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In this series, I interview leading food founders and food business experts. The aim is to extract their experiences and any tips & tricks that they may have learned along the way!
In this post, I interview Wojtek Kolan. He's the CEO of Love Yourself. Love Yourself, which is one of the meal prep companies on the Marvin’s Den mobile app is a fairly recent business, it was founded about three years ago and it has grown now into a multi-million-pound revenue per year business.
Wojtek is going to share with you a lot of really good insights into his background, which is unbelievable. You see, when he was just 4 years old he moved to Australia and he has led a really successful life and career. He truly has a lot of wisdom to share and we go through it in this episode.
Here's the interview in written format
Yes, actually, I'm what you call a Pozzie. I'm half Australian, half Polish.
At the age of four, I moved to Australia. My parents left me when I was three years old and they went to Australia. So I travelled all by myself at the age of four to Australia. So I arrived there. I didn't speak English or anything. So it was a big change as a young child. So I spent 20 odd years living in Perth in Australia.
Then I came to London in the year 2000 and then I was more involved and more interested in having a good time backpacking, travelling, doing these kinds of things. And then I had an opportunity in one of the places I was working to go out to China. So I was working for this company, and they sent me off to China to sort out their electric scooters because this company was one of the first in the UK to sell electric scooters.
This was back in 2004, so it was way before. Now we see these electric scooters everywhere on the road. So this guy came up with the idea in 2004 and he had problems with his manufacturing plant in Shanghai and he goes, Wojtek, do you want to go to China to fix the problem? I thought: ‘Fantastic, Yes, I'll go there.’ So I went there and ended up fixing the problem of the electric scooters, the manufacturing issues, even though I had no idea what I was really doing.
I found some other products that were out in China and I brought those products back and I showed my boss these products and he goes: 'If you can sell them, we'll buy them;'. So within a few days, I got the products onto Ideal shopping channel and we ended up selling £250,000 of product in 24 hours. And that kind of started my previous life in the gadget business. So I was doing that for about 15 years and I successfully built up a company to about £40 million. So we were doing all kinds of innovations, electronics, those kinds of items. I put the button on the selfie stick and that was really successful. We sold a few million selfie sticks, so that was fun. I got to travel the world, went to the best restaurants, stayed in hotels, and I flew business class everywhere. It was a really nice journey.
My friend said he's got this idea about changing and revolutionizing the way that food is delivered. So he told me about it was basically that we deliver food exactly what people need for breakfast, lunch, dinner. We'll give them all the calories that they need and we'll cook it fresh to make sure there's no additives, no preservatives, none of the nasties.
Yes, one of the biggest problems is you get when you go to the high street or if you go out for lunch with your work colleagues, there's not very many healthy places to get food. Quite often you're stuck on an industrial estate and the only options you've got are Greg's, Subway etc. So even if you want to eat healthily, you can't eat healthily and then you end up spending, like ten pounds anyway for something you didn't even enjoy in the first place. So I thought, this is a really great idea, but we have to do it. So it's cheap and affordable. Because I was thinking, let's go mass market. We needed to get the right price point. So we probably positioned ourselves too cheap to begin with, because I didn't understand the complexities of this business, the cost of delivering fresh every day, of producing fresh meals. So there's actually a reason why not many people have done this before, because it's bloody complicated. It's very operationally, challenging it's. So that's why you end up having processed food, treated food, canned food. For food to be delivered fresh, it needs a whole logistics and transportation to keep food at a certain temperature. So, yeah, it's challenging to give our customers the very best we can at an affordable price has always been the goal. And one of the things I've really enjoyed doing along the way is knowing the effects that food has on people's lives. It can really help people. It can make them healthier.
Yeah, exactly. You're healthier, you're happier. So it's just helping people along that journey as well as well as mental health. I've got a few theories about diets and mental health and how they interlink, which maybe we can talk about later on.
Yeah. I didn't actually realize this until recently in my life, very recently, that the stress of leaving Poland and travelling to Australia at such a young age would have imprinted on who I am today. So basically the interpretation of that is always in survival mode. You have flight free Faun. When you're in survival mode, your body is different. So at the age of four, I would have been in survival mode, getting on that plane all by myself during the Cold War. So this is like the Hut, the peak of the Cold War. So it was very difficult even to leave Poland because there was communists everywhere. It was quite difficult. So I don't remember all the details, but I'm sure I would have been quite scared as a child travelling and going on that plane. And when I arrived in Australia, we had the camera crew, the West Australian newspaper arrived. And I just think that whole at such a young age, whatever happens to you at that age, it kind of stays with you. It imprints a certain defense mechanism. And so I think I've had to maybe not fence for myself because I had very loving parents and really nice small family in Australia. But it taught me to be resilient and adaptable.
