I'm excited to be joining the Healthcentral community and team of contributors. For me, Healthcentral's mission to empower millions of people to improve and take control of their health and well-being is very much what my passion in life is. I love talking and writing about cooking of whole foods, health, lifestyle, and spiritual living. And I can be quite food-obsessed. I'm a firm believer that being able to eat pure and fresh foods is a right and not a privilege. However, consumers need to understand their options and what they can control. From there we can shape our lifestyle, improve our lives and health. Healthcentral provides those tools to help people to live healthier, more fulfilled lives.
How did I become so passionate about food and health? I grew up in a rural community in Germany (German mother/American father) where almost everyone had some land to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. My grandmother supplied us with plenty of organic, homegrown produce; and since I was a latchkey child I started cooking for myself from age 8 on experimenting with different ways to prepare vegetables.
Then I decided to move to the US after graduation from high school to live with my father's family and to go to college. I had spent summers with my father throughout the years and was ecstatic about the American way of life. I tried to fully adapt to my new lifestyle and got very, very comfortable with junk food and fast food during my first 3 years of college. As a result, I gained 30+ pounds. And I was miserable. I had low energy. I just wasn't happy with life. I decided to go on a "diet". While the program helped me start losing weight, I wasn't getting much satisfaction from the prepared foods or low-fat products. Eventually, along the path after losing most of the weight and dealing with some stomach-related health issues, I came back to cooking for myself. I also realized that I had taken my access to fresh locally grown fresh produce from my childhood for granted.
My own learning lessons around food and health have spurred my passion for educating others on cooking, integrating real foods, building a sustainable lifestyle and environmental impacts on the food system. I'm currently on my regional metropolitan planning organization's food system stakeholder committee, as well as on a community farm advisory committee in Philadelphia. Being on these two committees has opened up my eyes to food access, equity and security issues impacting us in this country. However, I also believe that change and impact starts at the individual level. That's why a resource as Healthcentral is key - providing knowledge to individuals to empower themselves to take action and make improvements.
I look forward to connecting with you via Healthcentral and welcome your comments in future postings. To close, I want to leave you with some "food for thought": "To me, good living means understanding how food connects us to the earth." ~Ruth Reichl~ And how about you? What does good living mean to you?
Published On: March 10, 2011