When you hear stories of Ukrainians babas, you probably get a vision of babushkas and pleasantly plump grey haired women, spooning more varenyky (perogies) and holubtsi (cabbage rolls) onto your plate with a generous dollop of sour cream.
My grandmother, Ukrainian though she might be, with her love of the foods from her youth and her penchant for donning the occasional babushka, can be described nothing but svelte.
Now I’m not talking about the fragile thinness that many other women her age have. No, my grandmother had always maintained a trim, healthy figure. Of course, at 91, sometimes “health” is a relative term, but considering she had open heart surgery 19 years ago, she is doing remarkably well. And I attribute it to what she eats.
And my goodness, that woman can eat!
I spent a school year living in their basement, so while I was accustomed to the massive spread associated with the gluttony of the holiday seasons, I also got to see what the day-to-day meal looked like in her house. While maybe not as decadent as holidays, plates were no less full.
And a heaping bowl of salad.
We struggle in my house to eat one vegetable serving at every supper, but you know that my grandma knocks out a good 3 servings in just one meal. And come to think of it, every breakfast at her house started with fruit before anything else, as well.
I imagine even now, as she and my grandfather get most of their suppers delivered to their house, she will likely still make at least one vegetable dish to round out the meal.
Keeping my New Years resolution to make half my plate fruits or vegetables hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it means chomping on carrots as I make my grilled cheese. Sometimes it means picking through the dishevelled grapes my daughter rejected when our produce drawers are empty. Sometimes it means rallying the motivation to make a salad when it would be easier to say “but there’s tomato sauce on the pizza”. But every time it’s than much easier to just remind myself to eat like my grandmother.