If you've been binge-eating—er, we mean binge-watching—Going Off the Menu, you've no doubt salivated over the delicious food hosts Russell Jackson and Liza deGuia have consumed during their tour of some of the greatest underground food experiences happening right now. And Russell certainly learned the hard way that eating all that food comes with a price. For him, that meant a 26-pound weight gain.
"I saw the doctor when I came back [from filming], and basically they told me that I turned myself into a foie gras duck. I have a fatty liver, which I’m now being treated for," he told The Feast. "I ate so much food. Oh hell yeah [it was worth it]. It was so awesome."
Russell (right) with Liza (center) and L.A. foodie Leigh Rowan in Going off the Menu Episode 103.
Russell credits a number of factors for the weight gain, including his age (52) and the fact that he's not exactly a gym rat. He also recalled some sage wisdom Julia Child—yes, the Julia Child—once shared with him about how to indulge in the right way.
"It always takes me back to the conversation that I had many, many, many, many years ago with Julia Child. Julia was in her 80s and I got to meet her when I was in culinary school. I sat by her all afternoon and asked her as many questions I could possibly ask her," he said. "And one of the questions I asked her was, 'You’re 80 years old. You smoke, you drink, you know, you eat whatever. How do you do it?' She said, 'I exercise regularly. I walk every day. I don’t shy away from anything. I just eat in moderation,' and you think about all these culinary greats that really enjoy their lives and enjoy food, and it’s just a simple fact of balance." We've heard that "moderation" word before, but walking every single day and not shying away from anything? Duly noted.
Russell does mention that his GOTM co-host Liza is much better at having culinary checks and balances. "My brain hasn’t figured out balance. [Liza]’s got it down. After a couple days of shooting, she would take a bite and push it away, and me? I’d eat everything on my plate," he said. "If I could get to her plate before she gave it away, I’d eat hers and then I was snacking in between." After seeing all those tasty dishes, we kind of don't blame him.
Relive one of the pair's meals, below.
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