Food 7/29

From left to right: Mersaydees, Terriana, Brittney and Terrence Etienne, owner of Fit & Fresh Meals. After a work injury, Terrence was in a dark place and gained a significant amount of weight. With proper meal prep, Terrence was able to get back to a better place and now he’s focused on helping others with their meal prep and food lifestyle.

By Aaron gonsoulin

The daily Iberian

While some kids were watching cartoons on Saturday mornings, Terrence Etienne spent his childhood watching cooking shows and learning whatever he could about food.

“I’ve always been interested in cooking,” Etienne said. “It’s always been my passion.”

A St. Martinville native, Etienne is a fan of different food cultures, from Mexican food, to Asian and Jamaican — the self-taught chef’s culinary répertoire expands beyond the Cajun cooking of this region.

“I don’t like to do the modern, everyday(cooking), and I think that’s what sets me apart from everybody else,” Etienne said.

Though he is much older now, Etienne’s love for cooking has never left him, even when he worked offshore.

When Etienne was working on a drilling rig, he sustained an injury, causing him to gain weight, eventually getting to be over 300 pounds.

“I was sort of in a low spot (in my life),” Etienne said.

Food 7/29

Meals prepared at Fit & Fresh Meals in New Iberia. Owner Terrence Etienne, along with his wife, Brittney, daughters Mersaydees and Terriana and son Javen Rabon work together, helping to provide fresh meals for everyone in the Teche Area.

While at home, Etienne was unable to work out and lose the weight he put on, so he started researching different ways to get healthier.

It took Etienne around a year to lose the 78 pounds he put on and since then he has changed his way of life.

“I started looking at what I eat and what makes me feel bad to feel better,” Etienne said.

Etienne looked at his weight loss at the surface: calories in versus calories out. He noted that you can eat only cookies or cake but it’s what you put in your body that makes a difference.

“I went from eating white rice to brown rice,” Etienne said. “I went from doing regular potatoes to sweet potatoes. So I just tried to use healthier food and eat more of it.”

Now living a food lifestyle, Etienne is also helping others on their journey to feeling better, and the first stop on that journey is food.

Food 7/29

Fit & Fresh Meals owner Terrence Etienne. After an offshore injury, Etienne put on over 70 pounds and lost weight with proper meal prepping.

Etienne started meal prepping his food portions and eventually was able to get into better shape. The process piqued the interest of both friends and family.

Etienne was approached by a friend who helps run a nonprofit football team to help with the team’s meal prep and nutrition.

“When I started getting those results, it sort of just took off from there,” Etienne said. “One day I got me a brick and mortar (building) and started doing it for the city of New Iberia.”

Etienne now runs Fit & Fresh Meals, a meal prep service that caters to those who wish to lose weight, maintain weight, or choose to make healthier decisions on a daily basis.

“Our meals are blanched meals,” Etienne said. “You have proteins, you have carbs, you have fats.”

Each meal can have 4 or 8 ounces of proteins and 3 ounces of veggies and carbs, as it gives first-timers a good start.

“I am not saying it’s going to work for everybody, but it’s a start,” Etienne said.

The journey that Etienne has been on the last few years has been personal and one he takes seriously. He wants to know if people seeking his help also are serious.

“The first question I ask them, ‘Are you serious?’” Etienne said. “Because I am making 1,000 meals on a Monday, so you can keep your money if you’re not and I can help the next person.”

Visit the Fit & Fresh Meals Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FitAndFreshMeals for more information or call 608-8241 or 281-0170.

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