When I was little, three out of five days, my mom would buy us food from the existing fast food chains that surrounded our neighborhood. Honestly, as a kid, when it comes to fast food you never say ‘no’ because you don’t think about the harm food like that can do to you; all you think about is how delicious the food tastes. Restaurants that serve healthy options either close down because people can’t afford it or they don’t like what they have to offer. We get stuck with what we have. You can only imagine what kind of health conditions run rampant in our community.
Childhood obesity was my condition, and up to this day I continue to suffer with this health issue. It’s difficult to wean myself from the sugary and salty foods I grew up with. Years and years of bad eating habits have left me addicted to the flavors of fast food. Being an adult and not being able to control my appetite for sugary foods scares me. I fear that diabetes, which runs in my family, is something I will get at an early age. I was actually diagnosed as pre-diabetic when I was around 14 years old.
After several attempts to lose weight, I finally tried again over the summer of 2018. I began my journey with the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation as a corporate communications intern. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to take from this experience, but I’m glad to say that it was definitely an enriching one. I had the opportunity to work closely with one of their Casa Herbalife partners, ‘A Place Called Home’ (APCH). Truth be told, I had no idea organizations were in South LA advocating for smarter nutrition and offering programs for children to learn more about healthy food options. I had the honor of attending a beach day with the children from APCH, and they showed me how eating healthy doesn’t have to be just a bland salad but small steps towards change. We left off the cheese on our burgers, drank sparkling water instead of soda, and had fun swimming or building sand castles as exercise.
With the help of organizations like HNF, an addiction to low-value foods and an introduction to a healthy lifestyle definitely make a difference for a healthier and happier life. My experience working with HNF has helped me understand the need for access to good nutrition and education. The grants that HNF give out every year go to support access to fresh produce and hand-made lunches for children. The contribution to underserved communities really helps those in need whether they are clinically obese, food insecure, or want to learn more about good nutrition, it’s a blessing to us all.