Charles Mattocks is a tireless advocate for diabetes health. He came to fame as a celebrity chef, but upon a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, Charles immediately began a quest to help educate the public about the condition.
He has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, CNN and Good Morning America, to name a few popular shows. Charles’ latest endeavor is the filming and production of a diabetes documentary and a diabetes reality television show.
THE POOR CHEF, FILM MAKER, DIABETES ADVOCATE
DWB: Today we would like to welcome Charles Mattocks to the show. Charles is one of the leading voices in the Diabetes community. He is speaking out against the rise of Diabetes and of fitness and nutritional education. He has appeared on many well-known television programs including Good Morning America, Doctor Oz Show, Today Show, CNN and many other.
Charles’ initial rise of prominence came through his efforts as The Poor Chef after the best-selling cook book called, Eat Well, Eat Cheap.
More recently, Charles has significantly expanded his outreach including making a feature film on the rise of
Diabetes. The film is called, The Diabetic You. All of this just touches upon participated upon the tip of the iceberg with Charles. We have a lot to talk about today so let’s get started. So Charles, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us.
GUEST: Hello, thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
THE POOR CHEF
DWB: Okay Charles, the diversity of your efforts is quite astounding and I want to get into many of those endeavors in a moment. I think it’s right for people to know how you got started in nutrition as The Poor Chef. Tell us about the cookbook, Eat Well, Eat Cheap. What inspired you to write it?
GUEST: I got started actually out of the necessity of being a single father that was raising his son. I was from Los Angeles where I was doing really well in film and television and I started off in music. I always had a go-getter and a really ambitious vibe and spending my time with my son. Kids can be finicky and picky eaters. I just out of necessity wanted to be able to kind of spread the love as far as showing other people who may have been on a budget or who would still want to be healthy and so have food to be great tasting.
One day, my son came up with a great idea. He said, wouldn’t it be cool to see real people making real meals on television. I thought of it and wow. Until then it had been the Iron Chef and some of those shows like that.
Most of the recipes that come from a lot of chefs actually are inspired from something that are from a parent or relative or culture. You know I’m Caribbean, so as a Caribbean person, I love to stick to some of the meals that we make back in our country. But of course you dazzle them up a little bit.
DWB: That’s great. But shortly after you wrote the cook book, you were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes? How did this change your professional focus? What were some of the programs that you started to get involved in after you learned of your Diabetes?
GUEST: Well obviously it was a total shock especially it’s a Black male in his late 30s is not having any clue what Diabetes was. I thought that was number one which is a travesty in itself with Diabetes affecting so many minority people. I thought I was a pretty educated guy but not having any clue of what Diabetes was. It made me kind of say, “Wow.” If I don’t know what it is, then other people don’t know what it is.
Then also, when I was diagnosed, it was a Saturday doctor because my doctor was closed. With just a simple test, this man was ready to diagnose me and give me medication. I thought, “Hold on, now. This can’t be right.”
I thought also right there and then and asked how many people walked into this man’s office that he has no clue of their history or any of their medical background or anything like that, that he prescribe medicine. They took that medicine and they went home and they’ve been on that medicine and not knowing anything but just to take that medicine. So I thought I wanted to look more into this and that started the whole journey and that literally became my focus from being if you want to say it a celebrity chef to being a Diabetes advocate with a celebrity chef.
THE DIABETIC YOU FILM
DWB: Exactly. One of the key reasons I want to speak with you today is your work on making the film, “The Diabetic You.” You are the director and creator of the film. Can you tell us about the film and how was it been going making it?
GUEST: Yes. It’s been going amazing. When I first thought about doing it, I literally was just trying to create a little 30 minute piece that I was going to air on local television. I started to get into the business of Diabetes, the people with Diabetes, and everything that surrounded Diabetes, I was astounded. This little 30 minute piece turned into a full-fledged documentary.
It basically starts off with anyone of us who may… Obviously any one of us is me. But, it starts off with somebody who is basically just diagnosed and is trying to figure out how to live, how to survive and how to deal with this. It’s everything from the scary part of being diagnosed to trying to lose weight, to trying to change the diet, to trying to exercise right, to visiting doctors, to blood tests, to finding out what doctors that you need to see and who’s who and what’s what? The video takes me to this global mission as my passion for people. It allows me to want to tell not only my story but other people’s story. So, we feature some great people in there and we kind of follow their stories and we kind of help them. It’s like the one man that you saw in the film trailer who had the serious condition with the teeth. Now we were able to find a doctor, doctor Booth, who basically took out what teeth he had left in his mouth for free and replaced them with a whole new set of dentures. Now of course that doesn’t help for his per se his Diabetes but yes it can because if you have a gum disease, it leads to other diseases.
