The Story Behind The Kook

(Check out the new CaliKooks channel on YouTube for an episode all about collagen!)

The Story Behind The Kook

By Karnivore Kayla

This is not so much an autobiography as it is a learning experience that I would like to share. My culinary background does not begin with me sitting on the counter at grandma’s house stirring up scone batter while she tells me what a good job I’m doing in a german accent, nor does it start with “growing up in the mountains having been exposed to endless outdoor activity by day and homemade, sit-down dinners by night with the family” laughing over crispy, 24-hour smoked brisket and warm arugula salad. This story begins with mom, who packed my lunch, worked full time, exercised after work, made a quick dinner, and started over again the next day. And dad, who worked for the sherriffs department, volunteered at the fire station, and did search and rescue. And then, there were Bagel Bites. And Gushers. And Goldfish. And Fruit Roll-ups. And Trix, cuz yo, Trix were fo’ kidz. That’s where I came in. This was food. And I KNOW I wasn’t the only one. All my friends had this stuff. As far back as I can remember to high school, this was normal. My nutrition information came straight off of the cereal box itself in the form of a pyramid, cereal of course is at the bottom of that pyramid, so HELL to the YEAH I’m gonna get my cereal fix! You know what else is at the bottom of the pyramid? All things bread. Bagels. Check. Muffins. Just make sure they are the ones from Costco. Donuts. It has bread on the bottom kind of…

Kayla and cooking did not mix. I had no interest in it. Why would I? The best dinners came prepared already, and all I had to do was microwave it. Boom! Main course consisted of chicken nuggets, sides were of course corn and mashed potatoes, and who could forget the dessert brownie in the middle with the sprinkles! My use of kitchen gadgets consisted of the toaster, microwave, and this thing that boiled water in like 30 seconds. Knives were dangerous in my mind.

This isn’t to say that this was my parents fault. I made my own choices. They gave me the freedom to make my own decisions, maybe something their parents did not allow them to do. For this I am grateful. My taste buds were tainted though. When my parents went to the trouble of making dinner, I didn’t appreciate the time, the taste, or the actual experience of sitting down with loved ones to enjoy food. By high school, it was trendy to eat low-fat yogurt, anything “whole grain”, and count calories. Still at this time could I not care less about cooking my own food. I vividly recall making a “fluffer nutter” sandwich my senior year. That is, marshmallow fluff and peanut butter (probs skippy) in between two pieces of wonder bread. I may have also graduated to making quesadillas in a skillet but I’m not totally positive about that one.

Fast forward to my second year of college where I was forced to use pots and pans and cookbooks to get ideas. I couldn’t freakin’ believe how easy it was to make pasta! You boil water, put the noodles in, throw em’ at the wall to check if they are done and you buy sauce at the store and heat it up. Pasta. I ate a lot of pasta. I felt like a galldang chef. Then CrossFit ran me over in a tanker and swallowed me whole and forced salmon and chilled cucumber soup down my throat.

I exaggerate #ALOT but I went through what everyone goes through when someone tells them no sugar, no alcohol (wtf I JUST got to college!!!), no bread, no pasta, no cereal, no milk, no peanut butter, no cheese, no corn, no yogurt….See ya! That blows! And then, I found my way back. I bought my first paleo cookbook “The Paleo Solution” By Robb Wolf. This guy had done his homework. And I enjoyed that he was super relatable and sarcastic. We could be friends. I started with a 30-day challenge. I remember breakfast one day 1 was chicken breast, macadamia nuts, and apple sauce. I could deal with that. It was easy, and I hardly had to cook. I missed cereal, I missed ice cream, and I missed cheese. I made it through my challenge which was exactly that, challenging, and I bought myself another paleo cookbook. And I have continued this trend now for 6 years. And I didn’t drop everything at once and become perfectly paleo and a fantastic chef. Over the course of that time, I slowly eliminated foods out of my diet. I’ve made dozens and dozens of recipes and totally screwed up dozens of them. I have accumulated kitchen gadgets as I have grown to enjoy cooking for myself and others. Have I always had a food processor? No! I just learned what that was like 5 years ago! But eventually more recipes I wanted to make called for it, so I got one. A big misconception I hear of is kitchen space. You don’t have to have a giant kitchen to cook! My refrigerator is literally the size of a hotel fridge. And I’ve lived in the studio for almost 3 years. I have an oven that isn’t much bigger than an easy bake oven (which I once owned as a child and burned the sh*t out of myself), I keep all my kitchen gadgets in my closet, and I use to not have any counter space! My “counter” is made up of two tables I found on craigslist, and Simon being the wonderful electrician he is installed an outlet on one of my tables so I could plug in my blender/food processor/crock pot. I love him. Does it help having kitchen space? Yes, of course. Does it make space for more unnecessary things? Yes…

Now there’s this cool thing called the internet where I can get endless ideas and recipes and pump my brain full of nutrition knowledge! I know this is also the same place you can learn how to make a chocolate-covered-oreo-ice-cream-fudge-crunch-bar-cake, but I try to not go down that rabbit hole.

Here’s the point. I don’t have a neat story about learning to cook from the pros. All it took was some cookbooks, some time, and you really have to have an appetite. And learning how to cook ANYTHING is as easy as typing it into the Google machine and there it is. In steps. Sometimes it’s even in videos. Which is why CaliKooks happened. I am super influenced by food photos, and even more so if I’m told exactly what to do! It’s about being creative with what you have to work with in your kitchen and in your fridge and making food as nutritious as it is packed full of flavor. It’s caring about every single ingredient that goes into your recipe and not having to wonder if it’s “healthy” or not. It’s about being able to cook for family and friends and be able to pass on the ideas! There are times when I wish I had learned all the culinary knowledge I have now sooner, but it’s about the process and learning to love your creations through trial and error and who knows, maybe I wouldn’t be so into cooking if I hadn’t started so late in the game!



Labor day is tomorrow ( September 5th), Look below for the limited hours at each gym. Back to regular schedule on Tuesday!

CrossFit West

9am/10am/12pm class
Open Gym 1-2pm
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