I feel pretty grateful. Over the years at my now almost alma mater (one week until I will be able to hold (actually make that hug) my diploma!), I’ve met some wonderful, health conscious friends who view food as medicine, just like I do. This wasn’t always the case, especially during freshman year of college when I couldn’t find a sole who would rather consume a large salad over a greasy bowl of fries. I’d find myself in uncomfortable social situations, wishing I could just get my hands on some kale chips or fresh fruit while my new friends were cooking up hamburgers and pasta. Lucky for me, I’ve met health conscious friends over time and I figured it’s high time I interviewed one of these special friends so that they can share with you their experiences living health consciously in our world of junk food ubiquity.
My friend, Myra, is super cool. Not only does she share my love of salads with unusual toppings like eggplant and figs, but she also is never one to turn down an opportunity to keep her body in shape. Not only does she have experience dancing, but she currently teaches Zumba classes (a Latin dance inspired aerobics workout). Myra is as passionate about making the right food choices as she is about having a fun workout and we immediately bonded over this. She is an inspiring voice for anyone wishing to make superior eating choices and follow an active lifestyle. She gushes with enthusiasm about how both her nutrient-rich diet and creative workouts make her feel energetic, de-stressed and ready to tackle even the most frustrating term paper. Welcome to DiseaseProof, Myra!
1) What was your diet like growing up?
In elementary school and middle school, life for my family was all about convenience and what foods were at hand. We ate a lot of frozen foods, fast food and deli meats. My mom had a full-time job and our priority was always speed rather than health. As I got older, we began learning about the importance of making conscious food choices and our eating habits changed drastically. I haven’t touched fast food since middle school.
2) What motivates you to make the right food choices now?
I like waking up feeling like I have energy and am ready to conquer the day without having to rely on coffee to get out of bed. I want to look and feel my best, and of course, this means eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve lost a bunch of weight eating more green vegetables, raw veggies and fruits and I’ve never felt better. Teaching Zumba classes means that I have to have enough energy to motivate others. I can’t do this if I fuel myself with junk foods. I’d actually feel nauseous or sick if I ate processed foods before a workout.
3) How do you handle events with friends who eat conventionally?
I find it useful to have premeditated guidelines in my head of what foods I should eat for lunch or for the evening. Most restaurants are pretty accommodating when I ask for a salad with walnuts instead of cheese or a vegetable dish without salt. Knowing what type of foods I want before I go out helps me make the right food choices rather than ordering something spontaneously that I might regret later.
4) What advice do you have for those wishing to become more physically active?
People tend to think of exercise as something that they have to do, but it’s important to change your mindset about it. Exercise can be fun, used as a stress reliever, and an opportunity to focus on yourself. It doesn’t have to be painful the same way that healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland and taste awful. If you are more open to the idea of beginning an exercise program, there are certainly ways to make it fun and something to look forward to. It’s important to be honest with yourself and your goals and there are so many different types of exercise programs to try- it’s important to find a form of exercise that’s suits your personality.
Myra is a wonderful role model for her students, but an equally nice person and friend. The picture here is of Myra and I at the dock by our local farmers market. Thank you for the inspiring interview, Myra!