Tosca Reno


Monday, July 16, 2012

Clean Eating Resident Chef Jo Lusted & Her HOT BEHIND Get Real

I am soooo excited to have my dear friend, Chef Jo Lusted, Resident Chef of Clean Eating magazine here to guest blog for us today. She is a wonderful chef and was gracious enough to cook for us during my husband's final days. She is a lifesaver and I am so lucky to have her as a friend. 

Read about her foray into competition training & don't forget to vote for her. She is competing for the honour of being Toronto’s Hottest Chef! Each Chef gets to pick a charity of choice, and if she wins, all the money raised goes to that organization. Her charity of choice is The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in memory of my husband, Robert. This is a cause that is near and dear to all of our hearts, and I would love nothing more than to help her win and raise a little money to help beat cancer once and for all. Vote here until July 17 at noon! Voting is FREE.


I’m writing this post from an airport lounge. It’s 5am. Everyone around me is sipping coffee and nibbling on cookies. I’ve just pulled 2 hard boiled eggs and an apple from the clever stash of goodies in my purse. After rather clumsily peeling my eggs, I looked up and noticed that the guy beside me is eyeballing my breakie… I think he’s jealous, and for good reason! He doesn’t have a Tosca Reno Eat-Clean Survival Kit! Fact is, a few months ago, I wouldn’t have been so prepared either.

On May 07, 2012 I began training for my first physique competition - in the bikini category. For a girl that doesn’t even like to wander the beach in a bikini, donning one so tiny it has to be glued onto my curvy bits to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions, then parading out on stage for every inch of my body to be scrutinized is TERRIFYING, to say the least. I’ve battled with my weight as long as I can remember. I’ve never been obese, however, have never been a “skinny girl”, which used to be my standard of beauty. When I was in university, someone yelled, “You need Jenny Craig!!” at my friend and I, as they whizzed past, laughing and pointing out the car window. It hurt. That person likely forgot about it the next day, but years later I can still remember that strangers voice so clearly. After gaining quite a bit of weight balancing Chef School and two jobs in two different provinces, I knew something had to change. For the first time in my life, I had to shop at a plus-size clothing store. Curves are beautiful, and I encourage everyone to embrace them and love what they’ve got, however, I didn’t love what I had. I was embarrassed to even walk into the store. I weighed 220lbs at 5’6” tall.

That was it… I joined a gym, and jumped on the ol’ treadmill 5-6 days a week (something I do not advocate now!). It was around that time that I picked up my first Oxygen magazine and discovered the world of the Eat-Clean Diet. In a simple sentence, it just made sense.

My mom is a fabulous cook, and always made wholesome food from scratch… no frozen dinners or sugar-laden drink mixes at our house, so it was comforting and familiar to me. The best part about discovering the Eat-Clean Diet was that I learned to enjoy food again in a completely different and cleaner way than the creamy sauces and buttery side dishes that I had learned (and devoured…) in Chef School. By following the Eat-Clean Diet and moving my butt I lost over 70lbs. It’s easy to make food taste delicious when it’s loaded with butter, salt, and bacon. The challenge is making something that feels just as decadent, without all of that. This is what the Eat-Clean Diet is all about.
My blog and fitness mission is entitled “Hot Behind”. There’s a story behind the name, that I’ve saved just for this post…The first time Tosca came to teach an Eat-Clean Diet cooking class with me, her team accompanied her including of course, Bob, who snapped photos and cheered her on the entire evening. At the beginning of every class, I had to do a little safety rules speech to the group. Part of this speech was introducing the term “Hot Behind” - an essential phrase in a professional kitchen. One must use this phrase to announce the action of carrying something HOT (ie – giant stock pot of hot soup, baking tray just out of the oven), while navigating behind others through the kitchen. This helps avoid injury from someone turning sharply and banging into the person behind them (try this at home!).
The fun bit is that I insist that everyone exclaim “Hot Behind” to announce their presence behind someone throughout the class… well, Bob and Tosca being BUTT people, LOVED it!! The whole group was having a great time, and posing for “Hot Behind” photos! We laughed and laughed… it was the cutest thing, and became our little joke. My awesome service team at Tosca’s 50th Birthday Party even posed for a “Hot Behind” photo, that I had framed for her.

The day I decided that I was going to change my life and enter a competition, there was no question what the name of my blog & project was going to be. It’s my little tribute to Bob and Tosca, for the incredible influence and inspiration they are in my life.


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