I had the pleasure of writing a piece for Whole Foods Market Magazine’s 2014 Spring Issue on a young mother and her children as they roll into a healthier lifestyle.
The simple joy of riding bikes together can carry families along the path to well-being. Only a couple years ago, the 30-year-old host of Wake Up With Tayla Andre on Boston’s Big City 101.3 FM realized she was overweight and her kids were too sedentary. She decided to get more active and eat more healthfully. Now Andre, 10-year-old son Anari, and 8-year-old daughter Asariah take every chance they have to pedal around their home in Roxbury.
“Biking lets us experience our neighborhood in a diferent way,” Andre says. “The kids also learn how to navigate and be safe on the road.”
Andre was eating fresh-picked strawberries at her great-grandfather’s farm in Duxbury, Massachusetts, when the way to revitalize herself became clear. “The strawberries — fresh, organic strawberries — tasted like my childhood and freedom,” the bubbly Andre says. Those berries inspired Andre to start serving more healthful food to her city-raised children. “I didn’t want to keep feeding them so much processed food.”
Andre knew she faced obstacles. The kids were attached to sugary breakfast cereals, macaroni and cheese, and pizza, Anari’s favorite. Andre worked to create healthier versions of the meals they loved and waited patiently for the kids to accept the changes. “It’s not something that just happens in 30 days,” she says. “We all took time getting used to eating less sugar and sodium and more whole grains.”
Riding bikes as a family has made the transition more fun. When New England’s weather keeps them inside, they stay active playing Wii games of tennis, golf, and baseball. “We all play — and it’s competitive,” Andre says with a big smile.
The change to a healthier lifestyle has been a big win for the whole family. Tayla Andre has noticed an improvement in the kids’ energy levels and sleep patterns, and in her own energy and weight. The kids notice the difference too. “I feel taller!” proclaims Anari. “When I eat healthy food, I am calm, but when I eat fast food, I get more hyper,” says Asariah.
“A lifestyle change like this doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s still something we’re in the process of working on,” Andre acknowledges. “This is a marathon, but I’m certain that the benefits will last a lifetime for my kids.”