Today, we're gonna do a quick chat with our brand's dearest friends Ken (@kenstandsonthings) and Brooke (@beyond24days) on their quest for a healthier, cleaner way of eating and living, and how did it exert a huge impact on his running routine and active lifestyle.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Just one look at my insta and you'll be able to tell a few things about me: my name is Ken, I love running, and I love food... sometimes I enjoy both at the same time.
A few things about me that require some digging into my profile are discovering how my running journey started. I began running about 5 years ago, after a successful weight loss. As a kid I was very active, always outside, always on the move, (loved riding my bike, swimming, etc.) but never played in any organized sports leagues beyond a year coach pitch baseball.
My goal was to sign up for a race after I hit my weightloss milestone of losing 40 lbs. Once I achieved my weight loss goal I worked up the courage and signed up for a 15K (I had no clue how long a 15K was). However, from that moment on that 15K spawned a beautiful relationship with running, that has literally changed my life.
When and why did you and Brooke start leading your healthy eating lifestyle?
Over 5 years ago Brooke and I found ourselves overweight and unhappy, not unhappy in our relationship, but unhappy with the way we looked, the way we felt, and the way people viewed us. Being overweight heightened our insecurities, and those insecurities had a massive grip on preventing us from truly being ourselves and limited our potential.
We had a negative relationship with food; we lived off processed junk foods, fast foods, and anything that was sugary sweet and came in a box. One evening we watched "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" on Netflix, and that opened our eyes and really gave us the perspective we needed to change our mindset when it came to food. From that day on we decided to take control of our lives, and take control of what and how we fuel our bodies.
What is a flexitarian diet? Could you please explain a bit for us?
We had embraced the whole foods movement and spent the first year of our weightloss journey focused on supporting our local producers and doing our best to eat as natural as possible. By the time we started sharing recipes on Instagram we had moved more to a plant-based diet. And followers would raise questions like "how can you eat eggs? I thought you were vegan?" and we never really had a good answer.
Were we 100% vegan? No, but we would lean heavily on vegan recipes, since we're lactose intolerant, and we also found ourselves making and sharing a lot of vegetarian meals as well. But to identify with either didn't seem correct, since we still ate meat on occasion. That's when we discovered the term "Flexitarian", which is someone who is primarily vegetarian that eats meat on occasion.
How is eating healthy making an impact on your running routine?
Running and being active is such an amazing gift, and is still a learning process for me to this day!
When I first started running I found myself plagued with various running related injuries. Injuries that oftentimes would take weeks to heal, and once I was ready to run again my fitness levels were all thrown off. The beauty of any sport is being able to learn and grow and I had found that by eating smarter and healthier, not only were my recovery times improved, but my fitness levels didn't suffer.
It was almost like a lightbulb moment for me, (healthy foods in = less injuries and faster recoveries out) where I made this connection between eating healthy and improving as a runner.
Where do you usually go and search for recipes? (Pinterest accounts, websites, etc.)
We are without a doubt so blessed to have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips.
When Brooke and I are on the hunt for recipes, our go-to place is pinterest. We don't have any one account that we exclusively follow, (it's the same approach we take with food) we love to cultivate our recipes from a variety of sources and love to try and experiment with new stuff all the time.
Could you recommend some of your favourite/go-to recipes that you've tried so far?
One thing I don't do enough of is praise Brooke's amazing culinary skills. She has an amazing knack to just know what works with a recipe and is always adding her own flare to all of our dishes.
Do you have any advice for beginners who also want to commence leading a healthy eating lifestyle?
One piece of advice to any beginner is to take it one step at a time. Turning vegetarian or vegan overnight isn't sustainable, or easy! Baby steps will get you where you want to be, and don't be afraid to experiment!
We started off by reading, watching, and listening to everything we could get our hands on when it came to food and educating ourselves. Here is just a taste of what we used for our own research, and is continuously growing to this day.
Being able to identify what isn't healthy and choosing a better alternative is the first step.
What do you and Brooke believe is the most important factor in making the transition, from eating processed food to making your own simple yet healthy meals?
One thing that has made our transition "stick" is the attention we've given to the process of mealtime. Making it fun to cultivate recipes and making it fun to cook is a great way to embrace a healthier change.
Michael Pollan's many works on food have inspired us to treat mealtime with appreciation and respect... and it also helps to invest in kitchen gadgets that make the cooking process easier and enjoyable.
Pressure cookers and crockpots are a great investment!