Ever heard of a Lazy Genius? The term, coined by author Kendra Adachi, is someone who is a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. It’s the process of naming what matters to you at any given time and then making decisions accordingly, allowing you to sift through what to focus on and what to let go of. When this game-changing concept is applied to our kitchens, it allows us to find long-term success in cooking and eating at every life stage. Listen in to this engaging interview with self-proclaimed professional permission-giver and kind, big sister of the internet, for a sneek peek into her newest book and why it’s a reference guide chock full of frameworks, tools, and other practical and inspiring tips that people can reach for again and again no matter the season of life. 

here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [1:41] Grab our free guide and mini-course on capsule meal planning
  • [6:15] Understand how to be a Lazy Genius
  • [21:45] Lean about The Lazy Genius Principal of the lazy and genius pendulum, similar to the striving mindset.
  • [34:20] Discover why she wrote The Lazy Genius Kitchen and what it’s about
  • [46:17] Connect with Kendra Adachi via her website, social media, and podcast

links mentioned in this episode

The Lazy Genius Kitchen: Have What You Need, Use What You Have, and Enjoy It Like Never Before

Free Guide & Mini-Course on Capsule Meal Planning

The Feel Good Effect Book

No Cure for Being Human: And Other Truths I Need to Hear

The Lazy Genius Collective Website

The Lazy Genius Instagram

The Lazy Genius Podcast 

guest bio

Kendra Adachi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Lazy Genius Way and the upcoming The Lazy Genius Kitchen. Her podcast, The Lazy Genius Podcast, has over 13 million downloads and covers everything from cooking chicken to making friends. As a systems expert and professional permission-giver, Kendra helps others stop doing it all for the sake of doing what matters. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three kids.

read the transcript

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:01)

You’re listening to The Feel Good Effect. It is time to become a lazy genius in the kitchen. And we’re gonna tell you exactly how to do it. Let’s make it happen.

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:14)

Radically simple and ridiculously doable. The Feel Good Effect will help you redefine wellness on your terms. Hi, I’m your host Robyn Conley Downs. And I believe that wellness isn’t about achieving another set of impossible standards, but instead finding what works for you, drawing from cutting-edge science on mindfulness, habit and behavior change. This podcast offers a collection of small mindset shifts that allow for more calm, clarity, and joy in everyday life and allows you to embrace the idea that gentle is the new perfect. I invite you to listen in as we cut through the clutter and find the small shifts that create huge changes in your life. Less striving, more ease. It’s time to feel good.

Robyn Conley Downs: (01:03)

Well, Hey, Feel Good, fam. I am so glad you’re here for this conversation with Kendra Adachi from The Lazy Genius, talking about her brand new book, The Lazy Genius Kitchen: Have What You Need, Use What You Have and Enjoy It Like Never Before. I think you’ll find through this conversation that The Lazy Genius principles and The Feel Good Effect principles are so in line it’s wild actually. And it’s really fun to see what Kendra’s done with her principles and, and applied it to the kitchen. I think this is gonna be a really tactical, helpful episode. And if you enjoy it, I think it’s a great one to share with a friend.

Robyn Conley Downs: (01:41)

And if you love this episode, you, you will love my free guide and mini-course on capsule meal planning and bringing more ease to meal planning, which you can grab on www.realfoodwholelife.com/subscribe. Cuz if meal planning is one of those things that would feel super great, if only you can make it work for you, then I definitely have a solution because the thing is choosing meals should not be so hard. So in this free mini-course, you’ll get a done-for-you printable meal plan and learn how to create your own capsule meal plan with ease. So you can get that at www.realfoodwholelife.com/subscribe. Like I said, it has the meal plan that you get done for you, which includes a grocery list as well as how many course that get delivered free through email. And it goes so well with a lot of these concepts that Kendra talks about in today’s episodes. I wanted to offer that as an additional free resource to you. So www.realfoodwholelife.com/subscribe while you’re there, you check out our brand new website, which just went live. It’s beautiful. It’s so easy to navigate and lots of free goodies there as well at www.realfoodwholelife.com. And here we go with Kendra Adachi talking about her new book, The Lazy Genius Kitchen.

Robyn Conley Downs: (03:03)

Kendra. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Kendra Adachi: (03:05)

I’m happy to be here, Robyn.

Robyn Conley Downs: (03:07)

So I told you that I have many things to tell you, but I wanted to wait to hit record cuz I just, sometimes I have really good conversations with someone before and then we refer back to that the whole time and I feel like it’s really not very inclusive of our audience.

Kendra Adachi: (03:22)

Sure. It’s just like, let’s say hi and then it record and then we’ll talk. Yes, it’s great. It’s great.

Robyn Conley Downs: (03:27)

So you were asking who our audience is and I have to say I don’t, I interestingly don’t think we have a huge crossover in our listeners, but we have the same people mm-hmm and I’m so excited to share them with you and vice versa because you and I have the same brain and I didn’t tell you that before, but our books came out. Your first book came out at the same time around. I think that mine did. That’s how I found it because it kept coming up as recommended. Like if you buy this book, The Feel Good Effect, then you will like this, The Lazy Genius. And I was like, who is this lazy genius? So I started listening to your podcast and I, I bought your book and I was like, oh my gosh, we are teaching the exact same thing in different ways.

