Growing up healthy

harvest1I was extremely blessed to grow up in family that understood the importance of food and nutrition. Both my parents have a love of cooking. My father has a passion for gardening and he made sure we had fresh vegetables on the table during the growing season, and our own canned or frozen ones the rest of the year. That combination made for some memorable meals!

My love of cooking and understanding of spices, foods, food combinations, and creations came at an early age. Both of my parents were in grad school as I was finishing elementary school and entering middle school. I became the babysitter for my younger sister and the resident chef on nights they had class. Dad would organize the ingredients in the fridge and spices on the counter accompanied by a handwritten note with instructions. Fast food wasn’t an option in our house. No one ever openly said it was bad – we just didn’t do it – we ate fresh homemade food.

melissa-and-dadI remember that I actually cried the one (and only) time Dad stopped at Burger King and made me eat a cheeseburger. In his defense he had just flown in from Germany with two yappy girls and was picking up his car in Charleston, SC and then driving to Columbus, GA…by himself. There was no time or place to cook fresh food. It took me awhile and having kids of my own to understand, but eventually I forgave him. Sometimes you just do what you have to do.

Fast-forward 25 years… Two children: dance, not just one class but tap, jazz, and ballet for the girl and martial arts for the boy. Very quickly transitioning to Basketball, Hockey, and Soccer…for everyone. Fast food wasn’t an option for us either.  My children ate fresh homemade food just like I did. Sometimes dinner was packed in their own little containers and they ate in the back seat on the way to some activity, but they were eating real food. Not long after that my work required I endure the DC traffic daily. This meant my now teen-aged children were grocery shopping and cooking dinners while I shuffled between clinics. We all helped create the week’s menu, wrote out the grocery list, and once again the handwritten instructions came out.

Fast-forward another 10 years. I now receive regular snap chats from my daughter so that I can see the awesome meal she has created or to see my 5 year old grandson “helping” in the kitchen.   My son sends messages requesting specific supplements by name. My children learned the way that I did – take care of your body and it will take care of you.

Three generations have lived with the tradition that we eat good food, exercise, rest when necessary, supplement occasionally, thank God daily, and always love each other.

…and that’s what I’ll share with you. Real life tips to surviving parenthood, meal planning and preparation, self care through the stressful times, and just keeping it real.

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