1. Can you talk a little bit about your FitMenCook journey? What sparked this journey and what have you learned about yourself through cooking?
It's been an adventure in that it's a continual path of self-discovery. Not just learning about ways to feel my best, but it's about what makes me feel good and what doesn't make me feel so good. I surprise myself each week and every day with what I can do and what I can't do. It's something that unfolds daily, and that's what health and wellness should be. It isn't a sprint. It should reflect the life and the ebbs and flows that come with it and how we react to it.
The biggest thing I've learned about myself through cooking is that I'm actually a pretty picky eater even though I talk about variety and people trying new foods. But when it comes to variety, I find myself in the same genre; cooking and remaking, and remixing the same recipes with different flavor profiles. I'm much more of a creature of habit than I'd like to admit.
2. Although we all need to eat to survive, cooking has been stigmatized as a "woman's job/hobby." How important, if at all, was it for you to show that men do and should know how to cook?
It was really important because my blog or outlook was much more about health when it started. Many of the blogs out there were female-focused, and they didn't resonate with me: the meal options and portion sizes in particular. I realized over time that there's something that awakens—maybe this is a stereotype—but I feel like when men get into the kitchen, it awakens something primal in us, back to the caveman days, where we were hunters and gatherers. There's quite a bit of pride and satisfaction in creating a meal for yourself or your family.
I don't know where it became a woman's job. I wouldn't say it's purely masculine or feminine. It's for everyone. And that's important because, especially for men, we look for ways to therapize and cope with stresses. So we go to the gym, or we take up boxing, but that same bottled-up energy can be used in the kitchen too. Cooking is just another way to explore and express our creativity and bottled energy, so I think it's crucial for men to do because it is a form of expression.
3. How do you go about meal prepping for the week? Any tips on how people can get the best bang for their buck?
I don't prep every single meal. I don't try to prep a week's worth of food anymore. I do it on a three-day basis and just prep my biggest meals or the ones that can be the most time-consuming. But I save one meal to cook each day because I like the idea of cooking one thing fresh for myself. It allows and compels me to go back to the grocery store during the week to get fresh ingredients and keep my diet fresh by switching things up. Also, prepping for two or three days at a time cuts down your overall cooking time and helps eliminate food waste.
The best way to get the biggest bang? Prep foods you actually want to eat. You should be eating foods you enjoy. Explore your palette and challenge yourself, but the best way to ensure you're not going to waste food is to prep foods you like. Often, we don't do that because we get too obsessed with switching it up. Be open to switching things up but be careful about switching it up too much or too fast.
4. Are you noticing an upward trend with people making healthier food choices since the pandemic? If so, do you think it will last?
Yes and no. I've seen people push, but that's because the seasons are changing, and there's an expectation that travel will return. People are noticing that they've put on weight because it's harder to be active. People are now looking at food as a viable option to help them get back on track.
5. Overall, what was your writing process like for the book?
My process was looking over my previous journals and emails that followers sent me to come at the book from the most authentic way possible. It was the first time I really felt like I had something to share—it came from 6 years of experimenting with my body and diet and working with people before I could finally have a way to translate it all for people.
I had that initial user in mind, that 2009 or 2010 Kevin in mind when I wrote the book so that it could speak to more people. It wasn't a stretch to talk about where I am right now, so I think keeping that old me in mind was the heaviest lift.
As for people who related more to where I am right now, I wanted to make sure the book could remind them of the rudimentary things we take for granted when it comes to creating and maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle.
6. What's the best advice you've ever received on happiness?
One thing is a quote from my pastor. He says to be careful of letting peoples' comments, criticisms, and opinions be a mirror for the way you see yourself. In this social media tech-crazed world, it's really easy to allow that to happen because everyone has an opinion.
Whether you have a large platform or a small platform, sometimes people's comments can penetrate and affect us more than we like. And that can affect our happiness. I don't have a hater problem because I don't hang around with people that are hating on me. When it comes to my own happiness, it's about protecting my space and realizing this: I like me, so I'm not going to be around people that don't like me. And I'm not going to create an environment where it's comfortable for me to have people around me who don't like me.
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