Easy, Fun and Healthy Meal Prep with Kevin Curry [Episode #469]
This week’s topic is: Easy, Fun and Healthy Meal Prep with Kevin Curry
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Kevin Curry, who is the founder and sole creator of Fit Men Cook and the FitMenCook App, with one of the most prolific social media followings in the world of healthy nutrition. Listen in as Kevin shares how you can go past basic kitchen skills to cooking healthier meals, repurposing leftovers and being comfortable in the kitchen!
Kevin gives us his perspective on why a lot of men don’t cook…
We both share how we’re inspired to cook…
Going past basic kitchen skills and being comfortable with a pan…
Tips on how to modify your favorite dishes and learning basic cooking skills…
How to reimagine how we talk about food and meal prep…
Ways to make cooking and eating veggies more appealing…
Repurposing and reusing leftovers for the busy person…
Transitioning family into eating more plant dominant, without judgement…
About Kevin Curry
Kevin Curry is the founder of Fit Men Cook, an online community that inspires men and women to eat healthy and stay fit with healthy recipes that in Kevin’s words, “are never, ever boring”. With over 2 million followers around the world, Kevin has become one of today’s most sought-after personalities in nutrition, health and wellness.
Kevin founded the FitMenCook App, which consistently ranks as one of the top apps in the Food & Drink category in over 80 countries and has garnered more than 7,000 five-star reviews on the Apple App Store.
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!
There are lots of ways to share your responses or questions about the podcast:
You may be really intrigued by podcasts, but you may just know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, I promise! To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s way better to subscribe so you never miss an episode!
Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the “Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder”? My passion is to inspire and empower you to be your most authentic and beautiful self. We offer interviews with top experts, my personal philosophies and experiences, as well as answers to community-based questions around topics such as health, beauty, nutrition, yoga, spirituality and personal growth.
The intention of the Feel Good Podcast is to well…help you really Feel Good in your body, mind and spirit! Feeling Good means feeling peaceful, energized, whole, uniquely beautiful, confident and joyful, right in the midst of your perfectly imperfect life. This podcast is as informative and full of practical tips and take-aways as it is inspirational. I am here to support you in being your very best! I have so much love and gratitude for you. Thank you for tuning in and being part of the community :).
LEAVE A REVIEW ON ITUNES
Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material they are interested in! If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us arating or review. Many thanks in advance.
Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. This is due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Kimberly: [inaudible 00:00:02]. Hey Beauties, welcome back to our Monday interview podcast. I am so excited to be with our very special guest today. His name is Kevin Curry and he is the author of Fit Men Cook and the creator of Fit Men Cook App which was named the app store Best of 2015 and remains one of the top three downloaded food and drink apps. I’m really excited to be able to see Kevin in this time we are Skype videoing. So we can see each other, which is amazing. He has so many amazing tips for us.
Fan Of The Week
Kimberly: Before we jump in, I want to give a quick quick shout out to our fan of the week though. Her name is lucy in kenucky. And she writes: I love the positivity of this podcast. It makes me want to be a better person in every way when I listen. So lucy in kenucky, sending you a huge virtual hug. Thank you so much for being part of our community, love, love, love you. And thank you so much.
Share The Podcast and Leave a Review on Itunes
Kimberly: Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as our fan of the week. Please leave us a review on iTunes which is free, and easy and just a great way to support the show. And it helps beauties like yourself finding our show as well. All right, so that being said, hello Mr. Kevin, how are you?
Interview with Kevin Curry
Kevin: What up, how are you doing?
Kimberly: Sitting there in Dallas I see, I love that we can be virtually connected. We can see each other. This is amazing.
Kevin: Yeah. What day is it for y’all over there with the shelter in place? I feel like it’s day nine here for us?
Kimberly: So I feel like the date that I go back to is March 14, which you can see Kevin, I’m almost nine months pregnant.
Kevin: Holy smokes! Congratulations! All right! Love in the age of corona.
Kimberly: Yeah. Exactly. We’re having a covid baby. So March 14 was the first day I felt like this affected me, because that was the day my baby shower got canceled. Because everybody was starting to drop off, and I was like, “Oh I guess we can’t do this.” So that’s when I started really being in isolation. But I’ve lost track of the days. I don’t know. It’s what 20 days? Three weeks?
Kevin: Yeah. I think maybe my nine days is really off. I do feel like maybe we were sheltering in place before then.
