Since becoming a Seafood Nutrition Partnership Ambassador, I have taken the role very seriously and have taught 4 classes here at King and Prince Seafood and helped others learn my story. If you look at our small town of Brunswick, Georgia and the number of folks taking the pledge here I am very proud of K&P Seafood for introducing us to the Healthy Heart Pledge and allowing me to share my story with others. As I tell them, it’s a real life changer and trust me it truly is.
- Tell the readers a little about yourself. Brooklyn New York born, graduated from Johnson and Wales University with an A.A.S Degree in Culinary Arts at the age of 17. Lived in California first 13 years of my career starting in hotel fine dining and became an Executive Chef at the age of 28. My namesake restaurants Johnny Carinos started in Colorado back in 1994 and that was the start of my corporate career as a chef. Have opened restaurants up all across the US and as well in 6 Asian Countries.
- What prompted you to start eating more seafood? I’m a former competitive bodybuilder and have always lived a healthy lifestyle with the food I eat. Seafood is lean, full of protein and low in carbs and fat so it was a natural choice for me. Being of Southern Italian roots taught me at a very young age about calamari, octopus, shrimp and fish and as well I have fished as early as I can remember.
- What is your advice for adding seafood into regular meals? Treat it like any other protein source, it’s easy and quick to cook and can be used in almost any recipe that calls for meats or poultry. Just know it’s very lean and if you overcook it seafood can be dry. Experiment and have fun with it, too many are afraid of seafood and only eat when they dine out which is a mistake.
- Have you added omega-3 supplements? For sure, can’t get to much of a great thing is my motto, I take omega oils every morning without fail, many are now small and prevent the burping up of the oil which is why many don’t take them. There are many different types, I look for ones rich in oils from mussels, salmon, sardines and the likes so read labels.
- Tell us about your positive health improvements since including more seafood and taking in more omega-3s into your diet. Wow where do I start? I am diabetic as my pancreas and spleen were removed in 2010 when I had an islet cell transplant. My good cells were removed from my pancreas and injected into my liver, my body thinks it has a pancreas due to the live cells. The transplant took a few years to settle and I had many health issues after it, the funny thing was I was working out and in great shape and condition to the eye, inside my body was another story. In 2014 at work I suffered a small stroke, about two months later I started the healthy heart pledge challenge and had an omega-3 index blood reading of 2.7% which truly hit me hard and upset me as it was very poor and explained my stroke and other issues. Fast forward 3 months later I was at 4.9%, December 2015 I was at 5.8%, my energy is great, I feel awesome and have had no other stroke type events since and my blood levels which are done monthly are honestly the best they have been in 15 years. Trust me the changes are unbelievable yet subtle, I would never go back.