Chef To The Stars – Holistic Nutritionist – Exercise Coach
I started cooking at the age of 16 at Montgomery Inn East. I did the steak and potatoes circuit for a while, working my way up to lead the corporate chain kitchens. Honestly, I stayed in the restaurant industry originally because it offered flexible hours so I could still play shows with my band and rehearse every week. It seemed to come easy to me and I could handle the heat (temperature and high stress), so why not stick with it?
I learned all of the basics of American cuisine and how to run a kitchen and manage employees, but my creative outlet was not happy. I worked at a few smaller, more interesting, family owned places such as Mill Street Manor and Essencha Tea house, where creativity was welcomed, and where the chefs all learned new and exciting things from each other, and cooking finally became a passion of mine around this time. I still didn’t see it as a career, though, more like a hobby that I practiced often at home. Music was still my #1 choice, and at the time, my band Noctaluca was the closest I had ever been to finally “making it” in the over saturated rock music genre.
“But what if we don’t make it?” I thought. The idea of a conventional “career” always seemed foreign to me for some reason. The over-arching theme of creativity in my life, instilled by world class father, child psychologist, and former Director of Operations of HealthSavor, Don Schlunt (Rest In Peace 1953-2019), demanded that I choose a career where I can express myself, make a positive impact, and make things exist that do not exist yet (aka:creation). I thought about all of the different major careers that I was aware of, and nothing really clicked. I considered a few different things, as I knew I could do the job, but would it sustain my restless creative energy?
Poking around on the internet, it is easy to come across miracle natural health claims. My first experiences with these articles and blog posts were met with skepticism but intense curiosity. Apricot pits killing tumor cells, Gerson Therapy, THC killing cancer, the philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and so many more new ideas flooding in so fast. I was kind of surprised by how stoked my curiosity and inner fire was after reading all of the claims, conspiracies, conflicts of interest in research, etc.. I had a feeling that at least 60% of what I was reading was false or embellished.
I knew I couldn’t trust the open internet for my answer, and there seemed to be many sides to this story. I began researching nutrition related publications, and long story short (kind of) I began my education in Holistic Nutrition. I quickly understood the changes I needed to make in my own food choices, and in my cooking. I began incorporating new information as I learned it, experimenting with healthy versions of my favorite foods. I ditched white flours and added sugars first, then, as I learned about all of the vital functions each vitamin performs for us, began adding vegetable sources of every vitamin possible in every meal I cooked. My kitchen was a big science experiment for the next year or so (sorry, roomies), as I tinkered with ideas, cooking methods, and ingredients that could be substituted for traditional, less healthy ones.
Then, one day, the band broke up.
After a brief panic attack, I headed out for some dinner and contemplation. Out of the 27 restaurants within a mile from my house, nothing sounded good. It hadn’t for a while. I knew too much about nutrition from my education, and too much about the corners cut by restaurants to ignore. Just like the rest of us, I found myself a bit too busy making a living to come home and chop, mix, prep, store, plan a week’s worth of healthy meals for myself and my family. “Why isn’t there a healthy food delivery service yet? It’s 2010 for Pete’s sake.” I remember slapping myself in the forehead right then and there. “I know now what I must do!”
So, I founded HealthSavor, a healthy, organic, meal delivery service. It was the first in the region… before all of those meal kit delivery services ever existed. We learned so much about business operation during that time, and with a new menu every week (suicidal, I know), it was like a boot camp for recipe creation and healthy cooking. I created every meal with nutrition as the priority. Multi-vitamin meals were born and perfected. I was fortunate to have a great web team at WeGo Unlimited, who got us on the front page of google, where people travelling through Cincinnati could find us. Eventually, actors and athletes began contacting me for their needs.
The business itself was doomed by insanely high food costs (all organic, no-compromise ingredients), the fact that we were self funding it, and the boom of the meal kit revolution. In 2017, after 4 years public, we needed to shut HealthSavor down. It was a difficult time, to say the least.
I had enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Evidence-Based Complimentary Medicine in 2012, and had just graduated, Summa Cum Laude, a few months before we closed our doors. I was both lost and free-as-a-bird at the same time.
