What You’ll Learn
- How do we recultivate our relationship with food when people are finding less time to prep and cook food?
- Through her own experience with illness and healing with food, Erika Weissenborn is looking to change the meal prep service and bridge the gap between nutritionist and personal chef.
- This is the story of Fresh in Your Fridge.
It’s safe to say that for many of us our relationship with food has soured. The pressures of society have left us with less time to cook fresh meals. Rather than add extra time to the day, Erika Weissenborn came up with an easier way to recultivate our relationship with food.
From her own experience with food sensitivities and illness due to diet, Erika began studying nutrition and got into holistic nutrition. We’ll answer what that means in the podcast. This led her to start a company that not only bridges the gap between nutritionist and chef, but is making waves in the meal prep industry and making it even easier to eat healthy and fresh.
This is the story of Fresh In Your Fridge with Erika Weissenborn.
Enjoy the show!
P.S. Erika has also been generous enough to share 5 simple and healing recipes straight from the company’s cookbook.
Have a Listen
Connect with Erika & Fresh in your Fridge
Disclaimer: Transcripts are prepared by a transcription service. Refer to full video above for exact wording.
Caspar Szulc: 00:22
I’d like to start this episode by posing the question of what does diet and food mean to you and what’s your relationship with it? Honestly, how many of us these days have the time to prepare every single meal with fresh ingredients and cook something delicious and truly nutritious? And you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t cook. According to a Nielsen study, the total amount of money spent on eating out has risen 94% since 2003. Want to hear something even more alarming? The average dinner time 60 years ago was 90 minutes. Today it’s just 12. I think you could say that for most of us, our relationship with food has greatly soured and it’s a reason we’re sicker than ever. One person that really knows something about the detrimental effects of a poor relationship with food is Erica Weissenborn. She got into nutrition after being very ill as a teenager and young adult and her appreciation for food blossom as she was able to heal herself with it. It continued as she started a company to address the problem many have with food taking the idea of meal service to a whole new level. This is a story of Fresh in Your Fridge. Enjoy.
Well, thank you for being here. And you sent over some stuff before we got started. One of the things that hit me was that you grew up in a place that I consider one of the most beautiful places in the world. And I say that totally honestly because I think the West Coast of Canada, you said just North of Vancouver, correct? It really is an awesome place. So tell me, because you grew up there and before you even started the company that we’re going to get into, which is why you’re on this show and really interesting. What was it like? What was your childhood like growing up there and what were some of the things you experienced that led you into what you’re doing now?
Erika Weissenborn: 02:13
Yeah. I think the older you get, you start to see your life path. Like it all, everything fits together. And the reason you’ve done certain things, it does go back to childhood. So, growing up on the sunshine coast, have you been there specifically?
Caspar Szulc: 02:28
I haven’t actually been to the sunshine coast per se, but I’ve spent a lot of time in Vancouver. Whistler, yes. Beautiful.
Erika Weissenborn: 02:37
Yeah. So just for those who are listening, it’s like a little peninsula that you have to take a ferry to from West Vancouver. And growing up there was, I mean, I didn’t know anything different, so at the time I took it all for granted, but it was beautiful. We spent a lot of time outside. And I think there was sort of more people call it crunchy or granola type communities, so more of, it wasn’t super hippy, but it sort of had that vibe more natural. There were more organics being talked about, which I think was quite foreign at times still. And my mom kind of grew up in the, in a diet for a small planet era. So we ate lots of vegetarian and lots of home cooking and all of those types of things. So I think that really sort of played into just having that as an underpinning of my belief system even as a kid. And we also got into lots of trouble too.
Caspar Szulc: 03:39
I could imagine it goes hand-in-hand, when you live in nature, you still get in trouble. It’s not like you’re this perfect, you grew up there, but you also, you said that you had some illnesses and, and basically some struggles as a child, even in this natural environment. So could you go into that a little bit more?
Erika Weissenborn: 04:01
Yeah, for sure. So in hindsight, I think a big part of it was probably just going into puberty and all the changes that are happening in your body then. But it felt like more than that. And it did continue through my teenage hood. I had a lot of digestive distress to the point where it was very much had just gotten in the way of living a normal sort of teenage life and a lot of anxiety, very, very high anxiety. And luckily I had a mother who was very supportive and very sort of interested in natural healing, but I didn’t, we just didn’t have, I don’t know. Like it wasn’t, it wasn’t the done thing really to like go see a naturopath or like really dive into it. So I did go to the health food store and we did little things, but for the most part, I feel like through those years, which were really hard for me as a young person. I did get to know my body so much better and I started working on my nutrition before I knew anything about nutrition. I didn’t know anything and I just knew what worked for me and that I needed to pay attention to that. So while my friends were out drinking beer and eating pizza, I was trying to fit in, but sort of making sure that I had what I needed. And that’s what got me interested in everything.