Kevin: Okay. But yeah, I’m losing track of the days, but I’m still keeping it up. In the positivity. I haven’t shaved or had a haircut in quite some time. It’s just crazy because you know, as a black man we get our hair cut at least twice a month. At least. At least. And you know … So I’m just having to … I’m rocking the fro. I’m rocking the fro now. I’ve been reading so many of those blogs on how to do an edge up. And I just don’t want to just risk it and make it worse.
Kimberly: I love the natural look. I think it’s a great time-
Kevin: You like it?
Kevin gives us his perspective on why a lot of men don’t cook
Kimberly: I do. I do. I think you should grow it longer for sure. But Kevin, I love your energy. I think it’s great what you’ve started. This idea about men cooking. So we have a lot of questions about, my husband eats differently or he’s not into healthy, or … I don’t know. First of all, why do you think a lot of men don’t cook? In the first place?
Kevin: You know, that’s an interesting question. I feel like traditionally in the past with the roles of the traditional household, men would be the ones going out there and being the breadwinners and the women would be the person in the house who was taking care of the house, managing the house and kids. And they would be expected to get into the kitchen. So I just think that we all grew up in that era, or at least I did. But times have changed so much.
Kevin: But what I do find though is that … and this is not just with men, just with anybody who doesn’t do a lot of cooking, that once they get into the kitchen and they begin to experiment, there’s something that awakens inside of us and it really excites us. We get a boost to our mood too being able to start a recipe from start to finish. People really do begin to love it. I think there’s one positive consequence of this quarantine is that everyone is going to come out of here as a much better cook.
Kimberly: I hope so.
Kevin: Now it may not be calorie conscious, but I feel like everyone’s going to come out of here as a much better cook because we’re being forced to.
We both share how we’re inspired to cook
Kimberly: Yes. Well you know Kevin, one thing I say, I have a lot of recipes too that I put out. I personally don’t … I use recipes for inspiration. So I look at it, I’m like, “Oh, I never thought about that, or putting this together.” But I like to put my own flavor on things. How do you cook?
Kimberly: Kind of go with the flow?
Kevin: … start out with recipes that I really love. Like for me Tex Mex and Mexican food is really big here in Texas.
Kevin: So I think one of the first recipes that I ever flipped was a quesadilla. And I just deconstructed the recipe and swapped in healthier ingredients, a lot more calorie conscious. And I just had this epiphany like, “Oh my gosh, I can actually eat better and enjoy the same foods but just in calorie conscious ways.” That’s how I got started. And now it is taking stuff that I’ll try once or twice and I’ll say, “You know, the next time I think I’m going to add in this and not that.” Because the reality is, we’re not just eating for just this time period. We’re eating for a lifetime and so you’ve got to become comfortable in the kitchen and versed enough to be able to say, “All right, let me toss in some bell pepper. Let me get a little fancy with it today.” Or whatever that is.
Kevin: You have to be able to customize because otherwise your diet is going to suffer. And you suffer from it because … And I’ve seen this time and time again, people get so bored with the foods that they continually eat. Because they don’t teach themselves how to make a proper meal or how to make food taste good. Especially when it’s calorie conscious. But when you finally crack that code and understanding how to go ahead and put things together, you can eat for a lifetime.
Going past basic kitchen skills and being comfortable with a pan
Kimberly: And it’s really just some basic skills would you agree? Being comfortable with a pan, with the oven, with the grill. So did you grow up cooking or is this something that came into your life as an adult?
Kevin: Definitely came into my life as an adult. My mom did most of the cooking. My dad did a lot of baking around the holidays, but I grew up with tons of soul food in the house. But mom was always the one to cook. And I started cooking because it was out of complete desperation. I was broke as a joke. I didn’t have money to keep paying all these personal trainers to show me how to lose weight and I just realized-
Kimberly: Were you overweight? At one point?
Kevin: Yes I was. I stopped weighing myself when I was around 250 or so.
Kimberly: Oh, okay.
Kevin: And I say, or so just because I just stopped weighing myself.
