For as long as I can remember, food has played a huge role in my life. I was training for my first Olympic Games when I was still in high school. Swimming 12 miles a day and having the metabolism of a teenager allowed me to eat anything and everything…and in large quantities! But, as my training continued into my late teens and early twenties, things changed. I began to see a difference in my performance based on my diet. I soon realized that food was my fuel and focused on eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of lean protein to get me through the miles I logged in the pool.
In short, I believe that I developed a nice balance in my diet at an early age. And even after my retirement, my relatively healthy eating habits continued. I thought that would put me ahead of the game once I had children. Like any good mom, I foresaw myself feeding them nothing but perfectly balanced meals throughout their childhood. But then reality set in. How could I have a full day of school, sports practice, play dates, housekeeping and work and still find time to cook my family a beautiful dinner? What constitutes a perfect sacked lunch at school? How could I get my grade-schooler to the 7 a.m. bus stop and still give her a well-balanced breakfast? And most importantly, how could I get my kids to like the taste of nutritious food when boxed mac and cheese tastes better than mommy's whole grain pasta? Like many of us, I found myself cutting corners for meals, making things that were quick and convenient and forgetting about my lifetime of education regarding nutrition.
Imagine my delight when two good friends asked me to join their mission in changing the way Americans eat. They envisioned a new lifestyle restaurant that would serve great-tasting, locally sourced, good-for-you food in a casual, quick-serve setting. I was immediately onboard. In short, we wanted a place where customers could enjoy a delicious meal and walk out thinking "wow, that tasted so good…and by the way, it was good for me, too!” And so, LYFE Kitchen was born. Our second restaurant opens in Culver City, CA next week. Our first restaurant in Palo Alto, CA has been a runaway success, and has received reviews mirroring our original mission of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Of course, living far away from both of these restaurants hasn't been perfect for me, but I solved that problem by purchasing LYFE’s frozen entrees, available on both HSNand Amazon. Our ultimate goal is to have several restaurants around the United States but to also have LYFE meals available at your local grocery store, so that busy moms, like myself, can pick up food that everyone will enjoy and we can feel good about serving to our families.
I have been fortunate to work with the innovative leaders at LYFE Kitchen, and we really do feel like we’re starting what we like to call a "food revolution.” Our motto has become "Eat Good. Do Good. Feel Good,” but the greatest blessing of all of this has been what I've learned about food in this time. I used to think I knew a lot, but I learn new things every day! I've learned that our major chicken suppliers dunk our chicken in chlorine to "decontaminate" it. The only way to avoid this is to make sure your chicken is "air-chilled." I've learned that most of our wine is chock full of nitrates and preservatives. I say this because even though we think we are making good lifestyle choices, it’s sometimes hard to know everything. Most importantly, I've learned that with enough thought, planning, education and determination, I can serve my family even better meals than I ever envisioned. Of course, I can always rely on LYFE Kitchen and their promise of locally sourced, nitrate-free and chemical-free food when I'm in a pinch….which seems to be often these days!
I went to the grocery store last night while my daughter was at swim practice. I was late picking her up because I lost track of time reading the labels at the store! I encourage you to do the same – well of course, minus the being late to pick up your kids thing. I know it's easy to take the shortcuts, but in the end we’ll all benefit from educating ourselves just a little bit more about what we’re putting into our bodies and our kids' bodies. I encourage you all to drop by a LYFE Kitchen if you happen to be in the area. I plan on being at the Culver City location frequently, both to eat and to meet everyone. I promise you’ll love it, and you'll feel good about it. Here's to our food revolution!