One of my all time favourite healthy meal prep companies Agnosante has just moved to a new kitchen, revamped their menu (which includes launching both breakfast and a new kids menu), and has hired a nutritionist on staff, Patrick Owen. Hiring a full time nutritionist was a very strategic move on the part of Alexandros Bakakis, founder of Agnosante as well as certified personal trainer and naturopath. As a meal prep company that is based on feeding their clients the top nutrition to fuel their busy lives, a nutritionist gives peace of mind and reasurance in your diet decisions.
I sat down with Patrick to ask him a few questions on how he got involved with Agnosante and what makes this company different than others.
Tell us a bit about your background and why you decided to go into nutrition?
I began my academic career in ethnobotany - the study of plants used by traditional people - and traveled to Tibet, Papua New Guinea, and northern Canada to investigate the efficacy of medicinal plants on chronic disease. I transitioned into the field of nutrition pretty naturally, since the distinction between food and medicine is very nuanced among traditional cultures. In each of these places however, I observed a dietary pattern that often contradicted what I had learned in school. Contrary to Canada's Food Guide, they either ate too much fat, too much meat, too much salt, or not enough fruits and vegetables. Yet, among those who followed a traditional diet, the incidence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer was practically non-existent.
I had become fascinated with the evolution of the human diet and set out to find the best ways to eat, sleep, move and live in accordance with the way our body’s were designed. I’m the guy who will help you figure out where you went off track and guide you back to the way nature intended!
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, how does AgnoSante work?
What makes AgnoSante unique among meal-delivery companies is their emphasis on whole foods that are designed to promote optimal human health using an evolutionary, functional model. The beef is grass-fed, the fish is wild-caught, the vegetables are organic, and the meals are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and non-GMO. These are the kinds of foods our great-grandparents used to eat and what our ancestors thrived on. It brings nutrition back to its roots: simple, unprocessed, nutritious and health-promoting. In today’s hectic world, many of us don’t have the time to buy groceries or cook. Agnosante ensures that you get the best nutrition possible in the most convenient way possible: by walking right up to your doorstep and handing you your custom-portioned meals.
What makes AgnoSante special?
AgnoSante makes nutrition simple, not only in the way the meals are designed, but in the way the meals are delivered. Convenience is definitely not something we equate with wholesome home cooking. I encourage my clients to prepare their meals ahead of time and store them in Tupperware containers to make sure that they stick to their nutrition plan. The truth is however, that many people don’t have the time to go grocery shopping and cook their own food, or they simply don’t know HOW to cook. One of the hardest things to do is to change someone’s dietary habit. With AgnoSante, you don’t need to learn how to cook, how to meal prep, or how to read nutrition labels on foods. They take all the guesswork out of the equation and deliver your fresh, homemade meals right to your home or workplace, twice a week. Even better, they provide meals with different portions of protein to help you achieve your health goals, whether it’s to lose fat or pack on muscle.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception about a healthy lifestyle and how does AgnoSante reconcile that misconception?
The biggest misconception, in my opinion, is that dietary fat makes you fat. Many of us accept that avocado, olive oil and coconut oil are healthy since they come from plants. But as a species, we’ve thrived on wild game, fish and seafood. The type of fat is also important. Industrial vegetable oils like margarine, corn, soybean, cottonseed, and canola are a recent introduction to the human diet and are associated with an increase in the development of inflammatory disorders. Farm animals that are fed grains and corn instead of grass develop a fatty acid profile that also promotes inflammation.
AgnoSante recognizes the importance of dietary fat in the proper functioning of our nervous system, our hormone balance, our digestive health, and our energy metabolism. They’ve chosen to use grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish which are naturally higher in healthy omega-3 fats and lower in pro-inflammatory omega-6. They also avoid using cheap vegetable oils like soy and corn oil. They’re choice of dietary fats is only one of the many aspects of AgnoSante that I love.
What are some of your biggest success stories from your services at AgnoSante?
AgnoSante and I can talk about nutrition and health until we’re blue in the face. While people might be interested in becoming more knowledgable, what they really want is to put that knowledge into action. My clients want to know what to eat, how much to eat, and how frequently they should eat. With AgnoSante, all I need to know is a person’s portion size and the rest is easy. It’s guaranteed success. My clients have achieved significant fat loss by regularly using AgnoSante’s services. If you leave the guesswork up to us, all we need for you to do is eat. We’ll make sure you get the right amount of food, the right portion sizes and the right snacks you need to reach your health goals.
Why do you think adding a nutritionist (nutrition expert) on to the Agno team is crucial?
Agnosante is invested in the health of their clients and knows that wellness goes beyond nutrition. Other lifestyle factors such as sleep, stress management, and exercise have a profound impact on health. By adding a functional nutrition expert, AgnoSante provides a one-stop-shop for a person’s entire health needs. Along with a customized meal delivery service, you can expect to get helpful lifestyle strategies on ways to get better sleep, beat cravings, and stave off fatigue.
A functional nutrition expert can also help identify potentially problematic foods and ensure that AgnoSante meals are catered to a person’s specific needs. Not everyone can digest foods like broccoli, cabbage, or beans. Customization is therefore an important part of AgnoSante’s strategy to help as many people as they can.
Sweet or Salty? Ugh. Sweet.
Breakfast or Dinner? Breakfast. At every meal if it were up to me.
Drink of Choice: Coffee. Extra black, extra bitter and extra no sugar.
Cheat Meal: Sushi. And a profound weakness for anything that contains chocolate and peanut butter together.
Food you eat everyday: Eggs. In any style and from any bird.
Go-to Healthy Recipe: Grilled salmon and blueberries with asparagus. This would be my final meal if I were on death row.