. I think it is one reason I had not done a review of the site earlier, even though I really like the content. It’s not that I didn’t recognize the value of the content, but in the back of my mind I just felt that the cost was going to be a barrier for too many people. I don’t recall if I said anything to Rose about it at the time, if not, I’m sure she heard it from others as well, because a few months back she announced a new membership model.
Now you can get a membership for $9.99 a month, or $99 for a year. Either plan can be cancelled at any time, and they also now get you access to a private Facebook group. And to top it off, you get your first 10 days of access for free.
Even if you’re just able to sign up for a month or two, and are able to do some binge watching, I think you will get some useful tips and ideas from the videos. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner cook, or a well seasoned, pun intended, check out True You Food.