Hu Kitchen Co-founders & siblings Jessica Karp & Jordan Brown join Jenna to discuss Hu’s health philsophy as well as their personal journeys “getting back to human.” We explore the different elements of what it takes to thrive, the importance of experimentation in health & making time for play. Their sibling dynamic brings a special warmth to our conversation & offers lessons on how to cultivate meaningful relationships.
The Health Philosophy That Will Help You Thrive
As I prepared for my interview with Hu Kitchen Co-founders and siblings Jessica Karp and Jordan Brown a specific insight in their mission — Feel better than fine — made me pause and wonder: Why do so many of us settle for just feeling fine?
After dedicating the last 11 years to empowering people to take ownership of their health, here’s what the siblings had to say…
“A lot of people don’t realize how good they can feel until they look at the ingredients in the foods they’re eating and see how they’re impacting them.
Many things people eat may be edible but they aren’t really food. If bread has 30 ingredients you can’t pronounce or have never heard of, that is not real food. It’s very processed, and it doesn’t make you feel good.
Eating real food makes you feel better.
The goal is to feel as good as possible every day and to set your body up to age gracefully so you can enjoy your life.
What you eat plays a huge role in your ability to thrive.”
I deeply believe in and appreciate Jessica and Jordan’s work creating the first real, good for you restaurant and snacking platform at Hu, so it was a special treat (no pun intended…Though, we do love their chocolate!) to have them on the podcast. We explore the different elements of what it takes to thrive, as well as their special journey building Hu as siblings. Here are a few of the insights I’ve been reflecting on since. You can learn more in our conversation.
Embrace experimentation on your health journey
Hu's health philosophy is an inspiring blueprint for how to thrive. Of the six tenets — Experiment, unprocess, move, sleep, laugh, and play — experiment stood out to me most.
As someone who values consistency, for years, I hoped to devise a daily health plan that I could follow to feel my best. I finally accepted this isn't possible and appreciated Jessica’s perspective on how to approach our relationship with our bodies.
“We all need to listen to our bodies more,” she shared. “Follow what you feel like you need at any given time and try different things. What works for you one month may not the next. And, what works for others may not work for you. That’s okay. It’s all a part of your own experimentation.”
Our body is magnificently dynamic, so our relationship with it should be too. Thanks to Jessica and Jordan, I now view experimentation in a new light: As an inspiring source of agency “to feel as good as possible every day.”
The siblings fully embody this mentality and Jordan shared an experiment we can start with:
‘Try removing an ingredient — like dairy, gluten, grains or refined sugar — from your diet for 30 - 60 days and see how you feel.
From energy to sleep, joint to skin health, we often feel the impact right away.
You wake up and think: Wow, I never knew I could feel this good.
The change becomes easier when you feel the inertia of that positive feedback.’
If interested, you can also experiment with other tenets of Hu’s health philosophy by committing to things such as getting more sleep, dedicating more time to play, or trying a different fitness routine.
Practice becoming more open-minded
I was grateful Jessica suggested discussing working on different aspects of our personalities to grow and really respected her for opening up about her own journey learning to be less stubborn. Her full embracing of that process is an inspiring example of how being open-minded can change your life and improve the way you experience it.
Growing up in New York, Jessica couldn’t imagine living or raising her family anywhere else. So, when her husband Jason, who is also a Hu co-founder, suggested they explore moving to Austin she immediately rejected the idea. Over time, she became more open to learning about it and then finally visiting. Her family and her are now moving to Texas later this month!
Learning to say ‘Tell me more,’ rather than dismissing an idea because it makes us uncomfortable or we have preconceived notions about it, is a daily practice for all of us. Jordan shared a helpful value they rely on at Hu to stay true to it in the moment: “You can’t say no or complain without offering one or two options as a solution.”
Make time for play
Hu defines play as ‘reclaiming recess, taking breaks, decluttering your mind, and resetting.’ I especially love the emphasis on reclaiming recess. When was the last time you played outside? Let alone, every day and during the middle of the afternoon!
We’re all leading busy lives, but that shouldn’t keep us from making time for play; Even a few minutes playing with your pet or listening to your favorite song can make a meaningful difference. The way Jessica described play helped me realize that it’s just as essential to our health as the other aspects of the Hu philosophy: “Play is cathartic,” she explained. “Laughing or dancing, just letting go, makes you feel free. It’s like letting a deep breath out in Shavasana…A therapy of sorts. Laughter cures so many things.”
I hope her insight will similarly inspire you to have some fun today.