Kimberly: [crosstalk 00:07:34]
Kevin: … about my body type-
Kimberly: [inaudible 00:07:36]
Kevin: Yeah, a couple ish. But the cool thing about my body type is that I had a really big torso but really thin limbs, so I could hide it very well up under baggy clothes. So I just got away with it much longer. And I remember one of my turning points was going to this gym and asking the personal trainer for some help and then he said, “Well, what are you eating?” And it was a simple question and I was like, “Oh yeah, what am I eating?” Because at the time I was killing myself at the gym three hours a day, three hours. An hour in the morning and two hours at night trying to lose weight and I looked the exact same after a full year. And I’m like, what gives. He just finally said, “Well, what are you eating.” It’s like, not even realizing-
Kimberly: Oh my gosh, Kevin! You didn’t even think about the food part! That’s so interesting!
Kimberly: You focused on exercise first.
Kevin: Well, you always try to out train a poor diet. And it’s also kind of celebrated too when you look at the fitness models and stuff. They’ll post up their big burger meals and look at this, this cheat meal today that I got to eat. For people who don’t know anything about [inaudible 00:08:41] like me at the time, I’m thinking, “Well, could eat that too, as long as I work out.” But I was just undoing all the work that I was doing in the gym because I didn’t know how to have a proper balanced diet.
Kevin: So that’s what started my journey. I went to half price books. Bought every single book they had there about nutrition and just began to read the content. And I taught myself how to cook.
Kimberly: So up until that point you were eating most of your meals out, convenience foods, fast foods, pre made foods?
Kevin: Yeah. Yeah, processed foods, not really paying attention to the caloric content. And it wasn’t just burgers and fries all the time. It was for instance, one of my favorite meals, and this is crazy to think, but this is a true story. One of my favorite foods is salsa. Like I am a Mexican food connoisseur and I can tell you what some good salsa is, right? So I would go to this restaurant and I would buy the big, like Big Gulp size of salsa and chips. And I would eat that as a full meal.
Kevin: And that would be my dinner. And I didn’t know any better how the fried chips that was adding up. It wasn’t nutritious. I wasn’t energized. I couldn’t build muscle that way. I did a lot of mistakes like that because I just didn’t know any better. And then I’d wonder why. I’m like, “Why, why can’t I lose this weight?”
Kimberly: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Kevin: My diet sucked.
Tips on how to modify your favorite dishes and learning basic cooking skills
Kimberly: When people are starting out, especially men, and we’re encouraging partners and male friends to start cooking, I say “Hey, just master a couple recipes and then you can vary them.” What are some of the tips you give people? Do you say modify your favorite dish or learn some basic cooking skills? If so, what would those be?
Kevin: Yeah, the first one is I would say take a dish that you really like. For me it was Mexican food, so I was taking the quesadilla and deconstruct it. I want you to write out the entire recipe, and look at the ingredients. And then I want you to find healthier ingredients for the ones that you have written down. Often times it’s not that hard to go ahead and do. You teach yourself how to cut back on oils and fats. That way as well. Do that first.
Kevin: I found that that was a really good way to get my confidence up. And then also to cook something that I like because the reality is, you can make healthy food, but if you don’t like the food then what’s the point of making it. So cook food that you actually like. People do this all the time. And I’m like that. Then cook what you like! Just make it healthier.
Kimberly: Exactly. Exactly. And I think, [inaudible 00:11:22] foods. Like I’m half Filipina and I go always to Asian food because it’s what I grew up with. But without all the fried Filipino stuff and all the heavy pork and everything.
Kevin: I love fried pork. I must say that. Pork! Pork every day!
Kimberly: Well Kevin, let me ask you a question, have you seen Game Changers? Have you seen this … People have asked you this?
Kevin: Yes, people have asked me this. I have not seen Game Changers. I have seen What the Health.
Kimberly: Oh did you know I was in What the Health?
Kevin: Oh, maybe that’s why … okay! I was trying to put it together! I was like, I’ve seen her before.
Kimberly: Anyways, I would love to see your take on … It’s like these huge guys, right? These football players, these body builders that are eating plant based for performance. Once you watch it, I’d love to see how you could create some meals inspired by that. Because you’re a big dude too, and I think you could get some really creative recipes out of it.
Kevin: Well, you know, one thing that’s interesting is I’m not primarily plant based, I’m plant dominant I call it. And I’ll tell you the reason why. I actually got my dad to go vegan two years ago. To correct a lot of his health issues. I just knew. He would complain about inflammation so badly, like all the time. His joints. He suffered from something called bursitis. He was always complaining. I said, “Hey, I really think that you would feel better off of a plant based diet.” And telling a dad who’s African American and from the south that he’s going to be going plant based, it was going to be an uphill battle. But he was so open to it and guess what? Fast forward-
Kimberly: Wow! He gave up dairy and everything?
