JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome back to Green is Good. This is the Green Festival’s edition of Green is Good. We’re so excited to have with us today, Charles Chen. Welcome to Green is Good. CHARLES CHEN: Thank you. Hi everybody. I’m very excited to be on the show. JOHN SHEGERIAN: We’re very excited to have you because you have a great story. CHARLES CHEN: Thank you. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You’re the creator of Charles Chen TV, and people can find it at www.charleschen.tv. But before we get talking about Charles Chen’s TV station and show and everything else, we’re going to talk about your story, your own personal story leading up to the founding and the creation of your new healthy lifestyle platform. Talk a little bit about how you even got here. You’re a young guy. How did you even make this transformation and come up with the idea? CHARLES CHEN: Honestly, I just came from really, really humble beginnings. As you know, at the age of 15 I struggled with my weight. I was once 265 pounds. I was pre-diabetic, lethargic, had no energy whatsoever, just a depressed, couch potato. All I ate was McDonald’s every single day, sat on the couch and I was eating Twix and just had no motivation whatsoever. Something clicked inside my head. I was like, you know what? I really want to make a difference in this world, but in order to do that I have to change my own lifestyle. At that point, I had no energy. All my friends were outside playing while I was just like lethargic. I was like I’m way too young to be feeling like this. JOHN SHEGERIAN: But that’s not a story that’s uncommon in America anymore, right? CHARLES CHEN: It’s very sad. I think that’s why is actually empowered me to actually want to make a difference. I was like, you know what? If I can change my lifestyle, I can help others and empower others to do the same. JOHN SHEGERIAN: How old were you when you actually started? You tipped the scales at 265. When did the weight start coming off, and what were the lifestyle changes like back then? CHARLES CHEN: At the age of 16, I remember I was like, you know what? I want to start dating and I want to look good. I want to feel confident. I was going into high school, so it’s a really tough crowd. There’s a lot of emphasis on looking your best and hanging out and being popular and all that stuff. But, I was like, you know what? I just want to feel good. I want to have energy. So I changed the foods I started eating. At that point, I was eating only processed foods so I changed it to fresh, heirloom vegetables, local produce from the local farmer’s market. Just within the first week, I had more energy. I got to go outside and actually exercise and just little by little adding more hydration into my body and the weight just started melting off. But it’s not just about the weight loss because weight loss is easy. A lot of people lose weight but it’s a lifestyle change. It’s about really, really doing things every single day that’s going to build you up and make sure that you stay on this bandwagon. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So how long did it take you to get the weight off? CHARLES CHEN: I would say about five years. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s good. You did it slowly. You didn’t crash diet. CHARLES CHEN: I did not do it overnight. JOHN SHEGERIAN: It was truly a lifestyle evolution. CHARLES CHEN: Yes. There were many challenges throughout the way. It’s not just like a quick fix, overnight success kind of thing. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Today, you’re unbelievably fit looking. You look like a triathlete. How much do you weigh today? CHARLES CHEN: I weigh about 160. JOHN SHEGERIAN: One-hundred-and-sixty. How do you maintain it? Before we get into talking about everything else, what would a daily regimen look like today? CHARLES CHEN: My daily routine is first thing in the morning I like to have lemon water so I start off my mornings with lemon water to alkalize the body. I love green smoothies so I’m a big, green smoothie. I love blending my vegetables and fruits, getting lots of nutrition, packed full, because I’m a busy guy. I like to run around so I make sure that I get that into my diet. That kind of sets my palate so I crave good food, and I mediate every single morning. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Every morning? CHARLES CHEN: Yes. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Where do you live, which part of the country? CHARLES CHEN: Well, I live in New York. I just moved to New York from Los Angeles. JOHN SHEGERIAN: This city has a lot of fresh produce available, lot of juice bars now and actually some real healthy restaurants where you can have healthy fare at, correct? CHARLES CHEN: Definitely. Lots of juiceries. I was actually overwhelmed. I was like, wow. In LA, I had time to actually go to the farmer’s market and juice. Here not so much. Like once I leave, I don’t have time. That’s not an excuse. That’s why these juicers are really helpful for keeping me on the right track. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Which part of LA were you living in before you moved to New York? CHARLES CHEN: I was living right by the Grove, which is kind of near West Hollywood area. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Gotcha. Now you’re here in New York and you’re started charleschen.tv. Share with our audience what charleschen.tv is. CHARLES CHEN: Charleschen.tv is a website I created. In the beginning when I started losing weight, I started a blog. Through that blog with many people sort of reading it, I started sharing lots of recipes and a lot of people started reading it. I just started working with Whole Foods. Whole Foods is one of my partners. We started going on tour teaching people. I became a chef and because I felt like food is a great gateway to introduce people to healthy living. JOHN SHEGERIAN: It is. CHARLES CHEN: You can talk about what you need to eat, but if you show someone, I think that’s the most powerful thing. So charleschen.tv is more empowerment. It’s a lifestyle brand. We do lots of event all throughout the United States. It’s all about empowering people, inspiring people, creating community, so people get healthy. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You say that so humbly. You became a chef. Wait a second. Where did you get the training? CHARLES CHEN: I went to train at Matthew Kenny, which is in Santa Monica. I also did some training at National Gourmet Institutes in New York City. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Great. So you got some formal training. CHARLES CHEN: Yes, and I worked in a restaurant with a really well known chef named Michael Hung and he’s awesome. He has a great restaurant in LA called Faith & Flower. I worked with him. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Wow. Where’s Faith & Flour? CHARLES CHEN: It’s in downtown Los Angeles, if you guys want to check it out. It’s awesome. JOHN SHEGERIAN: And it’s mostly vegan or vegetarian? CHARLES CHEN: It’s not at all. See here’s my outlook. That’s very, very interesting that you ask that. When I wanted to learn about food, I wanted to go to the best restaurant. I didn’t want to go to the best vegan or vegetarian restaurant. Food is good food, right? So flavor. That’s what I learned. I can make everything healthy. That’s what I bring to the table. When I go to restaurants, I want to dine everywhere. I want to try the best food, what’s the best chef’s offering. Then, I can go and get creative and see how I can swap out the ingredients and make it healthier. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That makes sense. If you just joined us, we’re here at the Green Festival edition of Green is Good in New York City, New York. We’ve got Charles Chen of charleschen.tv. You can find him at www.charleschen.tv. Charles, what is our audience going to learn if they come to your website, www.charleschen.tv? CHARLES CHEN: Just what we spoke about, healthy recipes swaps. I have a show called The Switch. It’s basically healthy switches for your guilty pleasures. I’m a big advocate about not depriving yourself when you’re switching on to a healthier lifestyle. I believe you can have your cake and eat it too. You can have pasta. You can have pizza. You can all these things. I have healthy recipes on my website and I show you how to make all of these things. JOHN SHEGERIAN: We were talking about your routine. Let me understand your routine. You get up. CHARLES CHEN: Actually, get up and meditate right away. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Meditate. CHARLES CHEN: And then water and then the smoothie. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Lemon water. CHARLES CHEN: Yes. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Wait for about a half hour or so. That’s a great liver cleanse, right? CHARLES CHEN: Yes. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Then the green smoothie. CHARLES CHEN: Yes. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Walk us through the rest of the day or run us through the rest of the Charles CHEN day. CHARLES CHEN: Every day is different. I try to hit the gym right after. If I can’t go in the morning, then I’ll go in the afternoon. But I like that when you go in the morning it gets your blood pumping. It kind of gets you in the right set. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Your endorphins are—- CHARLES CHEN: Yeah, you’re good. You’re good. You’re like, I’m ready to go. Let’s go. So, I go to the gym and put out content. We have a great team. Adam is a part of team. We have a bunch of really great people who create content. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Do you work with a video crew all day? CHARLES CHEN: Adam and I work together for a while. He’s awesome. We create really awesome content, recipe videos. JOHN SHEGERIAN: In your kitchen or another kitchen? CHARLES CHEN: We use other kitchen. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Other kitchens. Cool. What is your food like during the day? What do you do for food and sustenance throughout a day? CHARLES CHEN: Every day is different. I always say this. Eat your veggies first. I’m not restrictive. I don’t like to say you should only eat a plant-based diet, which we all know is healthy for you. I like to say eat what you like, listen to your body but start with the veggies first. Then don’t take out anything. Just keep adding more veggies. Then once you’re getting that sustenance and all that fiber, you’re not going to have room for all the bad stuff, right? JOHN SHEGERIAN: Or crave it really. I mean after the liver cleanse and after you’ve alkalized your body with the lemon water and then the green smoothie, you’re pretty much in a good spot then for the rest of the day. CHARLES CHEN: Yeah. You’re feeling good and you’re not craving any junk food. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s great. CHARLES CHEN: Here’s the thing. If you start your day off with chips or soda, sugar, all these things, yeah, it’s acidic and it makes your body crave certain foods. You’re never getting the sustenance so that’s why you keep craving bad food. JOHN SHEGERIAN: What’s the story with caffeine? What do you have for your caffeine jolt? Do you have coffee or tea? CHARLES CHEN: I have tea. I’m actually sensitive to caffeine so I don’t do coffee. I know there are a lot of people out there who love coffee. There are lots of alternatives. I could give you alternatives to coffee. Yerba Mate is awesome. Green juice is another great alternative and you’re getting all that vitamins and minerals. What else? A smoothie is awesome, too, and cacao. If you want to switch out your caffeine for maybe a cacao smoothie, which has a lot of magnesium and theobromine, which are like feel good chemicals that keeps you up, alert and with mental clarity. JOHN SHEGERIAN: How about vitamins? Do you incorporate vitamins into your lifestyle and into your diet and regular routine? CHARLES CHEN: I like to include vitamins. I’ll take a protein powder, a plant-based protein powder, which has probiotics and there’s some vitamins, but I try to get as much as I can from my fruits and vegetables. I know that our soil is depleted nowadays. There is not as much minerals, so I do take a mineral supplement, folic acid. JOHN SHEGERIAN: What do you do for lunch and dinner? CHARLES CHEN: It just depends. Big salad, quinoa. I’ll do some steamed veggies. Sometimes I’ll do a quinoa burger. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So it mixes up, but they are healthy things. CHARLES CHEN: Yeah, of course. I have to tell you a secret. Once a week, I have my cheat day. JOHN SHEGERIAN: What goes on during cheat day? Everyone wants to hear about cheat day. CHARLES CHEN: Well that’s the thing. There are no rules. Eat whatever you want. Obviously, you want to keep then healthy. I’ll go out once a week with my friends because food is such a social thing. If you try to be all dogmatic about food, it’s really, really strict and your friends can’t enjoy food. There’s friends who don’t eat as healthy but they want to go out to a new restaurants. I’m like, yeah, let’s go. We’ll try new foods. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So you have one cheat day. On the cheat day, are you allowed to have a little drink, adult beverage? CHARLES CHEN: Is this a PG show? I don’t know if I can share this. JOHN SHEGERIAN: This is PG. Of course it’s PG. CHARLES CHEN: Okay, maybe sometimes. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Okay. So adult beverages are allowed on a cheat day. CHARLES CHEN: Yeah, yeah. If I drink alcoholic, it’ll probably be wine or clear alcohol. JOHN SHEGERIAN: I gotcha. Wine and clear alcohol. Charleschen.tv, what else do with it in terms of events? You say you work with Whole Foods? What other partners do you have and what are the special events that our audience can find you at across the United States? CHARLES CHEN: We just finished our LA Whole Foods tour. We basically had a bunch of different Whole Foods. What we do at these events is promote health. I share recipes, create community and introduce new products to a lot of our community members. We’re starting our New York tour soon. We started doing a bunch of events in New York as well. We just did a singles cooking party. It was a flat-based, singles, sushi-cooking party with lots of wine and it was a lot of fun. It was on Friday actually. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Who sponsored that? CHARLES CHEN: A bunch of people. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You mentioned at the top of the show that you drink the juice as part of your routine, a smoothie actually. Can you share with our audience a little bit the difference between juices, fresh juices and fresh smoothies and the benefits of both? CHARLES CHEN: I love juices and I love smoothies. I think there are benefits to both. Juices are vitamins and minerals straight into your blood stream because they’re liquid. There’s no fiber. I believe fiber is very important especially when you’re trying to lose weight, get rid of toxins. It’s like a broom that brushes through your body. So I believe that smoothies are great. Juices are good but you don’t want to just do one thing. If you want to stay full and satiated throughout the day, the smoothie really helps you because it has all the fibers. I good green smoothie recipe would be some coconut water, some kale, some apples and some chia seeds. Boom. There’s your green smoothie. JOHN SHEGERIAN: There’s a green smoothie. For juice, what’s a great juice to start the day with? CHARLES CHEN: A great juice, a green juice, I would do some cucumbers, some kale, some lemon and some turmeric for some anti-inflammatory. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Anti-inflammatory. That’s becoming really popular now huh? CHARLES CHEN: It is because a lot of the food that we’re eating is inflaming our body and that’s why there’s a lot of people coming up saying that I have celiac or I have allergies. All these things that we’ve never heard of years ago. It’s also part of our environmental pollution and what’s in our water, all of that. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You mentioned that you mediate when you wake up every morning. Five, ten minutes? CHARLES CHEN: Five, 10 minutes. Sometimes five minutes. Sometimes I can sit for half an hour, but it really depends. I just really believe, especially moving to New York, it’s super busy. It’s always on the go. Once you leave the door, you don’t get home until late at night. So, to have a moment of silence with yourself just to kind of set the tone for your day, read a positive quote. Mindset is everything. That’s something that I talk about at charleschen.tv. It’s not just about the foods that you put into your body but it’s also your mindset, what are you thinking, what are your thoughts, how are you treating yourself. So, affirmation I do that with my mediation, like setting an intention for your day. That kind of gives you more clarity so you know how to navigate. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So you believe it’s not only about what we do physically, but there’s a huge power to the power of the mind. CHARLES CHEN: Oh yeah, totally. If you guys ever read the book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, part of the reason that I transform my health is like it’s also reconditioning your mind. My mind used to think like oh I’m overweight, so I have to eat more. I have to retrain my mind to think like okay, you’re satiated. You’re full now. You’re good. So retraining yourself and all the negative self-talk. We all have these thoughts throughout the day, and most of them are negative. Learning to have a good relationship with those thoughts, like you’re not your thoughts, but you’re a relationship to your thoughts. