My interest in healthy foods began when I was 15, after a family friend gave me a stack of health magazines. As I read story after story about the food-body-mind connection, I remember a feeling of fascination growing urgently inside of me. I see it now as my “nutritional awakening”. I was eager to learn more and try out some of the exotic looking recipes in these magazines. Much to my mom’s delight, I became a regular presence in the kitchen in my high school years, preparing new healthy dishes for my family. I cut out and glued recipes into my own cookbooks and had a rating system for each dish to be voted on by my family. It was during these first years of cooking that I discovered the joy of preparing food for others.
My passion continued into college, and my college roommates have memories of me always up to something new and nutritious in the kitchen. Although I do eat poultry and seafood, my go-to cookbook in college was Vegetarian Pleasures. I think I made every single entree, and all the suggested sides and salads to accompany them. I loved having friends try out my dishes. Other cookbooks I relied on during those early cooking years were Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home and Jane Brody’s Good Food Book. (I completely wore out my first copy of Jane Brody.) I thought about careers in the health sciences, and took many health classes in college, including nutrition. I eventually decided upon physical therapy.
I went on to earn Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Physical Therapy and practiced for over 15 years. All the while, I continued to nurture my passion for healthy eating by reading deeply on the topic, and by always carving out the time to try out new and delicious-nutritious meals.
The first meal my husband made for me completely swept me off my feet. So many vegetables, and all presented with an artful eye. He had a table full of colors and amazing scents. It was delicious, and I was wooed. I reciprocated with my own healthy and diverse meals, and we courted each other through food. How spectacular to find a mate who knew how to take care of himself; to nourish himself and enjoy sharing his nutritious masterpieces.
Instead of an engagement ring, we decided upon an “engagement pan.” Jake had it engraved with the date of our engagement, and the inscription, “Eat Well, Love Long.” We were bonded in love and a commitment to eating well. Jake comes from a family of healthy cooks, and he continues to amaze and delight me with his creative culinary experiments.
Naturally, we hoped to raise our daughter to similarly appreciate a wide array of flavors and textures in healthy food. I believe strongly that the food habits June holds in her childhood are likely to carry on into adulthood, and this belief drives my motivation to put healthy food near the top of our family priority list.
With dedication, patience, and a little ingenuity, our efforts have so far paid off. June has loved healthy foods since she was a baby. Friends and family have shared our joy in watching her devour sophisticated and nutritious foods over the years. June has thus far been immune to the temptations of unhealthy food she sees all around her. She loves her vegetables and has fun ideas for preparing them too! June is a pleasure to cook for, and her energy and ideas are a prime motivator for me to try out new and different dishes.
June is the inspiration for this blog. It is watching her joy in making and eating nutritious food that propels me to share what my husband and I have learned and continue to learn in raising our healthy eater.
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