Robyn Conley Downs: (04:15)

And it was so validating honestly, because I was like, okay, we came to basically and conclusions on the same things completely separately. And I feel like it’s like this new way. It’s a new way. That makes so much sense. It’s so much simpler that it’s really grounded, like who you are, what works for you, not doing things that don’t matter, but your voice is very different than mine. So anyway, I was just thrilled because it’s shocking to me. How many of our, concept you teach that are similar to mine. And I know we’ve come at them very differently and from different places. So that is who you’re talking to. And so a lot of what you teach, I think they’ll have heard in one way, but like you put a different lens on it and now you have this new book, so wanted to share that with you.

Kendra Adachi: (04:57)

That’s really fun. Also your cover is just dreamy. Oh, thank you. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it like, you know, as books do, like you’re saying in recommended places and you just see covers floating about the internet and it is so pretty.

Robyn Conley Downs: (05:10)

Thank you. I have it. She can see it in my background. So of, you know, in my office I have like color-coded books. Oh

Kendra Adachi: (05:15)

It’s I was looking at the spines and I didn’t see, I did it just looked like beautiful art, which is what the cover is. So

Robyn Conley Downs: (05:22)

I just have like this subliminal message of like my book in the background. So, and I think that one thing I’ve learned, I’ve learned a lot from you. One thing that I wish I had done differently with my book and podcast is, and I have since borrowed from you with credit. Um, so some of you listening, heard me say this already that you use the lazy genius as a verb. Like you lazy genius something. And I’m like, why did I not think of that? But so now I’ve been saying that too, like, you can feel good effect something. I think you’ve done that so well. And, and also lazy genius is like brilliant. And I know as like a term, it, it just so descriptive. So as you say in your new book, The Lazy Genius Kitchen, which is what we’re talking about today, in order to even dig into this book, you kind of need to know what a lazy genius is. So what is a lazy genius? Yeah.

Kendra Adachi: (06:15)

A lazy genius is someone who is a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. And, uh, the thing that is exactly what you just said, that we are often given a list of what should matter, or we make our own mental list based on like a million experts and people that we actually really respect and love and are living lives that we admire, and I use this, um, metaphor in the lazuy genius way where it’s like, we’re kind of like MacGyvering together, like a way of living like a system to live by based on all of these different things that we’re gathering from multiple places. And while that’s, that’s actually kind of part of life as you take a little here, you take a little there, but when we’re taking on someone else’s lens, we’re not gathering anything that’s actually helpful. So if you can name what matters to you like in that moment, in the season of life that you’re in on that actual day, like what, whatever your hormones are doing, like we have to sort of be in this, um, this practice of what matters right now, what matters in my home, what matters in my schedule, what matters in my body, like in this moment, what matters. And sometimes what matters right now in the moment is not quite as important as what might ma matter for the whole day. You know, that you can go like, actually what matters most really is that this day looks like this. Or at the end of this day, I feel like this and the decision that I’m gonna make right now, it feels like it matters. Doesn’t matter. As much as that thing, it’s, it’s sort of like this, um, process of elimination, of naming, what matters most to you at any given time and, and, uh, and then making decisions accordingly. So, and then you get to be, you get to be a genius. You get to care, you get to invest in things that really do deeply matter to you and not feel guilty about those. But then the things that don’t, you’re like I’ll use cheats. It doesn’t matter. Like it’s OK. Cause you can’t do everything well, you can’t be present with everything you can’t, you know, it’s just a really lovely framework to, to be able to sift through what to focus on and what to let go.

Robyn Conley Downs: (08:18)

And its a revelation and a revolution to take from one of my favorite Broadway musicals. because it, you can internalize that question. I talk about it as should to good, like what are your shoulds? And then find your goods. But like if you listen to Kendra and you read her books and you start to ask yourself, like it becomes that automatic habit, like a thinking habit, what matters, what matters, what matters. But the, the flip side that’s so revolutionary is that you can like really giving permission about laziness. Because I think that there is plenty to people that talk about like prioritizing and do the things that matter. But they’re not really willing to say really, here’s what I’m lazy about. You know, here’s what I’m really dropping the ball on. And I think that you’ve created a community of people that feel not only not guilty, but in fact proud of that, that that’s like a real sign that you are making the best of your, your life. So what are some of your favorites? And we’ll talk about it in the context of the book in a second, but just in general, like give us an example of some things that you’re lazy at right now. I know that you’re in like a very full time of life with the book and whatever has happened in the, like you did two books during a pandemic, which is,

Kendra Adachi: (09:33)

It’s not fair but It’s like so stupid. Like, can we please, I mean, I did not plan. So I, the, the se the first book came out in August of 2020, which was when we were sort of like, wait, what’s happening. like, we, we, something bad was happening. And we knew it was a pandemic, but we were like, just always on the cusp, like maybe we’re gonna be done, like turn one corner and we’re done. Like, we just didn’t know what we were in for, but no one was leaving their homes. And so it was, it was probably

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:00)

Like the fall spring of It

Kendra Adachi: (10:03)

Was, it was. And then with Lazy Genious kitchen, it was supposed to release on March 22nd. And then the boat that was carrying all the books was in a storm and the books might have fallen into the ocean. We still do not know At the point of this, we still don’t know if the book books are wet or dry. So I’m just like, I just wanna catch a break with a book launch,

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:22)

Man. Oh my gosh. It’s like

Kendra Adachi: (10:24)

A whole thing.

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:25)

, I’m glad. I mean, you’re laughing, cuz all you can do is laugh and not cry. Like that’s actually kind of tragic, but it will be someday the best story ever because

Kendra Adachi: (10:33)

It’s already pretty good. It really is. Like, I think, cause it is so deeply absurd.

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:38)

It is.

Kendra Adachi: (10:38)

that I can, but

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:40)

It’s so like pandemic on brand like,

Kendra Adachi: (10:43)

Well the books were in a ship wreck, what are you gonna do?