Caspar Szulc: 05:29
And you went on from there and obviously you started feeling better after looking into your nutrition. You start to study that more. You went on to study at the University of British Columbia. I understand the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. That’s an interesting term in itself, right? Holistic nutrition. Can you go into that? And describe what does that mean and how does it differ from just the standard nutritional practices?
Erika Weissenborn: 05:55
Yeah, for sure. It’s still one of those terms I think that isn’t very readily understood. I mean very simply, I think I listened to you your first podcast a couple of days ago and you described sort of more naturopathic medicine and more alternative medicine. And it’s very similar, traditional nutrition would look at calories in, calories out, certain recommended dietary levels of like fiber and making sure you have all these sort of standardized levels, whereas holistic nutrition doesn’t have a super well-defined sort of scope, but it might take into consideration Ayurvedic medicine or traditional Chinese medicine or any other healing modalities. But sort of the underlying belief is looking at the body as a whole and even though someone is experiencing something with their nutrition, that might not be optimal. There’s so much, so many other factors. Does that play into it?
Caspar Szulc: 07:00
Absolutely. And if you heard in that first podcast, what my co-founder went into, how so many people do look at gut health and focus on that. And I kind of made the case that of course, it’s important. Gut health is aligned with health overall, your whole body, you can’t separate the gut. You can’t separate nutrition as one part. You know, it’s, it’s all interconnected and I think that’s the beautiful thing you’re using food and nutrition healing the whole body, mind, body, and spirit as well. And you’ve been doing this for a little while now and, and I know that many patients that try to get into nutrition and cooking have a very hard time doing it. They see nutrition more as what is the best, I would say item on a shelf that’s in a box that’s already made and ready to go. And this is going to probably lead into why you even started Fresh in Your Fridge, but tell me what does cooking at home mean to you?
Erika Weissenborn: 08:02
Oh, cooking at home, I love it. It’s so ingrained in, in my day to day and, and it’s sort of, sometimes I think of it as work or I think of it as a chore, but it’s really a beautiful way to nourish myself and nourish those around me. And I think it’s very ingrained in me. Like it’s sort of that nurturing side of me that it’s in my DNA that I have to do that. But when it comes down to it cooking at home, I forget who said this, it may have been Jamie Oliver, but he said anything you make yourself is going to be 10 times healthier than something you get out or get at the store or get in a box. Even if it’s like lasagna or chocolate chip cookies or something that is traditionally sort of unhealthy. Just because you’re making it at home, it’s so much better for you. So I think that’s really what it comes down to. And why it’s so important.
Caspar Szulc: 09:11
I love that because I think anything you create yourself, you’re putting certain energy of yourself into it. And then if you could take that back in and nourish yourself, it’s like you’ve been imbued a certain amount of love. They say, Oh of course when you’re cooking, you know that that love goes into it of a mother feeding her child or even anyone cooking something. It’s an art form and that’s love. That’s a passion for it. And I think that comes out the other end and absolutely is something that influences the end products, right. Of what you’re finally eating and nourishment is what keeps us alive. That’s what gives us energy.
On Cooking: “Even if you’re not making and most top-notch, healthy foods, there’s still an element of quality for sure.”
Erika Weissenborn: 09:47
Yeah. And even just things like the love part aside, and we actually kind of put that in our marketing is each of our meals is really made with love cause it’s made specifically for you. But aside from that also like cooking at home, even if you’re using butter, you’re using sugar, you’re using chocolate chips, all of those types of things that are, again, traditionally sort of unhealthy. It’s still better than having high glucose corn syrup and some sort of modified oil, like all the additives and preservatives that are used more in bulk or boxed cooking items. So yeah, when it comes down to it, even if you’re not making and most top-notch, healthy foods, there’s still an element of quality for sure.
Caspar Szulc 10:39
For sure. And I think a lot of people like to vilify certain items, right? And certain, you know, what should I be eating? And Oh my God, this has gluten or this has carbs. When you do it with love and you eat it with love as well, in gratitude, I think it’s so much better than having that restricted a diet where you’re vilifying things. You know, to go on with that whole idea of cooking. Why have people in general suddenly gone into this bad relationship? I would say with cooking and even food, in general, like I just said, you have a lot of negative connotations. You have a lot of opinions out there going around what’s right, what’s wrong. And I think it’s taken people out of the kitchen and into grocery stores and other places. What do you think led to that poor relationship we now have with our food and cooking?
Erika Weissenborn: 11:32
Yeah, there’s many factors of course. Well, I live in a city, I live in Vancouver. So a big piece of that is people focusing on their careers being really busy, not necessarily making the time for cooking. And I think another piece of it is that one, when someone thinks of cooking for themselves, it becomes a sort of over-complex, complicated job that, it’s like, Oh, I have to be cooking these recipes that take hours and hours when it could be as simple as like steaming some broccoli and cooking some quinoa, frying up some tofu or salmon or something like that, that could really take just about as quick as your Uber Eats or DoorDash to come to your house. And then I also think about our sort of parents’ era and I actually think a lot of them became disconnected from cooking because that was sort of when the convenience type foods started to come in. And so that’s sort of trickled down into the folks that are supposed to be in the kitchen now, it’s like they, they’re maybe a little bit more disconnected, just easy traditional cooking.