Yeah, I'm more of a creative. So I'd say my key skill is having a good eye. Good eye for a product, my eye sees things that maybe other eyes don't see. So I tend to know what works, and what doesn't work. And as a teenager, I quite got into computers, even at the early ages of the Internet. I was an early kind of hacker-esque kind of guy trying to find out, pushing the limits. What is this Internet? How can we hack the Internet? What can we get from it? So that was really I learned a lot about computers and about the World Wide Web at an early age, even like before Google. Actually, I think it was before Google using a search engine called Ultra Vista at the time, back in 20 19 94 Vista and Go as a search engine, they were doing all different banner advertising, gambling sites, cost per clicks, CPMs, all that stuff. That's a completely different era of the Internet is where we are now. I think the era that we're in on the Internet now is I think it's very difficult for new brands to come in. The Internet is so congested and populated for any new brand to come in. They need to have a really big budget to make any impact because it's going to take them a long time for Google to pick them up, SEO to start working and it's difficult to keep a customer because there's so many new companies popping up. The loyalty amongst the customers is a lot lower than what it was ten years ago. So I think there's been a major shift in the Internet and even more so with social commerce that we're living in now and even more is coming around the corner.
Just three trading years.
Yeah, I think we made it just in time, just in time to start the company because you had the likes of people like Hello Fresh and Gusto who do their recipe boxes. So they've owned that recipe box market where you have to cook the food yourself, but nobody was really doing ready meals. So the way I saw it is it's like the next stage of that development. Why cook when you can get everything delivered ready to eat fresh, calorie, controlled and in a way that was a bit of a blessing for us. We started the company and left the company in a pilot mode for a year just to see whether customers like it. We had very minimal expenses, very minimal kitchen, and we're seeing if customers liked it and to see what the repeat orders were with customers. And it seemed to be working. We were delivering 150 deliveries every day, we had repeat customers but we weren't making any money. However, we could see the business was working and it could be scaled and then covet happened and I actually saw COVID happen probably earlier than a lot of other people because I'm quite close to China and I was just reading about what's happening in China with COVID, so I just thought, well, this is a good opportunity now to do some marketing about covert. You want to stay home, stay safe. So COVID really helped us in terms of getting out there to customers, helped us so much that we outgrew our kitchen that we were in, we couldn't produce any more. Our orders went three times. Basically, they went up to 600 deliveries a day in a short period of time, so we couldn't produce all that food in that kitchen space. So during lockdown, it was difficult to find any place to rent because everything was closed. You couldn't see any real estate agents. So I went to my local Church and I spoke to the priest and he said that we can use the Church community hall as an add-on to our packing area.
Everyone had to work because we're food production. We were considered key workers, so our drivers, our staff and all the production people, they all had to work in order for the company to do what it has to do. So it was nice working from the Church different environment to where we are now. Then after that Church episode, then we got some angel funding, met some lovely angel investors that came on with some very good experience and then we could start looking at places because we couldn't stay at the Church forever, we needed something professional. Then we moved to a place in Park Royal where we've got quite a big kitchen now about 300 m² of space and we're producing about 5000 meals a day at the moment.
No, that's all direct-to-consumer. We've got B2B projects in development at the moment where we'll be doing our own range of healthy sources. So anything that we do and love yourself, we have to add a different element to it. So we don't want to use any sugars, any fats, nothing processed. So we're coming up with 100% natural organic range of sources, hot sauces and other products which are low carb to sell to the BGB market.
I think what you said is very true. Different strategies work at different stages of the business. What worked really well when we were smaller was doing events. We could go to a small event like private fitness people hosting an event of 40 or 50 people attending and we would sign up ten to ten people at those events, but they weren't very scalable because we could never find enough of those events. Maybe that was due to covert at that time. So everything that we kind of wanted to do, we couldn't really do because of COVID. So we quite quickly switched our mentality to being very internet digital driven. And then we discovered Facebook and Google, especially Facebook. Facebook was really good sales strategy for us for about two years. It was giving a very good return. We knew with Facebook that if we put £1 in, we would get £5 come out the other end. So it wasn't like a slot machine where you put your money in. A lot of marketing is like a slot machine. You put your money in, press the lever and nothing comes out. I think Facebook was more like a vending machine. You could put your money in and you know what's coming out. But all that changed last year with the iOS update coming in. Really through all the data, all the tracking data, Privacy policies, it really made that investment a lot worse. And it's just been on a downward trend ever since. I was seeing an article the other day that Facebook the cost of advertising on Facebook has increased 90% over the past twelve months. I can validate that. It's definitely we're not getting anywhere near the bang for buck than we were before. And I think that's due to a lot of new companies in that space, a lot of competition and a heavy reliance on social media retail sales.
