Wednesday Food: Making a Change

For Easter this year, Eric and I traveled upstate to hang out with his family.  I wasn't looking for inspiration but low and behold I found it! Eric's brother Brian has recently made a radical transformation in his food lifestyle and ultimately his family's life.

I've known Brian for about 8 years now and for the most part his diet consisted of pizza, burgers, fried foods etc. He HATED vegetables. Which is not an unlikely view of food in the area they live in. So, for Eric and I to visit his home, cooking would always be a little difficult. Whenever the subject came up, vegetables always seem to be a joke, as if what we eat doesn't affect our health. Yet so many of Eric and Brian's family have health issues.....coincidence??   Brian's wife, Jenny and Eric's mother would always be on our side. But it was never enough to convert the bad eating habits.

But, this time was different, we weren't visited with such resistance.

Many things have happened in the last 8 years for Brian. He got married and had two beautiful children (Abby, 4, and Haley, 3).  Now, it is common for the dad to gain some sympathy weight with kids. That's when I remember Brian being at his most unhealthy weight. He started working out to keep up with the kids, but his eating habits didn't change at all. Then shortly after Haley was born, his father-in-law suffered a stroke. Watching a loved one suffer from very poor eating habits, (consuming tons of sugar, coffee, meat and potatoes diet along with being a heavy smoker) and absolutely no exercise  - kinda tipped him over the edge into changing his habits for the better.

Now, he eats VEGETABLES!!! I know everyone doesn't know him but believe me when I say that it is miraculous! Here's a little before and after - Look at him smiling with those veggies on his plate!!!

I share this story because I find hope in it. The area where Eric and Brian grew up does not cater to a healthy lifestyle. Most restaurants are chains, greasy spoon diners and pizza joints. They grew up with relatives who find any kind of change to be impossible. Eating right was just plain stupid (they would use another word, but I'm not gonna say it). Certainly they would never think of it as a lifestyle. No wonder Eric sought out change and wanted to learn more about food and culture. And it's a good thing he did - we met while attending school at the Culinary Institute of America!  Although Brian didn't follow right along, he soon had a good reason - the health and benefit of his lovely family. In a very rural area, even just Brian changing will spread to his children, loved ones, maybe even neigbors and the community!

When we were at Brian and Jenny's house for Easter, I asked for one of their favorite recipes and coincidentally something we were eating with Easter dinner. This comes from Brian's P90X/Insanity diet with a few of Jenny's personal changes.

Chopped Chicken Salad - serves 4 as a side salad

3 c. mixed greens
4 oz. cooked chicken breast, pulled apart in pieces
12 asparagus spears, steamed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
4 oz. mushroom, sliced
2T. honey mustard (or 2t. honey and 1T. dijon mustard)

1) Toss prepped chicken and veggies together
2) Combine honey and dijon, or just the honey mustard and toss with the salad

Super simple and super healthy. I hope you enjoy the recipe and the story! Here's a picture of Brian and Jenny's beautiful family!

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