Caspar Szulc: 12:55
That’s a good answer because I do believe that as we’ve moved away from that traditional family lifestyle and always cooking everything and we made it so convenient to just get something and call it food and adjust it that we’ve changed their whole relationship with it. And I think that’s led to a lot of diseases and a lot of unhealthy habits. Now, an interesting fact about you, you spent some time in Eastern Africa. Tell me what did that teach you about Holistic nutrition?
Erika Weissenborn: 12:54
Yeah, so I lived in Uganda as part of my time at the University of British Columbia. I specialized in international nutrition and at that time. It’s interesting being out there. We were working with a population that doesn’t have a lot of resources. And we were working on a very sort of basic nutrition with that population. And the thing that I saw most was more in the family that I was living with and, and in some of the people that I was working with at the organization and really how much packaged foods and sort of that Western influence is negatively affecting populations cause they’re still sort of looking at wanting to adopt a lot of our habits and the products that we have. And so there’s sort of this disconnect at least when I was there 10 years ago between Part of the population is really struggling, doesn’t have enough food, doesn’t have proper food. And then the other side is, kids are starting to become obese, starting to develop diabetes, et cetera because there isn’t the education around sugar and Oreos and all of these packaged foods are looked at as sort of very coveted or cool or whatever. So that I think that’ll be the really challenging thing as those countries continue to develop and, and hopefully they don’t look at America in that way where they’re trying to take on those habits cause they’re not great.
Caspar Szulc: 15:09
Yeah. Unfortunately the westernized world, when it creeps into other places, you have westernized diseases, right as they call them, diabetes, hypertension and a whole host of really chronic conditions that you didn’t see before they were around. And when you had a more traditional lifestyle, I would say. And as far as even diet, cooking, spending the time to go every day to pick your food and cook it, eat as a family. You didn’t have those. And I spent a month also in Southern Africa on the Eastern Shore. And it’s true when you go into some of those cities, you see a lot of those boxes and you see like the Popeye’s there and KFC coming in.
Erika Weissenborn: 15:49
And it’s the worst stuff too. Not decently packaged food.
Caspar Szulc: 15:56
No, no, no. It is terrible. But then when you go in the rural areas outside of that, people are still picking their own. They’re still harvesting their own foods. They’re still cooking and families don’t see that much disease. You do sometimes famine and other things that must be addressed. But as far as those chronic conditions.
Erika Weissenborn: 16:15
Lifestyle diseases, yes.
Caspar Szulc: 16:20
So, you know, you experience all of that. You have this background in holistic nutrition. What finally led you five years ago to start this really cool endeavor, Fresh in Your Fridge? And you could also explain what that is because I know the foodservice, the whole market is a booming one, but it’s also a crowded one. You are able to differentiate it. So can you take us into what led you to start this company?
Erika Weissenborn: 16:45
For sure. I wish I had some grandiose vision of people always say oh, you must have been so passionate about cooking or something like that. But I really feel like the universe or whatever you want to call it was like shoving this on me. And I kept being like, no, no, no. And eventually, I was like, okay, this is what I need to do. So after I finished university and college, I had this sort of entrepreneurial spirit, it was also in my DNA. My mum has always had her own business and I think that was just sort of running in the back of my head. And so I wanted to start a nutritional practice and work with naturopaths. And that’s what I did for a good couple of years of working in more of a clinical setting.
And I had some friends who had asked me to just to help them with food. It was like the food kept coming to me versus more of the education and support in that capacity if that makes sense. People are like, Oh, can you actually come in and help me, cooking, making ’em, doing cooking lessons or come in and make the food for me. So it was kind of doing that on the side, try to round out the self-employment in the early years trying to make rent that way. And then this food aspect just kept growing and growing and growing and kind of pushing up the clinical aspect for me a little bit to the point where I couldn’t take on any more food work. And it was a good friend of mine who sort of partnered with me in the very beginning and helped me develop the idea of Fresh in Your Fridge that said, you’ve got to hire some people. This is clearly what you gotta go with the demand. This is what people are wanting. So that was five years ago. And so now I have a team of 15 and we’re cooking all over Vancouver and the lower mainland.
Caspar Szulc: 18:44
And could you go into that more about how you differentiate from Blue Apron? And of course, there’s the cooking part, but there’s a broader aspect of selecting fresh foods, right? Going in, cooking in the person’s apartment, leaving them freshly, that takes it to another level in my mind and I think is really cool. So could you share that?
