food, Health

How My Dad Inspires Me To Be Healthy: Plus My SunBasket Trial

My dad turned 59 last week. Every birthday of his is a precious one and a great reminder to eat well, exercise, and find mind-body balance.

My parents, younger brother, and I visiting New York ten years ago.

Growing up, Dad often invited me to join him at the gym before going to school and on the weekends. I loved being the youngest kid in the row of elderly men and women walking on the treadmill. When my elder brothers moved out, Dad soon turned their old room into a sporty home gym. He covered the walls with Red Sox paraphernalia. A framed poster of Carl Yastrzemski hung from the walls, hinting at where I would live in just a matter of years.

Dad’s lesson was clear: “You have to take care of your body. It won’t do it on its own. Just make it a part of your lifestyle.”

But, unfortunately, even diet and exercise can’t change your genetics.

10 years ago my dad suffered a major heart attack. It was during the thick of the financial crisis and the recession hit my dad’s business, a mortgage and real estate firm, hard. The business supporting our one-income family was in dire straits and Dad’s stress level was high. People were shocked to hear that my dad, an all around active and health conscious guy, was nearly killed by a heart attack at only 49. The doctors said it was simple: stress.

dad in new york
My parents on vacation in New York, one week before the heart attack.

I’m certainly not a health nut. I love cheeseburgers and steak, but I try to practice balance by eating well 6 out of the 7 days of the week, just like my parents, and I enjoy a splurge on the weekends. I take classes at a nearby dance studio and sometimes I squeeze in 5am workouts before heading to Pearl. I try to listen to my body when I need rest and sometimes I just can’t seem to make it to the gym, but the important thing is that I just keep going, no matter how great or crummy my workout was.

I also never look at the scale. For me, healthy is about how I feel.  Do I feel healthy? Could I feel healthier? Stronger? Am I practicing healthy habits? These are the questions that guide me.

I recently decided to hop on the grocery meal delivery service bandwagon to make it easier to eat better, and to save time instead of waiting in line at the grocery store. I decided to try SunBasket for their paleo menu option.

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I do love bread and cheese, but I love meals that are based on protein more, and I love the idea of incorporating more vegetables in my diet. But you can bet that I treat myself on Saturday to a seriously good lobster ravioli or cheeseburger if I feel like it. The key is balance and moderation.

With Sun Basket, I get to select 3 meals out of 12 options to be shipped to my door the next week that I’ll cook and eat. So far they’ve been really good. A delicious steak stir fry and an amazing salmon cooked in a delicious red sauce with capers and fennel have been some of my favorites. They also offer gluten free and vegetarian menus and all the food is organic, non-GMO, and sustainably sourced.

This delish salmon lunch was a treat on our most recent snow day.

I also liked that I have the option to opt out of paleo and get something that looks really great, like this meal I cooked Thursday night: fish tacos with radishes, cabbage, and a yogurt mint sauce.


The best part was the yogurt mint dip in place of sour cream. It complemented the spicy herb seasoning on the sole so well and was a nice change from your usual sour cream. Don’t you just love the smell of mint and cilantro?



This one was also really easy. Chop up the farm-fresh ingredients, fry the fish in a little bit of oil, and assemble into tacos.





The radishes add such a nice splash of color and some bite. Can’t wait to see what the next week’s will be.


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