Don’t get me wrong – my childhood is full of amazing memories. I grew up in a house full of kids – being the 5th of 6 kids, with a plethora of older sisters and their friends, a little brother who was down for anything (including letting his GI Joes be my Barbies’ boyfriends), my Dad who loved us, close family nearby, things were always noisy and fun.
Something my sisters and I used to do pretty often was “Bodies in Motion” with Gilad Janklowicz.
This guy was our JAM. He and his group of workout buddies exercised by the beach and every day was a different work out. We would tape the show while we were at school and do the workouts after school. As my sisters got older and did their growing up thing, my brother and I continued exercising, comparing abs and biceps, testing our strengths. I would wake up in the morning and workout before even leaving my bedroom to brush my teeth. I became more cognizant of the foods I was eating too, adopting an attitude of “if it’s not bad for me, I’ll try it.” And I used to be somewhat of a picky eater.
My Dad got married again when I was in 5th grade. My stepmom was and still is a huge health nut. If I didn’t make the decision to eat right, she would have made it for me anyway. We used to cook together almost every day, and she would share with me the latest thing she saw on the Food Network that she wanted to try, but also made sure we cooked everything basic and complicated too. Cooking time wasn’t always easy to do together – I was busy with homework and projects and eventually a part-time job, but we did the best we could when we could. It was time to talk, get to know more about each others’ days, about her past and small talk too. I think about it now and I don’t think I appreciated how much those moments together helped me eat better but to feel better too.
People would joke about how large our portions of veggies were per serving, but I loved it. Even now, she always makes sure we eat a balanced diet when we’re together, and is a big believer of everything in moderation. So many of my healthy eating habits stemmed from growing up with her and when I learn something new, I let her know too so she can consider it for her diet.
I totally attribute my love of healthy eating and cooking to what she instilled in me growing up.