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Butternut Squash Lasagna: Your First Step to Skinny Jeans?

 Photo: Courtesy of Factor 75
Photo: Courtesy of Factor 75

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If you have no time to cook (who does?) you could always call out for pizza or a carton of pad Thai—but we think you could do better than that. Especially if you want your clothes to fit.

So in this, our next installation of clean-eating tips for the crazily busy, we introduce you to Factor 75. The local meal-delivery service prepares healthy dishes meant to make your mind and body work more efficiently—and, lasagna is on the menu. Want to know more? Read our Q&A with Factor 75 founder and CEO Nick Wernimont, below.

Nick and his puppy, Tuff

Have you always been a healthy eater?
I thought I was a healthy eater. Then I started training heavily for MMA. I was constantly tired, getting injured, and overall felt like I was 30 going on 80. Seems like the chicken paninis, turkey wraps and Whole Foods runs weren't having the positive effect I thought. One day a trainer introduced me to a personal chef who worked with professional athletes. She started dropping off homemade meals every Sunday. The difference was incredible and almost immediate. I started performing better —I had more energy, better sleep, and an overall incredibly improved sense of well-being. It was a true life changer.

From then on I studied nutrition and its effects on mind and body functioning. The research blew me away, including the fact that 75 percent of your fitness results come from what you eat!

So I had an aha moment: What if we turned this concept into a brand and offered people the type of service that has in the past has only been available to professional athletes and the very wealthy?

But you're not a fan of traditional diet food, from what I understand.
Dieting sucks. I had an opportunity to change the way people view nutrition and help people live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Studies show that when you eat better, you perform better. Additionally, when you don't have to spend an hour or two a day dealing with what you are going to eat you free up valuable time that you can spend doing the activities you enjoy. And doing them better! So why weren't most people eating healthier? Because most associate eating better with dieting. There's a reason why 'die' is in the middle of diet. Because it sucks the life out of eating. There are a lot of people who want to enjoy the benefits of optimal nutrition, but don't need or want to be on a diet. As we say around the office, "No one ever conquered mountains on a diet."

Okay, so no celery sticks! What can people expect from Factor75 meals?
First and foremost, Factor 75 believes nutrition should be enjoyable, celebratory almost. Secondly, nutrition can be a welcome means for improving quality of life. We work with nutritionists and chefs to make sure meals taste great while giving your body the fuel it needs to thrive.

With Factor 75, you get dishes you love and get the benefits of eating better. We take your mom's and grandma's dishes, deconstruct them and substitute healthier ingredients—such as lean proteins, heart healthy fats, vitamins and minerals—while leaving the time-honored deliciousness. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner including vegetarian, paleo and gluten free options.

The other major difference [between our service and other meal-delivery plans] is flexibility. Instead of sending you 21 meals a week that you don't get to choose, we allow our customers to order however many meals they want, choose when they want them delivered, and we prepare them fresh. And we deliver them free in Chicago!

How much time does it really save someone to sign up for a meal-delivery plan?
In addition to the [nutritional] benefits, you don't have to stand in line at the sandwich shop anymore, head out for a 90-minute trip to the grocery store, or even think about what you're going to eat next. We do it for you and you save hours every day to do other activities you enjoy. You're not locked in to a subscription or any sort of commitment. Use us when you need us and enjoy great food delivered to your door.

Do customers typically lose weight using your meals?
That's a very difficult question to answer as we do not have any "typical" customers. Our growing [customer base] ranges from hard-core athletes like Bo Jackson to busy professionals and parents. It really depends on your goals. One thing that almost always occurs is an improvement in their Body Mass Index, basically the amount of lean body mass versus the amount of body mass comprised of fat. We have had customers who have completely changed their health profile through our system: Lowering their blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat percentage and improving insulin levels. The benefits occur in a controlled and consistent manner. Depending on how often you use us, and what you do outside of Factor 75 for your meals, will dictate what your results will be.

How flexible is the Factor 75 eating plan? Can people sneak in desserts or have a drink at a party, for example?
Flexibility is key. The thing I didn't like about my personal chef was that I couldn't pick what I wanted and they expected me to eat their meals for every single meal I had for the week. Simply not realistic. So we took that into consideration when building Factor 75 and made it as flexible as possible. We're not a plan that is going to dictate to you what you can have or can't have. The bottom line is eating healthy without sacrificing. So if you want a dessert or drink, if that makes your life more enjoyable, then by all means have at it. Life, when it comes down to it, should be enjoyed. We're here to help you with this.

Since we have you, mind if we pick your brain for fitness tips?
I prefer body weight exercises, and am still an avid boxer. So I keep it simple with some pushups, squats, sit-ups and hitting the heavy bag or speed bag. I would recommend a regimen that includes short bursts of high intensity training. Circuit training is an example of this. Basically you workout hard for anywhere from two to five minutes, take a one or two minute break, and do it again. Again though, your workout regimen should be tailored to your needs and wants. If you enjoy it and see results, you're much more likely to stick to it.

Finally, how do people get started with Factor 75? Where do they sign up and what are your rates?
All you have to do is go to our site, check out our men, and add what you want to the cart, set up an account, and you're good to go. Takes about three to five minutes usually. Our meals cost $6.75 for breakfast, $10.95 for medium meals, and $12.95 for large meals. Pricing is standardized and we include delivery for free!
· Factor 75 [Official Site]
· CJK Foods: Nutritionally Dense Meal Deliveries for Foodies [Racked Chicago]