neosoul.jpgAs you might imagine, growing up surrounded by the best soul food in New York can be somewhat detrimental to the waistline. Lindsey Williams, grandson of the “queen of soul food,” Sylvia Woods, learned this firsthand. Williams struggled with weight issues his entire life, and he hit his self proclaimed “rock bottom” after watching his wife and his successful career in the music industry disappear. He was 400 pounds. After recognizing that he had a food addiction, he steadily turned his life around. After losing over 200 pounds, he returned to Sylvia’s, this time in control of his weight and his health. He launched Lindsey Catering 125 in 2001; his goal was to change the way people viewed soul food – he varied the ingredients, using organic produce, free-range chicken, and organic beef, and he experimented with preparation techniques, designed both to lighten up the traditionally heavy dishes and to make them more modern and sophisticated. His cookbook, Neo Soul, is a result of that experimentation.

Neo Soul
provides healthy preparations of soul food favorites. Craving fried chicken? Williams’ recipe calls for crushed Special K for that extra crunch, but the frying is done in the oven instead of in oil. Country-style greens replace the pork with smoked turkey wings for a similar smoky flavor. And never fear, the mac and cheese is still there, but skim milk cuts down the calories (the carbs are still there), and the dessert section contains lighter versions of sweet potato pie, pecan pie, and red velvet cake. Neo Soul retails for $21.95.

NPR on Neo Soul