The Passion List Podcast | Kristen Kenyon on Nutrition (Episode 2)
Episode Two of ‘The Passion List Podcast’ features a chat with musician extraordinaire Kristen Kenyon, the very same person responsible for the show’s theme music. Believe it or not our initial recording lasted two and a half hours, so just keep in mind how much juicy info this man had to unleash on me.
Because this podcast is a side project just for fun, there’s no real schedule for episode releases but I imagine whilst I’m producing them like this that there won’t be a month without a new episode (but don’t hold me to that).
Since the first episode the list of places where the show is available has more than doubled, though I have unfortunately learnt the hard way that Anchor, the service I use to distribute, often messes up the validation process with Apple Podcasts so unless I can go back in time and change my decision The Passion List Podcast won’t be tucked within the shelves of Apple anytime soon.
The show’s logo and primary image were created by the wonderful Molly Massey, whose work and contact details can be found here.
The smooth, jazz-infused piece is again by this episode’s guest Kristen Kenyon, whose music can be found here.
Now, without further ado it’s time for a conversation about Nutrition. Yes. You heard that right. Who KNOWS what joy and information this could bring?
Now I know what some of you may be thinking. ‘George, I don’t hear very well. I know the government don’t bother utilising sign language or pre-made subtitles for their national addresses but surely you, a lowly podcast producer, would have wanted to be as inclusive as possible?’ Well worry not my chum! Whether you’re hard of hearing or just prefer to read your words instead of listen to them, I’ll be providing a transcript of each episode upon release so you can’t escape such blissful conversation! It’s all part of my world domination plan, you see. Nobody is safe. Not even you.
Hope you enjoy!
GM: Hello Kristen.
KK: Hi George!
GM: How are you?
KK: I’m okay I’m doing all good. How are you?
GM: I’m y’know, holding up. Locked inside being safe. As you do.
KK: That’s good. I’m also being very, very, very safe.
GM: Yes we just want to emphasise how safe us two are being.
KK: We are very, very responsible people. Very.
GM: Why don’t you tell us what your chosen passion is for the passion list project?
KK: So, my chosen passion, which I don’t think people would assume is my chosen passion based on looking at me is…nutrition. Did I say that right? Did I say my passion correctly? Nutrition?
GM: I believe so…
KK: Nutrition! There we go. That was a better take.
GM: You know, everyone I’ve spoken to about your chosen passion for this podcast has had the exact same response, they’ve all gone ‘I NEVER would have guessed that…’
KK: I uh, yeah…I thought that would be the case. I’m hoping to blow peoples’ minds and tell them some things maybe they didn’t know. It’s just so fascinating. It’s so insanely fascinating.
GM: Now when you say nutrition, do you just mean the blanket term or is it part of your routine or is it just the information side of things that you find so interesting?
KK: It’s the information. So, it just to be part of my routine and I’ve kind of fallen out of it myself.
GM: When you say you’ve fallen out of it, when was your peak nutrition phase?
KK: Okay, so I think it all comes from being a fat kid. Being a chubby chubby kid. Then when I was about seventeen I decided ‘I don’t wanna be like this anymore’ and I…plus, a growth spurt, that also helps.
GM: Yeah you shot up didn’t you…
KK: Yeah I shot up from like four foot eight to like six foot three in like a year.
GM: You’re like six foot twelve or whatever.
KK: Six foot fifty-four yeah. So, when I was seventeen I started cracking on with it. It was mainly calorie counting, so I didn’t really know much else about anything else like diets or anything, I literally was just trying to put myself in a calorie deficit and started tracking all my calories. But I always found calorie information really interesting. How are body uses energy and stuff. How it’s literally just an equation like chemistry and biology at the end of the day. I mean, obviously it is but it’s just how your body is just this bloody machine and it just churns through this stuff and it gets turned into movement and brain power. It’s mental, it’s mental to me.
GM: When you started calorie counting, is there a general rule for things?
KK: So the rule everyone knows is two thousand calories, right? For women it’s two thousand for men it’s two thousand five hundred. That’s the recommended thing. That is…just so inaccurate. It can be so completely different from person to person. It’s ridiculous that even governments recommend that. I get that it’s just a basal kind of ‘this is what you should aim for. Don’t worry too much about it’ thing. But it can differ so much from person to person. You have something called your BMR – your Basal Metabolic Rate, that is the amount of calories your body will burn if you’re in a frozen stasis. So if you were in a coma, or if you just didn’t move at all throughout a day.
GM: If you were sleeping…
KK: Yeah, yeah. If you were sleeping for an entire day it’s how many calories your body would use normally by just having to run and restore itself. Typically let’s say if you were around 5’10” and average weight, your basal rate would probably be around one thousand five hundred calories. That’s just from sleeping, and then the rest of it is just from movement throughout the day. So all the other extra calories you’re having is from movement. But most people do not burn a thousand calories in their day. The bulk of a person’s calories come from walking, typically. So if you’re walking and you do ten thousand steps at like six foot that’s like five hundred calories burnt. That’s a major one. People don’t even realise how much walking affects your weight.
GM: No, no I had no idea.
KK: It’s pretty much been a secret in the weight lifting community because they’re like, against cardio, but it’s started to come out more because of Youtube and stuff. They’re all sharing these tips and stuff.
GM: And it’s not thought of as an exercise at all.
KK: No, you just think that’s how you get around. But it should be such a big part of your daily routine, which is why it’s really good that we now have these fitness trackers and watches that remind you and tell you to do ten thousand steps. So if you’re trying to lose weight and you’re not doing your ten thousand steps, it’s such an easy step to do – haha easy step. Ha.
*The two of them chuckle and groan and wonder whether Kristen has just been building to that pun the whole time*
KK: What was the question again? I’ve rambled on a bit…
GM: We were talking about when you started calories and learning about the equations and stuff. Was it almost like an addiction to you? I know it’s seen a bit as damaging for some people now…
KK: It’s…I think at that point it was so fascination to find out the calories on pretty much everything. I’m quite good at guessing calories now. Kayleigh will get freaked out by it. She’ll just be like ‘Kris how many calories are in a sandwich?’ and I’ll be like ‘oh about three hundred and fifty if you’ve got two pieces of regular bread, each piece is gonna be between eighty-five and a hundred and fifteen calories probably depending on the thickness of the bread, then you’ve got to add the margarine or the butter which is going to be an extra thirty to sixty calories, then you’re gonna add the ham which is about thirty calories per two slices and then if you want t add cheese and stuff, obviously you take it up by another eighty to ninety calories depending on how much you add’ and I’ve done it so much now that it all works out pretty fast in my brain. I can be like ‘oh you want a Mars bar? That’ll be about two hundred and ten calories or whatever’…
GM: So when did you figure out you were a robot?
