Home is where the health is

Whenever I go home to visit my parents I’m reminded about how lucky I am to have been raised with health in the forefront.  The importance of eating well and staying active was a given, so I have never seen wellness as a chore.  Eating balanced meals and participating in sports were, quite simply, just the norm.  I now know that I was very fortunate to have grown up this way.  Thank you mom and dad! 

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Prior to my arrival, my mom had been to TJs to restock the bar stash. 

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And hummus stash.

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And nut butter stash.

Having a family that’s supportive of my plant-based diet is one thing…but having a family that’s just as devoted to eating well is a whole other thing. 

Here are some meals created while raiding my parents’ fridge/pantry…

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Smoothie in a bowl.

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My parents have frozen fruit already cut for smoothies in the freezer, so all I had to do was choose which fruit I wanted!  The peaches were tempting, but in the end I went with the oh-so-classic strawberry & banana combo. 

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  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1 container TJ’s pomegranate greek style yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberries, frozen
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup oats

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Pulse everything until it’s thick and smooth.  Add more oats for thicker results.

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Pour in a bowl, grab a spoon, and enjoy!  The addition of raw oats to smoothies is mostly for staying power.  Having complex carbs to balance out the smoothie’s simple sugars helps hold me over longer.  Flavor-wise the oats don’t offer too much though…if anything there’s a very subtle chalky, protein-powder-like taste.  I like it though. 

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Previously I didn’t think big companies like General Mills had much to offer in the health foods world (silly rabbit, Trix are for kids full of chemicals).  However, I recently learned they are making big changes to create healthier products.  So even though they do sell some crap (ie Lucky Charms and Fruit by the Foot), I’ll admit I was pleased to find out they also have a line of cereals/granolas that are organic with whole grains.  Cascadian Farm organic products aren’t perfectly pure, but they’re definitely a step in the right direction for a major company like GM.  Not everyone can shop at Whole Foods and not everyone looks at the ingredients listed on a box, which means it’s up to the big corporations to act responsibly and offer products that are nutritious and affordable.  As long as we, the consumers, show there’s a need, the demand will be met.  Having these healthier options in mainstream grocery stores is a good step…for now. 

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Having sushi for my pre-race meal is a tradition. 

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Early to bed, early to rise.  Like I said, I’ll do a more thorough recap of the triathlon later.

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I didn’t eat much of anything before the race, and focused on hydration during the event. 

When I got home, I showered and made breakfast.

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First up, coffee [the message on the mug is something I can relate to].

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While my oats cooked, I snacked on a baggie of roasted almonds.

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In the oats went…an entire banana, soymilk, vanilla & almond extract.

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To make it even more hearty and filling I added peach greek yogurt and fresh strawberries

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This was the first of two bowls.  :)

After breakfast my dad napped, my sister went to work, and my mom made jam.

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Being the crazy active family that we are, we decided to spend the afternoon on the golf course.  My parents are good but  I don’t play with any regularity, so I really went to spend time with them and soak up the sunshine.  I had a few randomly decent shots, but we weren’t keeping score or anything.

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On the way home we stopped at the grocery store for some dinner time shopping.  I enjoyed a Trilogy Kombucha while helping prep for dinner. 

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Salad ingredients came from my parents’ CSA (multi-color bell peppers above) and mom’s garden (below). 

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Trust me, when things are picked and eaten within the same hour you can taste it. 

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In addition to the salad, the rest of the menu included sausage (for my ‘rents), Amy’s Bistro burgers (for moi), corn on the cob, and bread.

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While I was waiting for my dad to finish BBQing, I stole a wedge of bread. 

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I couldn’t help myself, the aroma of the fresh sourdough was teasing me.  Even Kona was looking in longingly.  I made sure to add copious amounts of white bean hummus

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Semifreddi’s addiction may be a San Francisco exclusive infliction.  The rest of you are missing out though.   

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Man can live off bread alone.  I promise. 

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Veggie burgers hot off the grill.

It’s not like you can mess up a veggie burger on the BBQ, but there is something to be said for getting that smoky grilled crispiness to the outside of the burger.  At my own apartment, I rarely cook veggie burgers in a skillet (I almost always thaw them in the microwave).  

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All ready for our feast.

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Salad first, courses one (and two) after. 

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And that’s how the hippie household eats.  Home sweet home. 

How does your current lifestyle relate to how you were you raised?  Did you grow up on whole foods and/or balanced meals?  Did your family focus on health?  Were you into sports and fitness when you were younger? 

