A gluten-free blog about the life of a celiac in college (and now grad school). Full of personal stories about life with celiac disease and fibromyalgia; gluten free, vegan and paleo recipes; and product and restaurant reviews. Plus, reflects on body image, dating and more with a chronic illness!
Society passes around lots of advice on how to be healthy. Eat less, but not too little. Move more, but not too much. Not to mention counting - calories, pounds and time on the stationary bike.
Today, though, I'm more concerned about what is being passed down (sideways or across) from one family member to another.
Keepin' it all in the family!
You see, last week was my little sister's high school graduation, which meant lots of family and reflection. Not only to two years ago when I was the one sweating in her green cap and gown, but also how the family squished into high school bleachers impacted what I see as "healthy."
From my Dad, I've inherited a love of challenges, mental and physical. Although I take more after my mom in appearance, I share my dad's addiction to exercise-induced adrenaline and physical progress. Last year, our bodies got pushed too far - him, tearing his PCL in a soccer game and me straining my IT band on an ocean-side run.
Walking it off...
It's taken nearly a year of rehab, rest and strengthening, but we're both back on the road - running, biking, and, just last weekend, blasting through our first 5K Mud Run. There are still days when old injuries refuse to stop sending "Mayday" messages, but we still love a good sweaty workout. No matter the challenge. And a good (gluten free) brownie afterwards never hurts either.
From my Mom, I've learned how to better listen to my body. I'll admit, I'm still a mediocre student in this subject. When I do something, I want to do it well...even to the point of trashing my body. In soccer games, I always went 150% - which earned me the title of Beast while also leaving me lying on the field every couple of games.
And a couple scars along the way...
Recently, though, I've tried to embrace mothering my body. This can mean shortening a workout, using lighter weights, or simply switching my computer chair with a yoga ball to change the position of my spine. Sometimes I still ignore my body's whispers - and even a few screams - but I'm finally starting to realize that to listen isn't to be weak. It's to work with my body, rather than against it.
My Grandma Linda has showed me to find a passion and hold onto it through life. I like to call her my "cool" grandma since, though her gardening and work with the Master Gardener community, she hangs out with more homies than me on an average weekend night!
Throwback to my graduation!
Passions don't have to fit the connotation of "passion" either. They can be quiet, like reading a good book during lunch. They can be controlled and precise, such as fitting together a 1000 piece puzzle of postage stamps. And they can be unique - you can imagine how much my younger self enjoyed being able to boast, "My grandma has a box of dirt and worms in her closet!" Of course I didn't bother to explain this was for composting purposes.
And my sister, who wore something old (my original cap and gown), something borrowed (my shoes and necklace) but not something blue (Poway Titan green actually!) to accept her high school diploma? She exemplifies how to embrace eccentricities and empathy - a must for a healthy life.
A graduation photo shoot
She's the girl who made Valentines to hand out to custodians, teachers, and fellow students needing some extra love. She's the girl who kicked butt at two school plays her senior year, even with an anxiety disorder. And she's the one who, of course, rescued a moth from a fellow graduate's hair minutes after the ceremony. And I couldn't be more proud of her and excited to see what college holds.
By society's standards, I'd probably be the healthiest member in my family. I eat (at least or over) the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. I do something active every day and, even at college, aim for eight to nine hours of sleep.
The real picture of "healthy"
But, "healthy" originates from more sources than governmental guidelines. It comes from parents, grandparents, siblings and even strangers or friends. And I can't thank mine enough for their hand-me-down's.