Meet Casey Moulton, the creator of Kitchen Karate, a concept that teaches busy Los Angeles singles (and others too) to make healthy, home cooked meals — fast.
Ah, the single life! Freedom to live where you want, do what you want, see who you want. The only thing missing is the time to do it all, and that includes eating right.
Well, here’s a solution: Kitchen Karate. No, not martial arts practiced between the dishwasher and that hardly used appliance called “the stove” — but rather an exciting new concept developed by 41-year-old singular Casey Moulton, a creative director at NBC/Universal during the week and “kitchen karate” sensei on the weekends. His mission? To show busy professionals, many of whom are single, the secret to making delicious, home cooked meals for their entire workweek — in just two hours.
“With Kitchen Karate you learn how to make meals you’ll want to eat instead of going to the food truck, deli or to a fast-food restaurant,” Moulton says. “It’s a way to eat healthy and to learn how to cook without having to follow any recipes and it’s sustainable because you can still pig out if you want — as long as 80 percent of the time, you’re eating meals prepared Kitchen Karate-style.”
Each Kitchen Karate meal is based on the Zone Diet philosophy where sugar cravings are managed by getting insulin into the right “zone.” That means balancing one portion protein with two portions produce, some healthy fat (like olive oil) and no bread, pasta, processed grains, or high-sugar foods. Those are left for the weekend — in other words, viewed as treats, not daily sustenance.
That Zone Diet philosophy is mixed in with Moulton’s super-fast, super-efficient preparation style. The result is a sustainable, fun way to make and then eat healthy meals without the need for give up your day job or hire a personal chef. And it only takes a couple hours of prep time on the weekend with these four basic “kitchen karate moves.”
1) Shop – look for what’s freshest, cheapest and most appealing, figuring how much protein and produce you’ll need for your workweek using Moulton’s easy equation of body weight divided by 10; this equals the amount of protein you should eat per day (divided by three meals) and figuring two servings of produce with one serving of protein.
2) Chop – clear the counters and quickly wash, chop and lay out all your veggies, herbs and seasonings, oils and then your proteins.
3) Spice – any way that suits your fancy. Don’t follow recipes, it takes too long. Instead play, have fun and be creative.
4) Cook – Turn on the oven and all four burners (a move Moulton calls “downright badass”) and use your eye to tell when the food is done – not a timer or a thermometer.
When everything’s ready, put it into plastic containers, stash it in the refrigerator, do a quick clean up and you’re set for your workweek. Ai-yaa!
Sound easy? Well, it is, and the finer points are explained in Moulton’s monthly three-hour Kitchen Karate class that he teaches in the culinary classroom at the cooking supply superstore, Surfa’s, in Culver City. During the class, students get hands-on instructions in how to prepare their meals Kitchen Karate style — chopping, seasoning and cooking just as they will at home.
When it’s cooked, everyone gets to enjoy the feast, that if done at home, would be placed into Tupperware containers and eaten throughout the workweek – no more cooking, no more scrubbing pots and pans and, more importantly, no more need to rely on food trucks, delis, overpriced restaurants or unhealthy fast-food Monday through Friday.
“If I can do this anyone can,” Moulton says. In fact, he says, it works better if you’re not a pro chef. “Chefs want nuance, and that’s not Kitchen Karate style. They want to take all these extra steps that make it more complicated.”
Moulton’s epiphany about eating right, started five years ago when a personal trainer friend nagged him to start hiking. “I was 30 pounds overweight, not eating well, not exercising” Moulton says, “Jeff convinced me that I needed to develop some new habits and take my fitness more seriously as I got older.”
When his marriage ended about a year later, Moulton threw himself into his fitness program “It was a lifeline for me,” he says. “Working on getting healthier gave me a lot of positive reinforcement to move forward with my life.”
Besides amping up his exercise, Moulton consulted with a nutrition coach, who provided him with simple, doable ideas such as selecting a salad rather than the fries, and just “saying no” to the bad stuff.
The next step toward his still unseen Kitchen Karate concept was when he got into CrossFit, a workout method where in 15 to 20 minutes you push yourself to the “red line” and stay there as long as you can, as opposed to logging a less intense hour on the treadmill.
“It totally worked for me,” Moulton says. “I dropped even more weight. The lessons I got were a huge influence for my Kitchen Karate concept — the efficiency part. My thought was that I could translate that concept into making home cooked meals — accomplishing a lot in a short time.”
The concept crystalized after Moulton took a seminar on how to make healthy meals using restaurant strategies. “It gave me the idea to approach home cooking like a restaurant chef who will shop by the numbers, meaning a certain amount of protein (fish, beef, chicken, tofu) and veggies — getting everything ‘cook ready,’ adding the seasonings and cooking it.”
These days, even though his day job provides income stability, Kitchen Karate is his passion. “After my divorce, I made some big changes to get my life back on track,” he says. “The work I’ve done on myself is in three areas: physical, financial and emotional. If there’s some action I can take that helps two or even three of those things simultaneously, I try to do more of that thing. That’s where you get the super-benefit.
“Kitchen Karate does all three for me,” Moulton says. “It’s emotionally gratifying, it helps my health and has the potential to be financially rewarding. I want to teach other people how to do it too. I want to take it to the next level.”
He says the most challenging part of taking it to the next level is to convince people to make smart eating part of their lifestyle.
“It’s rewarding to see people change a part of their lives for the better, and to see them get excited about cooking again and for non-cooks to discover they can cook,” Moulton says. “This is great way to get rid of all the barriers to eating right.”
Copyright © Kim Calvert /2012 Singular Communications, LLC
On Saturday, January 5 from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, join your friends from SingularCity at Surfa’s in Culver City to learn how to make tasty, nutritious and satisfying meals for your entire workweek in just two hours.
You won’t believe how easy it is! You’ll say good-bye to fattening fast food and over-priced restaurants, and start eating food you’ve actually made yourself — in a fraction of the time you’d expect.
At the end of the class we’ll feast on the food we’ve just made — plus SingularCity members will receive a 24 oz. bottle of gourmet organic Sevil Olive Oil (a $30 value) AND $20 off the price of the course.
The class is open to everyone. To sign up go to: http://kitchenkarate.com/enroll.html. If you’re a SingularCity member, click on the “I have a PROMO CODE” link on the upper right hand side of the page. Type in SINGULAR hit “submit” and you’ll be taken to a PayPal page where you can sign up for $20 off the regular price.
Everything is included for the class — just bring your fabulous singular selves and prepare to learn the secret to eating great home cooked meals without hiring a personal chef.
It’s the perfect way to kick off the New Year!