Visiting chef to veg out in Yuma
A Christian chef says that if Satan has a favorite culinary weapon, it's got to be cholesterol.
Mark Anthony spent years working as chef to the stars, but these days he's serving a more celestial calling. Anthony now travels the nation sharing his Christian ministry and a passion for teaching people how to beat cholesterol and other health woes through vegetarian cooking.
Anthony, whose tour is headed to Yuma, says too many Americans are willingly accepting a death sentence by consuming cholesterol from animal products.
"Almost every cancer and heart disease, obesity, diabetes and strokes are directly related to cholesterol," he told the Yuma Sun in a phone interview. "It is a national epidemic. But most of society doesn't realize how devastating these cholesterol problems are. They don't realize that if you get rid of cholesterol, all your health problems go away."
To Anthony the answer is eating a diet based on fruits and vegetables.
"I've lost 60 pounds since going vegan. I feel much healthier and have more energy than I did when I was 20. When you get on a plant-based diet, it opens up your arteries and sucks out all that cholesterol. It's truly amazing."
But there's a spiritual connection with good eating, too. Anthony pointed to the Bible story of Satan using food - an apple - to tempt Adam and Eve.
"He's still doing it today. Once you get the body, then you get the mind, then the spirit, then the soul," the Christian chef explained.
Anthony has worked as a professional chef for more than 20 years, including high-profile jobs at casinos like the Tropicana and Sands in Las Vegas. He has also catered for famous folks ranging from Jack Nicklaus to Montel Williams.
Anthony comes to Yuma on Sunday, when he presents an event called "Dinner and A Message: Live Vegetarian Performing Arts Cooking Show."
The free event is slated for 1 p.m. at the family center behind Yuma Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1681 S. 6th Ave. For more information, call 783-6533 or 210-9484.
In addition to talking about health and cooking a full meal, Anthony stirs up his shows by sculpting watermelons and painting pieces of art.
"My events are fun and exciting - very surprising - not your normal boring seminar."
Anthony stressed that his shows are also quite secular and comfortable experiences for people of any faith.
"I really focus on the health message. I do these totally as a nutrition event."
Before hitting the road as a health educator, Anthony worked as a chef for several casinos. He also held some equally interesting posts with major prisons and hospitals. He credits the latter genre of jobs for opening his eyes to America's serious health concerns.
Anthony was just 24 when he landed his first executive chef position, going to work at a casino in Las Vegas.
During his years as a Las Vegas chef and caterer, he served celebrities such as Joan Jett and Billy Squier, along with bands like Journey, Jethro Tull and Kansas.
Now, as a health educator, Anthony presents more than 100 cooking shows a year around the country. In addition to churches, he also speaks everywhere from civic centers to senior centers.
Anthony says he teaches people how to make vegetarian and vegan meals that truly taste good. But he also motivates through interesting statistics.
"In America only 7 percent of our diet is in the form of fruits and vegetables and we have the highest rate of killer diseases of any country on the planet. Ninety percent of the death in America is one of these killers diseases (like cancer and heart disease). In Thailand they only have a 10 percent death rate from killer diseases and that is because 78 percent of their food is from a plant-based diet."
He stressed that cancer amounts to a deficiency of fruit and vegetables in the diet.
"Get off the cholesterol and live a much longer and healthier life. It's really that simple. It is a statistical fact."
For more information about the event, call 783-6533. For more about the chef, go to ChefMarkAnthony.com.