I am Latina, hear me roar! …or something like that.
Born and raised from Cuban parents means you can speak Spanish, dance salsa, be passionate AF (and stubborn af too), party like a rockstar, but guess what – you were also gifted with TERRIBLE eating habits.
I don’t know about you but the only vegetable I had on my plate growing up was plantains. Fried…with tons of salt. Maybe tomato slices would make an appearance sometimes with avocado, of course. Onions on my palomilla steak. Yeeeeah… that was pretty much it.
My mom tried her best at not using the bad oils, for example, but even still – meals were always carbs on carbs on carbs. It was all she knew and all I knew growing up too. My family didn’t understand vegetables. Our daily meals would consist of some kind of protein with sides of:
- white rice or congri (black beans and rice)
- salty twice fried plantains
- sweet plantains
- Cuban black beans
- Cuban bread (my ultimate weakness)
Sometimes all at the same time.
Then, of course, a sweet treat for dessert would follow with a shot of Cuban coffee with espumita (aka a sugar foam that is basically crack).
Sounds delicious, huh?
Trust me, it was and it’s ALL my favorite things to eat ever but guess what? Now that I’m older, I’ve been trying to undo all these habits and it has NOT been easy.
Being Latina doesn’t always mean you look like JLo.
I sincerely believe my metabolism is broken or was misplaced. Maybe lost at birth, idk.
At the core, my friends, family, and I want to make better choices. Everyone wants and truly desires to be healthy. When you live in the mecca of Cuban food however, everyday is a struggle and temptation is EVERYWHERE. Most of friends and family are either diabetic, or have high cholesterol or high blood pressure and are overweight. Needless to say, when this is all you know and have grown up with, how do you create new habits without failing time and time again?
In 2015, I did a great job of going low-carb / low-sodium, having a meal delivery service make my meals for me, because I was working 60+ hours a week and didn’t have time to cook. Of course, like everything, if you don’t keep up with it and stay consistent, you go back to what you know.
It’s hard to undo 30+ years of damage just like that.
I feel like a drug addict that keeps relapsing.
I’m not trying to be a bodybuilder or a fitness or food guru. I’m just a normal girl trying to get her shit together over here. (Ha! Notting Hill – “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a plate, asking for it not to make her fat).
That’s why I included – Healthy-ish – in the title of this post. Emphasis on the ish. I’m healthy, thankfully, with no life-threatening health issues nor food allergies or food sensitivities. I cook 80% of the time at home (hello, meal prep!) so I don’t order take-out when I get lazy and, I try my best to make good choices when I go out to eat. But sometimes, I just want chocolate chip cookies and a guava pastelito. And french fries. And a burger. And rice. And ice cream.
Lol. I’ll stop now.
In recent months, I’ve been paying more attention to labels (ingredients in particular), not having food items in my house that would tempt me (like Cuban bread), and overall, just saying no more often (aka self-control). I’ve done well considering I was brought up with such salty, carby, sugary deliciousness but it seems like I still haven’t found that BALANCE that I desperately want.
That balance where I get to a healthy weight AND can still enjoy Cuban breakfast (pictured above) once in a while. I want to be happy and be comfortable in my own skin once and for all without feeling guilty for enjoying a coconut chocolate chip cookie.
Am I the only one that feels this way?
My fellow Latinas, can I get an Amen?
I’d love to hear your comments. What are you struggling with? How can we help each other? What are your best tips for living a balanced life?! I really want to work at this balanced lifestyle and actually make some progress without feeling discouraged or throwing in the towel.
Leave your thoughts below or on Instagram!
As always, thank you for being here. Thank you for reading and being supportive. This is hard but not impossible. I can’t wait to share more recipes with you! Also, I plan to share more about this crazy journey via email so be sure to sign up!