In my life, I have been blessed with a family that values the health of our physical bodies. My parents raised my two sisters and I to appreciate our bodies and take care of them through physical activity and nutrition. My mom made home-cooked meals every night and we always ate together as a family. My dad would wake up early enough to cook each of us the breakfast of our choice and even pack our lunches to take to school. I loved my fresh fruit and turkey sandwiches and always felt full and satisfied. As good as the cellophane wrapped burritos in the lunch-line looked, I knew the difference between the two and ultimately became so grateful for my family’s choice of foods.
Both of my parents are heavily involved in the health industry, my dad is a body builder and my mom is an aerobics instructor, so it was a priority for each of us to stay active. For as health conscious as my parents were, they also taught us how to balance the foods that made our bodies happy (veggies, fruit, proteins, etc.) and the foods that made our hearts happy (for me: jelly beans, sour patch kids and anything with marshmallow crème). I never felt deprived of the foods I loved yet was always full and satisfied with the foods I knew my body needed.
Now, eating this way has always been a way of life. I did not realize that my family was the minority when it came to healthy eating. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I realized most people get all their foods from a paper box! I had one roommate who had to cook for herself as a child, so all of her meal options had to come from a shelf within her reach. I had another friend who would eat double bacon cheeseburgers at 1am and always cook her breakfasts in leftover bacon grease! There were times, as a kid, when I would lust over my friends bologna sandwiches and packages of Oreos, and feel like I was so unlucky to have to eat healthy food all the time; boy, am I grateful for my turkey sandwiches now! My sisters and I have never had any major health issues and are still active today. Eating healthy is not an option for me and never has been. I am extremely lucky and grateful that I have a foundation of health and nutrition that has been instilled in me and will be passed down to my kids. Life is too short to mess around with foods that cause us to be any less than our best, and I thank my parents for leaving a legacy of life, health and prosperity.
Author: Savana Buttacavoli