Supporting your local community, providing assistance, and helping to build the next generation are all paramount pillars of my identity. The future success of the neighborhood greatly depends on the dedication of the public. Over the last few years, I have learned more reasons to support our youth from more than one prespective.
I am a proud father of a wonderful, bright son and a beautiful, baby girl. They have brought more joy and pride to me than I could have possibly imagined. Their smiles and laughter always bring a smile to my face as well each day that I am having a hard day. But their growth has brought many years of struggling that has been difficult to overcome.
In the not so distant past, our family has had some difficult financial times that lead to a restricted budget. When forced to cut back on some of the extra expenses, we still were having a challenging time to cover the costs of our family. It became necessary to further allocate the funds so drastically that our weekly budget of food was greatly reduced.
Nourishment seemed so insignificant compared to simply eating. At times, sacrifices were needed to ensure a meal could be enjoyed. The concern is that on a strict budget, the interest is in quantity, not quality. We turned to gather as many items that we could that were smaller in dollar amounts (and in nutritional value). Salty chips, microwaveable meals, and pot pies became the norm. Our lives were consumed with high sodium diets and an imbalance of fruits and vegetables. The foods that we were eating had so little content that we were routinely hungry and didn't see the opportunities to enjoy a more appropriate diet.
Now, with two children, I am proud to say that those issues are issues of the past. With more of an emphasis to enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits, proteins and grains, we have all had much more energy and been in better health overall. Rather than having carbonated sodas or high sugar beverages, we usually enjoy milk or water with our meals. Our nutritional diet has now transformed into meals that will aid our long term health.
This year, I am running in the Chicago Marathon for Common Threads which strives towards helping youth discover answers to nutritional obstacles. Their goal is to develop strong culinary skills which will encourage smart, healthier choices in the grocery store. With this approach, more people should be able to be better prepared to combat the many food options available. The hope is that at a younger age, the newest generation will not feel the pressures of selecting a balanced diet.
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