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s a great point. So mediation is something that you highly recommend to everyone you touch in terms of healthy eating. CHARLES CHEN: Mediation comes in different forms. So, yes, any form of your meditation. Your meditation might be being in the shower, doing yoga, or taking a stroll with your dog. Mine just happens to be sitting still and observing my breath, but everyone’s meditation is different. Do whatever it is that gets you in a nice way. It could be like your morning ritual, having tea and just sitting there. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Right. For our audience out there, we’ve got Charles Chen with us and his story is incredible as he told us earlier at the top of the show. He transformed his health. When he was 15 years old, he was 265 pounds. Now you see him and he’s a svelte and fit-looking, 160 pounds. For America’s youth out there and youth around the world that listen to this radio show and also get to watch on YouTube, how can they get involved? How can they make the next transformational journey like Charles Chen just made? CHARLES CHEN: I believe that everyone has the power to make a difference in this world. It doesn’t matter what your gifts is. Like recognize what your talents are and what you’re good at. It all starts with yourself. First get yourself together. Eat healthier so you have the energy to actually go out and share your passions. But then start with your own community. What is it that you can bring? What do you see a lack of in your community? If there is lack of education, if there’s lack of produce, how do you fix that problem? Baby steps. A lot of people get overwhelmed by all these problems that are going on around the world but I always say start with your own inner circle. Start with yourself and once you walk the talk then people are inspired by you and they’ll come to you easily. You don’t have to preach. Don’t preach. Just show by taking action. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Right. What resources do you recommend for young people to make those first steps, those baby steps? CHARLES CHEN: I think first things first. Education is power so educate yourself, know what’s going on. There are a lot of great documentaries out there that I think a lot of people can check out: Food, Inc., so many. Just go to Netflix and find a bunch. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Find a bunch or they can come to www.charleschen.tv. CHARLES CHEN: Yes, you just watch my show and I’ll tell you. I interview a lot of great people too so you’ll get inspiration. We do body, mind and soul. We talk about the food. We talk about the mind and we also talk about how to stay active as well. JOHN SHEGERIAN: We’re down to the last two minutes. Who would you love to get on show that’s really been inspirational to you? CHARLES CHEN: Recently, I love Marie Forleo. I would love to interview Marie. I don’t only interview people in the health field because I think I can draw inspiration from everybody. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s right. CHARLES CHEN: She’s a great conscious businessperson. I love her. I love her work so I would love to get Marie. I know it’ll happen. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Recently on our show, we had Rich Roll. CHARLES CHEN: Oh, I love Rich Roll. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Rich Roll was one of my greatest forms of inspiration. He still is. CHARLES CHEN: He is. He’s a triathlete. He’s amazing. He does great work. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Unbelievable triathlete. He made a transformation similar to yours. CHARLES CHEN: Yeah, he had a drug problem, right? JOHN SHEGERIAN: And alcohol and everything else and weight. Took like 50, 60 pounds off and again, just another great inspirational story. CHARLES CHEN: He’s awesome. JOHN SHEGERIAN: We’re down to the last minute and a half. I’ll leave it to you. I want you to give any shameless plugs that you want because you deserve it. I want our audience to have the benefit of some of your thoughts and wisdom. CHARLES CHEN: I just want to say that if you feel called to check out my website, check it out at www.charleschen.tv. There’s lot of healthy inspiration and lot of events coming to your town soon so see you guys there. JOHN SHEGERIAN: What other sponsors are you looking for as we say goodbye? CHARLES CHEN: Can I tell you something that I’m manifesting. We’ve been doing a lot of tours of Whole Foods but I’ve been only hitting a lot of towns where they are more affluent. I feel like there are a lot of areas where I can educate and share recipes and share the work that we’re doing with different neighbors, different lower income neighborhood. They don’t have to have money, right? So I wanted to go on this tour, have an eco-bus and go around the world. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You should. CHARLES CHEN: Yes, and get sponsors and I think that would be so cool. We’ll just do pop up events. We don’t need an event venue. We’ll just have pop up events. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You launch a Kickstarter campaign, and come back on this show and we promote the heck out of it. CHARLES CHEN: Yes, let’s do it. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Let’s do it. Thank you, Charles Chen. Thank you for being with us today, and for our listeners out there, this is the Green Festival’s edition of Green is Good. We got Charles Chen with us. You can find him at www.charleschen.tv. Charles, you’re a sustainability superstar, inspirational and truly living proof that green is good. CHARLES CHEN: Thank you. Here’s to health. Bye guys.