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:46)

Right. You used to go like, what’s the worst that can happen. I feel like our worst that can happen. Uh, like, like, um, barometer has expanded greatly. So

Kendra Adachi: (10:55)

It’s just broken. I think it broken at this point. Yeah. Like

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:58)

Of course my books are in the ocean.

Kendra Adachi: (11:01)

Of course they are. Of course, they’re maybe in the ocean. So yeah. So I, to, to answer your question about what I’m lazy about. I yeah, cuz I, I have a, you know, I have a, a business that I it’s a, it’s a fulltime business and I have, I have three women that work for me and you know, there’s a lot going on and at the same time I’m still, you know, I have three kids and I get them from school and I make food and you know, like all of the different things. And so it’s um, it’s, there’s a lot, there’s a lot that’s going on. My kids are five, 10 and 12, by the way. And um, and also I think what’s really important about your, about that question and my answer to it is that often when I ask people, what are you lazy about? They sort of use it. They answer it in, in a, in a way that makes me feel like they’re ashamed of their list. Mm-hmm and you, you alluded to this, you know that it’s like, no, it’s like, like a sense of pride. It’s not the like, like if you’re like, I’m just really late like, uh, I had someone answer recently to me talking to them, like, what are you lazy about? And they’re like, well, I’m really lazy at working out. I’ve only done it like one time in the last two months and I really wanna get better. And it’s like, no, no, no, no. That’s not what this question is. The question is what are you choosing actively to you go, you know what? This is not as important in my life as these other things. And so it’s okay for me to let them go. It’s okay for me to be inconsistent in those things. It’s okay for me to delegate them like to, to see it. Yeah. Not as something to be ashamed of or like, yeah, sorry, go. You know, like that you’re settling for that. It is, it is momentous like it’s, it’s an initiative that you’re taking to let these other things go. So I let go. I’m very lazy about vegetables and variety and my family’s food. We, because my kids are, they all, I, why can’t kids like coordinate with each other and dislike the same things that would make my life so much easier deeply, but it’s like one doesn’t like eggs or cheese, eggs or cheese, eggs and cheese are the foundation of protein so many,

Robyn Conley Downs: (13:11)

For many children,

Kendra Adachi: (13:13)

Many children. And then I have another kid who doesn’t eat literally will not eat sandwiches. It used to be that he would at least eat them on Thursdays. Like that was his rule. He’s like, oh, easier to read

Robyn Conley Downs: (13:22)

That in your book.

Kendra Adachi: (13:24)

But now he doesn’t eat them at all. and then like what? And then my little girl, she would eat fruit for days, fruit, salami, and rice. But like anything outside of that, she just fights and we’re we’re we really do tr anyway, it doesn’t matter. So, um, I have to be lazy about all of the different methods and strategies that I could implement to try and make my kids more adventurous eaters. I could do that. Mm-hmm but I don’t have the energy or the bandwidth. I barely have the energy to think of up a new grocery list with ingredients that we don’t normally buy. So instead I kind of automate, like, these are the vegetables we always have around. These are like the three proteins. We pretty much rotate through. Like, we don’t eat a lot of, uh, like we don’t eat a lot of pork unless it’s ground, the only fish we eat is salmon. And you know, it’s sort of like, we have these things that have been decided that have been loosely automated. That’s a principle in The Lacey Genius ways to decide once, like, just make the decision, let the decision roll until it doesn’t work anymore. And so that is something, you know, we eat a lot of the same. We eat a lot of the same meals. We eat chicken mostly. We eat a lot of rice. The only vegetables that we usually cook are broccoli, carrots, potatoes, green beans. That’s usual. That’s about it. That’s kind of like our, our vibes right now. And I have to be okay with that. Like it’s okay for me to be like, man, I wish that I could make fill in the blank. Also. My kids don’t eat tacos. None of them, what is wrong with the world? Why tell me why?

Robyn Conley Downs: (14:59)

So, you know, I have to go it’s okay. That I wish my kids ate differently. Mm-hmm and it’s also okay. That I am not pursuing the exposure and variety that is encouraged for me to do by like child nutritionist and stuff in order to like expose them. It’s okay. That I’m not choosing to do that right now. My kids are not gonna, I’m not ruining their lives because they don’t like peas. Like that’s okay. But it’s okay. Taste buds change. We can still encourage an environment around the table of like, I’m not gonna make you any eat anything I’d love for you to try. Just try it. You never know, but like, you know, just to hold that loosely. So that’s kind of a, like a, not a with the answer for what I’m lazy about, but that’s a really big one right now. Cause it impacts so many things like how you eat every day. Especially if you have a large family, it impacts so many decisions. Like you you’re meal planning, you’re shopping, you’re prepping of those foods, like all of that. And so, um, in this season I am choosing to be lazier about that and that’s okay. That’s okay.

Robyn Conley Downs: (16:12)

I, it is. Okay. It’s sort of shocking. I really just wanna talk only about this, but I’m not going to, I’m gonna be forced lazy to not talk about the thing I want to so that we could talk about the book more, but like Kendra, can we just have another conversation about this another time? Like the, the expectations, I don’t know if you heard this exact statistic and I might not get it exactly. Right. So please forgive me listeners if I get this wrong. But there was a study done on the amount of time. This was specifically about women mothers spend active parenting now versus the seventies. Hmm. And what they found can you guess, was that women who are active time parenting work, full-time working moms spend more time active parenting than full-time stay at home moms did in the seventies.

