Local baker sparks conversation about health

UTICA, N.Y.-- The irony of hosting healthy eating workshops in a bakery isn't lost on Douglas Allen-Leonard.

Posted: Jan. 9, 2018 10:39 PM
Updated: Jan. 9, 2018 11:12 PM

UTICA, N.Y.-- The irony of hosting healthy eating workshops in a bakery isn't lost on Douglas Allen-Leonard.

"I, by nature, love baked goods and sweets and stuff like that," Allen-Leonard, co-owner of Bite Bakery said. 

In fact, Allen-Leonard's sweet tooth was part of the reason why he decided to change his diet and lifestyle a year ago.

"I went and met with Jack and I told him, 'I need help,'" Allen-Leonard said.  "I wasn't happy with myself, I wasn't happy with my body. Honestly, I work 60 to 70 hours a week and I am not a fitness person."

Allen-Leonard asked Jack Kunkel, a local health and nutrition expert, for guidance. In one year, Allen-Leonard lost 70 pounds. 

Now, Allen-Leonard and Kunkel have teamed up to host a series of free workshops about eating healthy at Bite.

"It doesn't matter about money, it's about helping people, and that's what makes you smile," Kunkel said. 

Kunkel, also a Corporate Wellness instructor at Utica College, said research shows two motivating factors drive people to the foods they eat: convenience and taste. He says people must incorporate real food as a third component to see successful results.

"Real foods are foods that come from a plant and not made in a plant," Kunkel said. "Real foods are foods that come from a farmer and not a factory."

Allen-Leonard said he's still tempted by the treats he makes, but has learned to limit his cravings.

"I allow myself to have them, but I might limit it to once a week," Allen-Leonard said. "I know that I have to keep myself accountable for what I'm doing."

The next half-hour sessions will take place Thursday, Jan. 11th at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 14th at 3:00 p.m. 

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