Now you’re probably all thinking that I must be some kind of human container of fat and carbs and all things bad for you. But just because I’m not the biggest fan of salad by no means should suggest that I’m a walking Happy Meal. A lot of this has to do with my eating habits that began early age. My parents have made me dinner almost every weeknight for as long as I can remember (and for as long as I’ve lived at home). I, of course, went to school every day and they both worked their respective jobs, so dinnertime became our daily window of bonding and interacting. I would help dad cook, mom would set the table, and then we’d sit down and break whole wheat or multigrain bread. I grew up knowing dinners should always include a protein, a side or two of veggies, and for my seven-year-old palette, some carbs. For years, this what always the way it was. Just because I wasn’t eating salads every night or super foods, I knew that meals should include a mix of nutritional benefits and balance of health and taste.
Now you might be thinking, okay okay, so you ate relatively healthy, but what about staying in shape? I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest gym rat or soccer star, but I was able to live a relatively active life even without including actual workouts in my routine. I went to sleepaway camp for nine years where life itself was just running around with your friends all day. No one even thought about working out because all of the activities already included elements of fitness and activity. When I outgrew summer camp, I became a lifeguard and had to swim and train on the daily to maintain my strength and skill set. It was only after I had to stop lifeguarding to get a “real” summer job that I had to find other ways to supplement my previous active lifestyle. Walking my dog, doing yoga and other group classes, and joining a gym are all ways that I am now trying to incorporate fitness and wellness in my daily life.
So now, back to my first salad. It happened just about a week ago (I hope you laughed if you got this reference). Picture little old me, clueless, walking into one of the trendiest and well-known salad chains in SoHo. I walked up to the counter, nervous to be honest, and chose the make-your-own option. Lettuce, grilled chicken, quinoa, apples, red onion, carrots and cucumber filled the quite honestly enormous bowl I was about to consume. And you know what? I actually enjoyed it. The make-your-own option at any salad place is perfect for skeptical eaters like myself who want to start making healthier choices but don’t know where to begin.
Although I may have to give some credit to my amazing metabolism, I truly think that I was able to live a relatively healthy lifestyle throughout my entire twenty years thus far, regardless of my picky eating habits and lack of athleticism. Living a life full of wellness should be centered about balance, not sacrifice. It’s important to differentiate between moderation and sacrifice, especially regarding eating habits, and realize that you don’t have to give up everything you like just to be quote un quote healthy. So no, salad is definitely not my new favorite food, but yes, I think I’ll order it again sometime soon. Oh, and don’t skimp on the cucumbers this time.
Hannah Jacobs, newfound wellness enthusiast, is spending her summer trying a variety of fitness & wellness firsts. She will return every Friday to share her experiences and insights.