Kendra Adachi: (17:06)


Robyn Conley Downs: (17:07)

So let’s think about what that means. It means

Kendra Adachi: (17:09)

That’s wild.

Robyn Conley Downs: (17:11)

It means that it’s a, it’s a frog in the pot. The water keeps getting turned up. The expectations, keep getting turned up and we keep scrambling to try to keep up with all of them. And what Kendra’s saying is like, I mean, I let, let lazy genius is a, a beautiful way of describing it, but it’s also just like this wasn’t even a thing 30 years ago, you know,

Kendra Adachi: (17:33)

It wasn’t

Robyn Conley Downs: (17:34)

Nobody expected this and now it’s at like, we keep adding who, I don’t know. We can talk about that too, but it’s like add expectation, add expectation, add expectation. No one can do that. And when you take the agency back, I wanna make a lazy genius app where we could gamify it where you got a little like Bing star. like not gonna, not gonna do like all the vegetables, Bing star. Like I was talking about this with Valentine’s this year. I’m like, what in the world is happening with Valentine’s day? Like when I was a kid and this makes me sound old, it was like, maybe my mom put a pack of cards in the grocery cart, on her, whatever shopping. Now it’s like, my daughter came home with like elaborate gift bags and some parent not going to guess on gender probably spent a good 10 hours on these Valentines. I’m like, Nope, that’s a no, that’s a no for me. Like, we’re not doing that.

Kendra Adachi: (18:28)

And, and what’s so interesting about that. Cuz I have used sort of like, like, like the PTA as sort of an avatar for, you know, room moms and stuff like that. And I think what’s so important is that like I have a, uh, I know someone who loves being in her kids’ classrooms, she loves volunteering. She loves making goody bags. She loves doing theme birthday parties, like deep in her bones. There’s not a performative piece to that puzzle. It is deeply part of what she loves and how she wants to connect with her kid. And um, and that’s good. And what, but I think what has happened is that there are so many, by the way, we don’t have to talk about The Lazy Genious Kitchen. We can just do this. It’s totally fine. But what has happened is that it’s like, there are so many avatars of, of women that exist now, you know, it’s like, you’ve got the working mom, you’ve got like kind of like a, like a homestead or mom there’s the homeschooling mom. There is like Pinterest mom. There’s like all these different things. Like you could sort of put all these different hats on there and what has happened rather than there being sort of an undercurrent in our conversations with each other, as women, culturally, rather than there being an undercurrent of like, Hey, guess what? There’s no expectation for you to be all these things. You can’t, you don’t have to make homemade meals all the time while you have a full-time job and you’re trying to get the corner office, but you also like make your kids, um, every single recital and practice and you’re folding the Valentines at midnight, you know, like there is no permission to not be all of those people. And there is this like implicit competition, between those avatars.

Robyn Conley Downs: (20:13)

Yeah. Oh my gosh.

Kendra Adachi: (20:14)

So that if you choose, if I choose to be lazy about Valentine’s day for my kids, which I, I was the ver I was lazy. We did the, like, let’s get a, the, um, little skinny cardboard set of Valentine’s that just came with a sticker and Annie didn’t even care about the stickers. And I was like, I’m not folding these stickers into these cards. Like no one cares. Like it really doesn’t matter to her and it doesn’t matter to me. Right. So she just wrote her names on the little cards. When she came home, it was the same thing. She came home with all her goodies from Valentine’s Day. And I was like, what is happening? This was like, there are so many little bags. There’s like homemade cookies and bag and baggies, like all these things. And I found myself resenting the effort of these other parents, of these other guardians of these kids and, and had to catch myself and going, okay, hold on, hold on. It is not fair for me to do two things. It is not fair for me to one assume that the person who made an elaborate Valentine’s day goody bag didn’t want to, yeah, she might have really wanted to mm-hmm and it is also not okay for me to downplay her potential joy in to make my own choice feel better. Cuz there was nothing wrong with my choice and there’s nothing wrong with hers. They can be different.

Robyn Conley Downs: (21:34)

I have actual goosebumps I could show you on my arm. That’s it? That’s the interview we are done. cause

Kendra Adachi: (21:45)

Like, but it’s I, I really feel like is that’s why I was saying like it’s more important to me when this kind of conversation kind of organically comes up to have this conversation than to be like, and part two, The Lazy Genius Kitchen is this like, I don’t care. I don’t care because the way that you are the way that a person exists in their home, in their kitchen, in their time management, all of that stuff. If you are doing all of that, orienting yourself to the expectations of other people to the, and not good ones, not in a like good human connective way. Like my husband has expectations of me and how I love him. And I’m not gonna meet them all the time, but really wanna meet those expectations because he matters to me. Right? Same thing with my kids. Like expectations are not bad. They’re actually often very, very good. But if you are orienting your life to meet the expectations of people you don’t know, of strangers, of perceptions of the voice in your own head that is telling you that you’re getting all of these things wrong because you’re trying to do everything really well. Yeah. Like this is why I talk a lot about kind of the, the, the, um, pendulum of the lazy way and the genius way, the genius way is like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do a, it all. I’m gonna do it all. I’m gonna do it perfectly. And you are not gonna find a hole in my plan. I’m also gonna be exceedingly tired. And I’m afraid that it’s all just going to fall apart

Robyn Conley Downs: (23:19)

And I’m gonna burn out and be very angry and resentful about

Kendra Adachi: (23:22)


Robyn Conley Downs: (23:23)

the whole thing.

