I’m incredibly grateful to have had a healthy, strong immune system for over three decades—thanks to a foundation that was established during my childhood.
I credit my sage single mother for filling our home and plates with color (fruits, vegetables, legumes, high-quality proteins, whole grains, and dairy). I vividly remember her combing the grocery store aisles and flipping over products to read Nutrition Facts labels to find 100% whole grain and whole wheat options for bread, pasta, and other grains in the 1980s and ’90s. She was ahead of her time since this was when oh-so-white processed bread dominated the carbs scene.
Growing up, my brother and I had a modified “clean plate club” rule to follow from mom. The guidelines were as follows: Eat all of your protein and veggies; fruit is dessert; and finishing your grain carbohydrates is optional (as a carb lover, I elected not to abstain).
Processed and canned foods (except tuna fish), snackage, chips, sweets, sodas, etc., did not make their way into our home. Out of sight, out of mind. I kid you not, I discreetly drank my first soda in seventh grade at a school dance.
On the weekends, my grandmother masterfully cooked up my grandfather’s fresh vegetables from his impressive garden, along with the healthy fish he had just caught and deboned like a pro.