20 minute read


THE LIST A+ people lifestyle

At Nashville Fit Magazine, we pride ourselves on being bold, well-researched, and above all, fun. The A-List is a curated list of our team’s favorite products and services for great local gift ideas this holiday season.

Clean Slate $69

The Root Brand (https://therootbrands.com/nashvillefit) / @therootbrand_ GIVE TOXINS THE HEAVE-HO! ROOT is a company founded on improving people’s understanding of how toxins and chemicals harm your health. Instead of treating symptoms, Root treats the underlying cause with natural wellness. Their product Clean Slate uses Zeolite, one of nature's best detoxifying mineral in a proprietary patentpending formulation, to help wipe your cells clean of the toxins. It's your body's chance to oust the bad stuff and start new. One 1 oz. (30ml) bottle contains 600 drops which should be taken 5-10 drops orally at a time, twice a day, morning and night. Clean Slate safely supports the removal of toxins from cells, body and brain tissue and assists with the reduction of negative inflammation by removing the root cause of the issues. Clean Slate also supports the absorption of nutrients by the removal of toxins which may block nutrient binding sites. When purchasing ROOT products, use referral code "nashvillefit".

Guerilla Bizkits 5-Pack $12

@guerillabizkits / https://bizkits.biz Guerilla Bizkits is a local vegan biscuit service that delivers fresh-baked vegan biscuits straight to your door. Whaaaat?! Orders can be placed via their website every Sunday through Tuesday (or until sold out), and the biscuits currently come in three flavors - Straight Edge (buttermilk), Loaded (garlic and cheddar) and Blackout (cherry and jalapeño). Order them one at a time ($3) or in packs of five ($12). Delivery is free if you live five miles or closer and $3-$5 if you live farther away.) As long as you live within 15 miles of the 37206 zip code, you are good to go!

Music City Suds Where The Lemongrass Grows Soap $6

@musiccitysuds / https://musiccitysuds.com Here in Nashville, we're all about the music and Music City Suds is proud to be an unofficial soapmaker of country music! Not only have their products appeared in celebrity gift bags at the CMT and CMA Awards, they have also created custom soaps for some of country’s biggest stars, including Lady Antebellum, Trace Atkins, and Barbara Mandrell. Point your rocking chairs toward the west, and soak up “Where the Lemongrass Grows.” This airy, lemony scent is reminiscent of summertime: freshly mowed yards and bright, bright sunshine. Each bar comes wrapped in a piece of sheet music too. Ingredients: coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, water, sodium hydroxide (lye), chaparral leaf, essential oil

Hot Sauce Nashville $10

@hotsaucenashville / https://www.hotsaucenashville.com Hot Sauce Nashville is a small batch hot sauce company in Nashville, Tennessee, that creates fiercely flavorful hot sauces. Their flagship product is Hot Garlic, a mouthwatering three pepper hot sauce with a punch of garlic (vampires beware) and a pinch of sweet. They are the real deal and not a watered down hot sauce. Hot Sauce Nashville believes in letting the peppers (and garlic!) take center stage. For every bottle purchased, they also donate a meal to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Born and raised in Nashville, the owners are a couple that believes in finger-licking flavorful food. They are huge supporters of farmers markets and have traveled all over the country (and world) visiting 100+ of them. They're love for the farmers market community and local food inspired them to start their own small batch food company!

BurgerFit $25

@getburgerfit / https://shop.getburgerfit.com Moms can fight one less battle at dinnertime with BurgerFit, ground meat and veggie combo burgers, and get their kids to eat their veggies! Can you imagine not having to repeatedly ask your kids to eat their vegetables? They won’t even realize they are eating their veggies! With 20 different burger recipes, you'll have a stress-free dinner that even picky eaters will enjoy. Each recipe has been tested with kids of all ages, both young and the grown ones. You’ll have them eating beets (and loving it) before they know it! Many recipes are perfect for those following healthy dietary lifestyles such as Keto, Paleo, and Whole30. Vegetables aren’t as sexy as pizza and french fries but they can be as sexy as a burger with BurgerFit. BurgerFit printed paperback book. It can be purchased on Amazon or on their website. Grab it today for your family or as a gift!

Egg Weights $30

@eggweights / https://eggweights.com The concept is rather simple. Instead of expanding the size or shape of the weight as it increases in pounds, Egg Weights uses denser metals to keep the size small like an egg. This is extremely important so you don't restrict natural motion and body flow during exercise or sports training. Egg Weights are great for walking, running, hiking, intermediate sports training, track and field, balance and form development and they are the only hand weights in the world that conform to your body’s natural motion. The unique finger loop grips secure the weights to your hand during high-intensity movements without the need to strap or tightly wrap weights around the hand or wrist. Increase the intensity of any functional or therapeutic movement without the risk of hitting your own body or stationary objects during exercise like dumbbells. Genius!