Kendra Adachi: (23:24)

And then you swing to the other side to the lazy side. And that’s when you wear your, you know, like your hot mess as a badge of honor. Yeah. Messy here. Don’t care or whatever it is. And I’m like, no, no, no, but you care very deeply. You just don’t have to care about everything. So why can’t we all just wanna find like settle in to that middle place of like, okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. I don’t have to be a genius about everything. I also don’t have to just give up. Yes. Like I can care about things. Like every time I wear a lipstick, people are like, look at you, like, look at me what what’s wrong with me wearing lipstick. That doesn’t mean usually the people who say that are people who say they haven’t showered in three days.

Robyn Conley Downs: (24:04)

Yes. And they feel they’re doing the, the Valentine’s comparison thing. It’s like, well, I, because she’s wearing lipstick, she thinks that I am not making an effort. And therefore I have not a get done a good job today. And exactly I a failure as a human woman, because I’m not wearing mask or wearing lipstick cuz Kendra’s wearing lipstick. Exactly.

Kendra Adachi: (24:22)

Which when you say it out loud, I feel like I just want to like get a Bullhorn and speak to like every woman who it’s just like, Hey guys, Hey guys, listen up. Like, Hey, we’re all on the same team here. We’re on the same team here. Like we don’t have to pit ourselves up against each other in some like togetherness spectrum of like I’m more together because of this. And it goes both ways. It’s like, we assume we see people who have like cute outfit and are wearing lipstick and they’re not like stressed out or something. We see them as being together. And then at the same time, because we don’t see ourselves that way. And we wish perhaps we looked like that had that or whatever it was, what we often do is either, uh, feel bad about ourselves for not being that together. Or I’ve done this all. I have done this so many times or we look at that person who frankly, is dressed. Like I am now in a blazer and wearing lipstick and is like, she probably has like credit card debt. She might not be happy. You know? Like you’re finding all these like invisible problems with a stranger at Target. And you’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa, which just happened. Why did, how did I just turn into a B-word like, what if the world was going on? And I think that’s what we just are like almost conditioned to do.

Robyn Conley Downs: (25:39)

Yes. Oh my gosh.

Kendra Adachi: (25:41)

and I don’t want us to do it anymore.

Robyn Conley Downs: (25:43)

I don’t either. This is where like, everything I do is for the same reason, it really is. Because when you can take a step back, you’re like, this doesn’t make sense. This is serving no one, this isn’t

Kendra Adachi: (25:55)

Serving no one

Robyn Conley Downs: (25:56)

Serving no one, no one. And we can break the cycle, but sometimes you have to see it first, which I think all The Lazy Genius principles help you to take a step back and actually see what’s going on and then make those intentional choices, this, and, but when you start noticing, I mean, it’s just, here’s another, like you said, the lipstick and I know that you love nail polish and you have really pretty nails today. And like, I don’t care about my nails. And I made that decision. Like, I don’t know how many years ago. Cause I don’t like getting pedicures. I know that that puts me in the outside of the norm of women who and I talk about self-care too. And I’m like, Nope, don’t wanna do that. But like intentional, I was like, you know, I don’t like it. I don’t wanna sit here. I feel bored. I don’t care. And like, now I can look at your nails and go what a beautiful manicure you have, like and what great job I’m doing for not doing my nails cuz I don’t care. Yeah. Right. And the part that you said back to the Valentine’s conversation is like acknowledging that somebody else wants to be a genius about something it’s not necessarily because they feel they have to or that they’re, you know, burning themselves out. It could just be that they find joy in that particular thing. And you do not. That’s their good that’s your should mm-hmm let them have it. You do you.

Kendra Adachi: (27:13)

Right. Exactly. Exactly. It’s it’s such a freeing thing to like you, like you said to, we need to see the problem mm-hmm before we can like truly fix the problem. And I think it is a problem that’s being shown. Like I, I think, I think of people like Kate Bowler who, um, she wrote, what did she write? It’s on my shelf in front of me, No Cure for Being Human. And she talks a lot about like good enough is okay. Like we don’t have to, we strive for this perfection thing. And you know, there’s just, there are a lot of conversations in all these different places that are starting to give some language to this. Mm-hmm giving some language and life to this kind of thing. And um, and I think it’s really, I think it’s really powerful, but it’s it is daily. It’s like it’s um, it’s a pretty consistent practice. Yes. To be aware of that. And the irony that it is a consistent practice for women, way more than it is for men. Mm-hmm at least anecdotally. And I’m sure that there

Robyn Conley Downs: (28:18)

Are there’s data, there’s

Kendra Adachi: (28:19)

Data to support that, to support it. Um, but the irony that, that women are the ones who are having to do this constant internal work to kind of be okay in the room, to be okay with their choices, to feel good about what it is that they’re doing. Even if it’s different from what someone else is doing. And that women are data supported, doing so much more of the invisible labor mm-hmm in their homes and families. And so it’s just no wonder we’re all to so tired. Yeah. We’re also D I’m tired. Yeah. So I just, I want to, it’s okay to be tired. I’m tired. But I would like for my tiredness to actually I think rest doesn’t actually feed the need of that kind of deep bone tiredness. Mm-hmm of the trying like you could take, you could take so many girls weekends, you could take days off, you could get a babysitter for every single day. And I think that if you still carry around this pressure to be this kind of person and live your life based on what you see, other people valuing, you will always stay tired. Mm-hmm like, you will never not be tired. So the rest comes from being kind to yourself. That’s a Lazy Genius principle to naming what matters to you. And then you can start to make choices. I mean, my book and what I do is all is full of tons of practical stuff. It’s not just like pep talks all the time. Like there’s

Robyn Conley Downs: (29:52)

Really practical.