I find it very interesting learning the different ways people came to learn about diet and exercise.  Some people seem to have always been into it, whereas others only came into their own fitness-wise later in life. 

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31 thoughts on “Home is where the health is

  1. Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats

    Coming from a family with divorced parents, I was raised in multiple ways. My dad’s family was all about grilling meats and having potatoes and a vegetable. At my mom’s house, we lived off of mac and cheese swimming in velveeta or egg sandwiches with plenty of ketchup. Grandma was probably the greatest influence on me. She was all about healthy eats and treats were allowed in moderation. My dad’s family has gotten a lot better within the last five years. They participated in a big weight loss challenge and have been maintaining what they have lost and maintaining healthy exercise habits. I worry about my mom and little brother and have tried to do some helpful things for them but it never seems to stick. Everyone has to make their own choices I guess but it just breaks my heart after some of the patient’s I have taken care of during clinicals.

    Reply
  2. Natalie @ cinnamon bums

    beautiful beautiful peppers! that purple pepper! i want to eat it.

    i loved this post because i could relate SO much to it – i grew up in a household focused on wholesome eating and being active, and what i loved was that it was never about intentionally being super healthy but about what we could do to best nourish our bodies so that we could enjoy life to the fullest. my mom started feeding me green smoothies when i was about 7 (i hated them) and was also forced to drink wheatgrass shots (and now i love them). a pot of brown rice was cooked up every night for dinner. one funny thing is my parents tried to get me to eat barney butter and other almond butters when i was 13 or 14 and i refused (i wanted peanut butter) and now i love it. most dishes my mom cooks every night are vegan; i grew up eating lots of tofu, miso, etc. and my parents encouraged me to play sports growing up. they also dragged me hiking every weekend! now that i say all that, i am so filled with gratitude, but growing up, i did not appreciate it in the least – in fact, i hated that my parents bought tofutti ice cream sandwiches, that we never had soda, etc. but now i am really thankful. my parents were always about moderation though and we always have dessert/sweet treats too. i think growing up in this household really did make a lasting impact for me because whereas i know some people have a hard time transitioning to whole grains, less processed foods, etc. i never really experienced that transition because it was part of my life from the start. thanks for posting this – it really made me reflect =)

    Reply
  3. Jess

    My dad is as carnivorous as it gets, whereas my mom has always been interested in healthy eating. She always made sure we had balanced meals, though there were plenty of snack foods hanging around too—my sister and I totally went through a fruit snack phase. My mom’s a good cook, so we always had homemade marinara, lots of veggies, salads, whole grains, and some kind of protein. She also stocked the freezer with Amy’s frozen meals when we got older and busier.

    We were encouraged to play sports but also to pursue other interests. I was into tennis and writing, and my family was awesome about making sure I had a ride to lessons and someone picking me up after lit mag meetings. Unfortunately, both my parents are workaholics, so we didn’t have a lot of meals together, and sometimes I wonder how things would have been if we’d been able to eat together at the same table more than once a week.

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  4. Amanda

    You are lucky! I was raised on the S.A.D. diet and it’s frustrating for me to try to motivate my family to change some of their habits. Now that I’m gluten-free, it’s easier because they know I HAD to change due to pain. They started finding healthier things for when I come over but I worry about what they eat when I’m not there. I’m hoping to raise my own family to eat more whole foods.

    I’m glad more mainstream grocery stores are carrying healthier options. I found Bob’s Red Mill stuff at Target! It was half the price of WF so it made my day!

    Reply
  5. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    This says it all and is also how I was raised and how I am raising, not “Trying to”..it’s how i AM RAISING Skylar:

    “Whenever I go home to visit my parents I’m reminded about how lucky I am to have been raised with health in the forefront. The importance of eating well and staying active was a given, so I have never seen wellness as a chore. ”

    She can do as she wishes when she’s older but she’s being raised with old school fundamentals.

    This is true too
    “Not everyone can shop at Whole Foods and not everyone looks at the ingredients listed on a box, which means it’s up to the big corporations to act responsibly and offer products that are nutritious and affordable.”-
    Amen. People should be responsible for what they ingest, but they arent. So if corp’s can help a bit, I am all for it.

    The sushi…I can never remember what you eat, dont eat, etc..fish, gluten, etc…but it looks good!

    Reply
  6. Alexis

    Your oatmeal looks so delicious! Actually all of your food looks great :) .. i was raised in a household where healthy food wasn’t exactly the norm but I’ve changed that as I got older and realized Trix really weren’t for kids and McDonalds actually made me feel worse than better.