Erika Weissenborn: 19:04
Yeah, it’s pretty neat. So essentially we act like personal chefs in a sense, but we usually come into our client’s homes once a week, week versus like every day. So we’re not for like the super-elite we’re more people that are, are wanting good food, don’t necessarily have the time to cook, don’t have the knowledge of how to take on a therapeutic diet or food sensitivities or something like that. But they can’t also afford a personal chef to come in every day and cut their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So the way that we work is everyone on the team is a holistic nutritionist, so they have a year-long training in food nutrition, some culinary arts. Most of them are trained chefs as well. And we do a full intake with our clients. So we get all of their dietary information. Maybe they’ve been to a naturopathic doctor or a conventional doctor that’s prescribed them some sort of diet to work on their gut or their health in some way and they don’t know how to take it on. So then we’re able to make a meal plan for them. We go do all the grocery shopping and then we come into their home for one day of the week, usually about three to five hours, do a bunch of prep cooking. Mmm. And then leave everything in their fridge and freezer for them to have throughout the week.
Caspar Szulc: 20:34
And is that usually dinner or is it a few meals a day? How does that work?
Erika Weissenborn: 20:40
It really depends on our clients. For an individual, we’ll usually make lunch and dinner throughout the workweek. For families, usually, it’s dinners and some snacks for the kids. We customize everything in that capacity as well. We have five different price points that we sort of try to fit each of our clients into. But most people get dinners. That’s where people typically want the most help. And then snacks, breakfast, lunch or it really depends on who we’re working with. And you mentioned, Blue Apron and all of those services. Of course, we have different ones here in Vancouver, but there’s so many of them. I really can’t keep track and I don’t really see them as competition. I see it as support for us because we do things so differently. We don’t do any delivery, we don’t do any standard cooking. Everything is for the client. Each of our clients is very well looked after in a very customized way. So it’s actually helped our business I think. Cause people try something like the Fresh Prep and then it doesn’t work for them or they’re not able to customize enough and then they’ll look for us. And the other thing that I’m really proud of is a lot of those services rely heavily on plastics too, to wrap all the foods. And some of them are recyclable, but none of them are reusable. And we are able to eliminate 95% of that.
Caspar Szulc: 22:16
That’s huge because I was recently at a Food Tank event and Blue Apron was there and, and really, they’re very much so in the logistics. Not into the food as much as getting it there and shipping things and you know, they’re trying to be eco-friendly but it’s very hard. You’re shipping things across the country sometimes. You gotta use a lot of different substances, keep it cold to do that. So having this as is actually a much better model I have to say. And I love that I read that you’re bridging the gap between personal chef and nutritionist, which is a wonderful thing. So it is a totally different market than most of what’s out there. You’re a nutritionist, you’re cooking all the time. Is there a favorite diet that you go to because ketogenic, intermittent fasting in all of that is out there, lots of different ideas and opinions. Do you focus at all on any singular diet or is it more about the quality?
Erika Weissenborn: 23:17
Myself personally or in the business?
Caspar Szulc: 23:21
Let’s go with both personally first and then in the business.
Erika Weissenborn: 23:24
Okay. So in the business, we focus on, I would say overall an anti-inflammatory type diet. So when we’re talking to our clients right off the bat, we don’t say it’s all gluten-free and it’s all dairy-free, but we say we use very little of those things. And that’s where we look for their guidance. So most people are avoiding one of them, one or the other of those. Either they can’t digest the lactose or they feel better when they’re not eating gluten or whichever. So we work with that. We don’t use any refined sugars. So we’re sweetening things with honey or dates or coconut sugar or something like that. And then the animal products that we use if we use them, are very high quality. So I would say it’s anti-inflammatory. I used to say sort of like a modified paleo almost, but we do use lots of grains for a lot of our clients and we have such a gamut of diets, like everything from more raw and vegan to like ketogenic and lots of FODMAPs and lots gluten-free and sort of everything in between, so standardly anti-inflammatory, but we can modify that in any way.
Caspar Szulc: 24:45
Got it, got it. And are you looking seasonally as well? What’s in season versus, and local is that incorporated into the model?
Erika Weissenborn: 24:54
Definitely. Yeah, especially in the vegetable department and some of the fish, sometimes we layout our menus for our clients, but sometimes we’ll do sort of what’s the freshest fish at the fish store for you? And especially when we know our clients a bit better, we know their taste preferences and they’d be okay with that.
Caspar Szulc: 25:17
I have to say that’s really cool because a lot of the patients we speak to are already inundated with too much information. For them to go in and then understand, sure, this is seasonal, but which one, which one is freshest? All these things, that’s very difficult and that’s very important. You just choose anything and think it’s going to be the freshest or it’s going to have the most nutritional value. You have to be educated in these things and overwhelming it does. And I think that’s one of the things that stop people from cooking, eating well or even taking action to take control of their health in a way where they’re responsible. It’s very easy to take a pill when you’re overwhelmed. Just say, all right, symptoms subside. We’re good. I don’t need to be overwhelmed with what to eat, how to cook, spend more time on this. But it’s critically important because health is so vital for us. So I think that’s very cool that you’re doing and going in and taking that off their plate because they already have such little energy. It should really be towards healing, just taking in the nutrition, focusing on themselves.
