Hi! I’m Abby, the culinary wizard behind Yes to Yummy. My favorite color is purple and I am prone to random bursts of laughter, dance and French expressions. Ice cream is my kryptonite and my alter ego is crazy, tea-chugging philosophical old cat lady. I’m the program officer at Allergic to Salad, a youth culinary organization that brings cooking classes into New York City schools, a graduate of New York University with a major in Nutrition and Food Studies, as well as a 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. Welcome to my blog!
Though I have always loved food, my passion for cooking began the summer before my freshman year of high school when I took an interest in nutrition. I started eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and making all of my meals from scratch.
You know how they say too much of a good thing is a bad thing? Well, something like that happened to me. I became overly obsessive with measuring out my portion sizes and NEVER let myself indulge. My weight got down to unhealthy levels, and I found that basically starving myself wasn’t beneficial at all, both physically and emotionally. I was tired, hungry, and frankly sick of eating bland, boring food every day for lunch just because it was “healthy.”
Slowly but surely, I began to shake off my disordered eating habits and develop a much more positive relationship with myself and food. Health isn’t and shouldn’t be defined by an often inaccurate number, and beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. This is the body the world has given me; why on earth shouldn’t I love it and accept it?
These days, I eat pretty much everything. I also have some food manifestos I follow that are informed both by my personal experiences and my studies.
- No food is off-limits, unless you have an allergy/food sensitivity or don’t eat something for religious reasons. Eating bread does not make you “unhealthy,” just as eating celery doesn’t make you “healthy.” We should strive for variety in our diets and yes, variety includes mac and cheese and brownies.
- Share your food with others. Commensality — or the practice of eating together — is critical in building and maintaining healthy relationships. Having dinner or even simply coffee and a snack with someone is a great way to break the ice and get a conversation going. Sharing your food (specifically desserts!) is also a great way to practice moderation (i.e. getting all those extra cookies out of the house so you don’t eat them yourself!).
- Respect the food choices of others. If you’re a vegetarian, great. If you’re a vegan, super. If you don’t eat carbs, I don’t know how you function, but you do you. But however you eat, don’t shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat. Educating others about what you eat and why you choose to eat that way is wonderful; making others feel shame about the way they eat is not. Food is deeply personal and often rooted in cultural or family traditions, and millions aren’t privileged to be able to make many choices about what they eat due to socioeconomic disparities. Be mindful and don’t be so quick to judge.
- If you are lucky enough to be so privileged to make choices about what you eat, great! I suggest investing your food budget in farmer’s markets and organic (preferably local) products at the grocery store. Eat less meat (cheaper and better for the environment) and buy grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic and/or local whenever possible. This philosophy, however, is a spectrum. Do what you can with what your financial and time constraints allow.
- Eat whole foods and make as much as you can yourself. While I do enjoy some pretzels or Goldfish now and then, I try to cook most of the food I eat and choose foods with short ingredient lists (i.e. fruit, cheese, nuts, dark chocolate, etc.) when I want a snack. Cooking and baking your own food is also generally less expensive and healthier, since you can make informed decisions about what you put into your dishes.
All of this is to say: I am not paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or any food label that’s out there. But if you do choose to adhere to a specific diet, I will respect your decision and do my best to accommodate you!
You know what they say: you are what you eat…so why would you want to be anything other than awesome?
If you have a question or comment, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a message on Facebook. I’d love to hear what you have to say or help you out!