Koolaid to Kale- A story to a healthier lifestyle


Koolaid, the cool refreshing summertime drinks; as a child I remember cold frosty jugs of it that were consumed during the summer months of July and August.

Gathering nickels and dimes in exchange for a shared glass at neighborhood koolaid stand supervised and run by entrepreneurial 8 year olds.

After those years of long active summer days fueled by koolaid, I developed my personal challenge with weight and health; freshman 15, sophomore 20, and senior saddlebags……all collectively in three years.

I was overweight and severely out of shape.

We all have a turning point, Day of Disgust.  This is a point that etches a pain deep within us. No, it doesn’t feel good, but the truth is, a pain is what jump starts us into action to change. That little voice inside us that screams “that’s enough” “I’m ready”.  It could be the pain of being teased as a child due to weight; the pain of hearing the doctor warn you about diabetes/cholesterol/visceral fat/liver disease; the pain of NOTHING to wear or that fits like it used to; the pain of watching a family member succumb to prolonged illnesses.

My pain was physical.

I remember the day that I bent over to turn on a shower; a crippling pain in my lower back that took my breath away.  And so, the journey to wellness began for me. Still carrying the cumulative of over 50 pounds, I started movement to stop the pain, to strengthen my back.

At this point, nothing else changed in regards to my diet.  I only committed to movement.  Results from this discipline came quickly. Being too embarrassed to even run outside, I took up skipping indoors along with my core development/back strengthening movement.  In a very short time I was ready to lace up my runners and hit the streets.

In wanting to get the most out of my time and energy spent running, it was at this point that I started to pay attention to my meals, my diet.

After running 5k and 10k races the next level appeared as I wanted to tone up a bit.  I joined a gym and started to lift weights.  I was hooked!

With dumbbells in the gym and a fork in the kitchen I pursued an 8 year career as a competitive bodybuilder.  Food, nutrition, my diet, meals we’re my too, l got to the point in creating a relationship with the body and food.  A relationship that I knew what worked for optimal performance.

As extreme as the lifestyle can be as a competitive athlete, there are many lessons you learn about your body and its relationship with food.  Every season left me with learning something new about nutrition and how I felt physically and mentally.  These lessons were brought into my everyday living.

Then, along came the family.

I had just come out of competition season so continuing through pregnancy with health focused meals was a breeze, even workouts were rock solid constant.  Within a month of giving birth I made the decision to get right back on the horse and had my sights set for the Provincials one year later.

It was on the day of my first borne’s first birthday did I compete and place second in body buildingmiddleweights.  The woman that placed first pursued the pro ranks with that win.  I then saw my path before me – raise my young family or pursue the pro ranks.  I chose the latter and that’s where I devoted my time.

THIS WAS A BIG TURNING POINT.  Although continuing with an active lifestyle, our meals (diet) fell prey to the influences of busyness, marketing and even weak parenting.  Our freezer, fridge and pantry looks drastically different now in comparison to then.

With a little trip down memory lane here………I grew up in the sixtys.  My Dad was a single father raising three girls.  We had a garden. Nona had a garden AND fruit trees.  What we didn’t grow, we had farms within a 20 minute drive and many days were spent at pick-your-owns.  We also knew our butcher and where our meat came from.

With only 2 channels on the tv (with temperamental rabbit ears) and one landline phone to share, we spent many hours outdoors……playing, being active.   You know, that era of “come home when the street lights come on”.

Due to finances, we didn’t have a stock pile of treats.  Now don’t get me wrong, the yipees and happy dances were loud with the announcement that there was an after dinner trip to the local ice cream cone stand or during a long country road trip we could choose our favorite soda.
Cream soda or root beer?  Cream soda or root beer?

I share this journey with you due to the fact that these “things” that were once treats are now staples in the average diet and are the spring board to poor health.

It wasn’t until one day I took notice that my kids were continually in the pantry.  There was more than the lie I had been telling myself that “they’re just active kids.  They’re grazers”. The constant grazing was the spiking and crashing of blood sugar. Perhaps even some mild scholastic challenges in those early years can be attributed to poor choices in nutrition. It was around the same time I watched as my Dad’s health was not only compromised by drastically affected by the lifestyle disease of diabetes.

My knowledge on the glycemic index was the spring board to a healthier lifestyle for myself and my family.

The spring board that took us from Koolaid To Kale.

Helping beginners begin again in health, fitness and well being

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