Kevin: Yeah, he gave it up. And let me tell you, he’s never felt so good. And so what I was basically getting at with him and so many of my followers, because they always ask me. And I know that this is primarily people on your show are plant based-
Kimberly: We’re mostly plant based, not all or nothing. Yeah.
How to reimagine how we talk about food and meal prep
Kevin: Mostly plant. Yeah. If we could just reimagine how we talk about food, I don’t think that … There is room for a lot of extra I feel like. We’re always told that you’ve got to work on the steak and chicken and make that the star of the dish. But what if we made plants the star of the dish? And if we wanted to compliment with meat or something else, you could. What if we got into cooking that way?
Kimberly: The portion sizes would be way less.
Kevin: The portion sizes could be way less. You would feel better. And so I told my dad. I was like, “You have to go plant based. Because you have to undo so many years of poor health … I mean, poor eating habits.” That’s going to come back right away as soon as you go back to your old diet. So stay plant based. But for other people, just for our children. What if we could introduce plants and make it fun for them. And if they wanted to, if you want to, you could have something that is from the animal kingdom.
Kevin: I just think that if we look at food in that way, and that’s why I say I’m much more plant dominant. I love the Mediterranean diet and I’m not one of the persons who thinks I’ve got to have chicken or a meat for every single meal or else my muscles are going to fall off. I don’t think that. It’s just not true. I think that if-
Kimberly: I love that. I love that. I think it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I think all or nothing turns a lot of people off. And often, like you said, it’s cutting back on the portion size. My husband when I met him, he was a huge carnivore. He just ate so much meat. And now he’s cut back probably 80%. So he does eat it regularly, but he has a lot more plant based meals, and when he does eat it it’s smaller. So improvement is massive.
Kevin: Yeah, you don’t miss it either. You’re just thinking, “Oh, I guess I could have this today.” There’s one thing that I would miss, it would probably be bacon. Because the saltiness and crispiness of it, but that’s just a random craving. But yeah, I feel that people, once they get going with it, they realize that this is the best way because you feel better. Your joints are feeling better. Your skin clears up. All of that stuff. So we just need a much better balance.
Ways to make cooking and eating veggies more appealing
Kimberly: So how do you teach people how to eat veggies, or what are some of your tips, your recipes for people that are like, “Oh, veggies are gross!” I just remembered these gross soggy steamed veggies as a kid. Especially for a lot of men, right? How do you turn that around to be more exciting?
Kevin: Right, just don’t do stuff like that. Don’t serve up steamed vegetables. Cook them the same way that you would cook up some meat.
Kimberly: Yeah, how do you cook them? You grill them?
Kevin: Yeah, grill them. You know, I’ve put them in stir fry. Making them in the base of soup. I was showing somebody the other day. A friend called me up and they wanted to make some jambalaya and they wanted to make it for their family but they didn’t want all the carbs. I was like, “Well, then just do half and half.” They’re like, “Half and half what?” Just do half cauliflower rice and half regular rice. And the family won’t notice the difference. They’re like, “Are you sure!?” I was like, “They’re not going to be able to notice. I promise you that.” And she snuck them in there, and they’re like, “They didn’t even realize they’re eating cauliflower.” I was like, “Yeah! So next time do three quarters cauliflower rice and then add the brown rice.”
Kevin: And so ways like that. Just be very creative and just integrate vegetables into what you’re already eating. Again, it’s not … whenever we look at diets in a really linear way, and I say linear meaning boring. Broccoli, steamed broccoli, brown rice. Chicken breast. It turns people off. Take the food that you’re already eating-
Kevin: Yeah, and just transform it. And you can have a really robust diet that’s great for you.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. No, Kevin, I primarily cook with coconut oil. If I’m going to use oil. What kind of oils do you like to cook with?
Kevin: Yeah, avocado oil right now. I love avocado oil. Because it’s got the same properties as a coconut oil, meaning it’s a high smoke point oil. It’s a great heart healthy fat, and it’s now about the same price as olive oil. Maybe just a dollar extra? So I can find it a lot easier. But I also like it, is that it doesn’t have a strong flavor, so I can use it even in some of the Asian dishes. Even like a curry dish that calls for coconut oil, I can use that in because it doesn’t compete with the curry flavor at all. That’s one of my go to’s.