KK: Oh, when I started counting calories.
GM: So after the calorie counting, what’s the next step? What did you progress to?
KK: It became more normal for me to just…I stopped having to worry about counting because I just knew naturally based on how much I was eating throughout the day and stuff and from how hungry I was. I could tell that if you’ve eaten crapper food you’ll end up being hungrier throughout the day, but if you’ve eaten nutritional food you’ll be okay. Typically I could tell if I’d eaten bad, because I know that even if I felt hungry I wasn’t actually hungry. I’d know not to eat too much later and stuff. So it started to become more natural. And then university happened, where lot of drinking and stuff happened. I still managed to stay pretty on top of it up until about third year, when I started to just slam snacks constantly.
GM: Was snacking the end of you, do you think?
KK: Oh yeah yeah yeah. I’m pretty sure I’ve now got a horrible addiction that I can’t get rid of. It’s very annoying. I’m slowly getting the hang of it. But it’s also made me very like, aware and to feel sorry for people that are highly addicted to takeaways and fast food and crisps and sweets.
GM: It’s ridiculously hard isn’t it.
KK: It is so hard. It’s literally just as hard as trying to get off of a cocaine habit. Sugar is more addicting than cocaine. And it’s in all of your fast food, it’s in all of your snacks. It’s in your crisps. People don’t think it’s in their crisps but it is. As you’re eating it, it actually stops the hunger hormone like ghrelin and I think leptin inside you. It stops them from coming about and causing the chemistry change in your brain to make you feel hungry, no wait…full. It stops you feeling full so it might be, leptin might be the full one. Sugar stops you from feeling full so you just keep eating.
KK: Did you do food tech at school? Where you had to bring in like, lasagne or whatever.
GM: I mean it was very basic. It never really progressed past ‘today we’re going to make a flapjack’ and I was like ‘cool! Yeah!’ I think I was like sixteen so I was way too old to still be getting that excited about a flapjack.
KK: So, you get taught that carbohydrates are the biggest and most important thing. They keep your body going. Then you’ve got your meat and your fats, you’ve got your dairy and all this other stuff. Okay?
GM: Okay, yeah.
KK: It’s so very, very wrong. So where we got that from – there was a study in the 1930s or 40s, this American scientist said ‘hey I’m gonna do a study and find out what the best food groups for nutrition are’ and it’s called The Seven Country Study. There were seven countries he did, and in all of them he found that eating a mostly-carbohydrate diet resulted in a good overall body nutrition and stuff. It was good for the body to do that. What he didn’t mention in his study was, he actually used forty countries for it. So he did a study for forty countries and then found thirty-three of those countries had carbohydrates either in the middle or at the bottom of their food pyramid. It wasn’t a food pyramid at that point but you get the idea.
GM: Yeah. So it was like the same amount as meat or something like that?
KK: Yeah. He basically went ‘oh, but these seven countries agree with the point I’m trying to make so I’m going to make those the only ones I am going to use for the statistics.’ Then the US government went ‘cool, that sounds great. Let’s do that.’ And so they prioritised carbohydrates. I’m pretty certain that large food companies were behind some of it, because the highest profit margins are in carbohydrates and the majority of addictive food brands are in carbohydrates.
GM: It’s all just good business isn’t it.
KK: Yep. It’s very good business.
GM: Basically all of this boils down to that scene in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World where Ramona’s like ‘bread makes you fat’?
KK: Literally, I always think about that. Whenever I’m thinking about carbs being bad, my brain just goes ‘bread makes you fat?!’
GM: ‘Bread makes you FAT?!’ I’m gonna go downstairs now and I’m gonna look at a loaf in my fridge just side-eye it now. Oh no and I’ve got a banana loaf! No! What have you done to me?
KK: Eat that banana loaf, George.
GM: I will. I will eat it, but in moderation.
KK: In third year of university, or at the end of second year, I started looking at this diet called The Omad Diet. Which is one meal a day.
GM: Oh, okay…
KK: I started looking into that, and it’s actually growing really fast as a diet. And now my whole eating ethos has transitioned towards that. I’m a bit more thingy with it now, but my original thing was that you had to have breakfast, you have to have lunch, you have to have dinner. That’s ingrained in you from childhood, right?
GM: Oh for sure. You get a clip round the earhole if you don’t eat.
KK: Exactly, but you don’t at all. That’s a thing that’s shown up in the past two hundred years.
GM: It’s marketing propaganda.
KK: Honestly, it is. It’s to get you to eat more and spend more on a variety of foods, so it’s good for the economy and it’s good for these businesses. The government heavily promote it because you’re spending more throughout the day, and you think it’s healthy and it’s good and it’s great, and you think ‘if I don’t eat my breakfast or my lunch or my dinner I’m gonna feel so hungry and I’m going to basically be starving myself’ but you’re not. You’re not at all. Let’s go back to looking at hunter-gatherers, what would they eat in a day?
GM: Exactly. They’ve got to hunt everything so it requires a certain amount of energy, you’ve got to work for your food.
KK: Yep, they were so insanely fit. They were dying early because of all the other things-
GM: Diseases and things, yeah.
KK: Yeah predators and stuff-
GM: Dinosaurs eating them and everything.
*The two of them laugh, both knowing that dinosaurs never really shared the Earth at the same time as humans, but enjoying the thought*
KK: But they were super healthy. They could run and they could kill you, easily.
GM: They were fit as well. I’ve seen photos of them. I’ve seen Walking with Cavemen, they were fit.
KK: But that’s it. The human diet doesn’t need a regular source of food throughout the day, or the consistency anyway. But ghrelin again, ghrelin is the hunger hormone, it’s in your stomach, it basically shows up whenever you haven’t eaten enough or when it thinks you haven’t eaten enough food. When the amount of food in your stomach reaches a certain level it keeps raising and raising until you feel super hungry. So if you change to a one meal a day diet, you’ll notice that it also has memory. Ghrelin or your brain have memory on when to release the hormone. So if you woke up in the morning you’d feel hungry for breakfast. Your ghrelin levels are high. If you weren’t to eat breakfast, you’d think you’d just get hungrier right? It’d just keep going up and up and up throughout the day until you next ate.