At the moment, there is no magic bullet. We're looking for that. That's something that's really special, to be honest. The past few weeks have been really quiet generally, I think, in the online space. So I'm not surprised. I've been speaking to other people, and they're saying the same thing. I don't know whether just on a very short time focus is the threat of inflation, the war in Ukraine, all this negativity in the news, whether that's having an impact on consumer spending. Well, one thing that we've got a good base of existing customers that keep on ordering. But in order to get new customers at the moment, it's very difficult. It's a very tricky time.
Yeah, I think what you've done, you're definitely the first person to enter a platform business for a platform marketplace. Right. So you're kind of like a marketplace in a sense. I think you're the first one to capture that. And there's so many meal prep companies now in that space. I think it makes sense that you've got the supply chain of different companies. You just need to focus on getting the customers to come in. On the other side, I think any platform is always a chicken and egg scenario. Do you need to get the supply first or do you need to get a customer first? It's always a difficult challenge. We've been trying to balance this, but to be honest, we've been really happy with onboarding companies like Love Yourself. It makes us feel that we had a really good start in terms of supply side. I believe that very soon for both of us, we'll find a way that we don't need to use the likes of Facebook and Instagram, that we can use our own proprietary software there to talk to our customers, to our customers, customer society, to the influence from our customers and the people they know, the further relations. And I think that is the best way of gaining customers is through having a good product, then referring them to their community and so on. I think that is what we're working on more rather than having bigger spend budgets, it's more about let's use utilize the people that we've already got, the community that we're very close with and let them become ambassadors, let them talk about Love Yourself to others. And I think we can facilitate this whole community building through clever software that we can infiltrate.
I'm not smart enough to understand blockchain, how blockchain can be used to acquire customers, but I do believe that by having a platform of our own, instead of using a website like Shopify, which is very limited, by having our own platform, which is built for the needs of Love Yourself, then we can turn that into a social commerce experience. Okay, that's a very interesting insight. At the moment, there are many opportunities as we talk about blockchain. The masterverse apparently is going to come eventually, maybe not. There are many concerns. Nick, what is your background? Are you a technical guy?
Yes, it will become its own social media platform with commerce integrated. Yeah. It's not just a transaction, but it's a whole more built for content creators to post their content, to bring their community into this platform. So other like minded health companies, whether they're nutritionists, personal coaches, personal trainers, all kinds of, wellbeing, people, they can all come into our universe and interact with one another, whether that's doing broadcasting, videos, community posts, forums, chat, it's going to be a place of love. Yes. Weather wider, love Yourself community can hang out and interact with each other. We've been working on this for quite some time, but we're very excited that we're close to launch. Really. Something close to, like a very social platform is close to launch. Yeah. Wow. That's a big as with all these things, it should have been ready earlier, but there's bug fixing and all these. It's getting the finesse rice for the last final part, which always takes the longest bit of time because we don't want to launch something that's not going to turn people away. We want to launch it to make sure that's bug free, because we've got an app at the moment. But it's purely a commerce transactional app.
It's a mobile-first approach. The whole platform has been built to be in your pocket. And the objective is, of course, as we know, people are switching more and more towards mobile, and probably soon we will have even smaller gadgets that can connect you to the Internet and to the virtual world. Like, for example, Apple watches are kind of a fair starting point, I guess.
Yeah. I think food is always a very cultural community social experience. But by nature, food has been for generations a social way of interacting, whether it's families or get-togethers, friends, different religions, cultures. Food is quite often the pinnacle of a defined culture. I think food and social community is very important. But I do like what the delivery guy we just mentioned said about bringing the flavour and the smell and bringing the emotional concept of food. I think that definitely gets your mouth watering when you see something nice on-screen and you can almost smell the flavours coming out.
I think in our lifetime we'll see these kinds of new innovations coming into place, especially inputting into our brain playing Pong, for example, just with your brain. That will definitely happen. Yeah. Are we going to start, do you think, with this new technology, like games with very basic games such as the games in the 80s or they're going to be straight away super? I think it will take some time to learn how to use your brain to send off the right frequencies and communications to that device. I've tried some of these early contraptions where you see a Pixel on the screen and you have to use your brain power to move that Pixel. I wasn't very good at it, but I saw some other people who have been practicing and they could move their Pixel around quite well. So I think it's just a matter of time until we have a very simple game like Pong or Pacman that could be used with the power of your mind.