Kimberly: You’re making food from all ethnicities. You’ll make Indian food, Mexican food, everything.
Kevin: Soul food! Yeah, absolutely. We’re eating for a lifetime. I want [inaudible 00:18:17]
Kimberly: Love it-
Kevin: You know, to go, and I don’t think that God will put us on this earth and have all of these amazing cuisines and say, “You can’t eat that.” It just doesn’t make sense. Just like what you said. We’ve got to work on our portion control. And what I tried to do is tell people to make it a lot more calorie conscious. So we can really enjoy the food and make it good for us. You’ve got to make the food work for you.
Kimberly: I also think people … Well, now we’re home more, but time isn’t necessarily in abundance. My toddler isn’t in preschool, so I feel like time has actually been taken away.
Repurposing and reusing leftovers for the busy person
Kimberly: We’re busy people, right? And when this is over, we know, we go back to our busy lives. So what do you think about repurposing meals, bulk? I mean, obviously you want things to be as fresh as possible, but reusing leftovers. How do you approach that with the busy person?
Kevin: Yeah, meal prep is really important. When I first started out, I would try to do meal prep for the entire week, which I think is okay. It took maybe about two hours each Sunday to go ahead and do that. But here’s the thing that happens. By Wednesday, you’re tired of the foods. And I just realized too that really, if you think about it Kev? It took you 20 minutes to make up one recipe that can have about four or five portions of it. So just 20 minutes.
Kevin: So I started to prep twice a week. Sundays and Wednesdays. And now I can keep the food fresh and I think that we just got to get into our minds that this is what we’re going to be doing, and set aside that time. Because you’re never going to have time for anything. You actually just have to go ahead and plan for it. But the time commitment is actually much more minimal and there’s less food waste whenever you do it this way. Set aside that time.
Kevin: And then I also tell people that you’ve got to multitask. I know that you’re watching the toddler, but if you’re not cooking, you should be cleaning up. If you’re not cleaning up, you’re cooking. So you just need to keep yourself moving and you’ll realize. It’s funny, but you’ll realize too that you are finished. Once you finish cooking, you’re actually done in the kitchen because everything was already cleaned up that you’ve already messed up. Your food is right there inside this pot, and all you have to do is put it into your containers or put it on the table for the family. Leftovers is absolutely the way to go. Go ahead.
Kimberly: I was going to say, when you say food prep, what are you doing exactly? You’re chopping veggies? Are you marinating things? What are you doing in your food prep?
Kevin: Yeah, you know, it’s funny. I like this question. For food prep, it’s just chopping up stuff like garlic and onions. Putting those up at the very top of the week into separate containers so that way I can easily add them to recipes. Same thing with bell peppers. When you talk about marinade, it would just have to be a particular recipe. I don’t spend time for meal prep recipes things that I’m going to eat throughout the week, on things that are really intricate. Like marinading something, that’s going to be for date night or for a weekend recipe. Where you put a lot more thought, some more fun into it. It’s for Sunday-
Kimberly: Special date night-
Kevin: Yeah. Yeah, it’s for date night. But we’re just aiming for the week. Just fix you up something that’s quick and easy that you’re going to really like. Like a fried rice recipe. It doesn’t take that much effort. You can cut corners. You can buy a rotisserie chicken and chop that up and put that into a recipe too. For stuff for meal prep, keep it easy on yourselves. Don’t get on these intricate recipes. I love the Barefoot Contessa. But I wouldn’t select a Barefoot Contessa recipe for meal prep. That’s for your Saturday meal when you’re trying to impress your friends and family or for bae. When bae comes over. For meal prep, just get it done. Get something to eat, quick and easy.
Kimberly: For me, I’ll make a big portion of brown rice or quinoa, and then I use that for a few days in stir frys and different things. I feel like if that’s made, I could make a meal in a couple minutes.
Kevin: Oh, absolutely. So that’s another part of meal prep. You can do the single recipe route that I was just talking about, or this route which I love, and I call this one, mix and match meal prep. So you can make a batch of quinoa, a batch perhaps of protein, and some roasted vegetables. And then maybe even some chickpeas, right? Four things. And then throughout the week you’re just mixing and matching them together. Today maybe have some kale with these chickpeas, and maybe some chicken. And next day I’m going to have a fried rice. I’m going to use the rice or the quinoa that I have, put in some chicken, and there it is. You can mix and match the foods together and have a lot more variety.
