Aww, that’s great! Let’s talk a bit about your recent venture. You partnered with New York Presbyterian Hospital on the fight against obesity, and you yourself have lost 40 lbs since Aventura, and you’ve changed your lifestyle. Do you have any healthy eating tips or healthy lifestyle tips that you can share?
[Laughs] Oh my God. Do I? I know them all. I should write a book about this. I have been so into that. Well the main reason was because around the time that my baby was born, I was 200 lbs. and I was walking upstairs and felt like I was dying. I was turning 30, and I’m like, you know, if I don’t take care of myself who’s going to take care of my baby? That was the first reason why. Then I started eating healthy, working out, trying to eat healthy really but I would go home and cook with adobo and all that good stuff that we’re used to.
Then, it wasn’t until like January of this year I understood that all these condiments and everything that we use is the main problem…and the amount of food. Another thing I came to realize is that you work your life away, right? You collect your money and by the end of it all, you’re giving that money away to doctors, hospitals, and things like that. So basically I think, and this is the reason why I collaborate with Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University, we need to start educating kids desde chiquitos (from when they’re little) so they can begin to understand all this and can eat right from the start. Then they grow up eating healthy and making healthy choices.
And you’ve been working with Presbyterian Hospital on their grassroots campaign, CHALK, in helping to create healthy dishes to be introduced in different “mom and pop” restaurants, as well.
Yes! One of the points is to go all over the U.S. and come out from the gym and be able to walk to any restaurant, and have at least one or two items that I can defend myself with if I’m really interested in working out. You know like me, that’s one of my problems. I wish I could just go into any restaurant and eat a plate of white rice, but your body doesn’t really need that. Instead, what I would like is for them to switch that plate of white rice for brown rice, but they don’t have that, you know? So those are little details that I think alongside CHALK and these [similar] programs, we can make a difference.
Awesome! Now in addition to helping come up with menus, we also hear you love to cook.
Oh yes I do.
What is your favorite signature Latin dish to prepare?
Honestly, right now, I love my healthy version of mangu. It’s almost the same thing except for some of the ingredients that I put in. I add garlic, which I chop up and grind myself. I’ll put everything together and add a little butter that has the least amount of grease as possible. And I pair everything I eat with a bit of protein.
So who taught you how to cook?
La necesidad(out of necessity), and my mother. I actually learned how to cook when I was on tour with the guys…with Aventura. We used to get to hotels at like 2 or 3 in the morning and there would be nothing to eat. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if there’s nothing to eat, you’re going stay hungry.
So one day I said, “No” [and on our way to the hotel] we stopped and I got a pot to make rice; a portable electric stove; and I had everyone making a line for Henry’s bus.
Lenny, and everybody was like, “Henry, you cooking today?” And I was, like, “Yes, I am.” I used to cook like twice a day because there was nothing else to do [on the road] but do songs. But it was fun. It was fun.
Speaking of being on the road, what is your favorite city to dine out at a Latin restaurant?
Ay Dios, I have an obsession with Mexican food even though I had to stop. But I have a thing I do where every city I visit, I go and I just taste. I love just the whole experience of being in different places and trying out different sabores (flavors) and you know, so basically one specific…yeah, Puerto Rico. Ay dios mio. I went to Puerto Rico and I went chinchorreando.
Chinchorreando is these places near the beach where they have a whole bunch of little houses and they all cook different things so you go to one, and then you go here, and then you go there and then you go there. [Laughs]
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