KK: They don’t. Let’s say if you ate breakfast at half nine in the morning, by around half ten you’ll feel so much less hungry – you’ll feel fine. But at lunchtime it’d begin to rise again. Same thing at dinner. It’d rise. If you hadn’t eaten for a whole day you’d obviously feel more hungry than if you did eat, but if we look at fasting your ghrelin levels over time just gradually reduce. People think, like in The Simpsons, I always use this as an example, you know when Homer does his hunger strike?
GM: For the football team, yeah.
KK: Yes, the way they depict it is that he’s dying, right. That’s the way they make it look.
GM: ‘Moving my feet so my stomach won’t hurt’…
KK: And he’s also getting hungry and starving – you wouldn’t. After about the three day point you’d start to feel less and less hungry. It just gradually goes down, which is actually why it’s dangerous.
GM: So you stop craving the food and therefore stop looking out for it.
KK: Yeah, yeah. That’s why it’s dangerous. Not because you’re starving but because you’re not hungry at all and that can develop into a dangerous habit. So the transition to one meal a day, you can have it whenever by the way, I usually have mine around dinner time. Then you just have one big meal which is all your calories for that day and it can be whatever you want, but obviously it’s better to eat healthier. Then, when I was at university I was always like ‘the pizza. Give me the pizza.’
GM: ‘Slammin’ the pizza.’
KK: Or I’d have two pizzas…
GM: Might as well…
KK: I’d look at the calories and go ‘this one’s seven hundred, this one’s eight hundred, that’s only one thousand five hundred calories’ and I’d have that. Then I still would have lost weight. I’d have eaten two pizzas and still lost weight, which is mad.
GM: Hell yeah.
KK: Hell yeah!
GM: ‘I don’t know why people think it’s so hard.’
KK: It’s so easy! But also it’s fasting, in a way. You might have heard of sixteen by eight? Intermittent fasting?
GM: Yes, a lot of actors do it.
KK: Yeah, I like that that’s where you know it from. It’s good.
GM: That’s the only way they could get me to have some information sink in.
KK: So sixteen to eight is where you don’t eat for sixteen hours a day, and you eat for eight. That’s one of the more basic ones you can do. Basically you just skip breakfast and that’s it.
GM: Yeah, because you’re asleep for so long.
KK: Exactly. It’s good for monitoring snacking too. You shouldn’t snack within those sixteen hours. But what fasting does, and it does the same thing as the keto diet, it puts you in a state of ketosis. That’s where your body is eating away at the fat you’ve got stored. It’s a great thing to do. If you’re eating one meal a day, you’re then technically doing twenty-three to one fasting. The longer you can fast for the more your body will eat the fat that you’ve got stored. I’d say if you want to lose weight, one meal a day is a really good method. Some days I will only eat one meal, and I’ll feel fine for it. I used to feel very…when I was on breakfast lunch and dinner I would be like ‘oh god what have I done to myself?’ but now I’m so chill about it. I just feel like eating once that day. Or if I know I’m having a massive meal I’ll have maybe a Belvita or something at lunch.
GM: But that goes against everything you’ve grown up with, everything your parents tell you. I’m sure if my dad or my mum heard this they’d be going ‘oh well that’s just stupid, you’ll kill yourself’ kind of thing.
KK: Yeah so I told my mum about it and she lost her shit about it and then I just never brought it up again.
KK: So keto has basically been a diet that’s risen over the past fifteen years. Keto’s where you, again, you cut out carbs pretty much entirely. But the thing with keto is you slam fats so they’re your priority, protein is your second priority and then carbs you minimise as much as possible. Keto is pretty much proven to be the fastest way to lose fat. So it’s putting you in the same thing that fasting does, it’s putting you in a state of ketosis. By not giving your body crabs you’re not giving it glucose, which allows your body to just eat away at fat. So you’ll lose so much more weight. In the long run it’s hard to sustain because obviously whenever you go out to a party or anything-
GM: It’ll sap your energy at like twice the rate or something.
KK: Yeah, yeah. And there’s not as many keto options when you’re eating out or something. It’s harder to live that lifestyle. Then there’s the paleo diet. That’s where you’re trying to eat like a palaeolithic-era person. So you can only eat food they’d naturally have. You’re eating whole foods, making everything yourself, you’re buying everything fresh with no pre-made stuff. I think that’s the easier of the two, and moving towards a whole food diet is proven to help you lose so much more weight. You’ll also end up feeling so much more full. The second you start to process food the easier it is for your body to digest it. If you had a McDonalds burger, which is insanely processed, it’d just pass through you. That’s whole point. You’ll feel hungry again in thirty minutes and want another McDonalds. But if you were to make a burger from scratch you’ll feel so much more full. Even if they weighed the same amount. Whole foods are a very, very good way of losing weight and remaining healthy. If you cut out processed foods it’s great, but they have the benefit of generally being faster to cook and faster to make. They’re easier to make too. In the current world where we have these eight hour shifts everyday or a forty-hour work week it is harder to find the time to cook food every day. I think moving towards a world where there are even less processed foods is…good, it’s very good.
GM: We’ve got to fall back in love with the art of cooking and preparation and stuff.
KK: Yeah. I’m also very happy that the UK government, because of obesity rising, is trying to attack it by removing deals in stores. Buy one get one free deals are gonna go from sweets and snacks and I believe they were talking about removing discounts too. I think that’s great, because you know when you see something that’s a quid and another thing that’s one pound fifty you’re gonna go for the thing that’s a quid.
GM: Oh yeah. When I lived next to a small Sainsburys that was my kryptonite.
KK: So having all sweets one pound fifty or two pound or whatever will instantly stop so many people from getting them. If something’s a quid or below, you’re so much more likely to buy it. They’re also going to make it mandatory for calories information to be available on menus at restaurants.
GM: Yes, yes. I saw that one.