To be honest, it's been so difficult to process. I mean, this is the most unexpected thing I've ever seen in my life. No one would have predicted that this was going to happen. I remember like 30 days ago when the Russians were at the Ukraine border. Nobody thought they were going to cross it. Then one day I wake up and I was watching this, I've been monitoring this going on. So I find out I've got an interest in the activity that goes on. I've been checking the news almost every day and then I check it one morning and they say that the Russian soldiers have walked into Ukraine. I was shocked, really shocked. Do you even believe it? At first? Maybe you felt like it was some reporting against could be fake news, because I always am very careful about the news to always look at news subjectively. I don't trust one source of news, but yeah, it was true and completely shocking. So sorry for the people that have to put up with that happening in their country.
I completely agree. I don't believe there should be flags. There should be one United Earth, one Federation of Earth, where there is a central government that would control the better interests of Earth as a whole. I know that's a little bit Star Warsy, but I don't think having flags and wars and competing the world has enough resources to go about around to everyone without certain countries taking the biggest share of those resources, which I think is ultimately unfair.
It is a misallocation of resources. There's so much that we could all do to help Africa. It's within our power to end poverty. I don't believe that the world's interests are aligned because everyone's too worried about their own country's interests and the power of their greed ultimately.
I think helping people, for me, is my ultimate higher purpose. I enjoy helping people, whether it's our customers, our staff, or just random people. I enjoy putting a positive effect and leaving positive footprints to everyone that I touch. I try, but by no means it doesn't work out a lot of the time. But I think you're right. It's all about the amount of negativity in the world at the moment with the inflation and the war and all this, and there's just negative news all the time. But I think there's a lot of positive news that we can have. Everyone listening or reading this interview are all very lucky people. We're born in the top 1% economically. We've got food on our plates, we've got shelter, we've got safety, although we may not think it's safe, but it's still a lot safer than most other people. So we're all very blessed. And I think we need to think about that every day and think how blessed we are and thank the higher powers that they have chosen us to be in this position, and we should do our best to help others and not take you for granted.
Love Yourself means different things to different people. Some people automatically laugh as though it's got like a sexual way of about it. Okay. I thought, like, maybe too cheesy. Yeah. There are some people that say that, for me, Love Yourself is actually you have to love yourself. I think first you have to appreciate who you are, love who you see do your best. And I think by helping others, you're loving yourself, but you can't help others until you love yourself first. So it's about self-love. It's about gratitude, joy, eating well, feeling good and having confidence. These are all key points in the name. So I think the name means different things to different people.
We tend to have customers who stay with us for a long time. And they say they've lost eight kilos, ten kilos to stone. It's quite common. Generally, we find that not that losing weight is important because I think everyone needs to feel comfortable in the body they're in. And one important thing about loving yourself is not to put yourself under too much stress. A lot of people will go, they need to lose weight. That's all they really care about. And they go to this hardcore diet. They'll go to the gym, they'll train hard, they'll pull a muscle, they'll strain themselves physically and mentally. And then as they get more tired, their willpower drops. And then when their willpower drops, they tend to do something foolish and then they'll break their diet and then they'll get upset about what they've done and it creates a cycle. So I think we're all human, we all have limited willpower. So I think it's important not to be too hard for yourself. If you want to go on a diet, stay sustainable. Weight loss of like one kilo, one and a half kilos per month, and keeping yourself mentally strong and stable is the way to have a good lifestyle and on track weight management, that's my opinion. But I think mental health and diet are very interlinked. If we're stressed out, for example, if we're stressed, we'll tend to eat. So it's how we handle stress. I mean, so many times we see people who look at them and you know that you don't need fasting to stand on the scales. You can just see them and they're very obese. But you ask them, what do you eat? And they go, I just have smoothies and soups and I consume 800 calories a day. But it's impossible when you look at them, they're massively obese. So they must be eating in most cases. But it's down to stress. I think they're stress-eating.
We see that all the time customers will come to us, stay with us for two months. They'll learn a few critical things about diet and the main one is portion size. They will actually learn to see what those 2000 calories look like. And then when they stop Love Yourself, they've got an idea of how much they should be eating. So I think that is a great help to our customers to actually understand what those 2000 calories look like. Understanding portion control. And I think a lot of the time people just overeat. It's quite easy to overeat, especially when people are drinking, they'll tend to overeat. So if people go out and they have the guys go out, they have four or five pints. Each pint is 250 calories times four. That's 1000 calories. But then what happens? They're a little bit pissed. They've had four or four pints and then they make worse decisions about what they're going to eat. Then they could have a kebab that's going to be 7800 calories before they'd know they've consumed an extra two and a half thousand calories on top of everything else they've consumed that day. So I think it's important to have an understanding of what you're eating calorie-wise and what you're burning calorie-wise.
