Growing up without processed food helped me find my passion

This is a post by PumpUp member @bodysoulspiritfitness, a teacher and movement artist with a passion for healthy living and adventure. Follow her blog here.

I grew up in a household and lifestyle where food and health were key. We were extremely poor, especially when I was very young, but my parents had given their lives to their farm and their dairy cows: this was our livelihood. 

My four siblings and I were expected to help, and the amount of help increased as we got older. As a teenager I was throwing around 100 pound square bales each summer and 120 pound bags of grain twice a day, carrying calves up to the barn on my shoulders from the far pastures, pounding fence posts, digging holes, hand hoeing 1/8 acre of garden. We were vegetarian primarily for my first twelve years of life, though I did get to eat Polish sausage from my great grandfather’s meat processing plant, as well as turkeys we raised for thanksgiving. We went trick or treating at maybe eight houses for Halloween, and were allowed the candy for a day or two before my parents upped and burned it in the wood stove. (This happened every year!) Processed foods were not available to me at all as a child unless I was at a friend’s house. 


As a child you go through the struggles of wishing you could have what you don’t have, and craving foods your parents don’t want you to eat. You hate your chores and wish you could play video games all day on the weekends like your friends (if you even owned any). But then one day you are an adult. 


I grew up and was living on my own, realizing how much I loved to work hard and be physically fit, and how much I loved the taste of wholesome food. As I pursued my four-year degree in the art of Eurythmy, I more and more experienced how much both these things-food and fitness-mattered even as I worked on changing myself on an inner level. The outer strength gave me courage and confidence, the ability to stand upright for long periods of time, to move on a stage to music for 20 minutes without pause. Nourishing food gave me health, the ability to think and take hold of everything in my life, to have enough energy to do so. And I realize now that all of my parent’s choices have come into fruition in me today, as I take the fitness journey and work towards optimum health. 


This is only the beginning and the first revelations of a person who sees fitness as an essential part of life. I am completely inspired by others who are on this journey and who show such dedication to health and motivating those who need help. The fitness community on the pumpupapp is a great one to be a part of: it’s positive, fun, confident, supportive and health-oriented. I realize that no matter how poor you are, if you can be a part of such a wonderful group of people, you are truly given wealth a thousandfold~”health is wealth.” Happy journeying.