How long most meals take to prepare
Kimberly: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So Kevin, how long does the average meal take you, would you say? Let’s take out the prep for a moment, but just during the week, it’s Thursday lunch, whatever, or Tuesday dinner. Again, to the average person, it can be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m cooking all the time.” But if we can break it down to a general time frame? Me, I feel like I can cook dinner in 15 minutes usually. Unless there’s longer baking or I do make one pot meals. But the time it takes me isn’t that long usually.
Kevin: Right. I’m the same. It takes me about 15, 20 minutes for a recipe. I made up one today during my IG live and I put the timer on, people could watch. I said, “Twenty minute recipe, here we go.” Twenty minutes and I was done. It was five portions for the entire week.
Kevin: If you have a family, it’s going to go much faster, it’s different, but it should be said. I think that you can safely portion out maybe an hour and a half? For you to get into the kitchen. And that’s just from unloading all the groceries onto the countertop, to cleaning it up at the very end. An hour and a half max. You should be able to get out there in 45 minutes with the clean up. So when you think about 45 minutes of your week, and how much time you actually have, it’s not that much time.
Kevin: I want people to focus not on the time, but focus on where you’re going and how you’re going to feel because you actually spent that time doing that. And I think that’s a really important-
Kimberly: It’s such a wonderful … It’s a wonderful form of self care, isn’t it?
Kevin: Yeah, you feel better, and you’re proud of yourself. You feel accomplished. Really, what it does, it builds this narrative where you’re going. I tell my followers that one thing they should do, especially at the top of the year whenever they’re setting their goals is to look inside their fridge. And your fridge should tell the narrative of what you’re trying to do this year. So if you’re trying to run a marathon, if you’re trying to do one of those obstacle courses, if you’re trying to do a competition, a body building, a modeling competition, or if you’re just trying just to get on track, make sure that you’re doing things that are inching towards that narrative.
Kevin: And that’s not to make anybody else out there manic or anxious, but you have to remind yourself, especially if you’re just starting out. Remind yourself of why you’re doing it. And then it just becomes subconscious, and it just very very natural.
Kimberly: Wow. I love that. It does. You know, how we surround ourselves, the tools we’ve put in, the foods that are in our fridge, do build our lives. You know what my mom used to say, Kevin? She used to say how full your fridge is shows how much love is in your life. Imagine if you’re someone that has no food in your fridge, you just have a bunch of beer. Maybe it’s time to start working on that self love and that self care that comes from making very simple meals for yourself.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Just start very small. Especially if you are new to this. Take one meal and start right there. Don’t try to overhaul your diet. I have this analogy that I tell people. Don’t go and boil the ocean overnight. It’s going to be really hard to do. You can’t do it. But maybe you can take a small section of it and heat up this really small section right here. And this small section will get really hot. All right, move on to the next section, and the next section, and next section.
Kevin: Because again, we are doing this over a lifetime. So whenever you try to boil the ocean overnight, you’re going to end up getting frustrated and just disenchanted by the fact that it’s not happening fast enough. And you’ll be tired, and then in a week, maybe two weeks, you’re back at square one. And you’re realizing what happened. And then you’re telling yourself and your friends, “Yeah, healthy cooking and healthy eating is not for me.” That’s not it. You just started off wrong.
Kevin: If you’re going to be running a marathon, you would not start your first marathon just by running the marathon. You would maybe take a walk around the block. Then maybe a 5K, then maybe a 10K, half marathon, and then a marathon. But for diets for some reason, we go straight to the marathon. Because we think that’s what we should be doing. Don’t overhaul. You know what? I’m even to the point, where don’t even do a recipe. Just start on your habits.
Kevin: Let’s say that you drink 10 Cokes a day. For the next two weeks, your goal is to get down to one Coke or two Cokes each day. That’s all you allow yourself. And then watch your body change. And then use that enthusiasm and that momentum once you accomplish that goal to set another goal.
Kimberly: I love that.
Kevin: And then another goal. And then all of a sudden, you’ll wake up one day, and you’ll say, “I’m not even drinking soda anymore. And I’m eating a salad. How did that happen?” Because you change your diet over time. Based off the incremental success.
Kimberly: Yes. And then you feel better inside. So it becomes an impetus to keep changing.
Kevin: Right. Right.
