A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet a beautiful young lady with whom I have a lot of things in common. She is super motivated, have clear goals and dreams and when you talk to her it seems like nothing can stop her! After connecting by email we decided to write for each other’s blogs as guests, so here is here story…
Hey there guys! First of all, I would like to thank Claudia for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of her blog. She is an amazing, inspirational woman who I really look up to. I find it amazing that she keeps it a priority to keep fit and healthy even while busy!
My name is Natalie Wester, from the health blog Clean Eating Teen. I am a full time high school student from Texas. My collage level classes keep my busy with homework, and after school activities such as art or theatre take up my time as well. However, no matter what challenges I face, I do not EVER come up with an excuse to sacrifice any element of my fitness and health.
Living an active, healthy life is KEY to me keeping sane. I think that for anyone, it should be a top, if not #1, priority.
My dream is to become certified in holistic nutrition/holistic culinary arts, as well as to get my training done for yoga teaching. I plan to use my knowledge of these to write books and travel to educate others. I also would love to have my own cooking and health show at some point, and even open up a natural grocery store with my mother (who got me into the holistic lifestyle to start with, due to her negative view on Western medicine and an interest in using herbal remedies instead).
Right now, I am staying focused on gaining experience as well as publicity. I love meeting new bloggers and fit “foodies” (like Claudia! <3 ) whom I can relate to! It makes living this lifestyle so much more fun when I can enter-act with others who are just as passionate about it as I am.
The story of how I got into this lifestyle is by far not a straight path. I grew up in a relatively healthy household, luckily… we did not eat out much, and anything cooked at home really was COOKED. No frozen lasagnas or TV dinners were ever found in my house. However, by no means did that indicate we ate super healthy…
Some of the items we used were processed (canned items, bleached pasta, ext), but at the time we really were unaware of the harmful effects from ingredients we were oblivious to. I mean, heck… what was the difference between “whole wheat” or “bleached” flour anyways? We actually did not even read food labels for ingredients. Also, just like any American child, I was exposed to all sorts of pre packaged chips, sodas, and sweets to pack into my school lunches or use as snacks at home. However, I do admit that we did much better than most families, who constantly eat out and don’t even know how to use a stovetop.
The first major change I made in my diet was when I was in 4th grade. All my life I had (and occasionally still do) SEVERE stomach pain. After watching a few videos in science about health, I thought back on how my stomach reacted with different foods. I realized that each time I ate red meats (steak, bacon, ext), my stomach reacted the worst. I also was sensitive to oily, fried, greasy foods.
So, as an act of need to improve my digestion and amount of pain, I cut out red meats. It was done cold turkey, no “weaning off” slowly. Almost immediately I felt the results… my stomach problems lessened!
Since then, I have kept with this diet. However, at first, it still did not mean a “healthy” diet for me. Instead of chicken fried steak, I would just order chicken fried chicken. It took a few years before I gained knowledge of the world of fitness and what it REALLY meant, and how important it was, to keep up with a clean diet and active lifestyle.
Never was I overweight. Maybe a little baby fat, yes, but never obese. After starting middle school though, I became more sensitive to the shape of my body. I admired the sleek, muscular look I saw on the magazines, and found myself researching workouts and “how to loose weight”. (I know it sounds bad, such a young girl researching that! But I did not do it from vanity, I honestly did not know what else to look up. I now know that HEALTH is more important than losing weight.)
I first started working out with some bellydancing videos on Youtube. After losing a few pounds and being very pleased, I delved deeper… eventually I came across websites like Blogilates (a Pilates instructor with AWESOME workouts and is full of energy!) and The Gracious Pantry (a clean eating recipe blog). I became enlightened to the idea that what your body looked like was 80-90% diet, and the rest exercise. I heard about a book by Tosca Reno, “The Clean Eat Diet”, and read it right away. My life and mindset was changing so quickly!
Now, fast forward nearly five years, and I am living a life free of processed foods, and full of home cooked, nutritious and delicious ones. I work out daily and love every minute of it. I enjoy reading nutrition books for fun, and I am always looking into what other health bloggers as well as athletes do to keep up with a fit and wholesome life. Just a year or so ago, I started a blog of my own, “Clean Eating Teen”, which has blessed me with so many wonderful opportunities and experiences.
By no means have I learned all there is to nutrition, health, and fitness… I have made many stumbles to get to where I am now, and I know that many more are to come. Part of this is simply because I am human, the other part due to the fact that every day information and “well known” facts on heath are being reexamined and new ideas and evidence is found. (For instance, I used to think butter and other saturated fats were to be avoided like the plague. Now that I have done more research, I realize that saturated fats contain vital nutrients, as long as they come from a good source!)
Over all, I live the life I love. Learning to nourish my body with wonderful food and plenty of exercise has given me tons of energy and passion. Not to mention, it has made my skin clear, eyes whiten, and hair shine like never before (knock on wood!) I like the fact that I am different than my friends, who are living the typical junk food, lazy life of a teenager… because after all, I am the Clean Eating Teen!
Look for a guest post from the wonderful Claudia on my blog soon!