But, it did help him as a person where this man was able to look his wife in the face again. He was able to kiss her again. He was able to bring him some form of joy which Diabetes at times can get some people depressed. Once depression sets in, it’s the doorway to just many bad things that we allow ourselves to do. So we really set out to help people. We help some people in the film and we expose people to the film all around the world.
DWB: What surprised you most about making the film? Did you learn anything that you weren’t expecting to?
GUEST: Yes definitely. I mean the business side of Diabetes. Most of us don’t look at Diabetes or anything in that aspect. It could be… I’m sure even the President Obama, I mean when he got into the White House, probably saw things on that side of the line that he never thought existed just being a regular civilian, so yes, the business side of things. It is also just the lack of education that… I mean there are Diabetics everyday who just, really, I mean they had Diabetes for years and they just don’t have a clue. I mean they could be doctors, they could be RNs, they could be… You name it. They just don’t have a clue. The information that we are getting from these people are making out some life.
NATION WIDE RV TOUR – DIABETES EDUCATION
DWB: Recently, you’ve been traveling to the United States in a large RV to help increase diabetes education and inspiration. How has this tour going? What has been the response from the public?
GUEST: The tour has been amazing. It’s a dream come true. Obviously when I first thought of this tour, I was inspired by the Big Red Bus, you know the blood collecting mobile. I thought, “Wow, this thing is all over the place.” Diabetes is a pandemic and I’m like, “Why isn’t there anything like this for Diabetes?”
So, I kind of came up with the concept and put some of the graphics together and had it for a little while. Then I circled back around and a couple of months later with a company that I had been dealing with and they had the same vision. They thought it was great. We put it together in less than a very short time. The outcry has been amazing. I mean once again, people…they haven’t seen anything like it. It is a beautiful bus. By the time they come on board, they’re fully blown away and then once again we’ve got a professional team of experts.
Brandon Basa has helped greet people and helped answer their questions. They were able to get samples of things that are made that are healthy for them, recipe cards, brochures and information. It’s been amazing.
DWB: Well how long is that tour continued?
GUEST: It’s been a month so far and we have another date, it’s April 27 in CNN. I mean at CNN in Atlanta at the American Diabetes Association. Erich is talking about adding some more dates so I hope it goes on for as long as we can keep it going because, obviously, the more people, the more places we go, the more places we reach. I think it’s such a good statement to other companies in the Diabetes realm. This company is being proactive and is setting a precedence for that awareness of diabetes. We’re not waiting around. We get going with the people. You can learn more about this tour here.
ADA COOKBOOKS AND OTHER PROJECTS
DWB: Charles, I know you’re working on a number of initiatives including a cook book for the American Diabetes Association. Can you tell us about the other things that you’re working on that, which you think people would be interested in learning more about?
GUEST: Charles: Yes. Well I have a new cook book of course that I just finished with the American Diabetes Association. That one is kind of based on local fresh markets. I remember I used to live in Tampa and there was a local fresh market. It’s just 15-minutes away and I just love going there because the price is just tremendous. Let’s face it. Some of these named or branded stores like grocery stores, you can go in there and aim to spend $25 and by the time you check out it’s $95 and up. You are looking around in the car and you don’t know what you got. You get home and you put it in the fridge and it’s like, “What did I just spend $150 on?”
I’ve been going to many fresh markets and produce of little markets and literally going in there with $25. I’m coming out with all kinds of things that were fresh and handpicked.
So this is allowing us to kind of use some of those local markets and find great foods and vegetables and use those fruits and vegetables to create great meals that we are familiar with.
So there are these great Caribbean recipes in there. There are some Latin ones in there. This is really healthy, fresh and very simple to make. One thing that I like to do is to make sure that recipes are very easy to make because most or a lot of people have cookbooks which they don’t make the recipes because there are too many wild ingredients and is just very hard even to follow.
Then also I have a new documentary reality tV show. It’s the first-ever Diabetes reality television show that I just shot. I have some offers right now from some major network. That is a brilliant show. I think you could really revolutionize the way we see Diabetes because we’re taking seven people and we’re putting them in a house. We have some amazing experts that will be following their progress. They are going to change their diet. They are going to educate them. They are going to inspire them. They are going to motivate them. They are going to do everything they need to do to get them on the right course to being “reversed.”
I use that word in a sense of. It’s not so much about reversing Diabetes, it’s about reversing the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional state of someone with Diabetes because it can be hard. If somebody can just at least comply to eating right, if someone could comply to testing right, taking the medications right or just get a better over-all attitude, it can reverse a lot of what you’re going to or could be going through potentially.
DWB: Charles, there is so much to learn about you and what you have been doing. How can they keep track of you whether it’s through a website or how can they follow you?
GUEST: They can follow me at Twitter: twitter.com/thepoorchef1. They can go to my website. I also have the site www.thepoorchef.com with my email address info[at]thepoorchef.com.
DWB: Charles, that’s great. Once again thank you very much for speaking with us today. Keep up the good work.
GUEST: Thanks so much.