“15 and Prediabetic”: The Wakeup Call that Changed My Life

Here’s how wellness chef Charles Chen turned his life around.

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Ask anyone who has made a drastic change for their health—like quitting smoking or losing a significant amount of weight—and they’ll likely tell you it came after a wake-up call of some kind or another. There’s nothing like being smacked with an unwanted reality, like a serious health diagnosis, to motivate some major lifestyle changes.

That’s certainly the case with wellness chef Charles Chen, who learned at age 15 that he was prediabetic. His doctor told him if he continued going down this route, he would “die at a very early age.”

Chen is a chef, entrepreneur, and vivacious host of the online cooking show Kitchen Hustle, where “hustlers learn how to fuel their passions.” Throughout his childhood, Chen struggled with his health. As a teenager, he was prediabetic and a self-proclaimed couch potato who had no energy or motivation to make healthier choices. After hitting what he calls his “rock bottom moment,” he reclaimed his health, lost more than 100 pounds, and now helps others fuel their “bodies, mind, and spirit starting in the kitchen.”

The world isn’t exactly set up to encourage a healthy lifestyle, and you’re “bombarded” by junk food ads, liquor stores, and fast food, says Chen. “There needs to be more wellness warriors who step up and talk about these things, and give people the tools.”

A wake-up call might be a powerful motivator, but you don’t have to wait until hitting your own rock-bottom moment to make positive changes. “If you know better, you’ll do better,” says Chen.

Check out some of Chen’s healthy recipes with this low-carb cauliflower fried rice recipe and this vegan quinoa burger with basil cream sauce.