Yes, I Used to Consider Pesto a Vegetable

A natural-born athlete, I had always considered myself super healthy, mostly because how well my body performed on the tennis court, on the running course, and on the bike route. Ironically, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in my 20s, a week after I had completed the New Orleans 100-mile MS Tour for Cure (and was the second woman to finish, not that anyone but me and my psycho-sporty friends considered it meaningful.) My running team had come in 2nd in the city-wide Chase Corporate Challenge. I felt like I had excellent proof that I was in great physical condition, and made no health or diet changes at the time, chalking that diagnosis up to heredity. In my 30s, I was still in good shape, and I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis two weeks after I turned down a tennis pro job at a local club here in CA. This illness stopped me in my tracks—in a few short weeks, I couldn’t move my hands or feet without pain. I knew my body was in a crisis, and decided to tackle my diet first. I am a motivated person, there were a lot of anti-inflammatory diet suggestions out there, and they looked nothing like my then-diet. In fact, when I took a long hard look my food and bev intake, I was utterly dismayed. Over the few years previous, without even being conscious of it, I had started to eat and drink what was convenient to get by, to get through my day. I had a lot going on. I had a three year old who had been diagnosed with special needs, and I was deeply committed to taking her to all her therapy sessions. I had a one year old that had just gotten over being uber-colicky, my then-husband was busy traveling worldwide for his tech company, and despite being utterly exhausted, I was really doing well at my financial career. On my way into work, I would grab a frosted walnut scone and regular coffee, skip lunch because I was so busy, and instead, have a 16oz Diet Coke because it was so deliciously filling. I would be starving when I got home, maybe nosh on an apple and some cheese, and then heave a sigh of relief before pouring myself a very full glass (or two) of sauvignon blanc. After getting my toddlers in the...
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