Let’s get this straight: Not all of us at mindbodygreen were raised by parents that packed kombucha in their kids' lunchboxes instead of Kool-Aid. While it’s true that some of my co-workers have been sprinkling adaptogenic mushrooms on their smoothies since before they could read, for many of us, our wellness obsessions were self-taught.
You see, I grew up in the Midwest, with parents who—by no fault of their own—had limited working knowledge of what a truly healthy diet looked like. Products of the baby boomer generation, my folks were raised on meatloaf, cornbread, and potatoes: recipes that stood the test of time and weaseled their way onto our dinner table, too. Sure, I was always served vegetables at supper, but these came almost exclusively from a can, and things like white bread, 2 percent milk, and Diet Coke were grocery list staples.
It wasn’t until I moved abroad for college that I abandoned my unbalanced childhood diet, inevitably influenced (and inspired) by the healthy eating habits of my new European friends. As my relationship with food shifted and I started to feel better in my body, I knew that I had to get my parents on board with this "wellness" thing. But believe me, this was easier said than done.
Old habits die hard, especially when it comes to reprogramming deeply rooted beliefs about diet and exercise. My cries for change were met with constant negativity from my parents, accusing me of being too preachy, too crunchy, or too unrealistic. The excuse—"I’ve made it this far in life and I’m doing just fine" was thrown in my face repeatedly, often followed by something along the lines of, "Plus, you know, kale is gross."
It’s been a long and winding road, but I can proudly report that Mom and Dad have finally seen the light at the end of the organic produce aisle. From trading in their sugary breakfast cereals for homemade chia puddings to replacing their afternoon sodas with soothing herbal teas, my parents have wholeheartedly embraced their wellness journey, and they’re seriously nailing it.