Kimberly: I used to think, Kevin, I would never be able to live without french fries. Because I loved french fries. But then when I started shifting and changing, now I make baked sweet potato fries, and I don’t feel that same call to it, because I often feel like crap when I eat a huge pile of fries. So even though you think today, this is how I eat, I can’t imagine giving this up. It’s amazing how we can evolve our bodies.
Kevin: Absolutely. I’ve got one quick story about that actually.
Kimberly: Tell me!
Kevin: I told my dad to go plant based. He loved it, my mom got on board too and they both lost tons of weight, they felt great. And it came time for Thanksgiving. Now in the South, Thanksgiving is huge! Right? It’s the Superbowl of food. And when it came time, my dad said, “You know, to be quite honest, we don’t really want to do a whole bunch of cooking. We don’t like the way that we feel afterwards. We’re just going to go up to our vegan restaurant and get some take out, but we want to eat with y’all in the family and just be around y’all.”
Kevin: And that was a really big aha moment because what happens whenever you start to eat better is that you associate how you feel with food. You weren’t doing that before. It wasn’t conscious. But now he’s like, “Uh-uh. I don’t even want to feel bad.” It’s not even about the taste. The way that I feel, it supersedes just tasting that flavor and that taste again. That’s what you’re going to … But that’s a really big thing that actually happens to you once you begin to eat healthier.
Transitioning family into eating more plant dominant, without judgement
Kimberly: Wow, you must be so proud of your parents.
Kevin: I am really proud of them. I am. They’re still sticking in there. They’re getting older. And it’s just so important to have them around. And I encourage other people to get involved with your parents’ lives. It was hard. I think I hit the jackpot in the sense in that he was ready and at a low enough point to listen to me. I always felt weird helping everybody else around the world, but not helping out my own parents. We would fight constantly. Always butt heads. So I had to tell myself, I have to just take a step back from it, and not even give advice.
Kimberly: Can’t push.
Kevin: Yeah, I can’t push. And I also realized this too. We had a sit down talk, and we filmed it for YouTube. And it was the first time I actually listened to my parents. What they heard when I was saying, “Stop eating that stuff.” What they heard was, “The stuff that I gave you growing up, isn’t good enough.” They were taking it-
Kimberly: Right. Right, they took it personally.
Kevin: Yeah. And I didn’t even think about that. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, that’s right.” So that could be a whole other podcast. Talking to your parents about healthy eating. But just know that when you’re trying to get someone to make a better change, that they may not interpret it the same way that you’re trying to offer it. So you have to love people through that change.
Kimberly: I agree. And if you push just because you’re like, “Well, I know this and that.” It can make people feel like they’re doing something wrong. Like you said, for years and years. Nobody wants to feel that. That’s a horrible feeling. Like, “I was doing my best, I loved my son, I was taking care of you. Oh my god, are you saying I’m a bad parent.” That’s a terrible feeling.
Kimberly: Same thing with my husband. He’s like, “Wait, are you trying to change me, now we’re in a relationship?” Are you pushing me to be vegan [inaudible 00:31:49] together and that is not the message. It’s more like, “I love you babe, I want you to be healthy, I want you to feel good. Maybe we try some new stuff.” But that acceptance is so important where people are.
Kevin: Yeah, absolutely agree. And meet people where they are. And also be open to the fact that even if you’re married to somebody who is not eating well, that that change may not come through you. Meaning that they may find somebody online or have somebody else tell them and they may do that. And start eating better? But don’t take it personally. And you will. You’ll be like, “I’ve been saying this for years. I can’t …” Sometimes it’s hard to listen to people who are so close to you.
Kimberly: I agree. I agree. I’ve had that experience with relatives and things. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, look, and now I’m making a green smoothie.” And I’m like, “Well, but I’ve been telling you about [inaudible 00:32:43] for five years!” But that’s where we take the evil out of it, right? We say, “This isn’t about me, if I [inaudible 00:32:52] who gives a crap how they actually change in the end.”
Kevin: But I get it though. You can tell me that, because I understand. You’re like, “A green smoothie! I posted that 15 [inaudible 00:33:04] you never even tried one!”
What inspires Kevin’s fresh creativity
Kimberly: What?! So Kevin, your book, your app, there’s so much. You’re constantly producing new content. My last question for you is about … You’re obviously a very creative person and you’re always finding fresh new ways. What do you think inspires your creativity? Do you just look around at other cuisines? Do you tap into your own taste? How do you stay so fresh and creative?