Erika Weissenborn: 26:22
Yeah, if I might interject during my whole health journey it was when I was around 21 that I kind of hit rock bottom in some ways and that’s when I really dove into naturopathic medicine and et cetera, et cetera. And I did a food sensitivity panel and found out I was allergic to everything I was eating. And I remember, and this I had already, I already had a nutrition degree. Mind you, it was more standard, classic nutrition. It wasn’t holistic, but I was definitely in the food world and I remember going to Whole Foods and I broke down like I started crying then in the aisle, cause I didn’t know what to eat. I didn’t, I just had no idea. So I can imagine, for the layperson, let’s say just how conflicting that would be, especially if I have a family, right. And trying to feed everyone.
Caspar Szulc: 27:25
You brought up food allergies and that’s becoming a bigger and bigger issue. Sensitivities of course. And now you have celiac and gluten and so many things that are coming about. And I think more children than ever have some sort of food allergy and it’s almost out of control. What are your personal thoughts on what can contribute to food allergies?
“Is gluten bad? Is dairy bad? Is soy bad? And my honest answer is, in its purest form, no. And anything that comes from nature I don’t think is bad. But if we’re eating it excessively and if we’re eating it in a way where the body doesn’t understand it, then, of course, our body is going to kind of say, wait, what’s this?”
Erika Weissenborn: 27:46
I really believe it’s from a couple of different things. Eating foods that are modified, like a common question I get is, is gluten bad? Is dairy bad? Is soy bad? And my honest answer is, in its purest form, no. And anything that comes from nature I don’t think is bad. But if we’re eating it excessively and if we’re eating it in a way where the body doesn’t understand it, then, of course, our body is going to kind of say, wait, what’s this? I don’t quite know what’s going on here. So I believe that’s why our body develops allergies, sensitivities at least, or aversions to certain things. And then also eating things in a rush and eating things when you’re emotionally distraught or having a poor relationship with food from more of a body image or societal sense. We’re always telling our body what to do and I think if we’re eating in that state, it’s not good. It’s very common.
Caspar Szulc: 29:06
Agreed and I love that you brought that up because I was just speaking with a doctor not long ago and kind of going into this about why because of course the food supply has changed greatly, but it has to be something more, and I think this is something we discussed was the dynamic of what the dinner table even looks like anymore. For most children, it’s the couch and the TV on and sometimes it’s even with stressful things on, violent things, everything that can trigger an emotional response while you’re eating a substance that a child then associates with a traumatic experience. So next time they have that substance, they trigger an allergic response. It was an interesting talk and it was one of those because I look at my friends with children and my brother, others and how they eat and many of them are on the run or doing something or sometimes there’s yelling going on or the parents have a fight and you see the child having a reaction while he’s eating something that can actually lead to it. Cause so many children at certain ages, it just comes out of nowhere and it’s never out of nowhere. The human body is amazing at compensating and then being able to take in all these things. But you know, I, I think it’s what you said, it’s, it’s the actual food supply that things we’re eating, of course, aren’t the same, but it’s also how we’re doing it. And not to sit there in a peaceful environment, TV off, appreciating the food. Chewing slowly. Chewing is a big one. That’s something, yeah. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Viva Mera diet. But basically it’s, it’s this Austrian doctor that started it.
Caspar Szulc: 30:48
And part of it is that you have to chew your food like 30 to 50 it has to be complete and mush before you even take a swallow. So you’re chewing for like a minute and people find it crazy. But it’s true. That’s your first point of digestion. And if you take like just two bites and swallow the whole thing, you’re asking for it. So so much of it is how you eat. And I think what something like Fresh in Your Fridge is doing is giving you the time back to actually enjoy the food. Because a lot of times you’re going to be working long hours. We work more than we ever had. We’re stressed more than we ever have. We get back, we cook, and then we get to eat that fast before we have to do the next thing. So even when we do cook, we’re losing the time, we’re eating it wrong. So that’s pretty cool that you’re able to give people actually their time back.
Erika Weissenborn: 31:39
We’ve had some really wonderful testimonials from families that have just said like, Oh, I can like take my kids to the park after work now and spend time with them and it’s not this mad dash. So that’s been really rewarding for me.
Caspar Szulc: 31:51
I can imagine. What’s a common myth that you hear about meal prep?
Erika Weissenborn: 31:57
A common myth. Meaning when people are prepping their own food or?
Caspar Szulc: 32:03
I would say, let’s stick to that it’s maybe too expensive that it can’t be done where I’ll eat it and it isn’t fresh. What, would you say, are some of the pushback maybe you’ve heard?
Erika Weissenborn: 32:17
I don’t know if this is a myth per se, but I feel like a lot of folks will equate meal prep, like the look at a service like ours or any of the other delivery services. And they’ll say, well, if that’s around a similar price to doing DoorDash or Uber Eats or I’m not sure what the services there are for you, but I’m sure it’s similar. And, so not really understanding the difference in quality, prepping that food for yourself or having someone else prep it for you or whichever is accessible for you versus, you can still get the sandwich for $7 or whatever. So it’s less than what you’d be paying to prep your own food or have someone else do it for you. But really even in higher-end restaurants, the quality of oils, the quality of sugars, the preservatives that are used, it may even look like something that’s sort of healthy, but it never equates to having something pre[[ed and I think ready and it might not be as exciting either. But the quality is so much better if that makes sense.
