And I’m Back!

Hey guys, I know I’ve been absent for a while… but I’m back!

I won’t bore you with a ton of stupid explanations. All you really need to know is that life has been busy and, while it’s busy still, I really miss writing here. So now I will!

HealthyLatinFood-IrinaGonzalez

You can expect more great original recipes from me, of course, but also something else…

I’ve decided to expand some of the things I write here. I mean, sure, recipes are great. We all love recipes. We all love learning how to make our favorite Latin dishes healthier, or how to incorporate Latin ingredients and techniques into other healthy recipes. And I love doing that. But I also love something else: writing about my weight loss, how I (try to) keep the weight off and what’s going on in the world of health and healthy eating.

And to be honest, I miss writing about those things. So why not do it here?

The other thing I should probably confess is that I am not exactly at the weight that I want to be. I’ve hinted about it before, but I am finally really ready to do something about it.

I rejoined Weight Watchers recently, and am pretty committed to more healthy cooking and some serious clean eating. I’ve even managed to lose some weight since, but I definitely have some ways to go. And I can’t wait to share the journey with you!

Want more Healthy Latin Food? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. And if you have any questions about my writing, weight loss or recipes, feel free to email me here!

What Led to My Dream Job as Food Editor

Someone told me recently that they reach for the same dreams that they had as a child because that’s when we have the courage to dream the biggest. I don’t know if I completely agree with that, but dreaming big has always been very important in my life.

As a kid, I remember loving to draw and paint, weaving broad strokes in all kinds or crazy colors. I remember baking with my Russian great grandmother in her tiny house, forever since associating the smell of cinnamon with memories of her. I remember my love of art transforming into a love of the written word, as I read and wrote more in my teens.

Eventually, this all led to a love of magazines, a college major and finally a career in journalism. But it was my personal journey of weight loss, and subsequent learning to cook in a healthy way, that led to my passions for the written word, my visual creativity and my love of cooking to marry in onto an integral part of who I am today. It’s why I started this blog, it’s why I’ve spent the last few years writing and it’s why today I have started my dream job as Food Editor at SheKnows.com.

I loved working at Latina magazine and our sister site, The Latin Kitchen, for the past year and a half. But I knew deep down that what I wanted was to work full-time in food editorial. And I can’t believe that my dream has actually come true.

Now, I don’t want to downplay this. I’ve spent my post-college years working my butt off, learning as much as I could from great bosses, taking recreational classes, and reading as much as I could about the things I was passionate about. But what started as a somewhat casual interest grew into who I am today.

“Kids, when you reach your late 20s, you might be
surprised 
that you still don’t have life figured out.” 

When I first heard that quote from How I Met Your Mother‘s Ted Mosby, I was struck by how true it was. I’m halfway through the year 28 and, in a lot of ways, I know I don’t have life figured out. But today I also know one thing for sure: everything I’ve worked for up until this point has finally come together into one amazing package–and I couldn’t be more thrilled to get started.

I hope you’ll stay tuned here at Healthy Latin Food as I continue to share personal stories and favorite recipes with plenty of sabor. And please do come check out SheKnows’ Food & Recipes channel. There’s some exciting stuff to come.

Besos,
Irina

The Start of Healthy Latin Food

IrinaGonzalez_HealthyLatinFood_CubanSandwichAnyone that knows me is pretty well aware that I love to eat, and I love to cook. But what a lot of people don’t know about me is that, just over four years ago, I was morbidly obese.

Weighing in at 230 pounds on a 5’2″ frame, I was never happy with my body and constantly going on one failed diet after another. Although I had a lot of success with Weight Watchers in college, ultimately I made the difficult decision to undergo a gastric bypass on January 13, 2009.

I still remember waking up from the operation, and hating everything. My stomach hurt and I immediately regretted the decision. But that was then. A few days later, I recovered and began the arduous journey of losing weight once and for all. And it was a long weight loss journey, too, which eventually led me to a completely new lifestyle.

IrinaGonzalez_HealthyLatinFood_RoastedChickenAfter a lifetime of picky eating, I forced myself to try new vegetables, started cooking healthier, sharing my desserts and trying to exercise. The working out still isn’t going too well, but my eating habits are wildly different. I started learning about different ways of eating, completed a health coaching degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and have really grown to love my new healthy habits. I still laugh remembering how much I claimed to hate broccoli five years ago, and how much I love it now. I even love to cook healthy for my friends and family (like last year’s Christmas chicken roast).

When I first started cooking healthier, my absolute favorite thing to do was learn how to make a childhood favorite in a healthy way. And since I grew up in a Cuban-Russian-American household, many of the dishes I made included brown rice with black beans, homemade chimichurri sauce and, most recently, baked sweet plantains.

IrinaGonzalez_HealthyLatinFood_CuttingParsleyFor a while, I was sharing my recipes on a now-defunct blog before I had to give it up because life, and work, got too busy. Now I find that I’m missing writing about my adventures in (and out of) the kitchen, so here I am again–at Healthy Latin Food.

To be honest, I have a couple of pounds to lose, too. At my smallest, I was 120. These days I’m a little closer to 140 and, while I think I still look great, I’m not exactly thrilled with the number. Now I am using this (new) blog to propel me to lose a little weight, maybe start exercising and definitely to share my favorite healthy recipes. And, as you can probably guess from the title, it’s all about doing it with a delicious Latin twist.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of cooking, weight loss and learning how to keep the weight off, it’s that good-for-you food can definitely taste good. It’s about fresh ingredients, unprocessed foods and, most of all, a great spice rack. I hope you’ll join me on this journey, cook some of my recipes and share food with plenty of sabor!

What is your favorite Latin recipe that you want to see made healthier?

Want more Healthy Latin Food? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive e-mail updates. And if you have any questions about cooking healthy or weight loss, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!

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