Local Spotlight BILLY DEC

Billy Dec is a two time Emmy Award Winning TV Personality, Actor, Attorney, Restaurateur, and owner of celebrated hospitality and entertainment venue Sunda New Asian in Nashville and Chicago.

In addition to being CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch, a hospitality management company, Billy owns a cutting edge marketing agency called COACT, and an HR firm called HR Pro, both built on leveraging growing communities of top independent talent in their respective industries.

Billy has been regularly be seen on NBC's TODAY Show, acting in films and on TV shows like Criminal Minds and Empire, hosting his own podcast “The Meal of Your Life!” and is hosting/producing a new documentary for PBS he recently shot in his mother’s native island of the Philippines. Dec is a Chicago-Kent College of Law and Harvard Business School Alum, who was a Presidential appointee for five years, serving on the White House Advisory Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, and the White House Bullying Prevention Task Force, and served on many local committees, boards, and commissions to serve the community.

How early did you know food would be a major part of your life?

Funny, growing up in a family from the Islands of the Philippines means food is your life. Feeding everyone in your home and community is everything. Food is love, everywhere, always, 24/7. My Lola (grandmother), was the most amazing cook in the world. She came from the Philippines to Chicago to live with us and helped raise my little brother, Anthony, and I at the time while both my parents worked. The family, friends, neighbors and sometimes pseudo strangers that would all ecstatically come over to enjoy her food offerings, even inspired my little brother and I to open a “restaurant” in our home when we were in 3rd and 5th grade, which was fun until we tried to charge our parents for breakfast and they shut us down haha.

That lead to me begging my way into working as a coat check kid in 6th grade at a killer Chinese restaurant during the winter to make whatever money I could, which then led to working their street fair booths during the summer. It was serving people those summer days and nights that I fell in love with the power of teamwork under intense conditions and huge expectations, all to create explosive emotional reactions if we could get the food (and Mai Tais) out fast enough. After the rush, I thrived in that first summer. I was immediately hooked and from there, I never stopped working 24/7 to be side by side with the best teams in the business to serve the community, deliver comfort, and put smiles on people's faces.

Have you ever been underestimated?

As an ethnically ambiguous kid that experienced some serious life setbacks, losing my dad and little brother way too early in life, I was forced to work a lot to pay for school, food, and take care of my family, all of which caused me to sometimes have trouble keeping up and contributed to a low interest in or expectation of me at times. So yes, I have felt underestimated for sure. Since an early age, I have also had to deal with racial slurs, discrimination, bullying and occasional attacks, that really hurt when times were already tough. All of this somehow fueled me though, driving me to work relentlessly to prove misconceptions wrong, fighting to earn things that people doubted I could ever do (where I didn’t see many people that looked like my family). I worked hard to become a lawyer, entrepreneur, Harvard Business School alumn, a TV personality who also loves to act, a Presidential Appointment to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, and the White House Bullying Prevention Task Force.

What has been one of the most rewarding projects you have done with your marketing agency COACT?

Internally, creating the inherent heart of the business with a growing community of independent creatives worldwide that all COACT (which means “to act and work together”) for the benefit of others has been the absolute most rewarding part of all. Collaborating with the best of the best, near and far, to make businesses and people better with greater results for less to the client (no overhead) and reinventing the advertising model has given such meaning and value to so many and it will continue on with or without me. I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of it.

Externally, I love what we are doing for one of our clients Maserati, as not only has it allowed me to collaborate with our creative community but also with celebrity artists, athletes, musicians and other interesting friends I’ve been blessed to build relationships with along my hospitality life journey. The fact that I get to reconnect, collab, and create all kinds of new content for an iconic brand who is boldly trailblazing into a new era and one I’ve been mesmerized by since I was a kid. Perhaps it’s that same rush of working alongside the most amazing teammates ever to surpass incredibly high expectations to create impactful and emotional reactions that put smiles on people's faces. All of this definitely fuels me.

How does fitness fit into your weekly routine and what is your favorite way to stay active?

My work schedule is crazy and unpredictable unfortunately, so I try to fit health and fitness in whenever I can as I know it helps me stay high energy, positive, and keep up with everything going on. In addition to opening Sunda in the Gulch and the love for the people here, one of the main reasons I moved to Nashville from Chicago is the beautiful weather and outdoors. I try to hike, bike, and workout outside whenever I can. I might bike to Radnor Lake, hike around once, and bike back, work with my boxing coach in the backyard with

trainers like Julian Cortez from Hiitman Boxing, take the weights out into the yard and keep mixing it up inside the home gym. Weekly hot yoga classes at CorePower with my fav teacher Chelsea have also allowed me to stay loose. I also randomly jump in to full body workout classes at the YMCA and thankfully one of my COACT business partners AJ Calvin trained competitively in martial arts in his past life like I did from an early age, so we find time to train together (and talk business) whenever can.