Caspar Szulc: 33:29
Absolutely. And I always say quality determines results all across the board. It doesn’t matter if it’s a medicine or your TV, right. The quality of the picture you’re watching or that that’s going to change your experience of watching it. You know, one of the things we tell patients, and I say we, I mean the Medical Center, the doctors I work with all over is that you have to watch how you use your leftovers. Because a lot of people cook things and they cook it for the week, let’s say. And they leave it out maybe a little while. They put it in the fridge, they reheat, put it back, reheat it, put it back. And we know that there are so many things that can go wrong with that as far as pathogens. Bacteria can grow quite quickly and we actually try and tell patients not to use leftovers after 24 hours or so. Definitely don’t microwave reheat, then put back in the fridge, go back and forth. What would you say is your opinion on that? Of course. And how does Fresh in Your Fridge go about that? Cause you’re coming in once a week cooking this and then that’s your week’s worth of food. So what’s your take on that?
Erika Weissenborn: 34:49
I’m glad you brought this up. It is something that we struggle with a little bit. It’s not a perfect system. And for clients that are working more on a therapeutic diet or a really watching their levels of mold or bacteria, just reducing histamines or anything like that we will take extra precaution, so we’ll freeze most of their meals. It’s an extra step for them. They then have to frost it and heat it up, but we’d also individually portion it. So it’s like they’re only taking that out. They’re only warming that up and then they’re having it. And then other than that, we kind of give a shelf life of, of three days for like more standardized clients. So either we’re helping them for three days plus frozen meals or we’re coming in twice a week for four clients that want more of a full spectrum. Yeah, it’s not perfect. I wish we could come in every meal and cook for our clients, but again, we’re not trying to hit that Intel necessarily. We’re looking for people that need something more accessible and affordable. So those are the things that we use. We use freezing, we try to package the food really properly and package them individually so they are not needing to reheat and then put back and all of those types of things. And I’m sure some of our clients don’t do that. Yeah, no, I totally agree.
Caspar Szulc: 36:27
Well, listen, in a perfect world, everyone would have the time and ability to cook fresh things every day and sit around and lovingly say grace and eat that. But you’re right, it’s not a perfect world. We all live in a pretty hectic world. And I think it’s a great step towards getting to a much better place with your service and doing that and getting that into their homes and eating that way. So what are some of your favorite cooking or even let’s say, cooking health products that you could share with the audience so that they have something. And honestly, you could go off the bat hearing, get out of cooking and say this is something I love to use for health.
Erika Weissenborn: 37:06
I was thinking when you asked me to do this podcast, I obviously am trained in nutrition. I was a clinical nutritionist for many years and I’ve worked on so many things for myself. So supplements and all these like alternative health products were very much a huge part of my life. And recently my health has been very good. My digestion is very good and I’ve gotten more into like the culinary aspect of cooking versus like the super alternative, more alternative, more raw foods, more paleo type things. So I am actually at this point where I am eating gluten, I am eating dairy. I’m kind of eating a whole gamut and I’m just really amazed at the quality and how that makes such a difference and like, and how I feel okay when I’m eating. All of these things that are sort of more traditionally he’s shunned or looked down upon in my world at least. But if you’re doing them in a way that’s very mindful just using really high quality that it makes such a difference. So I’ll give you two different realms when it comes to cooking and more of the culinary aspects. I love a book called The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt. Do you know that book?
Caspar Szulc: 38:34
I’m not familiar. No.
Erika Weissenborn: 38:36
Okay. It’s like a Bible. It’s huge. It’s massive. It’s 700 pages or something and it’s all great, culinary science. And he just has amazing recipes, he’s just so obsessed with how to cook. And the sort of the science and the art of cooking. So I’m getting more into that side of things. I also, of course, love Salt Fat Acid Heat by Moresat. I don’t know how to pronounce the name. Samin Moserat. If you’ve seen Netflix, she uses lots of salt, she uses lots of butter so maybe not traditionally realistic, but I’m someone who’s actually okay. Been really restricted in what I can eat for so long. So I’m very much enjoying feeling good, eating very good quality food and playing around with that. And then from a health perspective, I will say, I haven’t been doing as many supplements and all of that as of late just because I’ve been on a good health path in the past couple of years. But just as a reminder for people, I’m always so amazed by the power of tinctures and have been using those more recently, both for digestion and I’ve been using licorice for adrenals and a part of me sort of, will dismiss something like that cause it’s it just seems so simple, but I always find such amazing results from doing tinctures.
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Caspar Szulc: 40:20
Yeah, it’s, it’s almost like the essence of natural things that you could apply in nature does give us everything. You know, I always state that it, what is it? 70 80% of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived first and foremost from plant constituents. So, you know, it always comes from there.