Kendra Adachi: (29:54)

there’s a lot of practical stuff, but we need both. We need someone to be like, Hey, you’re doing great. You’re doing great. Also this is the order that you cleaned your kitchen, promise. It works. You know, like we need those things. We need both of those things in the context of what matters most to us. And, and it’s an honor to be able to speak into that. And I just wanna affirm that anyone who is listening that does feel that kind of like marrow-deep fatigue of just what it means to be a person that you’re not alone in that that is so normal and common and human. And the answer to that is not girls weekends. It’s accepting who you are and making your decisions based on what matters to you.

Robyn Conley Downs: (30:36)

Mm-hmm yeah. 100 percent. We have a at like a lot of the neuroscience find what you’re talking about. And so we have a framework around a thinking, thinking habits. A striving mindset, which is perfectionism, all-or-nothing thinking, and comparison is that group of thinking patterns, which is really like wondering what you’re talking about. And you can actually change your thought patterns. Like it’s an amazing thing. And it really just comes with the daily practice of these questions and you don’t get to it. There is no, there, there, you don’t become a perfect lazy genius where you suddenly are not tired anymore, as Kendra said, and you suddenly don’t have daily moments where you think, no, I actually don’t care about this. If I’m am I doing it? But you learn to become your thinking habits support that practice daily and you start to be more comfortable in it and you can lose a lot of that. The guilt cuz I think the guilt is an incredibly exhausting oh God. Experience to have. Yeah. And so I do wanna talk about the book. I would like to talk this forever, but we can continue that at another time. The book. So why did you choose The Lazy Genius Kitchen? Because you’ve mentioned that this comes up across the board in all of our AR all areas of life and like those principles and I highly recommend Kendra’s first book, The Lazy Genius Way for those principles. I think it’s a really beautiful companion to my book. And I think it’s ultra-practical and like anything, sometimes she might say something that makes speaks to you more than something I’ve said, but you, that book was very successful for you. It was in New York times bestseller. Is that correct?

Kendra Adachi: (32:21)

It is correct. And it’s still ridiculous when it’s was it’s like, what is, what is happening in the world? Like I, I, I say that not in false modesty of like, like I am so deeply proud of that book and I think it is a message that matters. And I think it’s a message that impacts people. I think it was just, it was so surprising when it happened and it wasn’t something I was seeking after. I just wanted to like speak to the people who were already listening to me. So when that happened, I was like, woo, wait, what? Like, it was Just, it was, it was wild. It was so cool. So it still surprises me. Anytime somebody says it, I’m still like good gracious, just what in the world,

Robyn Conley Downs: (32:57)

But you’ve laid it out so beautifully there. And what you’ve done to build a community around this way of life, I think probably is supportive of, of that success. Right? Like it’s your success, but it’s your community’s success.

Kendra Adachi: (33:10)

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Robyn Conley Downs: (33:12)

And so you have the opportunity to write a second book as people who write New York times best sellers often have a very quick opportunity to write another book

Kendra Adachi: (33:20)

Robyn Conley Downs: (33:21)

And um, you chose, or I don’t know if it was your choice, but to focus on the kitchen. And so I was wondering a little bit about why that, why this book now?

Kendra Adachi: (33:32)

Yeah. So it’s funny. I, I actually signed a two-book contract when I signed the book contract and I, I wanted to write the Lazy Genius Way. It looked very different when I started writing a book, as you, as you probably well know, you start to write a book and you’re like, well, this is very hard and this is not going the way I expected.

Robyn Conley Downs: (33:51)

Everything I thought I was writing is not doesn’t make any sense. And this is the worst book I’ve ever seen,

Kendra Adachi: (33:57)

I wrote 55. This is not hyperbole. I wrote 55,000 words, which is a book you guys, before I found my book, like I wrote a book in order to find this book, it was,

Robyn Conley Downs: (34:09)

I wrote 68,000 words and my final book is in the forties.

Kendra Adachi: (34:14)

Right. It’s so insane. So anyway,

Robyn Conley Downs: (34:17)

It’s not a lazy genius way to write a book

Kendra Adachi: (34:20)

Goodness was not at all. It was not at all. But I had to go through that process to find like, it’s, it’s really hard to find a book. It’s, it’s a wild process. But anyway, when I signed the contract, it was for two books and I knew I wanted to write this book, but I also knew that the only second book, I didn’t have a second book idea. And my publisher was like, oh no, we, we believe we believe you got something. And the only thing I ever thought about writing that I could ever do was something that was kitchen-related. It was not gonna be a cookbook cuz I’m not a recipe developer. I’d rarely cook from recipes. I love them. I think they’re incredibly valuable in many people’s kitchens, but that’s not my contribution. And, but I wanted there to be a resource that kind of helped people think through all of these like areas of your kitchen and all these scenarios that you come through. Like no matter if you have kids or not, if you’re single, if you live with roommates, if you have a big family, like whatever season of life you’re in, if you’ve got a tiny kitchen, a big, like there had to be some foundational principles that could help anybody create a kitchen where they have what they need. They use what they have and they enjoy being there. Like there has to be something. And I kept waiting for a book, a kitchen book for years. Like, will somebody please write this book? I want this book. And, and so the reason that I had, I mean, I had to pitch this book to my publisher, even though I had like a second book contracted already because this is an expensive book to make because it’s hardcover. It’s bigger, it’s illustrated it’s for color. Like it’s a, it is not a cheap book to make. And um, and usually you have to really have proven yourself in sales, frankly, to, for a publisher to go like, no, no we’re gonna, we’re gonna invest in this. This is a bigger investment for us, but we’re gonna do it cuz we think it’s gonna sell. And so I was actually deeply grateful when The Lazy Genious Way made New York times because I was like, Ooh, maybe that’s like a, that’s like a feather in my cap to let them help. Like I can write The Lazy Genious Kitchen.