One of my biggest secrets and saviors though I’d have to say that allows me to be as active both in and out of brutal work hours, travel and workouts, is actually in the recovery efforts from all the beatdowns after all these years. I actually have a show I’m hosting (that has been put on pause due to COVID) solely about historic to futuristic recovery methods that are mind blowing. Some of the wonderful people locally who have helped me repair quick to get back up and running that I need to give a shout out to is Zion for Acupuncture from Streams of Grace in Brentwood, Robin and the Cupping & Ashiatsu at Franklin Massage, Josh and the electric stimulation at Chadwick’s in Cool Springs, salt float tanks at Pure Sweat + Float in Belle Meade, and all the good people at Crest in Green Hills that do back and neck chair work on the fly. I own them a lot of gratitude.

What is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle while balancing a busy schedule and being on the road?

For me, I always start with trying to schedule my workouts (or breaks to do anything healthy) literally right into my calendar. Otherwise my day will get jam packed with no time to do anything for my health, which can really wear on me quickly, especially these days with so many business problems and fires to put out. More than half of my strategically spread out workouts allow me to work at the same time, which is not ideal, but at least that way it doesn’t get removed from my day completely. I read emails or research on a reclined bike, take calls on a walk or while lightly working with dumbbells. Any audio/video files that I need to hear or see are saved for the gym.

I’d also say my entire food stock at the house has become healthy. After years of doing food segments on live TV, inevitably, I’d have a host or celebrity guest that would require me to show the world how to make a particular dish gluten free, dairy free, or vegan. This required a lot of research because I always prepare for any question that could come up to avoid being stumped on a national live TV show in front of millions (a big fear as you can tell haha). I was just was so blown away by the benefits learned that it really influenced the entire food ecosystem of what’s around me and what I put in my body. Gluten and dairy have been eliminated and I am now surrounded by more vegetables in my kitchen and on my plate with a growler full of fresh green juice from Juice Bar in the fridge at all times. I have even been trying to eat vegan 2-3 days a week and thankfully Sunda has an awesome vegetarian and vegan menu with some super flavorful dishes.

Travel is where the biggest challenges start to arise, but after years of traveling to NYC and LA to film different shows, Chicago to work with my teams on Sunda and my Underground Nightclub, I think I am starting to get a decent system down. I pack healthy food with me such as my own mix of gluten free granola with goji berries, coconut, and pumpkin seeds. I also bring my own plant based protein and stock my hotel fridge with berries and Greek yogurt for the mornings. I usually have sliced turkey meat for emergency late night snacks, and I also plan my meetings at places that have healthy options close by. I also carry this natural gum called Sweet Defeat that fights my sugar cravings and helps me get to the next safe spot to eat instead of buckling on bad stuff for me inbetween. I will tell you though, part of the reason I am this hardcore about is because food and restaurants are a huge part of my life. I have to eat extremely large amounts of food at tastings with my chefs, while entertaining sometimes, as well as while doing research and development in other cities.

When traveling, I also typically stay close to an Equinox or CorePower Yoga to hop in and manage stress, continue to stay energized, and keep a healthy feeling. Being conscious of that really helps. I also think mentally it’s great to be around fun individuals and teachers to stay motivated instead of getting into the mindset of traveling alone and working 18 hour days, which I did for a long time.

Do you have a favorite comfort food or a meal you like to cook for yourself?

There is an island style dinner we have been doing at Sunda since the Chicago location opened 11 years ago called “Kamayan” that is unforgettable and it is always sold out. In fact, a video of it last year went viral and garnered 5+ million views on YouTube in the first 48 hours. Essentially, it’s a 40 ft long table lined with banana leaves layered with a long mound of rice and over a dozen amazing treats from the Islands of the Philippines such as crispy pata (confit pork shank), garlic shrimp skewers, mangos, adobo chicken, adobo braised pork belly,

whole fried fish, longanisa sausage, dragon fruit, and lumpia eggrolls. It's piled high to create some amazing colors too. With influences from diverse countries like China and Spain, we would all eat this feast on special holidays and family occasions, all with our hands (“Kamay” means “hands” in our native language of Tagalog). It's a traditional meal that's connected by food, family and friends, as our ancestors were.

