What I’m Grateful For

A message from our founder, Jared Koch

Grateful on Thanksgiving

November 21, 2018

Several years ago I began Clean Plates to share my passion for eating healthier without sacrificing pleasure. While there is still a lot of work to do to make our food supply healthier and more sustainable, when I reflect on the past few years, I’m encouraged by all the progress I see around the country.

It takes a lot of people to make it possible for us to eat better quality food, and I am thankful for them all. Restaurants are sourcing better quality ingredients and celebrating that prominently on their menus. Food companies are producing better-for-you options in every category at the grocery store. As consumers we have so many more choices. Looking for beef jerky? You can find some made with 100% grass-fed meat and no sugar. Or, if you’re plant-based or cutting back on meat, there are delicious jerkys made from mushrooms, or coconut. And that’s just one snack item. Of course, there’s still plenty of junk out there, but let’s acknowledge the big steps forward.

I’m grateful to you and everyone else demanding better-quality food, and voting with your dollars. You are responsible for causing this sea of change.

I’m also thankful for the rise of functional medicine, and doctors like Mark Hyman, Frank Lipman, and our own Collective member Tiffany Lester, who are seeking out and treating the root cause of illness rather than tamping down symptoms. They are speaking out and writing and podcasting about nutrition, sleep, stress, fitness, environmental issues, and everything else that contributes to (or takes away from) our health. They are using their unique position to raise awareness about the steps we can all take to holistically improve our health. Naturally, food plays a huge role in that.

Last but definitely not least, I want to thank you—for being part of the Clean Plates community, and especially for choosing healthier food. Let’s face it: It’s not always easier. Our goal is to help you make the best choices for yourself so you can enjoy your life more. Ultimately the goal of healthy eating isn’t to be the best at being plant-based or the most dedicated paleo person—the goal is to help you be your personal best.

There isn’t one “right” path that works for everyone, so it’s our mission to help you find yours, and then get the most pleasure out of the foods that work for you. I call it the ultimate relationship with food: You enjoy what you eat and you feel good about your choices. It’s not about being perfect. When your kid makes you a birthday cake, you don’t turn down a slice because it has sugar in it. You make a choice to enjoy that slice of cake, no guilt, and then you go back to the foods that are more optimal for you. You live your life, deliciously. And as a result, you value your health more and make more choices that support it.

The more we individually make better choices, the more collective power we have to affect change, and the sooner we will see more of the changes we want in our food system. I am thankful for you and for the opportunity to play a small part in your journey to a healthier life.

I wish you a happy holiday and hope you enjoy your food and your time with your family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jared Koch is the founder of Clean Plates.