Kendra Adachi: (36:25)

So, um, anyway, it that’s always been, the kitchen has always been part of who I am and I used to teach cooking classes like that was the first business I ever started was being a cooking teacher. And I love to gather like I it’s just deep in me and, but I don’t want to tell you, this is how you do place settings. And this is how you like, these are the ingredients that you should always have in your pantry. That’s not real because we don’t all eat the same things. So I, to give you a framework of how do you decide what you should have in your pantry? What, what matters to you and how do you wanna store it? How do you want like all of these different things? And so anyway, I think that it is a, The Lazy Genius Kitchen is a book that is a reference book in many ways that I want people to reach for again and again and again, daily, even that can empower them no matter their season of life. Like you’ve got little kids now and in 10 years and they’re teenagers and you’re like, well, this is different. What mattered to me in my kitchen then is very different than now. What are my, what’s my framework here? What are my tools here? How can I move forward in both like pep time permission, giving ways and super practical, like let’s get stuff done. Mm-hmm , that’s kind of what I always seek to do is to bring both of those in the same place. So I’m just thrilled for people to finally get it because it’s, I it’s it’s uh, people say, you know, don’t, you don’t wanna please, everybody, you can’t write a book for everybody. Like that’s a stupid endeavor. Like don’t do that. And I’m like, but maybe you can, maybe there’s a way, if we can find the right lens that people can apply these principles in a way that’s personal to them, maybe you can. So I am I’m so I’m so excited about it. I’m I’m just, I have never been more proud of anything that I’ve ever made in my, in my professional creative life. So I just can’t wait for it to be in people’s hands.

Robyn Conley Downs: (38:28)

Me too. And we, when this comes out, it will be right. Well in the intro I’ll I’ll give the final date.

Kendra Adachi: (38:34)

I hope so, man.

Robyn Conley Downs: (38:35)

We’ll name that days. I am. I do have, I don’t probably maybe saw that I have a, also a food blog.

Kendra Adachi: (38:44)

I did. I did see that,

Robyn Conley Downs: (38:46)

Which that’s another conversation for another day, but I come at it through the same lens of like, it’s not, I know people wanna recipe, especially when they’re first starting, you know? And it’s about that trust thing of like, what do I know what I like? And it’s hard to write a recipe when you know that some people like more salt and some people like things spicy. And so my, my recipe notes now are like, you know, 2000 words for every recipe. Like you could try this, you could switch this and you can, if you don’t like salt, don’t put salt in, right. It’s a whole thing. But the principles that you put in here are really the, the basis of long-term success, right around if you wanna eat food and they’re not often taught and they’re often invisible assumptions mm-hmm . And so I could see this being, you know, in every kitchen I could see it being required in all high schools cause we don’t teach life skills anymore. We, I could see it as an awesome graduation gift, graduation, seasons coming. And what I take away from the book would be very, just different than what my sister took away takes away from the book. So absolutely being able to write a book that that’s possible like maybe is it for everyone? I hope so. But even if it’s like it’s for everyone in that you can pull because the principal is take what you need, leave what you don’t yeah. Take out from there. Like maybe there’s one or two things, even one or two of these practical suggestions that you have could be game-changing.

Kendra Adachi: (40:13)

Yeah. Yeah. I hope so. I do. And I, um, I kind of, sort of, I’ve called myself, you know, kind of the big sister of the internet, you know, mm-hmm , it’s like I wanna, I wanna be the kind big, I wanna bring kind big sister energy to things. Mm-hmm where it’s like, I am rooting for you. I am on your team. Maybe I’m like, I don’t wanna say a little ahead in the sense of like doing better, but more I’ve been paying attention to this for a really long time on purpose mm-hmm mm-hmm . And so I didn’t always see things this way and based on what you have shared with me, not you Robyn, but like general you, the royal you like based on what you have shared with me, there are things that I don’t think you’re seeing yet that I think would really be helpful. So I would love to share those with you as we continue new to walk together. And the same is true though for food. Like it’s, I, I, I wanna be the kind big sister just in your life, but I also wanna be like, yeah, like the home EC teacher that you never had, I was doing an Instagram live where I was cooking dinner yesterday, yesterday, yesterday. And uh, someone asked, I was sharing spices cuz I was making it in Indian dish and I listed out some spices and one of them was coriander and someone was like, I dunno what coriander is. like, what? Exactly. And, and in the comment like you could tell, like there’s a, there are a lot of people who feel really embarrassed to ask how to do something. You know, I had a friend who said I’m serving spaghetti with a spatula because I honestly don’t know what else to do. Mm-hmm like, no, one’s really told me what to do. And so it’s okay for us to be beginners in that. It’s okay for you to like know something’s super well and something’s not at all. So there are sections of The Lazy Genius Kitchen. Like there’s a whole section on tools. That’s not like these are the tools you have. It’s just like, I won’t tell you what these things do. I think you need something for cutting. Is it a knife? Maybe not. Maybe you don’t actually prep a lot of vegetables. Maybe you buy things that are prepped or you’ve got one of those little hand choppers that you love. Mm-hmm so having some sort of like $200 fancy knife that doesn’t matter to you. Not everybody has to have a chef’s knife. Like I think it’s probably pretty versatile for a lot of people, but you don’t have to, you really don’t. So it’s, it’s kind of like trying to show options, but also in the context of it’s okay, that you don’t know how to use this thing. It’s okay. I did.