Yeah, it's best to speak to our dietician. You can do some consultations with people, but generally what I find is people don't get hungry because they're eating. Let's say some guy eats two and a half thousand calories of junk food. That's not a lot in mass weight, but when you have two and a half thousand calories of healthy, nutritious food, it actually weighs a lot more and there's a lot more food to get through. So we find that by giving people five portions a day, it keeps them fuller and they don't actually get as hungry as they would just by having two big meals a day, which a lot of people do. So the way we do it is we give you five portions of food throughout the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks or calorie controlled so you don't feel the need to eat as much and you're Fuller longer.
Yeah. I mean it is difficult to eat five portions of food a day. It's not easy. But when you've got those five portions, you'll take a mental note to have your 15 minutes morning snack, take some breaths, de-stress and then have lunch two or 3 hours later and then have an afternoon snack. And then if you have your dinner, our dinners tend to be smaller than our lunches because we believe that you shouldn't go to bed with a full stomach. So our lunches are a higher calorie than our dinners.
I've learned a lot and I still have so much more to learn. It's a fascinating field and quite often in nutrition there is no correct answer. A lot of it is theory based. So for example, is fasting good or is fasting bad? What time should you have breakfast? When should you have your last meal? All these questions, are juice diets good for you? Are they bad for you? Is a keto diet good for you or is it bad for you? But one thing I've learnt is everybody is different. Very few people have the same dietary requirements. So I think it's got to do with genetics of people. Where the genetics come from and what food works best for that particular genetic group is one of the theories, which I think is quite true. So somebody from, let's say from Asia, from a warm country, they have a lot of fresh fruit, they tend to have a higher carb diet, more fruits, and then switching them to an all-meat diet isn't probably the best for them because it's the same as somebody from a cold country where they have no fresh fruit during the year. Then giving them a diet full of fruits is also not going to do best for them because it's not in their historic DNA gene makeup.
I mean, I know that now that could be a very good point, that the migration of people in this modern, in this century, people are moving all around, which could be a theory. I don't know, but it could be a theory of why there's such a high case of diabetes and why there's more nutritional diseases than there was before, because the genetics are made for this travel and different diets. It could be a theory. It sounds plausible!
In Finland, they'll grow in the summer time and that would be it. Now we have fruit all year round. We can have mangoes in winter, pineapples and coconut. There's many different theories. Maybe we should eat what's local to us, what's produced at that time of the year, but we tend to import everything. We import what flavors are trending, things like avocados and coconuts. Most plant-based milks are all imported. Most plant produce is imported. The UK grows very little. So it's a very deep and complicated subject.
Yeah, it did have a big impact on us, but we moved very quickly. And Brexit is a thing of the past now. Completely a thing of the past. We buy UK where we can all our supply. We've moved to UK. We tend not to get European produce where possible. And we've been using UK suppliers as before. Brexit, we have deliveries coming in from all over Europe, but because of a lot of the difficult administration and importing regulations, it all became too much. So we managed to quickly resource everything. We had a great team in place that made this transition. So I think we transitioned well. And we also things that are non food, we get made in China as well, directly.
So we've made our own packaging, which I think is very cool. It's completely biodegradable. It's your own kind of manufactured in China. It's our own manufactured. It's our tooling, it's our design, it's our mold, it's owned by us and it's fully biodegradable. Yeah, fully biodegradable. So the paper composition, it's a Brown crafty paper. That paper composition is called bagasse. And that's like a paper pulp, but then it's lined with a PLA material which is made from corn. Plastic cornstarch and it biodegrades. So I've got a compost in the back of my house. So I tested this out and it decomposes in six to eight weeks. So what I do is I use yourself containers to plant my tomato seeds and chili seeds or my greenhouse, because then as the roots come out, it breaks through that paper, and then you can just replant it. It makes great gardening.
Yeah, I mean, I'm still yet to start this season. I've been quite busy. But normally I like to start getting the seeds out and probably growing the seeds at an early stage. So I noticed you said you're Italian, which I could tell by your accent. We had this email from a customer, and he said, Please do not give me any pasta unless it's cooked by an Italian. What do you say to that?
It's very good to be proud of your food, our nutritionist and the girl that makes the menus and creates the menu, she's Italian. And when we tell her, put chicken in a pesto, she says 'No, you cannot put chicken in a pesto!'
Yeah, like Italian recipes. I mean, I think all countries recipes regionally are not meant to be nutritionally complete. So it's very hard for your prep to kind of replicate them 100%. So, of course, there should be some understanding about that because you can't have everything. You can't have super traditional recipes, but at the same time, nutritionally complete.
Yeah, exactly we can just don't call it pesto, we'll call it pine nuts and pasta!
Yeah, he's fantastic. He's a top chef. It's so interesting to see the culture of chefs compared to the culture of office people. The kitchen culture versus office culture is completely different, the way they interact and talk to each other. Michal likes to keep a very strict, disciplined ship there. It's like if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen kind of style. There's no messing about. They have a rank system. There's a chef director, sue chef. It's like a military operation.