Kevin: Yeah, a couple things. I never turn off my curiosity bug. I’ve always just been a curious person. But I feel like I’ve always just kept that open. Meaning, if I have an idea up at 3:00 a.m. I’ll get up at 3:00 a.m. and write it down on my kitchen white board and go back to sleep. It’s important that when creativity speaks to you that you go and you seize that moment, because it’s so important that you don’t turn that off.
Kevin: And then other things is that I allow myself to be inspired. So you’ve got to be humble enough to know that you don’t have the best ideas or the greatest ideas out there. So allow yourself to learn from other people. One way that I do that is by traveling. I love to get outside of my own little world and really immerse myself and let people … Allow myself to absorb what I’m around. And that may not be healthy food at a time, but I’m going to … I traveled to Thailand and I think I ate my body weight in pork and rice. That’s not my usual diet. I remember at one point in a restaurant I was like, “Can I have …” And I literally asked this. I said, “Can I have a veggie curry?” And they looked at me and they said, “Well, it’ll take some time, but okay.” And I was like, “Nevermind.” Because it was really annoying. But I’m saying that because I needed to absorb what they were showing me. How to put the foods together and how to pair and different flavors.
Kimberly: Yeah, the flavors.
Kevin: And so sometimes you take those experiences from travel, not just for your Instagram moment, but to say, “What can I take back from this experience for my own life to make it better? To make it more flavorful and tasty?” So I try to do that at least [inaudible 00:35:19] a year. Go off somewhere an immerse myself in a different culture and allow myself to start from scratch. Like, talk to me as if I don’t know anything about food. And I think it’s great.
Kimberly: Do you go to local restaurants when you travel, or do you do cooking classes? What do you do?
Kevin: Local restaurants mainly. I did one cooking class. I went to Morocco recently and that was amazing. I went and people should look at Airbnb. I know this is like a plug, and I don’t work for them. It’s not a sponsor. But things like Airbnb are really cool. They have these things called experiences. And I say that, because these are just people like me and you. And I just want to show you, come into my house. I’ll show you how to make an American burger. But you’re somewhere else, and they’ll show you how to make their cuisine. And it’s just great to get-
Kimberly: People want that!
Kevin: To get inside of their home. Yeah! And it’s a really cool culture exchange. Yeah.
Kimberly: That’s amazing. That’s a great tip. I love that you travel. I’m a big traveler too, Kevin. I backpacked for three years around the world when I graduated from college, so.
Kevin: Holy smokes! That is so [inaudible 00:36:25]!
Kimberly: I was in Africa for seven months living out of my tent. I was in Asia. So that’s where a lot of my philosophy and education really comes from, the road. So I love it.
Kevin: Holy smokes. Yeah. You are well traveled. I haven’t made it to backpack status yet. I think I stayed in a hostel once when I was in Spain with my buddy. Well, in Ecuador too. I did that. But yeah I haven’t backpacked, I haven’t stayed in a tent for that long.
Kimberly: Yeah, I don’t know about this point in my life, but back when I was 21 years old, it worked pretty well.
Kevin: When it makes sense. That’s when it really makes sense, when you’re in your early 20s. You can do that.
Kimberly: Rough it. Well, Kevin, I could talk to you forever. I love your energy. I love your passion to share-
Kimberly: With others. How to eat healthier. Thank you so much for joining us. This is so much fun talking to you.
Kevin: Thank you for having me. Wish you all the best. With the baby and please know, I saw this crazy post. I think it was in India. The couple had twins. And they wanted to help us to reimagine what coronavirus meant? So they named their baby Corona and Covid.
Kimberly: No! Oh no!
Kevin: Please don’t do that.
Kimberly: Don’t worry Kevin, I am not going to do that. That’s an interesting approach. Don’t worry at all. Thank you for the well wishes. And beauties, please check out our show notes. We’re going to have direct links to Kevin’s website which is FitMenCook.com. His new book, his app. He has such amazing energy. I love your whole vibe, Kevin. Thank you again. Thank you beauties so much for tuning in. I will see you back here, Thursday for our next Q and A podcast. Remember to also check us out on Instagram, which is @_kimberlysynder. We’re having a live Solluna Circle time Monday’s and Wednesday’s at noon Pacific standard time. So come join us. Sending you guys lots of love and see you back here soon. Yay Kevin! Thank you so much.