KK: I’ve not been campaigning for that, but I’ve been wanting it for years now. I just find it fascinating but it’s also just great in general to have and to know what you’re eating. You should be given that information anyway, you shouldn’t have to ask. Some restaurants are known for absolutely caking your food in oil or salt…
GM: Do you think it should be mandatory or do you think it should be optional? Because I know there are people with eating disabilities who are so calories conscious constantly that it has a negative effect on them seeing the amount of calories that this thing or this thing has. They could be starving and so just weary of the idea of taking in that many calories that they continue to order the tiniest thing on the menu.
KK: I think that that kind of person would still probably go for the smallest thing on the menu anyway. This is a person that’s already highly tuned and highly accustomed to eating as little as possible, if we’re going for someone who has an eating disorder where they eat less food in general. So I think having the calorie information is just good for the public in general. You’re always going to have cases where it could be damaging for certain people, but it’s positive for the rest of the population or the majority of people so that’s the kind of thing we need to weigh against each other. If the positive outweighs the negative then it’s good. A lot of people when they’re dieting, especially girls, they see this thing that’s like ‘oh it’s healthy to eat one thousand two hundred calories a day when you’re dieting’ and that’s basically the minimum amount of calories you could eat and still be healthy. If you eat anything less than that you’re damaging your body.
GM: Of course, it’s like a cut-off point.
KK: Yeah, but that rule doesn’t apply to everyone. That’s just another generalisation like the ones we were talking about before. Instead what you should look at is your BMR, it’s really easy to calculate just go to ‘BMR calculator’ on Google, type in your height, your age, and your weight and gender and it just gives you your BMR. Again, it’s an estimation but it should be as close to the real thing as possible. Anything less than your BMR, you’re starting to damage your body because you’re not giving it enough nutrition to do the things it needs to do. You’ll also find that your memory won’t work as well, and other things will be impacted like your overall happiness will go down and stuff. So try to aim for your BMR, I’d say aim for that or around one hundred calories above, that’s a good range to aim for.
GM: And that’s in order to keep chugging along…
KK: Yeah pretty much, and you’ll be losing weight at the fastest rate you can, healthily. Then just increase your exercise on top of it and you’ll be set.
GM: It’s a very strange thing isn’t it? Like you said when you’re in your twenties you kind of lose that, you have a reckless period-
KK: Oh yeah. I think it’s also like, especially in your twenties you’re now at your maximum height, so that’s a big bonus, you’re slowly trying to figure out how to be more health-conscious whilst also not really caring. Especially in the UK with binge drinking, which is a massive issue. Oh! So that’s another thing the UK government are going to do. They’re gonna put calories on beers and alcohol, which I think is amazing.
GM: Yeah this is something I wanted to bring up, the whole drinks thing.
KK: Yes, yes ask me a question about drink, George.
GM: So drinks are perhaps my biggest vice.
KK: When you say drinks do you mean alcohol?
GM: No, not alcohol. Just drinking in general. I’m not so much a snacker, especially when I’m in charge of a shop if I go out and I go in a drinks’ isle I will come back with sometimes five or six different bottles of different-flavoured drinks and I’ve gone ‘ooh that sounds nice’ or ‘ooh that’s brightly coloured, that’s appealing to my eye.’ I was one of those kids that never really got out of the Sunny D phase, I think. I think I’m radioactive on the inside.
KK: Sunny D is actually, as in, what it is now, isn’t actually that bad…old Sunny D was awful. Oh my god.
GM: Yeah it was bright orange and it glowed in the dark.
KK: It was more calories than Coca Cola, originally.
GM: See I’m still an average Coke drinker as well.
KK: Oh, regular coke? Okay…you see, for a lot of people drinking your calories is a massive weight gainer. And it’s slowly killing you inside. So because it’s already processed and refined sugars that have been broken down into the liquid level, it’s just gonna go straight through you. It’ll cause maximum damage pretty much. It’s just there to destroy you. But it just tastes so good…
GM: Oh it really does though…
KK: I get it, like with drinks, it’s refreshing. You don’t get a refreshing sense from eating a chocolate bar. Also you feel like you’re getting more for your money. I think this is what I heard about in America, people feel like they get more for their money with drinks over snacks and sweets.
GM: I can see that. Because a bottle of coke is about seven or eight servings…
KK: Yeah, and it lasts longer. So if you had a chocolate bar you could smash that easily in minutes. But you couldn’t smash a two litre bottle in minutes. Maybe you can…
GM: If you could you’re a fucking freak.
KK: Oh yeah. So drinking I’d say maybe try and stick to diet ones? I know they’re still bad and they have aftertaste, we still have no idea what sweeteners are doing to us either.
GM: Oh we’re all riddled with something on the inside.
KK: Aspartame is coming for us hard. But they’re slowly trying to find natural sweeteners that are better than sugar. I don’t know if they’ll be implemented into drinks but I think we’ll eventually have healthy chocolate bars. We’re already getting healthy chocolate bars that are no added sugar or as low sugar as they could possibly be.
GM: And some of them aren’t bad.
KK: Yeah, the thing with those ones though is the sweeteners they’re using as an alternative are just as high in calories and stuff as regular sugar. I think when we get sweeteners that can get put into chocolate bars that make them literally like one hundred calories per one hundred grams instead of five hundred for a hundred grams, that’ll be positive for society. It’ll still be sickly if you have a hundred grams but you’ve then eaten a fifth of the amount of calories.
GM: And it needs to be sustainable to the point where it’s the same price so that it can make a difference…
KK: Oh yeah. But with drinks, people just don’t realise how much they’re drinking with alcohol.
GM: Oh god yeah, any mixer…
KK: Not even mixer. As in, if you have a bottle of rum or vodka, a seventy cl bottle, you’ve just had to yourself like one thousand five hundred calories.
GM: I did not know that.
KK: If you have a beer, you’ve just had two hundred and thirty calories. You’ve just had the equivalent of a chocolate bar.
GM: University’s making so much more sense now.
KK: That’s exactly why people tend to gain weight at university. Obviously you’re independent for the first time too so you’re buying whatever food you want, but going out is a nightmare. It sometimes balances out because people tend to go out and walk or dance in clubs and stuff, you could easily do your daily amount of steps in that amount of time. It doesn’t offset the alcohol you’ve had but it could be a lot worse. It’s why a lot of people can stay skinny whilst going absolutely hard on drink.
GM: It’s the bookending the nights out with takeaway too and things like that.