It's great. I love cooking myself, but I've never worked in a commercial environment. But what they do is a fantastic. It's amazing. I love to watch them. We only have a relatively small team. We have about 78 people in the kitchen. That includes all the prep people, the washing people. They can produce a lot of food. Wow. That's a lot trained them really well. He not only creates the menus of Benedetta, but then he implements a whole system of how this is produced. And we actually have almost zero food waste because we know what we're getting in orders two days in advance. So we know today what orders we're going to have on Monday, and we can order the exact amount of ingredients. So we actually hold almost zero stock. We order on a daily basis to make sure that all the ingredients arrive fresh, similar to what a restaurant will do. But the advantage of us versus a restaurant is that restaurants don't really know what they're going to sell on a Thursday night. They may be busy, they may not be busy, but they still need to buy the produce. We know in advance exactly how many orders we have to produce on a certain day. One of the advantages, I suppose, of meal prep and online and systems.
I guess it depends on individual people. I can speak personally. For instance, these companies that kind of do ultra, super fast delivery within even like now you can even get in ten to 15 minutes. It's a bit over the top, but in some situation I found it very useful. So I'm not going to take much away from them. But I just can't see that business model working. They're wasting so much money. So talking on a business perspective, I think they're really unsustainable. They're really wasting a lot of money. And I don't know how they're going to be profitable unless maybe they have robots or drones delivering. But even in that case, it's very I don't know how to look like you want to have a walk and you can't find people by your feet like just robots. I don't know if it's amazing, but at the same time. So I also think that planning your week ahead in terms of meals, good things come to those who wait.
I think that that model that's very big now to get it quick. I'm not quite sure how sustainable that is. And it's only a matter of time until they will get replaced by drones or robots or automated cars. And I think one of the bigger challenges is the demographics. If someone's in a village just out of London there, they're not in reach. It's a very complicated business. It's more of a logistical business, I think, rather than a distribution business, more about logistics. And there are so many of these companies.
I think they're giving people like ten pound free shop just to join and buy that. You can buy anything with that. Buy a bottle of whiskey with that ten pound. I was surprised that they were allowing any purchase for that initial order. Normally they say tgat it excludes alcohol and tobacco. I had a friend and he said that if you got it on Getir you could buy anything he wanted.
Yeah. I think food has got so many possibilities. That's a great industry to be in. I'm very happy I'm in the food industry. It's really got my mind working about the evolution of food. I mean, I found an amazing thing the other day, went to the exhibition at Excel, first time I've been there. So I saw all different food producers. It's quite fun actually going to a trade show again, because I've done a lot of trade shows in my life. But it was fun to go to this trade show because it's all food-based. But one of the best things I found was the world's biggest avocado. Avocado that is the size of a melon. I think it weighs about 1.5 kg. It's like eight times the size of a normal avocado. Must be like 3000 calories in that avocado! I'm waiting for it to ripen as I got one. I want to see how it ripens to make some guacamole.
I think you can't live a life just focused on your diet all the time. You have to enjoy, you have to enjoy yourself. So as a company, we have a philosophy that you have one day a week, which is your cheat day, and that's a Sunday. It could be any other day because we deliver Monday to Saturday. It becomes the Sunday, but that's the day they could enjoy the pizza, enjoy some KFC. If you cheat one day, it's not going to offset your whole diet. It's quite easy just to recover back again on Monday. I think you have to be kind to yourself. You have to be kind to your inner self. If you keep having the leash that you can't do this, you can't do this. If you have to restrict yourself, then that's not good for your mental health either.
Yeah, definitely. I think that's the ancestral way that we deal with diets. You can eat a lot at once and then not eat. But what we've got now is there's so much of everything. You can have a juice diet in the middle of winter and stock yourself up full of 20, drinking twelve apples a day, eight carrots, six pears. Go into a juice diet on a day that's not natural. Yeah. Also because juice it's kind of concentrating because you lose a lot of the fibre which slows down the sugar intake. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed being on juice diets. But when you look at it logically, it's not really natural for our species to have that much fruit in one go.
I mean, I've done a juice diet the old fashioned way where I go to my greengrocer and I load up the apples and the carrots and the celery and it's a heavy bag to do a day of juicing. You've got to buy a lot of apples and that's where the benefits come from. You've got to do some muscle work to get the produce and then you got to clean the machine and everything. But one of the advantages of doing it yourself is you do get a lot of fibre. We've done juice diets in the past as a company as well. But the difference is with juice diet is customers don't stay with you for months on a juice diet. It's more of a short term. It could be just one day or three days.