Erika Weissenborn: 40:35
Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is a hot tip I had from one of my herbal medicine instructors. But if I do this at night a lot, if you’re making a tea, like an herbal tea and you put the tincture in it, it gives it like it honestly, it’s like a cocktail tiny like it’s like stronger and it has that little tiny bit of alcohol. And it’s like I have that at night and it’s kind of nice.
Caspar Szulc: 41:02
I like that. Yeah, that is a good tip. You know, we’re not advising you to drink every night, but we are advising ways to pretend like you are basically mimicking it. That’s pretty funny. I wanted to backtrack a little bit because you are saying now you’re eating kind of all over again. But before when you were ill, you couldn’t right? It wasn’t something you could do. I’m sure a lot of patients who may be struggling so many, you know, even patients who aren’t looking for medical treatment are struggling with GI symptoms now, whether it’s CBO or just some kind of inflammation, gastritis, even little things that aren’t necessarily chronic conditions that you go in for real medical treatment. But again, it’s something that I’ve seen almost everyone struggles with. What were your tips to get from where you were very restricted to where you are now? Is there something you could look back on and be like you know, start year, do this and you’ll be here? You’ll end up like me.
Erika Weissenborn: 42:03
Yeah. Do I know the absolute science of everything? No, but in my experience, I didn’t half-ass it, you know? I really knew what I had to cut out. I knew how I had to eat and I really did that for two and a half years. And of course, I was doing many other things before that and after that. But it was like, I really did feel like I reset my food sensitivities and my digestion of really committing to one of the things I couldn’t eat was garlic as an example. And why that was, I don’t know. But I really work to, I really stuck with it and I really do believe like that’s why I’m not affected by those things now because our body can reset and it can heal itself and if we’re kind of like, Oh, I shouldn’t have that, but I’ll have it once in a while. It doesn’t quite work in the same way, I don’t believe. So as challenging as it is, and of course, I was in a bit of a dire situation. So for those who, aren’t as affected by it, I can see it would be challenging to be so rigorous with something like that. But I really do believe that was a big part of how I healed myself. And then the emotional gamut, of course, is a whole other ballgame, which is also I think very very important in digestive health.
Caspar Szulc: 43:38
Oh, absolutely. That gut-brain, the connection there is so interesting to me. And how do you think food impacts mood and perspective?
Erika Weissenborn: 43:51
Mood and perspective? Well, mood is so obvious, isn’t it? If I have dinner late, it’s like all of a sudden I’m like crazy blood sugar and stuff still going on. I think it’s really important for people start to become more aware of how food does affect them because it’s different for everyone. But if you’re relying on caffeine or you’re relying on refined foods to feel better in that moment, how does that make you feel later in the day? It’s incredible how it affects you. And that’s only on a day to day level. If we look at more long term and we’re looking at brain chemistry and all of those things it’s incredible, right? The anxiety that can come up and depression. And different things like that. On a day to day level it definitely affects and then long term we’re creating issues if we’re eating refined products. And what was the other part of your question? Oh, food and or mood and perspective.
Caspar Szulc: 45:05
Perspective as well. Yeah.
Erika Weissenborn: 45:07
What do you mean by perspective?
Caspar Szulc: 45:09
I mean just your perspective on things. I see a lot of people that eat poorly and I think it affects, I mean mood and perspective are so interlinked, but it affects how I’m there. Even seeing certain things like their purpose, other things view become a little bit depressed because of food. And I even saw a recent study that was showing certain probiotic strains are directly related to depression. So if you’re low in certain strains of what’s in your gut flora microbiome, then you’re more prone to depressive states. And if you had a more healthy soil in your gut health and that terrain, then you usually have a better attitude and a better attitude leads to a better perspective on life and even more positivity. And that just triggers a whole array of positive reactions within the body.
Erika Weissenborn: 45:59
Absolutely. Something else I wanted to say about perspective, and this is not my thought and I wish I knew who it was from, but it really landed for me was a lot of folks are trying to get healthy and be healthy, but they also have this weight loss component and those are conflicting all of the time. Cause it’s like I’m trying to eat healthy but then I’m trying to do this weight and it’s almost like these two balls that they’re trying to juggle. And the idea that I heard was you need to focus, you can’t do both at the same time. Naturally, they happen at the same time but just focus on health first. And then, maybe do that afterward. But if that makes sense from the perspective component, that’s what I really see as sort of like, well, should I be eating these things that are Mmm, healthier for me but they’re high in calories or something like that. It’s like so many conflicts messages and perspectives and goals. Just do one, just do one goal at a time, and the rest will fall away. Maybe you can focus on one, wait more specifically afterward, but I think like it’s so important to be healthy before you try to work on.
