After briefly meeting Jared Koch, the creator and co-author of Clean Plates, I was thrilled to sit down with him for an official Behind the Kitchen interview. As a fellow alum of the University of Michigan, Jared has since achieved quite a lot of success since his years in Ann Arbor. He is a nutritional consultant, a health coach certified by the Teachers College of Columbia University, The Global Institute for Alternative Medicine, as well as the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jared is passionate about living a healthy life and is committed to helping New Yorkers to do the same. Read on to learn more about Clean Plates, what’s currently trending in the health world, and advice on how you can be your healthiest self in this food loving city.

Clean Plates

Before we discuss Clean Plates and NYC, we must give a shout out to our Alma Mater, Go Blue! How did your experience there spark your interest in health and nutrition?

While a sophomore at Michigan I decided I wanted to be a doctor (so I thought at the time) and took all my pre-med courses starting the summer before my junior year and all through my junior year. I really liked the science courses (hard to believe, I know), especially biology and learning about the human body. Our bodies are truly amazing. We are just beginning to understand how they are impacted by food and nutrition so it continues to be a fascinating subject to me.

How interesting! So you took that fascination and created Clean Plates. Could you briefly sum up Clean Plates for our readers?

I’d say the overall mission is to find the best of this healthy lifestyle and share it with our readers. We look for the best products, information and restaurants for our audience. The three things we focus on are health, sustainability, and taste. And most importantly, we try to make it easy for people to make informed choices when it comes to being healthy.

That’s wonderful. What were some challenges of starting Clean Plates?

With a small team and limited resources, it was of course spreading the word and awareness of what we were creating. Through many different avenues, social media, partnerships with other wellness companies, public speaking, etc., we gradually got the word out.

Clean Plates started around 2011. How have you seen the health landscape of the city change over the years?

More supply and more demand. Overall, more are interested in a healthy lifestyle and finding ways to live one. I see more organic, more paleo, just more and more across the board. It’s simply becoming the lifestyle people are wanting to embrace. And it’s become even easier for New Yorkers, because they don’t have to sacrifice taste for health, as some of the city’s best chefs are doing it too.

Exciting! It’s great to hear that the healthy lifestyle is becoming trendier here in NYC. How would you compare NYC to LA, which also has a Clean Plates guide?

Health and wellness is more pervasive in the LA culture and the mindset, and it has been for a while. The vegan, juicing, raw foods communities originated there and now we see New York catching up on that. I’d say the reverse is true with farm to table. We’re seeing New York more concerned with the sourcing of meats and vegetables and now that idea is catching on in LA.

Why is this farm to table concept trending now?

Our society has been so conditioned to the importance of calorie mindset, and they are important and do matter, but they’re not the whole picture. There’s more to what you’re eating than the calories. The farm to table concept instead focuses on the quality of ingredients over calories, which is finally gaining attraction in society.

In general, what advice would you give to New Yorkers who are trying to be healthy?

Find things you love eating that all happen to be good for you. Also, don’t look around you and try to copy what works for other people, because it’ll be different for everyone. Find what works for you. But don’t try and be perfect, just enjoy life. And use Clean Plates!

For more information on Clean Plates, please follow this link

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About The Author

Profile photo of Julie
Healthy Eater

Southern girl at heart, minus the fried food. Fresh on the NY food scene, hungry for a healthy way to live in this food capital.