I discovered the juice diet through a guy called Jason Vale he's a very famous juice author and he's got a famous Jason Vale 7-day plan and 28-day plan. I read the book and I got motivated to do a juice diet this is actually before Love Yourself. It's when my friend had prostate cancer and he was quite obese, then he went on a juice diet and it changed his life! He went from let's say being 20 kg overweight to coming just on the right weight through juice diet. He didn't eat anything for months he was living his whole life on juice and it worked well for him, it really helped him! I couldn't last seven days because I went on a seven day diet but I gave up on day six because I was on a train and I didn't bring any juice with me and it was a long train up to Liverpool for a meeting and I didn't have any juice with me, I was hungry and I said I need to eat I can't do this anymore but I think if you're well prepared like with the meal prep and you think in advance and you've got the right food with you then it's achievable. I'm on a keto diet by the way at the moment that's my favorite diet! To be honest I love my carbs, I love my pasta, I love my rice, I love my tacos, I love carbs as well but I also love all the things you can do on keto diet like you can eat as much cheese as you like you can have as much fatty meats as you like you can have certain vegetables you have eggs you can have as much mayonnaise there are nice things to have on a keto diet!
I think well one thing I've noticed about myself and I've read about this other place is that when you're actually fasting it's a good place to be when you feel a little bit hungry that's why a lot of healthy Yogi gurus and all these kind of people they tend to fast a lot, and they tend to be on the borderline of being hungry not to overeat. Because once you overeat, then you become lethargic. So being on that kind of fasting level is quite good. On the juice diet, I always felt as though I'm a little bit hungry, but I had a lot of energy. You have a spring in your step because you don't feel sluggish as eating three bowls of pasta after eating three bowls of pasta, I'm like, just give me the remote control so you feel very light and full of your skin becomes more shiny. I think there's definitely benefits. I'd recommend for you to try a juice diet if you haven't, just for science sake, just to see what effect it has on your body.
There is no toilet time. You save time. I think you have a very little toilet time from memory because you're consuming maybe 800 calories a day in that juice diet. So personally, I think a juice diet is more just a big fast, which is healthy. I mean, a lot of different religions around the world have a fasting time. So I think it's just a tastier way to fast. Okay. Now I think I'm understanding the idea behind it, and I think you get enough sugar to make it sustainable that you can live life. But yeah, if you haven't tried, it is an interesting concept to see the difference. Yeah, for sure. It wouldn't be very good for muscle mass or anything like that, but just for cleansing the system, like a three day juice cleanse. Yeah, maybe there's a point. I just don't believe in like the detox size of juices. But at the same time, I really enjoy juices. And I understand that if you get quality fruits, it can be really healthy and you do it properly. So maybe you insert maybe some cruciferous vegetables and fruits that are not maybe too high in sugar, then it can be really healthy.
Yeah, I think the benefits are questionable, but I don't think it hurts. I don't think a three day juice cleanse would hurt anyone. Also on the Jason Vale version is you have like two juices, and I think it was two smoothies. So you have something that's got a bit more like avocado, banana stuff that's got more calorie density in there as opposed to just carrot and apple juice. So there's a mixture to give you the energy and some substance. But he's written so many books and he's released apps, he must have made millions out of this juice diet. In that sense, it's definitely beneficial.
I will speak for myself but when I'm on keto diet, I feel more focused. I'm more mindful of what I eat because I look at everything and I say, is there carbs in there? Can I have that? I think that's the very first step. When you look at food, you're already becoming mindful and aware of what you're going to eat. But actually over consuming calories on keto is not really the problem because in a normal situation, your body Burns carbohydrates for energy. Once you go into keto mode, it takes three days for me to get into keto mode. I've got this breathalyzer to blow into which is a lot better than those urination sticks, which are really not the best thing. So I've got this breathalyzer. So after day three, I breathe in it and it says I'm in keto, and that means that my body is no longer using carbohydrates for energy. It's using fat. So I'm on fat-burning mode. So then I can pretty much eat anytime I'm hungry. I don't have to wash the calories so much and your body will just burn fat. It no longer burns sugars and carbs, but it's very easy to get out of keto mode. If you accidentally order a Coke instead of a Diet Coke, two sips and you'll be out of keto if you eat. If I go to a restaurant and I want this good example, I went for a curry the other day and I looked at the menu and I chose a curry which should be solely high fat. There shouldn't be any sugar in there. However, that restaurant put a lot of sugar into the sauce and a few hours later I used the breathalyzer and it showed that I've gone down on my keto level. So I think keto is good. I think it's a good way to go on a longer period of time. A lot of people go for keto just to lose weight. But what happens, I believe, is when someone goes on keto and they lose weight in the first two weeks, they're just losing water because carbohydrates contain more water. So that initial weight loss is down to water levels being lower after a month. That's why you can check the visceral fat and a lot of people have high visceral fat. You can't see it on their bodies, but it's inside their arteries. And keto seems to get rid of that visceral fat. Even though you're eating fat, your body's burning fat as its main source of energy. So it's great for getting rid of visceral fat. There's a lot of debate on the keto diet, such as with my nutritionist. She believes that keto has a high cholesterol rate that will give you high cholesterol. So I think it's down to each individual has a different experience with keto, and some people just can't handle eating that much fat and butter and oil and it's not nice for them. But the hardest thing about keto is the kids and I've got two kids. I've got a five-year-old and a ten-year-old, and we love to have pizza nights, pizza and TV night. Missing out on a pizza delivery or missing out on pasta or just rice. It's difficult at times or even a simple thing like bread. You can have keto bread, but you need to have that premade and prepared. So you've got to have everything prepared for a low carb lifestyle.