Caspar Szulc 47:24
Oh, for sure. You know, I’m happy you said that because so many patients out there, they kind of place, like you said, weight loss is part of their healing, but it’s really not because it’s shifting their priority, what they need to be doing. And I think what you said before, it’s about priority and patients that got you to where you are and has helped you now be able to get past any health issues and eat naturally and everything. So I think it’s really awesome that you brought that up because it is about what you’re going to prioritize. And if you’re going to prioritize the whole healing of everything, that’s what you need to do. Don’t worry about weight loss. It will come. That’ll come exactly. I see that dog back there and maybe that’s a good time. That’s like five minutes, right? We have five minutes left.
Erika Weissenborn: 48:15
She actually just came in for, she was on a walk, so we were trying to sneakily bring her.
Caspar Szulc: 48:21
Awesome. And that’s your new pup, right?
Erika Weissenborn: 48:25
Yeah, I’ve had her for about a year.
Caspar Szulc: 48:27
I love it. Okay. So let’s wrap things up a little bit. So tell us what is next for Fresh in Your Fridge? Are you looking to expand? Cause I don’t know if there’s anything like this in New York, but I want it. Are you looking to expand? I know you’re doing a course and instructing things, so you’ve got a lot going on. Share that with us.
Erika Weissenborn: 48:52
Yeah. I teach at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, so I’ve taught there for about five years as well. I taught comparative diets there and now I teach for a part of professional practice, which is how to start your practice and sort of more the business side of things. And then for Fresh in Your Fridge. It only grows as quickly as I do. And I know you have experience with this from growing Innovative Medicine and I’m sure all the iterations have taken, how long has it been?
Caspar Szulc: 49:26
It’s been 15 years now. Yeah, probably 15 iterations.
Erika Weissenborn: 49:26
Yeah. So I started when I was 26 and knew nothing really about business and now I feel like I have a good sense of it, but there’s still so much more to learn. So I’m not looking to blow it up so quickly that it doesn’t keep the core, the roots of everything. Cause right now it’s great. We’ve got a great team. There’s enough money, it’s growing slowly and organically, which I appreciate. I think we have more work to do here in Vancouver to really tighten up the service and have everyone that needs to know about us, know about us. And then I’d love to expand. I’d love to go, my original thought was Toronto. I’ve had a friend who’s thought of New York as well or the Bay area.
Caspar Szulc: 50:28
You’ve got a vote here for New York.
Erika Weissenborn: 50:30
Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, I think it’s a great idea and there aren’t a lot of other people that are doing it. I think that in every city there are holistic nutritionists or chefs that you can hire to come in and do this type of thing. I’m just trying to scale it a little bit more than that. So yeah, that’s the goal. And when I started Fresh in Your Fridge, I was trying to do so many things at once, trying to do the coaching and consulting and the meal prep and catering and online courses. And I’ve kind of really scaled all that back to just doing whole meal preparation and that’s about it. But I would like to open that up again and maybe do more recipe eBooks and meal plans for those who specifically are on therapeutic diets and need more individualized support in that way.
Caspar Szulc: 51:25
Well, I look forward to all of that and I understand everything happens at the right time. And you gotta be good with that too. Just like with anyone, you have to be patient with business and life. You have to be patient with these things and don’t push it. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job there and, and I wish you all the best with the growth and everything else. So where can people learn more about you? Fresh in Your Fridge? Where do you want to direct them?
Erika Weissenborn: 51:49
Yeah, freshinyourfridge.com is great, we got our website redone last year and I’m very proud of it. If you want to check us out on Instagram or at freshmaninyourfridge.com and my personal account, we can link to it, but it’s @EricaWeissenborn.
Caspar Szulc: 52:09
We’ll spell it out for you and we’ll send this out. We’ll put all your links on. So definitely check out the website. Innovative medicine
Erika Weissenborn: 52:15
I’m going to take a selfie while we’re on here so I can post it on Instagram.
Caspar Szulc: 52:21
Look at you – social savvy. I love it. Cross promoting. Thank you and we’ll do the same. Don’t worry. But thank you so much Erika, for all of this. It was really insightful and for everyone listening, go to freshinyourfridge.com. Learn more about it and learn more about food and you know, tighten up that relationship with food. It’s not a negative thing. You don’t have to think that poorly about it. It’s, it’s the thing that nourishes you and that’s the thing you really want to focus on or prioritize. And I think Erica gave us tons of tips today, so thank you again, Erika.
Erika Weissenborn: 52:57
Quality, quality, quality. That’s the name of the game. Yeah, totally. Thank you so much, Caspar. It was wonderful to talk to you.
Caspar Szulc: 53:10
One day for sure. You’re always invited to the center. And if I make it out to the most beautiful part, I think of, of all of Canada and maybe the world, I’ll definitely reach out. Well, thanks again.
Caspar Szulc 53:26
I’m really glad Erica ended on that note, because it’s something that at Innovative Medicine we’ve been hitting on for years. Quality determines results. Eric has been kind enough to provide us with five simple and healing recipes from fresh in your fridge that we posted on the website, so be sure to check that out. InnovativeMedicine.com until next time, continue healing and writing your own story.
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