The other day I was asked by the American Recall Center to share my own story about “Who Keeps Me Healthy?” So many people come to me for nutrition advice, that it’s interesting to think about the person or people who keep me on my toes. I had some thinking to do.
I thought back to when I made my first conscious decision to optimize my own health. I’ve always had a passion for food and health, but when a loved one gets sick, it somehow always cements the point and pushes you onward and upward.
Growing up, my grandparents mainly cooked “old fashioned” meals of mashed potatoes, vegetables, and meat. I remember it also being sprinkled with some fast food treats and my favorite, cinnamon twirls. I’m not sure exactly what it was that caused the cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease, but I knew that somehow, it was related to how well you treated your body. (This is not to say that my grandparents ate unhealthy foods, actually they ate pretty well, always with their grandkids in mind). Then and there, I decided I would take care of my body to the best of my ability and enjoy my life, all so I could live a long and healthy life.
I realized that just like any other relationship, how you treat your body is how your body will treat you. Treat it well, with the best of food, exercise, and mindfulness and you’ll be rewarded with a relationship that flourishes. Treat it like a garbage dump and you’ll eventually land there too.
Flash forward a few years; I began to sense how my own body began reacting differently to certain foods, while others would allow me to operate at an optimal level. My body wasn’t able run on “junk” without stalling. Days of eating bagels and cream cheese for breakfast were updated to steel cut oats with apples and peanut butter or my “smoothie of the day.” It was a gradual process, but one that my body is still thanking me for.
Today, I don’t just stay healthy, both physically and mentally, for myself, but mainly for my family. I want to put my best self forward so I can support them in whatever they need now, tomorrow, next week, next month, and 10, 20, 40 years from now. Whether it’s my husband who’s looking for a healthy and delicious meal, my dog who desperately wants to go for a run everyday, my dad who’s looking to lower his high blood pressure, or my brother who wants to supplement his training with healthy meals, I have made a commitment to be there as their guide to living and enjoying a healthy life.
So in honor of the American Recall Center’s “Who Keeps You Healthy” campaign, I want to thank my family for keeping me on my toes and being my “Health Hero.” I may drive you crazy when I tell you the sugar content of that power bar you’re about to tear open or how much sodium is in that white bread or when I try to sneak in vegetables to your meal, but in the end I know I’m not only keeping myself healthy, but you healthy too. After all, what’s the point of staying healthy if no one is enjoying the ride with you?
To my family, you continue to come to me for advice, challenge me with countless questions, and make me realize the importance of staying healthy. Thank you for fueling my passion, being my inspiration and being my own “Health Hero.