Now that we are being extra careful at Sunda with COVID precautions, we have temporarily paused these sold out community dinners. Due to requests from our guests though. It’s definitely my favorite thing (sometimes with a sushi roll on the side breaking the rules haha) that I hope you will try one day!

What were some of the struggles to get Sunda up and running in Nashville and how did you manage those?

I thought the biggest challenge coming from Chicago to Nashville would be an unfamiliarity with the diversity of true and authentic South East Asian food and flavors we have from sushi to Korean BBQ to Filipino feasts. But the community has been absolutely amazing and supportive, many saying they had dined at Sunda in Chicago and considered it their favorite restaurant. A number artists in Nashville that have toured the world said they got to try high level South East Asian flavors and were so psyched to have it in their backyard. It’s been a very welcoming atmosphere and I have been extemely appreciative of the support.

The only real struggle now is for our entire industry under COVID fears, shutdowns, and restrictions. Restaurants are rapidly closing in these unprecedented times and those that are fighting to stay open are on their last legs. So many operators are losing their dream family businesses, and in some cases their life savings and even homes. We really need to come together. Visit your local restaurants or if you are staying in, buy gift cards or order take out. If possible, try to avoid third party delivery services as they will typically take a majority of the profit from the local operators, which many small independent businesses just can not afford.

How did Sunda Sundays (#SundaService) begin and how has it impacted the Nashville community?

was out on my own, trying to hustle and work every minute I could to take care of my mom and sister. I put myself through school to survive. Looking back, there were so many scary challenges that flooded my life, but there were also (many times anonymous) people that gave me a helping hand or opportunity when I needed it. I’ll never forget that. Combined with our Sunda family's natural DNA to take care of our community, it was an extension of our core values we knew we had to do.

We have been donating 100 meals to people in need through the pandemic and shutdown in areas where a lot of jobs have been lost. We've helped the hospitality industry, kids who are missing that middle of the day school meal, and homeless in in transition. If you'd like to help the community and add to our efforts make sure you go to https:// sundanewasian.com/service and give back tot he those in need by buying a meal. I can’t tell you how much it is needed. To be able to deliver comfort, relief and a smile and allow people to fight another day is why we do it.

Are you working on anything for 2021 you’d like to share?

I’m so humbled and proud to have a documentary on PBS coming out called “FOOD ROOTS” about how after losing two of my last three elders in the Philippines on the same day and feeling like the link to my ethnic roots was vanishing, I dropped everything and journeyed back to my mother's native 7,641 islands of the Philippines to find my last surviving elder (my Lola’s sister) and learn the recipes of my ancestors. To learn about my cultural and culinary heritage, my family story, and my roots has been amazing. For more and to watch the trailer, visit http://billydec.com/documentary. I decided to work with all local Middle Tennessee partners to make this film happen, so please consider donating to PBS for this project right there on the link, as it’s non-profit critical storytelling that I hope inspires kids and adults to seek out and learn their roots through the recipes of their ancestors. It's made me so proud! I hope you will like it.

What is one of your favorite recipes you'd like to share with the Nashville Fit Magazine community?

One of my favorite recipes from some of my TODAY SHOW segments is a Chop Chop Salad we have at Sunda that I made with that I made with Regis Philbin, Kathlie Lee Gifford, and Hoda Kotb – which by the way everyone should watch as it’s one of my favorite episodes. The Chicken Chili Verde is super delicious, healthy, and will keep in the fridge for the fall and winter. You can even enjoy in during the summer!

Chop Chop Chicken Salad

Salad Mix: ◊ 2 heads romaine hearts, sliced 1/4 inch thick ◊ 1 pound spinach, sliced 1/4 inch thick ◊ 1 cup julienne carrots ◊ 1 cup sliced mangoes (optional) ◊ 1 cup julienne cucumbers

Salad Mix: ◊ 1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar ◊ 1 tablespoon minced jalapenos, no seeds ◊ 2 tablespoons soy sauce ◊ 1/2 cup fine chopped toasted peanuts ◊ 1 tablespoon minced canned jalapenos with juice ◊ 1 teaspoon grated ginger ◊ 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Chicken: ◊ 1 pound cooked shredded chicken breasts (from a rotisserie chicken) Salad Presentation: ◊ 4 cups salad mix ◊ 1/2 cup chicken ◊ 3 ounces peanut dressing


For The Peanut Dressing

Place all ingredients in a blender, using the pulse option, quickly pulse the dressing until uniform, dressing will not emulsify, dressing is meant to be mixed before each use. Transfer to container and keep refrigerated.

For The Salad Presentation

In a mixing bowl, spoon dressing onto the bottom of the bowl, add salad mix and chicken and toss until well coated. Transfer to serving bowl and serve. Garnish with chopped peanuts.