Learning to Eat Healthy in the Land of Fried Food

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When I decided to get healthier, I realized that I would have to step out of my comfort zone and march to the beat of a different drum. Living in the South, also known as The Land of Fried Food, there is always fattening food all around me. They just love to drop things into vats of grease!

I realized that to be successful when it came to healthy eating, I would have to be creative and flexible. This was obvious one summer where there were a series of cookouts and other functions that included food. Event after event, I would approach the foot-long tables filled with food that I didn’t want to eat. There was always a mountain of meat (usually fried), a bunch of bowls and casserole dishes with delicious entrees that were just too heavy for me. For the first time in my life, I knew how vegetarians felt! If anyone complained about the selection of food, someone would say, “Well, we have salad!” That was true. Over in the corner, without fail, would be a bowl of dry lettuce leaves and a bottle of ranch dressing. After a few cookouts, this obligatory salad was little more than boring.

I knew that if I decided to continue on my journey, I had to make things work for myself. I needed to break the status quo. It didn’t have to just be salad or the heavy stuff. I didn’t like this “us” versus “them” mentality when it came to eating good food. I want my vegetarian and clean-eating friends to eat until they’re satisfied with numerous and various food options at the table.

That summer was a wake-up call for me. I realized that I needed to start preparing healthier food that wasn’t just delicious to me, but to the average person. I would love for everyone to salivate over my yummy, healthy food – without even realizing how healthy it is!

I’m still working on some recipes, but it took me stepping outside of my comfort zone and acknowledging that moment to create a passion in me for food that I didn’t know existed. Now, I’m enjoying every minute of it!

-Delores McCarter

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