The Food Psychologist is back exploring different cuisines and reinventing perceptions of what constitutes to healthy and unhealthy. In this addition, we explore yet another gastronomic haunt on our little sunny island.
Nestled in a corner of Tanjong Pagar Centre, I stumbled across Kipos Gourmet by chance one afternoon. It looked good, but having had lunch, I had to pass on round two as tempting as it looked. Curiosity got the better of me and after some research, this is what I discovered: “Kipos Gourmet combines the freshest whole food ingredients to create your favourite healthy protein bowls in the most ethical and sustainable way possible”.
Does this inconspicuous little joint hold up to that promise? The Food Psychologist investigates, starting with an interview with the enthusiastic duo from the Kipos Collective – Stanley and Brian.
Stanley is the Managing Director of Kipos. He has a background in start-ups and working in the health food industry. He previously spearheaded an online health food store in Australia and is a keen fitness enthusiast. Brian is also a founding member of Kipos and is involved with the marketing side of the business. He has a background in science and helped create some of the protein bowl recipes in store today. Stanley and Brian met in Australia while working on another project and together with other partners wanted to bring an Australian influence in healthy eating and living to Singapore. And viola! Kipos was born.
Natasha (The Food Psychologist): Why is the café called Kipos?
Stanley (S): We wanted this company to be something of a lifestyle – a healthy lifestyle where people can eat, they can do activities, everything, so that it is more holistic kind of company. So Kipos itself is a Greek word for “gardens”, and why Greek? Greek is known for the mystical, Olympian kind of theme, so that’s why we use a Greek word and we convert the word “gardens” into a Greek word, which is Kipos.
TFP: What inspired its conception and the creation of the lunch menu?
S: We were in Australia for the past three to four years, so we wanted to bring the culture here. We started off by giving our bowls very fancy names like “Crabby Bowls” or “Sesame Street” but I realised that people can’t resonate around these names as they don’t know what’s happening there. So we tweaked it in the next week to “diet bowls”. If your goal is keto, if you’re on a keto diet, go for the Keto Bowl. If you’re on a Paleo diet, go for the Paleo Bowl. It’s straight-forward, it’s clear and the benefit behind these diet-specific bowls that it’s even easier to relate to because you can just google the definition of Paleo to find out that it’s llike a caveman diet, no processed food, no sugar, no added sugar.
TFP: How has your own cooking or eating become healthier over the years?
S: From my personal experience, because I was very fat in the past, and I went for a no-carb diet, I lost a significant amount of weight back in army days. But after that when I started eating carbs here and there, I ballooned up again. So I learnt htat your body can’t get used to the fact that if you’re too extreme, your body can’t get used to that. So it’s good to have a consistent, small amount of carbohydrates everyday, I mean, in proportion to your proteins and your vegetables, to keep it sustainable.
TFP: What are the stereotypes of ‘healthy food’? And what is “healthy food” to you?
S: People perceive healthy food as just eating vegetables. No sugar, no salt, no deep fried foods. I think to us, healthy food has to be consumed in a more sustainable way. I think everything has to have a balance. You can’t totally eliminate sugar, or totally eliminate salt. I mean you can avoid fried food because fried food is just dry and fattening. So for us healthy food is a way that enhances your body, gives your body the nutrients it requires and to facilitate your daily activity.
TFP: What is your favourite health food trend? What do you do to stay current on new trends?
S: Brian is on the keto diet actually.
Brian (B): Not so much recently but beginning of 2018. I’ve been wanting to try it out and I guess, to lose some weight. That has been kind of an adventure for me.
TFP: Do you know that you’re the second person in the restaurant world that I have spoken to that has been into the keto. Any reason why?
B: My main motivation behind it was to lose weight. I have previously been on other diets that were ok for short-term but didn’t really work. Keto was something I had researched and I knew of other friends doing it as well. And so like why not try it out, just to see. It is more extreme than some of the other diets but yeah, I wanted to give it a go. It worked out, I lost some weight but it’s pretty hard to do on a social setting and also during the holidays, and because it’s Christmas I’ve been on break (laughs).
TFP: And I can see that that’s also incorporated into the menu.
B: Yeah we have one item that is Keto.