KK: Oh yeah that’s a big problem. But another thing is that if you go above five thousand calories your body just can’t take on any more. I don’t think people are doing that on a night out regularly, but if you did go hard one day you wouldn’t put on any more weight than that. Also, a good rule of thumb, a pound of fat is about three thousand five hundred calories. So if you were in a five hundred calorie deficit for a week, you’d lose a pound of fat.
GM: That’s pretty cool. Obviously it would fluctuate depending on your intake and things like that…
KK: Oh yeah, but it averages out. So that’s how you should look at weight loss, if you eating in your calorie deficit and the next day you’ve somehow gained weight then that’s just your body. You will randomly put on water weight and stuff, so you need to be looking at your weekly average instead of each day because going on a scale every day and seeing your weight rise is really demotivating and can cause you to just go ‘why am I doing this? What’s the point?’ That’s why a lot of people tend to fail in their first week. The first two weeks are the catchment point for failure. If you can get past those first two weeks of dieting, you can be on a home run quite easily.
GM: It’s a bit like breaking any addiction then. Like the first week of smoking or something like that.
KK: Oh yeah. After the two weeks as well, that’s when you would have lost the most weight so you’ll be highly motivated and you can just go for it. If you’re trying to lose weight I’d say just aim for reaching those two weeks, then you’ll start feeling great and start noticing stuff a bit more.
GM: And it’s not a physical appearance thing, either.
KK: That’s it.
GM: I think that’ll be a big thing for a lot of people. Especially looking at people on social media they’ll idolise how those people look and think ‘well maybe I can get a bit closer to that’ and that’s not what it’s about.
KK: So over the past month, because the gym’s been open, I’ve not lost any weight according to the scale but I’ve definitely put on muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. But if you were just looking at the scale you’d think I wasn’t losing any weight even though you’re dieting or whatever. You should also be looking at your body and how your body’s changing. Progress pictures are also a pretty good idea, if you’re starting a diet I’d say take a picture of yourself. I know it can be hard to take a picture of yourself in that state but using it as a base point to go back to whenever you feel like you’re not making enough progress is brilliant. Your body can trick you into thinking you look bigger than you were a month ago, and that’s just body dysmorphia.
GM: Which is a bitch…which is a nightmare walking.
KK: Yes, yes. There’s a theory, I don’t know if it’s proven, but it says when you’re in the womb whatever your mum eats and what she craves affects your diet for life. If your mum eats junk food during pregnancy, you’ll tend to come out wanting junk food.
GM: Are you telling kids everywhere that it’s their parents’ fault they don’t like vegetables?
GM: Oh my god this has changed my whole perception of reality.
KK: That’s what the theory is anyway. They’ve tried to test it, and I think I kind of believe it because when me and my little brother were in the womb she didn’t eat tomato ketchup but she did for my brother. And we came out hating it, and she was really confused as to why we hated it. Why specifically us two. Everyone else in the family liked it.
GM: That’s so strange.
KK: Yeah. She was put off by tomatoes and stuff in general whilst she was pregnant so we hated them. I think it did link up. I hated tomatoes until I was like maybe twelve or thirteen, I thought they were disgusting. Ketchup too. Actually sauces in general. It turned out my mum didn’t really eat sauces whilst she was pregnant. But obviously you do slowly transition over time. The more you eat of one thing the more you’ll like that thing. If your body’s getting some sort of nutrition from something, it’ll generally give you the happy hormone so you’ll want to eat it more and more.
GM: Yeah. When I was a kid, as a baby I was a fat fuck. That’s all my parents used to tell me. I ate everything apparently. Then when I became conscious that I stopped eating and became really picky, really fussy. You know, not leaving the dinner table until like ten pm because I hadn’t eaten the cauliflower on my plate and stuff like that. Then over the past five or six years I’ve naturally just progressed into the five-a-day deal, that whole thing.
KK: Oh, so do you do five a day?
GM: I’d say most days I do. In between fruit and veg I think I do.
KK: That’s interesting.
GM: Especially now during lockdown where I’ve been able to maintain things. I’m not going out so it’s not a case of ‘oh I have to look out for a piece of fruit’ or whatever.
KK: You mentioned when you were younger you felt like you could eat anything and not put weight on?
GM: When I was a baby, oh! No! My metabolism, yeah.
KK: Yeah. So a lot of people think that way. That there are some people who are just really ‘lucky’ and they can eat infinite amount and not put on weight. There’s a study that looked at people like this, and it basically confirmed the theory that some people have this thing called intuitive eating ingrained in them. Normally it’s something you have to learn and get accustomed to, but some people just have it ingrained in them and they know what to do straight away.
KK: So intuitive eating is where you’re full and you stop eating. You know you’re eating a bad thing so you know in your head not to eat too much of it. Let’s say you ate a bad thing one day, you’d eat less the next day automatically. It kind of balances out. People who are skinnier tend to be in a calorie deficit without knowing it, they might eat a pizza and think ‘haha I can eat a pizza everyday and never get bigger’ but really-
GM: They’re still within that deficit…
KK: Yeah. And people who tend to brag about being able to eat whatever they want are the ones who don’t usually finish a meal or they’ll eat something and leave it for later instead of slamming it and having something else whenever they feel like it. There’s also a big link between metabolism and fidgeting…
GM: (Excited noise)
KK: Yeah, the more fidgety you are as a person, the more you can eat because you’re burning calories by fidgeting. When you’re bouncing your leg up and down or tapping your leg or anything like that you’re slowly burning calories while you’re in a seated position. But people don’t add that to their calorie output for the day. I fidget quite a lot, so I think that might help explain why I can eat some insane amounts of food without putting on too much weight.
GM: Yeah I fidget all the time as well.
KK: So another bonus tip guys if you want to lose weight, start fidgeting!
GM: You can do it from your chair! Just bob your leg up and down, go on, doesn’t that feel nice?
GM: I’m gonna give you a little bit of an exercise quickly.
KK: Oh, okay…
GM: I’m going to tell you what I ate yesterday Kristen…
KK: Oh shit okay.
GM: And you’ve just got to tell me, you know, how fucked am I? On a scale of one to ten…
KK: Okay, okay.
GM: So, I got up. I had a bowl of bran flakes, Kristen. I had them with water-
KK: Hold on, I’m instantly jumping in on this!
GM: Okay go on.