    Reply
  7. Red Deception

    Those bell peppers are INTENSE! Purple, really?

    I was raised by a family that loves Kraft Dinner, Pizza Pops, and red meat. It’s no wonder I came out riddled with chronic disease. However, my parents have been supportive about my dietary changes and change in fitness. They both try the food I make – which is more than I ever asked for! My Dad also joins me biking, so it’s great to have him involved. It makes it all so much easier.

    Reply
  8. Emily

    Nope, aha my family is as far from health conscious as they get :(. My Dad is an avid hunter…and some how he sprouted a vegan! Lol it can be frustrating at times, but most of the time they just roll there eyes at my food and move on.

    Reply
  9. BroccoliHut

    Love that purple pepper!!
    My family was relatively health-conscious when I was growing up in that my mom never prepared fried foods or fatty dishes. However, I am way more focused on fruits and veggies these days. I definitely didn’t even know what tofu was until I was old enough to start cooking for myself!

    Reply
  10. Rebecca

    I have NEVER seen peppers like that! Your mom must have a very green thumb – what kind of jam did she make? My mom makes loads of strawberry every summer – we just finished the strawberry invasion :)

    My family was never big on sports, but we were always very active (hiking, extreme easter egg hunts, etc) and ate very healthy, homemade foods. Being from a rural area, there were a lot more healthy, homegrown options – and way fewer McDonalds!

    Reply
  11. Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

    You’re so lucky to have grown up in such a healthy household! For me it was all sugary cereal, sugary drinks, Kraft mac n cheese, spaghettios. My mom is much better now, but my journey to health and fitness was all my own doing.

    That salad looks so colorful!! And I’m jealous of your kombucha. It’s probably a good thing for my wallet, but no stores around me carry it!

    Reply
  12. Bella

    I love making smoothies but I never really know how to make them thick enough for my liking. Which is usually about as thick as a milk shake. Maybe it’s the yogurt I am not adding enough of? Or probably to much Almond Milk.. Either way your’s looks delicious!
    I wish my family was that healthy minded. It took me forever to stop my brother in law to stops saying I was drinking Lamb Milk and eating Bird Food!

    Reply
  13. Lisa @ I'm an Okie

    I grew up on Mac-N-Cheese (kraft style), lasagna (kraft style) beans-n-weenies, kraft pasta salad, and taco bell and mickey d’s.

    seriously! It’s amazing I like healthy foods these days.

    Reply
  14. Sarah

    Wow, all that food looks delicious- especially the salad! I love that your parents stock the kitchen for you and are so accepting of your dietary needs. They sound awesome.

    Whilst I wasn’t brought up on processed foods – most food was home-cooked and freshly made – it was your traditional meat and potatoes-starchy carbs type meals. There was defo a lack of fruit and veg in my diet back then. In terms of activity, my parents aren’t really into sport or the active lifestyle but I always have been in. My brother and I always played football, badminton and went for walks or bike rides. I think this was so important as it laid the foundations for my active lifestyle now, and I really notice the difference (physically and mentally) when I haven’t exercised enough.

    Happy Friday Elise! xxxx

    Reply
  15. Luciana

    You are so lucky for having a healthy family, and that enjoy good food. I love my parents, but my father is like: eat everything while you can!, and my mom is : i´m fine with milk and bread.
    I wish I can be a different mom (in the future…) concerning to food and sports.

    Reply
  16. Lenna

    I have never seen bell peppers in such colors! And I am missing fresh strawberries so much!
    That is awesome that your family is so supportive of your healthy lifestyle! :) My current lifestyle is the exact opposite of what my family´s lifestyle had ever looked like. I work out 6 times a week, I am a vegan, I eat healthy meals, a lot of fruit and veggies. My family never works out, they think that sports, healthy eating and vitamins are an insult.

    Reply
  17. Laura@keepinghealthygettingstylish

    Those veggies look absolutely stunning! You were very lucky to be raised in such a healthy household. Unfortunately I wasn’t, I think it was mostly ignorance on my parents part but the effects it had on me were quite negative, growing up with a weight problem was not fun at all and as an adult who has had to learn about how to be healthy herself I’m determined that when I have kids I’ll raise them better than I was. That probably sounds pretty judgemental towards my parents but I think they were just doing the best they could at the time, now I know better and knowledge is power as they say! I would hate for my kids to grow up feeling the way about their body and food as I did so hopefully I help them to grow up healthy and happy! They have been quite supportive of me being vegan though which is great :-)

    Reply
  18. Gina

    The peppers look amazing. I bought a purple and ivory pepper the other day. It’s fun to add a little unexpected colour to the mix. You are very fortunate to have grown up in a household that valued healthy eating and an active lifestyle. We are making every effort to raise our children the same way. You are an example of how it will pay off for them in the future.