So this is something that my wife and I have constant arguments over. Children want some candy and I believe that they should have some candy as long as they don't live on candy all the time. I feel that if we don't give them the candy when they want to have the candy, they're just going to go and have the candy anyway when we're not looking. So give them a little bit when they want some. But we tend to eat healthy at home. Luckily, we've got Love Yourself as food, but we also cook ourselves. I do a lot of the cooking. My son, my ten year old son, he wants to be a chef. He's really into cooking. He can make a great scrambled eggs. Eggs are a great test of a chef's skills. He can make good scrambled eggs as good as I can make scrambled eggs. He can cook basic curries. He can cook bolognese and he's only ten, so he's constantly cooks something generally healthy. Sure, they're kids and they like their sugars, but all in moderation, I believe as long as they brush their teeth after the candy, I'm okay with that.
However, kids are going to be kids. So if they have any cravings, we're okay with that. Not on school nights though, so they can have candy on weekends. Otherwise, what happens if they have candy on a school night? They'll tend not to go to sleep or they'll get a sugar rush and we don't want that. We want them to go to sleep for selfish reasons. And for their own, otherwise they wake up all grumpy in the morning!
Yes, a lot of responsibility. I've got friends who I can see they're just worried about going out, doing this, doing this. But as a parent, your priorities change a lot.
Yeah. I give my son chillies because I want him to be able when he's there with all his friends because we live in a very multicultural place in London. There's a lot of curries and a lot of other international foods. And I want him to be able to have chillies and not go to someone's house and get shocked the first time he has a strong curry. So since a young age, I've been doing chilli challenges with him. We take two red chillies and we look each other in the eye and we eat it.
I love spicy food. I think spice adds another element of flavour.
Well, we don't overdo it, but when we do a Thai red chilli, we do a Thai red chilli. When we do whatever we do, we try to make it as close to the original as possible. Apart from Italian, I think we tried to be as authentic as possible. Sometimes our food can be chilly. If we do, like a tummy on gum soup or a Thai chilli beef, it's got that Thai flavour. Not for everyone. We do get complaints if it's too spicy. So we have to just find that right amount of spice.
As a general rule, we try to reduce the amount of salt as possible, but we all know without salt, the flavour will not come out. So salt is essential for the other flavours to come out. So there has to be a little bit of salt, there has to be a little bit of seasoning is important for any chef, but it can't be too much sodium. So this is all done through the nutritionist. We come up with the levels of sodium that are required. And levels of spice also need to be controlled. We can't use different chillies at Love Yourself. We have to use the same ingredients from the same suppliers, the same packets to make sure that there's no difference in the chilli factor. For example, if we're using a certain dried chilli, we need to keep using that dried chilli. If we switch to another dried chilli, it could be of higher potency. And it's very hard to measure spiciness.
They're not all the same. Absolutely. Mexican spice is a different kind of spice. It's very intense. But spice is fun. I've always enjoyed spice, experimenting with spice, making chilli sauces. I like to experiment in the kitchen with different spices, but then you can have the world is full of great ingredients from each culture. You know, like, saffron is a nice ingredient to use, cardamom pods, a lot of Indian Indian ingredients. I think it's really nice. We're very lucky that we live in the world where we live. We have access to all these all the foods of the world at our doorstep.
Yeah, exactly. There's so much food diversity in the UK, so many different foods, from Ethiopian cuisines to Caribbean cuisines, so many different forms of Indian cuisine, North, south, they vary a lot. Then you got the Chinese and Oriental cuisines. It makes Western food seem boring. And I think once people have tried Eastern food, Western food becomes very bland.
Yeah, I love a hot pot. We have a hot pot at home and twice a year I take out the hot pot and invite people over. We have a hot pot party.
Yeah. It's very nice.
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