When people find out how much I love to cook and bake and how much I enjoy dining out and following the latest Food Network series, they’ll often ask, “How do you stay in shape when you love food so much?”
While this is flattering to hear, the question always throws me for a loop. What exactly does “in shape” mean? Slim? Strong? Happy? Healthy? You hear about both the overweight marathon runner and the slim yet unhealthy young woman. What constitutes healthy and who decides?
For me it means staying at a weight you are comfortable with, getting some sort of daily activity or exercise under your belt and enjoying life. And for me, a large part of that includes enjoying food.
What does being healthy mean to you?
I grew up eating balanced meals and healthy snacks. Mum made her own yogurt and bread, both Mum and Dad were in charge of meals, and while we often enjoyed desserts, I remember rarely being allowed to buy chocolate bars or other snacks while out. We never had sugary cereal. Sure I used to complain, but it wasn’t really that bad. It always was a special treat, though, to stay at our neighbour’s house for lunch where they’d make grilled cheese with Wonder bread and Kraft singles.
I have also been moderately active for most of my life. I was in sports as a child, and now, while I don’t get in as much activity as I probably should, I do like to walk everywhere and I take yoga and dance classes when the mood strikes.
But was it my upbringing that got me to where I am now? Maybe. I know that I start to feel a bit squirrely if I can’t eat my apple each afternoon. I also enjoy dessert almost every night. For me, the best thing I can do is eat some fresh foods and some confectionary. I know it’s not very scientific, but I hate to feel like I’m giving anything up, and really don’t like diets telling you to cut entire food groups out of your life. But that’s just me.
How do you get healthy and how do you stay that way?
Now that I am fully immersed in baking and cooking for my blog I find it harder to keep everything in balance. I love finding new recipes to create in the kitchen and I love to test it all out. Plus I hate to see any food go to waste. This results in me eating a few too many servings of cake, rich savoury dishes, and large breakfasts (sometimes embarrassing amounts of each). It also leaves me with a freezer packed to the gills with delicious leftovers that call to me from behind that heavy door after the sun goes down.
But it was last month at my birthday, already a time of overindulgence, when I realized I couldn’t keep up this pace and expect to get out alive. I had to get some structure back into my life. And by life I mean diet. I need a healthier way of eating over the long term so I can continue to indulge when the moment is right. Dessert is never going to go away. I wouldn’t want it to. Part of living my healthy life is enjoying myself, and I enjoy eating!
So where do we go from here? Well, a few months back I saw Chatelaine Magazine’s 31 Days of Salad and was inspired! I knew it was going to take some serious planning and commitment, and I can finally say, I’m ready! I am going to eat a salad at one meal each day for the entire month of July. I’m going to call it my Summer Salad Series and I want you to join me!
I promise we’re going to keep things interesting (I’m the first person to balk at salad as a meal) and together we can keep each other on track. I plan on really pushing the definition of salad and trying new combinations of produce, grains and proteins to keep things tasty and fun. I will also be posting a weekly menu with shopping list too–so there’s no excuse for you NOT to get involved!
More information and planning is coming later this week. I know it may be difficult for some of you to start July 1st as we are coming up to a long weekend, but even if you can’t start right away, I’d love to see you next week or whenever you can join.
I’m so excited! I’ll see you back here towards the end of the week with meal ideas and a grocery list.
Ahhh, I’m feeling healthier already.