Food is powerful. It is social, energizing, and is especially delicious. But it is so much more than just that. Think about when you get invited over to a friend's house for dinner or go to a family member's house for the holidays--you usually always bring a dish, right? This is because food connects us. It is a great conversation starter. It is satisfying and comforting. It is even rewarding when you share your own homemade creations with the people you love.
My Dad, Chris Johnson had a huge impact on my life when it came to teaching me about healthy food. As I became an adult I decided to become a Dietitian because I learned just how powerful healthy food can be on performance, health, and happiness.
My childhood lifestyle of eating healthy and working out for fun was all I ever knew. Yes, I thought my Dad was a bit strange and some of the food he brought home tasted funny--but this was all I ever really knew. Once I got older and started going over to friend's houses more, I realized that my lifestyle was not the norm. I soon felt like I had been missing out on all of the good stuff for far too long and just wanted to be like all of my friends. So what did I do? I decided to become a total rebel and do everything opposite of what my Dad preached. I ate fast food, got a job at Johnny Rockets Burger Restaurant, and turned into a total junk food girl. This was all fun and dandy for a while until I started to gain weight and feel down right crummy. I realized I had to do something about it.
I took some of my Dad's advice and resorted back to some of my childhood ways of eating. I quickly felt like my old self again and realized that healthy food really is powerful! (and that my Dad really did know a thing or two about nutrition and eating).
Looking back, I now realize that it is the benefits of eating healthy that had me coming back for more and still has me coming back for more. The feel-good benefits are way too amazing to ever give up and I am now on a mission to share these feel-good benefits with the world, one person at a time.
Luckily, for my twin brother (Matt) and I, my Mom (Paula) was able to take this healthy lifestyle a step further. She grew up in a big Lebanese family and learned how to cook delicious food at a young age because in her family, delicious food was what connected them. With this upbringing, she was able to combine what my Dad knew about nutrition and her skills of making food taste good to make our family meals healthy and super delicious. (And this is the home run!) Yes, we all want to eat healthy--but none of us are willing to sacrifice taste or give up the things we love. What's the point if healthy food doesn't taste good? It's time to combine healthy and delicious in a way that's fun, easy, and rewarding.
For me, I can remember when this all came together. It all started with my Mom's Famous Chicken and Noodle Dish. Every year she makes this dish for Matt and I on our birthday. She uses the freshest ingredients to make a dish that is loaded with flavor and nutrition. It is something that we will continue to remember forever—the taste, the smell, the way the chicken just melts in your mouth, and the warm and comforting feeling while eating it. It’s now a staple dish in our house and when we make it ourselves—we can’t help but think of her, smile, and feel all-warm inside. Everything about it is so special and is something that is ingrained in our memory forever.
"We don't remember the things we buy, but we remember the meals we eat and who we eat them with. Food is an experience and it's meant to be enjoyed in every way."
Want a taste of our famous chicken and noodles dish? Check out this recipe video below, made by my awesome bro and co-author of Target To Table.