KK: How big was that bowl?
GM: Not very.
KK: Have you ever weighed a standard serving of cereal?
KK: You know how it says thirty to forty grams?
GM: …I didn’t even know that but go on.
KK: So it normally says thirty to forty grams which is around a hundred and fifty calories maybe, depending on the cereal it could be more or less or whatever. But most people are eating twice that amount without realising.
GM: Oh yeah. Especially in university having cereal for dinner was a huge deal and I’d just go hard on it.
KK: Was it with regular milk by the way?
GM: It was with water…
*A long silence as Kristen questions his very existence*
GM: Don’t judge me.
KK: Wait as in…you drank water with it?
GM: No, water instead of milk.
KK: I’m gonna need you to explain this.
GM: I have cereal with water now because we’ve got regular milk in our house and I don’t think it sits well with me.
KK: Oh okay, okay. Well there’s a bonus tip guys: if you wanna lose weight, use water instead of milk in your cereal!
GM: You know what? Just use water in everything. Instead of having a bowl of soup, have a bowl of water!
KK: I was gonna say if you’re trying to lose weight, almond milk is probably the best one to have. But wow okay, water. What did you have next? Do you have snacks or lunch?
GM: I did have snacks. This is where my five a day thing comes in, I had a satsuma, a banana and some grapes.
KK: Hold on let me just calculate all this…
GM: Yeah go ahead.
KK: I’m gonna assume you had about two hundred calories from the bran flakes. How many grapes did you have?
GM: Maybe twenty? Ish?
KK: Grapes are quite low calorie anyway to be honest. You know what else is really low calorie? Strawberries.
KK: You could have a whole pack and only have around one hundred and twenty calories. It’d also leave you feeling really full. If you’re trying to cut out sweets or crisps they’re really good as a snack substitute. Grapes are good too, blueberries good, yeah…what else did you have George?
GM: For lunch I fried up some mushrooms in olive oil and had them on toast.
KK: Oh cool, how many pieces of bread did you have?
GM: Two. Two brown pieces.
KK: Just regular thickness?
GM: Yeah regular.
KK: Did you add garlic and stuff or was it just olive oil?
GM: Just olive oil.
KK: Okay, okay. And then what else?
GM: I had half a packet of oreos…
KK: Half a packet of oreos? Okay, okay…
GM: That’s just me being bored and going to them throughout the day.
KK: Regular or double-stuffed?
GM: Regular bullshit, horrible oreos that aren’t even any good and I don’t like them but they were there.
KK: Ah, I see. I see.
GM: You know the deal with oreos.
KK: Oh yeah, and what time did you have that?
GM: That would’ve been early afternoon so like two or three.
KK: And then what did you have after that?
GM: After that was dinner, I didn’t have anything ‘till dinner. Oh, throughout the day I was just drinking water, but I did have a glass of Coca Cola regular with dinner.
KK: I see…
GM: How dare I?
KK: How big a glass?
GM: Let’s say a pint. It was quite a big glass.
KK: And then what was your dinner?
GM: Dinner was two pork chops with carrot and swede mash, green beans and two Yorkshire puddings.
KK: I see, okay okay… did you have anything else after that?
GM: No I don’t really do dessert or anything like that. Sometimes I have biscuits but I didn’t yesterday.
KK: So I can tell you from that that that’s actually pretty darn good. You did well.
GM: Fuck yeah! Can I get that in writing?
KK: Oh yeah, I’ll give you it next weekend. I’ll give you an official ‘George ate well on the 28th August’ card.
GM: That’ll show me.
KK: And it was all cooked at home and stuff as well?
GM: Yeah yeah…
KK: So you ate a good amount of whole food. You seem to naturally cut down on carbs, you had an okay amount. The biggest ones you had were the oreos, the Coca Cola and the bran flakes and bread, but you balanced that out with the olive oil. I’m guessing you cooked the pork chops in oil as well?
GM: Yeah yeah we did.
KK: The carrot and swede mash is also a really good alternative to potato so good choice.
GM: It was fresh too. No pre-made for me!
KK: Ooh! Fresh! Roughly how big was the carrot and swede?
GM: I don’t know the sizes of things…
KK: If you made a fist, how big would it be?
GM: Maybe a fist and a half?
KK: Fist and a half?! Okay. Let me calculate this up. You can edit all this out by the way…
GM: I’m fucking keeping it all in. I’m gonna add the Countdown clock.
KK: So you had about eight hundred up until lunch…then you had, okay. And you didn’t count calories or anything yesterday?
GM: Oh god no.
KK: Cool. Did you go for a walk or anything?
GM: Yeah I went for like a forty-five minute walk.
KK: Oh okay, so you probably get around seven thousand steps or like eight thousand steps a day. This is all just super interesting…do you know how tall you are?
GM: Yeah 5’10”.
KK: Okay. Ahhh…interesting.
GM: This is putting me on edge.
KK: So looking at your BMR George, you could eat around one thousand six hundred and fifty calories a day. That’s how much your body would need in a comatose state. If you were sedentary you’d probably have about one thousand nine hundred calories to use. If you exercise one to three times a week, a walk or whatever, about two thousand two hundred and fifty calories a day. But if you walk about four to five times a week for like forty-five minutes or so, you could have two thousand four hundred. So you are…the average. You’re doing good.
GM: Hell yeah.
KK: Yeah yeah yeah. Looking at what you ate yesterday, I can tell you, you were pretty much bang on your calorie deficit. You had about two thousand four hundred and fifty yesterday. So you naturally met your daily requirement.
GM: Take that, mum.
KK: You did good. Only thing I’d say is get rid of the oreo and your Coca Cola…
GM: One step at a time, Kristen.
KK: If we’re looking at this from a weight loss point of view, if you were to not eat the Coca Cola and have diet coke instead, you would then be losing about three hundred calories a day. This is if you eat the same thing every day. You’d lose a pound of weight every two weeks. That’s just by cutting out Coca Cola every day.
GM: It’s mad that a drink can do that.
KK: Yeah, like even if you’re only one hundred calories over your limit a day you’ll put on a pound a month. You don’t realise that. People sometimes gain weight without realising or they’ll say ‘why am I gaining weight? I don’t know.’ It’s just from not being informed enough and not having that information readily available to you. Not even that, just being aware really. But you’re pretty good at balancing it out and you’ve had a good amount of whole foods, everyone be like George.