Kendra Adachi: (42:30)

I made spaghetti on Instagram one. I cooked dinner on Instagram pretty often. And I was, I was cooking spaghetti and I used tongs, you know, to toss the pasta with the sauce and the pan. Yeah. And half of the people watching were like, what are, what is happening? What do you do? It blew their minds. And I was like, oh my gosh, you guys, your life is about change. Tongs with spaghetti are so great. Like, you know, so it’s okay that we don’t, we think, we think we’re the only one who doesn’t know. We think that we are the idiot in the corner that missed the memo on all the adulting things. And we didn’t, all of us are missing chapters and chapters of how to be a person. And so the only thing that we can really do is to be okay asking when we wanna learn something that you don’t know what coriander is just ask. Um, and to also have the permission to go, okay, I am, I’m gonna be lazy about that.

Robyn Conley Downs: (43:24)

I had an interview with, um, with The Kitchn without an E the website, the kitchen without an E mm-hmm mm-hmm a couple weeks ago. And I was telling the guy and that’s, I mean, it’s like food writers, you know? I mean, these people know how to cook everything. Yeah.

Robyn Conley Downs: (43:36)

They know about tongs and pasta.

Kendra Adachi: (43:39)

They do know those things.

Robyn Conley Downs: (43:40)

They invented it.

Kendra Adachi: (43:41)

And I was like, I don’t know how to poach a thing. I don’t know how to poach. I’m a great cook. I don’t know how to poach because I don’t care. We don’t need anything poached. I don’t need to learn how to poach. It’s okay. You know, it’s like,

Robyn Conley Downs: (43:53)

I like how your Southern comes out lot

Kendra Adachi: (43:56)

When I get like sassy is true. Yeah. It really does.

Robyn Conley Downs: (44:00)

we need to channel that energy too. I think

Kendra Adachi: (44:04)

I know. I know. So anyway, all of that to say the permission, I am a professional permission giver. I think you are as well. It’s like, let’s just let people be okay with who they are, what they choose in the season of life that they’re in and not shame them for choosing something different than other people. The world would I, I call myself Pollyanna with a clipboard. It’s like the world would be such a better place if we just do that.

Robyn Conley Downs: (44:34)

Well, that is such a great way to kind of tie up this conversation. And I just wanna thank you for the work that you’re doing and for being the kind big sister, Pollyanna clipboard, permission giver, it’s really an amazing thing you’re doing. And I know that, especially in the pandemic times, you don’t, everything’s coming to you through digital, like gratitude when people thank you. You know, it’s like all in DMS and e-mails, but I hope you can absorb that like that you are really doing something together. Like it’s not just, but like you are making a difference for people. And I am really grateful for that.

Kendra Adachi: (45:16)

Oh, thank you. I do. I do receive that and I appreciate it. And it’s, it’s so fun. It’s so fun to have conversations with people who are like, oh no, I totally get this. Like I’m carrying this flag with you. Oh yes. It’s like, we’re just adding flag bearers.

Robyn Conley Downs: (45:30)

I’m right behind ya.

Kendra Adachi: (45:32)

So fantastic. We’re just all walking together and it makes me so happy. Cuz the more people hear this, the more it’s normalized, the more it makes me cry thinking about it. It’s like mm-hmm people are okay. Yeah. They’re just okay with who they are. And that’s so powerful. Like it’s so powerful to live in a world when people walk in a room and they’re not, not afraid to be themselves. Mm-hmm and it’s the, these kinds of conversations in, in any sort of context, like anything that you’re talking about, it’s these kinds of conversations that it’s like one more it’s one more step in someone moving even more deeply into who they already are. And it’s just such a, such a privilege to be able to talk about. So thank you for having me on.

Robyn Conley Downs: (46:14)

And where can people find you?

Kendra Adachi: (46:17)

Anywhere called The Lazy Genius. So I am on Instagram @thelazygenius. I have a podcast called The Lazy Genius podcast. My website is www.thelazygeniuscollective.com. And then my books are The Lazy Genius Way. And the soon to come, hopefully in the world, currently, The Lazy Genius Kitchen.

Robyn Conley Downs: (46:35)

A+ Brandy, look at you across all places. It’s so awesome.

Kendra Adachi: (46:38)

It’s so easy. I was lazy about that too. It’s like, let’s just call everything Lazy Genius whatever. I didn’t make the joke. I will never write The Lazy Genius Bathroom. This is not gonna be like chicken soup for the soul situation. It’s like, I think we’re probably good.

Robyn Conley Downs: (46:51)

Never say never. And the say you’ll be back here talking about bathrooms. See it. Um, Kendra’s uh, podcast is amazing. I think if you like this one, you will very much like her show as well. And like they’re very practical. And a lot of times I call my episodes snackable, my solo ones and hers are very snackable too. So I appreciate you. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Kendra Adachi: (47:13)

Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Thanks for listening everyone.

Robyn Conley Downs: (47:17)

That was Kendra Adachi author of the brand new book, The Lazy Genius Kitchen. If you love this episode, I hope you’ll share it on social. You can tag me @realfoodwholelife and Kendra @thelazygenius. She’s fabulous. So definitely share this one. Let her know that you listened. And if you wanted to get the next steps on building a capsule meal plan, which she goes so well with a lot of the concepts that Kendra talked about today, you can get that for free, along with a free mini-course on www.realfoodwholelife.com/subscribe. Thank you again so much for listening. Until next time, here’s to feeling good.

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