Last month, I had a conversation with my friend Jared Koch about his new book which he recently published called “Clean Plates”. Jared was born in Brooklyn, and currently resides in West NY, NJ. He used to own a high-end events/entertainment company, but he sold the business about 10 years ago and has been “entreprenuring” in and around the NY area ever since. He is currently building Clean Plates into a national brand with major online presence. He is also a serious spiritual practitioner and has sincere interests in forward thinking spirituality. I met Jared about 4 years ago, based on our mutual interest in EnlightenNext and we have been good friends ever since. What follows is a conversation I had with Jared in between book talks and signings.
KB: What inspired you to write and publish this book?
Jared: A variety of factors. When working with my clients, I started to realize that while education is extremely important, the times when my clients would make specific changes is when I would provide them with practical resources, for example; “go eat at this restaurant”. Then they would go, enjoy it and realize that eating healthy does not need to be this big sacrifice. A lot of their resistance to change would drop away. I felt that this book was a great way to duplicate this approach on a large scale. It captures what it means to eat healthier and more sustainably. People are so busy and they want healthy eating to be easy and enjoyable. One other point is that there are [vegetarian and vegan] guides on the market, and while they do a good job, they fall short of distinguishing which places are actually healthy. Some places use a lot of fried food and processed soy. Vegan or veggie does not [necessarily] equal healthy. There was also no easy, healthy guide out there for meat eaters. We are fulfilling a need for them regarding grass-fed, not-hormonally [antibiotic] injected animals.
KB: I love the book, it is essentially divided into two main parts, a basic tutorial in health and nutrition and secondly, a heaping portion of hand picked restaurants spanning from 145th street all the way down to Battery Park. Tell us what else your book offers?
Jared: It also offers some interviews with restaurant owners and chefs, a food critic’s perspective is also in there. We also tried to include restaurants that represent the sustainable food movement, the raw food movement, we also included veggie and vegan restaurants…we tried to include a broad perspective.
KB: Well I will tell you what else I like about it; at the end of the book there is this great reference that divides up the restaurants into critics choice, specialties like naturally sweetened desserts or fine dining and then breaks down the whole island of Manhattan into sections and lists what healthy and tasty restaurants you might find there. It is a great guide and I have to say, every time my friends and I want to go somewhere good and healthy, we pick a place in Clean Plates and are always happy, full and healthy at the end of the night.
Jared: Great, keep talking
We: both laugh
KB: On your website, Deepak Chopra mentions something about individual and collective wellness. In your book, you mention something about saving the world while eating healthy. Now I define spirituality, in short, as wholesomely thriving in our lives, and living and working together with others towards creating a better, more uplifted future together. Is eating healthy also spiritual, explain?
Jared: Yes absolutely. I think every aspect of manifestation is ultimately spiritual. Eating especially. Every time we put food in our mouth, this is our way of saying yes to life. It is our life source. By choosing foods that actually maximize our mental and physical potential as human beings, this best serves spirit. If we are not eating healthy, our bodies will be lethargic and we will always be in pain or sick. If we see our bodies as vehicles to serve in this life, and we have respect for it, we will want to take care of ourselves; this is the deeper motivation to be healthy.
KB: I can relate to that. Even if just one day I eat fried stuff and crappy foods, I just feel blah, and my mind is dull and lethargic and tired and just want to eat more fried stuff and then go to bed. Where as if I eat healthier foods, I have more stable energy, feel sharper, attuned and aware. Have you found that thorough your nutritional consulting that once people begin to adhere to a more healthy diet, other aspects of their life begins to change?
Jared: Ultimately once somebody makes a commitment to make a change and take care of them selves, this ultimately leads to a certain kind liberation and feeling better about them selves. [Eating well], takes away a lot of the kind of subconscious guilt that people feel when they are not taking care of them selves. It creates a momentum of evolution, of development because people are making a choice to align with their authentic self as opposed to being with ego and lethargic. [The] simple act of doing better, feeds a momentum…this will absolutely feed into their relationships and work.
KB: Eating is a very basic way of changing. It is foundational. It is like working out. You don’t often think that going to the gym is spiritual, but when you begin to get fit and get your body together, you realize, Oh I actually can change, I can change something. Even if it is at a physical level, it is the beginning of taking responsibility for your body and health and what you are able to present to the world and put into and contribute to it. It seems obvious but it is foundational to me.
KB: Now it’s time for the lightening round of Q and A
What is the number one unhealthy eating habit we New Yorkers need to break?
Jared: Ohhhhh, #1 unhealthy eating habit….not eating enough green veggies
KB: What is the #1 advantage health wise, about living in NY?
Jared: So much variety to choose from … Handy link to NY Farmers market locations.
KB: We are what we eat – any truth to this phrase?
Jared: Yes – What ever we are eating is literally becoming the cells in our body. All the science is pointing to the fact that food is information for our genes, and can even turn on and off certain genes. Check out “functional medicine”.
KB: What is your favorite restaurant, (what restaurant do you always find your self in) in NY and why?
Jared: Blue Hill. It is quite expensive, so I am not there that often, but it is the height of combining fine dining with sustainability and health. Incredible attention to detail on every level from the quality of sourcing to presentation to service. They are doing a superb job, it is the ultimate dining experience.
KB: If you knew you could achieve it, what would your greatest contribution to the world be?
Jared: Working with others to raise consciousness for the human race to live at our highest and deepest potential.
KB: Great Jared, well, thanks so much and best of luck with your book!
Jared: Thank you.