    Reply
  19. Sami

    I would kill for my family to eat more like me. It would make things so much easier…not to mention, I wouldn’t feel like such an outsider in our home or at meal time.

    Reply
  20. Lee

    I was raised eating pretty healthy. We very rarely got fast food and I wasn’t allowed to have sugary cereals or soda.

    My husband, on the other hand, grew up with all that stuff and it’s very interestign to see that he craves it now, whereas I don’t.

    Reply
  21. Danielle

    I grew up with spinach salads, grilled salmon, artichokes, fresh fruits/vegetables and other delicious healthy foods. I don’t even know how to eat unhealthy! ;)

    Reply
  22. hippierunner

    Awwwwww Semifreddi’s!! Severin and I would walk down the street soooo often to pick up a loaf at the market. I would base meals around that bread because I was so in love with it. I miss it!!

    Reply
  23. bonnie @ vinyasa vixen

    wow! the hippie household sounds just like how my hubby and i want to raise our family when the time comes! i really think thats amazing. i was actually raised on fast food, tv and no exercise/sports at all. ever. i got into yoga a couple of years ago because i had really heinous anxiety/depression. and i am currently training for my 1st half marathon because i really wanted to challenge myself and step outside my fitness comfort zone. my family supports me, but by no means has jumped on the better health bandwagon. i wish they would. but my hubby has, he eats vegan with me and runs with me. so we’re starting our healthy little family now. but i think its so cool to grow up like that having fitness and health and wellness be normal things… not things you “have” to do. its a lifestyle :) awesome post!

    Reply
  24. Rachel C

    I have that same coffee mug !! LOL

    I was very lucky, and I didn’t truly appreciate it until now. My Mom always made dinner from scratch. We had a HUGE garden in the back yard, going to the health food store was a treat (honey sesame sticks and carob chips were very special), farmers markets, homemade: yogurt, ice cream, granola, jelly, etc….

    It wasn’t until I was in elementary school that I noticed that other kids didn’t eat the same way. And it was then that I wanted to eat the same foods as the other kids. My parents didn’t change the way we ate at school or at home, but every now and then, they would buy us soda or white bread. As a teenager, I would eat junk food when at a friends house, and continued to eat junk for many years. But, now as an adult, I am back to eating a healthy diet and I have such immense appreciation for the way my parents strived to provide healthy food.

    Great blog post!

    Reply
  25. Amy

    First of all, I CAN NOT BELIEVE IT TOOK ME THIS LONG TO DISCOVER YOUR BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (thanks to the link at the Actor’s Diet.)

    Being a first time mom (I have a 10 month old boy), I hope I will be able to raise my son properly, at least nutritionally speaking. My son unfortunately is allergic to gluten, wheat, eggs and peanuts, so he is on the VED (never heard of it? VED stands for “Very Expensive Diet”). But fear not, here comes the Super Mommy: I will bake my own birthday cakes, I will make my own brown rice breads… Your mom really inspires me, and I hope my son will grow up like you, prefer veggies over meats since I rarely eat them (although Super Daddy’s super power is “Only Pork on My Folk”).

    I guess I am trying to say is THANK YOU FOR SUCH A GREAT BLOG, and please send my regards to your SUPER MOMMY!

    Reply
  26. Adam Deane

    Mmmm that meal looks so delicious! Before I moved to Seattle and had access to a farm/garden, I never really knew the joy of fresh (picked the same day) veggies… I don’t know how I ever got through life that way… Your salad looks amazing and so awesome that it was grown by your family!!

    Reply
  27. Lindsay

    I know that I was NOT raised on a vegetarian diet, but I have to say that I was raised on a VERY nutritious diet. My mom made sure that everyday we had breakfast before school, a homemade lunch, a snack after school if we wanted it (food was never forced), and a home cooked dinner EVERY night.
    I think that on most nights we would have something with either lean ground beef, pork, chicken, or turkey! I dont eat fish and neither does my family but I think that I learned how to eat a combination of food along with excercising and remaining a healthy weight! :D

    Reply

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