Educate or Vegucate

One aspect of nutrition I find myself so passionate about is education. Can you blame  me? Nutrition education is lacking so much in our schools it’s scary. It is so surprising that such useful information that children and young adults can take with them to improve their lives, fight diseases, and nourish their bodies, is overlooked and underused in their education. In high school I only received two weeks worth of information but it was not something I found useless at the time and we weren’t taught exactly the best information. This is actually more than I’ve heard most people received from their schools.

I am so passionate about improving nutritional education in schools because people should know what they’re eating and how it affects their bodies. Food is so much more than taste or even smell. Food is what keeps us alive, motivated. Food is our saving grace and nutrients, oh nutrients. They are so insanely important to keeping us alive and breathing and running correctly that it is amazing now that so many people don’t realize their significance.

I currently work at summer camp on Tuesdays teaching children ages 4-14 about nutrition and wellness. It’s exciting hearing that kids know so many fruits and vegetables and even say that they eat them regularly. However, many kids don’t know too many and also don’t know why we need them. For the younger kids, we focus on introducing nutritious foods as well as emphasizing “Always” foods that kids can always reach for and “Sometimes” foods that kids should only sometimes be eating. The older kids are a little more fun to work with because they have started asking me questions about sports nutrition and how our bodies absorb nutrients. However, my heart truly breaks in two when young kids ask me about dieting and losing weight. Let’s not focus on weight loss but rather health gains!

This led me to creating this blog! I have always wanted to educate and inform people about the correct nutrition information in easy ways to understand it all. Trust me, it gets real complicated real fast. I decided to start a small segment called Vegucate. Get it? Like educate but with the little veg in the front (short for veggies, short for vegetables) I truly amaze myself with these stupid puns. Vegucate will be all about tackling the issues that I have learned thus far in nutrition that are so important yet so many people may not know. Stay tuned for some of the awesome topics I will cover and if you have any requests or suggestions do not hesitate to let me know!

My Beginnings

It’s only right that my first official blog post talks about how I got started loving the world of fitness. Truth be told, I wasn’t always the nutrition loving, weight lifting spirit I am now and my childhood is a weird reflection of where I once was.

Sports. Ah yes, so many of them. Your childhood was either filled with them or you ran far in the other direction. Mine was a weird mix of both. I often joined sports (softball, gymnastics, volleyball, field events for track, goalie for lacrosse) that required the least amount of running. Most were short lived and some I was told I just was not good at. I played sports throughout middle school and high school and even intramurals in college, but I was not a super star athlete by any means (except in my mom’s eyes).

Nutrition. Such a love/hate relationship with nutrition. For someone studying to be a Dietitian, you would think I eat health 24/7 and know everything about fruits and veggies. That is not always the case. I have a terrible tendency to snack, a lot, I am constantly thinking about food and will plan my days around what I am eating. I’m serious I do this, I always have. I was the pickiest eater growing up and up until I was about 18, I had a fear of trying new foods. At 16, I tried new foods that promised to help me lose weight or speed up my metabolism (hello 3 cups of green tea and hot sauce on everything). Growing up, I ate cucumbers and microwavable raviolis everyday for lunch and Gushers for a snack. I am 99% positive I didn’t have my first real glass of water until I was 16 years old. My body was 40% Pepsi 40% chocolate milk and 20% Gushers juice up until then.

So now that you’ve heard my somewhat terrifying backstory, how did I decide to change all that and become healthy? When I was 16 years old, I fell into the trap of Seventeen Magazine workouts and reading articles of girls losing weight by eating minimal calories. At my peak, I was running up to 9 miles a day and eating below 1000 kcal. I tried this, I thought I loved it, I was slowly killing myself. It took me awhile to dig myself out of this trap, yet when I did I found myself falling into a new one. This time, I ate everything I come in my cabinets and never even caring about a workout. I quickly gained weight and realized how out of control I had become from restricting myself for so long. I made a promise to myself that I would find a health relationship with myself again, and I did.

Through research of my own, taking health classes, and even realizing that this happens to so many people, I was able to slowly love my body again. I love how working out make me feel and seeing results is always a huge motivator. Eating right also makes me feel great as it provides me with energy to get through my day and to fuel my workouts. I have no shame in the occasional ice cream or burger, because balance. I love my body and what it can do for me.

I love my story, for it led me to where I am today.

I love my passion, it has brought me to so many new experiences.