GM: Hell yeah, I’m the pinnacle of health!
KK: A good rule of thumb is, if you want to treat yourself have one treat a day. So I’d say either drop out the coke or the oreo, especially if you’re doing it every day. But if anyone wants to message me and ask for me to create them a customised, personalised diet I’ll do it. I’ll give you what you need. I’m not even gonna give you home workout stuff I can give you regular normal workout stuff.
GM: You’re gonna get me jacked.
KK: You’re gonna be dench. Dench!
GM: I’m gonna be Judi Dench!
KK: The next time you meet Judi Dench you’re gonna be dench too!
GM: Yes, the next time I meet Judi Dench…
KK: Yeah yeah yeah…
GM: Have you ever thought, the way you talk about it is so like, it’s such a heft of information, have you ever thought about pursuing anything in nutrition at all?
KK: I’ve thought about this. I think if I get bored of doing creative stuff, and I don’t think I will, I’ll probably train as a nutritionist. But again, I think I’d struggle with the whole thing of getting the information out there to someone. I think I’d just be blasting them with information and they’d be like ‘what? What?!’ But obviously that’s something to train in, but yeah I think I’d really like it. I think helping people with stuff like that would be nice. That’d feel nice.
GM: Oh definitely. This whole conversation has just been ridiculously packed. I’ve got jumbles of notes on a notepad…
GM: Obviously as you said, loads of different diets have come and gone and things like that, but what do you think are gonna be the major changes in the future? Say the next fifty years or so.
KK: Okay, so I think governments are gonna crack down on the carbohydrates. We’re already seeing it in places like Scandinavia. Scandinavia’s very good for it. Obviously they’re doing what the UK’s now doing by getting rid of deals and stuff on bad crap. I think there’ll be a slow progression from regular fast foods like McDonalds and stuff towards more healthier options. As obesity puts more stress on the healthcare system the government is going to have to crack down more and more on it. Because it all comes from a government level. They need to be the ones telling the masses what to do and how they should be living basically, because-
GM: No matter what their reputation they’re still the loudest voice.
KK: Yeah, yeah. We’re in this weird point where there’s so much constantly available that it’s just not good. People are so addicted to it and I think there needs to be things to help those people and get them out of it before they’re diabetic and need the resources for that. It’ll be a slow transition hopefully, because before the war everyone tended to eat really well. As in, it wasn’t nice and they ate not nice things but they were eating healthier nutritional things. We’ve lost that. But we can get it back. I think veganism as well is going to be a big, big contender. Especially within the next fifty years. We’re currently seeing slow, steady growth with it, but a good documentary on it is The Game Changers, and that’s about how the world’s best athletes are now vegan.
GM: Is that the Arnold Schwarzenegger one?
KK: I think so. I think he produced it. But literally the world’s strongest man right now is a vegan man. The world’s longest runner is a vegan man. There’s also a woman in it who’s in like her late forties, who is an Olympic cyclist like, she was a normal cyclist and then she joined the Olympics in her forties and that’s thanks to her nutrition and her vegan diet. That’s almost unheard of to see a forty year old person competing in the Olympics, but here we are. I think as veganism grows and people get used to it, that’ll be a big help because people get so much of their diet from meats and crap, once you turn to a vegan diet, by looking at and observing what you eat at the meat end also transitions to other things as well. Like, you will just generally start to eat healthier. It just kind of happens. I can also see vegan fast food rising though, which is a negative. As in, as it rises I can see like a McDonalds kind of vegan place becoming bigger.
GM: Which would be the worst of both worlds…
KK: Yeah, yeah that would be bad. So veganism is the biggest one. But also as the world’s resources get more and more screwed that’s gonna be a big contender in what we’re eating and how we’re living. I don’t know if insects are gonna become a thing. You remember like 2013/2014 when everything was going around like ‘insects are a good source of protein and we’re all gonna be eating insects in the next twenty years!’
GM: We’ll be eating mealworms instead of rice…
KK: Yeah yeah yeah. Do you know what happened with that? Why it just dropped off?
GM: No, what happened?
KK: A bunch of the farmers, the people who invested in it and started culminating in insect farms thought ‘yeah this is gonna be really great’ and then people were just like ‘ew, no. I don’t want that they’re bugs.’ They even tried making them barbecue flavoured and stuff, or flaming hot Cheeto flavoured insects, but people still thought it seemed gross. Then like the farming facilities, because they’re so new and high-tech and stuff, they didn’t know how to match the demand. Insects rapidly increase in numbers. So if you’re keeping a farm and you’re not making sales, you start to have them to the point where they’re just getting out of hand. The whole build will just be infested with them everywhere. Then of course they seep out into the local environment and stuff and start messing up all the crops. So we just need to really get a handle on it.
GM: I think I’d be down for a bug diet…
KK: I’d be up for a bug diet. Like, the environmental impact is also a really big bonus because bugs use less water and energy than even eating a vegan diet so you’d be better off eating insects.
GM: Crack open like a little sachet of crickets or mealworms or whatever. Snack of a salted tarantula…
KK: But it’s just a social norm, right? It’s only weird to eat insects because we say it is.
GM: Yeah, civilisations far, far older than us have been eating them since the dawn of time.
KK: Yep, and in South America they quite often eat them and in Asia they obviously quite often eat them-
GM: We’re just little pussy bitches.
KK: Yeah. Apparently they taste like chicken but, apparently everything tastes like chicken. I think it would be good, but I don’t know if it will happen soon. That’s all. I can see it happening later but I just think people will be going for veg and stuff.
GM: I can see it happening as a by-product of the world ending.
KK: Yeah, and also slowly more and more people are going to the gym. I think gyms are just going to be a normal part of most humans’ daily habit. I think people will start to judge others for not going to the gym because as it grows and becomes more normalised, people will almost become upset with others for not doing it. With all the physical and mental benefits I can easily see companies choosing people who go to the gym, because then you’re getting an employee that technically on paper has higher specs than somebody who doesn’t go. They’re motivated, their brain processing power is technically better too, so I can see it becoming more normalised. But then you’ve also got like the case of fanatics being like ‘no that’s not healthy’ and having that much dependency on the gym being unhealthy.