Luckily, we never took the website down, because celebrities would occasionally find me whenever a film was shooting in Cincinnati. Then another . . . then they would tell the co-stars and they would want some, too! It’s been exciting, to say the least, to not only work with A-list talent, but to nourish them. Many times, they rely on me for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week while they are here. Some also train with me as I also earned my personal training certificate after HealthSavor shut down. I feel that being an expert in the 3 pillars of health (nutrition knowledge, cooking skills, exercise methodology and programming) allows me to get clients and friends the results they haven’t been able to achieve elsewhere. And thanks to those difficult HealthSavor years, goals are achieved by eating what seems like decadent or downright amazing restaurant style food. I’ve been consistently refining my craft and continuing my education. 11 years later, I feel confident that I’m well positioned to help anyone stay healthy and reach their goals, no matter the food allergy, physical limitation, or time constraint.
There’s just one problem… I’ve become so busy that I can’t help as many people as I feel like I should be. The people who need my knowledge the most cannot afford me, and I have racked up too much in student loans to work for cheap. I had to come up with a cookbook or class or something. Enter Temptology.
I’ve spent two solid years developing Temptology in the background while going on with life. Temptology is a meal prep program that customizes calories to your needs, using recipes I’ve created for my VIP clients. It organizes prep and shopping to save as much time as possible, while showing you how to stock your fridge for the week with healthy pizzas, protein pastas, smoothies, salads, pancakes, Indian dishes, copious Mexican style dishes, and more. If you are willing to show up and spend some time with me (virtually), I can teach you my ways so you can help your family eat healthy food they’ll actually like.
It’s almost like people don’t realize they are gonna need 21 meals a week. It’s lack of preparation that makes people feel the need to rely on restaurants or pre-boxed meals. It happens every day, you’re going to be hungry. What if you owned mealtime, instead of mealtime owning you?
I feel that teaching people to create recipes and cook like me goes a much longer way at making a positive impact on the world than the food delivery I was doing before. When it’s dropped off to your door, you aren’t as invested in it, and you certainly didn’t learn anything. We live in a society where some families are 3-generations in where no one knows how to cook for themselves. This is a massive contributor to our non-communicable disease rates. I had to add “how to boil pasta” to one of my cooking demos at a college once after I was told no one in the class knew how. Id this really what you want for yourself or your family?
I created my Temptology 101 Masterclass for this reason. If jumping into a meal prep program sounds intimidating because you have never been taught how to cook, this class is for you. It’s an investment that will pay dividends for the rest of your life. If you pass what you learn on to your children, then your decision to step up and learn your way around nutrition and the kitchen will make a positive impact on your bloodline for generations.
I just don’t want to see all of this needless suffering anymore. There is enough of that as it is from other aspects of life. Nutrition matters, nutrition is powerful.
Why DOES the world need Temptology, and other companies like it?
It’s all about education, and I think we are all short-changed by general health education. I was only a few months into my Holistic Nutrition certificate when I thought “Man, if people had any idea how backwards the standard American diet was, we’d see a massive sea-change in food choices. Empires would crumble, and new, healthier ones would rise.”
I believe people are ready to learn the science behind how foods affect our bodies in a more comprehensive way than simply saying “too much sugar is bad” or “vegetables are good”. These are both true statements, but they aren’t convincing in any way, and certainly haven’t inspired anyone to take control of their food choices. A big goal of mine with this service is to not only provide the means to eat delicious, high-quality, nutritionally super-charged meals every day, but to also educate people as to why it all matters, why I chose the ingredients that I did, and what they do for our bodies.
I couldn’t have picked a better career. I get to fulfill my desire to fix things, to find the root cause of an issue and address it, to be as creative as I wish, not wake up early, eat lots of awesome food, help people, and connect with my unique expression of making the world a better place. I think that most of us have this inherent drive for the greater cause, and we thrive when we find a way to contribute our life experience, skills, and vision to any of the issues that we face today.
Don Schlunt – In Memorium 1953-2019
Formerly HealthSavor’s Director of Operations and best dad/grandpa ON THE PLANET. Rest In Peace Dad. I love you and thank you for everything that is good about me!