GM: It’s like they lose their identity, almost…
KK: Yeah, but I think it should be. We as humans are so stationary now compared to how we were. Going to the gym for an hour a day is way less effort than walking twelve miles a day to hunt an animal, you know? But also! And this is going into something else now – VR.
GM: Oh, okay.
KK: VR is going to be a gamechanger because I think as it grows in the gaming world we’ll get to the point where it’s just as big as the PS4 or the Xbox. But the big, big bonus with VR is, like playing Beat Saber or even just a slightly active game where you’re moving your arms a good amount and moving your body, easily allows you to burn the same amount of calories as playing tennis. So that’s about four hundred calories in an hour and you don’t feel like you burnt that. You feel like you’ve just been playing games.
KK: So I think the gamification of exercise is also going to be a big part of getting society healthier. Like, Pokémon Go…that got people walking.
GM: That was amazing. I know that it’s become a meme at this point but it really did feel like a bit of world peace had been achieved when you’d see people, families even, out playing it together.
KK: So I think VR’s going to be a big thing for weight loss and exercise in general. So yeah…future! Veganism and VR! That’s where I think we’re going.
GM: Big V!
KK: The big V!
GM: It’s the big V. We’re gonna try to achieve that big V. Get that big V.
KK: Would you go vegan?
GM: Yeah I think I would. I think the thing holding me back is…mostly the price. The price I associate with it, anyway. Because I went vegan for a short period and it was fine. Obviously the majority of my stuff was meat alternative, so vegan sausages and vegan burgers, whatever…but it was exactly the same the only difference was the cost.
KK: So that’s the thing about it currently. It’s just so expensive. It’s not if you’re looking to be a vegan who lives cheap as in like, buying lentils and stuff fresh ingredients in bulk. But it’s more trying to replicate your meat diet that becomes expensive.
GM: It’s a scheduling thing as well isn’t it. If people are at work and they come home they want something vegan that they could just stick on for twenty minutes/half an hour.
KK: I think at the products get better and cheaper that’s also going to be a big help. But then also as the older generation who are quite against it slowly, erm…
GM: Wither and die…
KK: Their opinion becomes less and less important. Then is when we’re gonna have more and more vegans and stuff. I think that’s another thing too. Government’s need to start advocating for veganism.
GM: You could almost have benefits. Financial benefits and stuff.
KK: Yeah boosters and stuff. They should even give them at the farm level so the farmers get subsidies and stuff.
GM: Oh yeah definitely.
KK: But like, the ones who get the most are the animal ones because they’re almost always losing money. So these farmers would rather do cattle and stuff because they know they’re going to get a subsidy for what they’re doing rather than using their land to grow veg or grains or stuff. It’s a money game for them. So if the government offered subsidies for growing veg and crops, I think they do but not as big as the meat ones, that’d help a butt load.
GM: Well Kristen this whole conversation has been ridiculously informative for me.
KK: I hope it has been. There’s probably been a lot of misinformation I’ve just spewed…I think it’s all okay.
GM: It’s okay we’ll be contacting you with our legal team in due course.
KK: Just…google everything I’ve just said and bleep out all the bad things please thank you.
GM: Could you tell us where we can find you on your socials and online?
KK: Oh yeah. You can find me on…where can you find me. You can find me on Instagram @kristenkenyon which is just my name. You can also find me at @kristeniscreative which is a new account I’ve made that I haven’t posted anything to and probably won’t ever. Something’ll come up. I promise. And…you can find me on Soundcloud at ‘KnKn’ I think, it might be ‘KnKnMusic’ I’m not even sure. And you can find me on Spotify at ‘KnKn’ thank you very much…
GM: It’s very good music!
KK: Yeah it’s all about eating, all of it!
GM: He’s got a whole album about nutrition. He just tells us nutrition facts to a jazz beat in the background.
KK: I have an EP where it’s just me doing ASMR with a massive hot dog.
GM: So go check them out, everyone. Thanks Kristen!
KK: Thank you George, thank you for having me on!
GM: It’s all good! Uh….ah….bye-bye now!
We now return to our weekly reminder that the world is on fire.
I'm constantly spewing instructions to take 10 minutes out of your day to educate yourselves in global issues and the truth of matters in order to help educate those who turn a blind eye to things. The biggest problem is I know, especially in times like these, that those chanting things like 'fake news' and insisting on continuing endless prejudice are often the loudest. But there is solace in the fact that good can happen from the spread of information.
This past week David Attenborough has continued his fight to arm the human race with all the information we need to prevent climate disaster and ultimate destruction, and it's people like him that are living proof that the truth can't always be denied. Not even by idiots.
If we had armed ourselves earlier, we wouldn't be in such a shambles right now. Take that mindset and run with it on other topics. Whether it's the fact no officers have been punished for the murder of Breonna Taylor or hundreds of other black people across America and the world, holding those in power accountable for breaking national and international laws (like, say, tax evasion) or the continued existence of internment camps across China in a display that pulls up moments within human history we all swore not to repeat. The list sometimes seems endless and overbearing I know, but it's something we have to chip away at piece by piece. It's not just international affairs like famine and war in Yemen either.
Here in the UK the continued flip-flopping of advice for COVID-19 measures has lead to a nation of bigotry en-masse. Breakfast news shows wax sympathy for the legions of fools partying in the streets now that pubs are closed past 10pm, but offer no sympathy for university students locked up in isolation during a time they're supposed to be discovering themselves. We can't wait until the inevitable rise in suicides and self-harm to take issues like this seriously. I know 90% of the time it feels like talking to a brick wall, but if you can keep up to date, eventually some nuggets of information will lodge in the brains of those naysayers. That's all it takes to start educating the public. Even one as seemingly hopeless as ours.
So take 10 minutes out of your day. Find something else to get angry and therefore passionate about. Be a David Attenborough, because the world needs so many more of them.
Aside from Googling things, here's a carrd that's updated regularly. On it are hundreds of resources to charities and pieces of information on a whole load of news stories currently going on in the world. Spend 10 minutes. It's just 10 minutes.
I am aware that some of the links on this card are beginning to become outdated too, so if anyone out there can help direct me to another up-to-date carrd I'd be more than grateful.
On top of that here is a link that allows you to help and donate to various causes (you can choose) by just watching adverts. So disable that AdBlocker and put your time to good use.
Thank you for reading/listening.
Stay safe everyone.
See you next week.