EAT. PLAY. BREATHE Champions

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Meet Miguel!

I recommend to others that changing your lifestyle is not just a new diet, it’s changing what you eat and closely watching your nutrition”. – Miguel

miguel

“My name is Miguel Esquivel, I’m originally from Mexico City and I now live in Anaheim.  I decided to change my life 18 months ago to improve my health.  I was diabetic and my blood pressure was high.  My cholesterol was also high.  After 18 months of watching what I eat, I lost 45 lbs. I feel better. I sleep better.

 I recommend to others that changing your lifestyle is not just a new diet, it’s changing what you eat and closely watching your nutrition.   It’s also a long-term process and not something that happens in one month.  It’s also important to put a time limit and say I’ll go on a diet for 3 months, because once those three months are over, your body will want to go back to old eating habits.

I eat out a lot less, and now cook at home.  I try to make everything fresh. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.  For meats, I eat chicken and fish.  I try really hard not to eat greasy foods.  My number one weakness is bread, so I don’t buy a lot of it, or else I’ll eat it all.  I may buy one piece of bread once a week.  I do take one or two days of the week to buy something that I like, but I try to limit the portion, especially if it’s a typical Mexican dish that may have a lot of calories and may be higher in fat. For example, instead of five tamales, I now eat 1 or 2. Or if I buy a hamburger, I eat only half and I don’t put any cheese or mayo on it. I also don’t drink any soda at all.

My co-workers have noticed that I’ve changed my lifestyle and they ask me for advice on how to lose weight. I tell them that there’s planning that they need to do on how they shop and also that it takes time to prepare the food.

One of the great things about the Internet is that you have access to healthy recipes and cooking tips to help you cook. I think that you just need to take time to research what types of foods are healthy, and how to prepare dishes that you and your family will like” (Miguel Esquivel, Anaheim resident).

Meet Tan!

My mom died prematurely from diabetes and my dad has high blood pressure. I’ve dedicated my life to keeping my family healthy.” – Tan

tan

I’m originally from South Vietnam, came to Southern California in 1975 and have lived in Orange County since 1980. My family currently resides in Garden Grove and I’m an IT manager for a small retail firm.

I have been married for 18 years and have two children, a girl who’s15 years and a boy who’s 13 years old.

My eating habits are now vegetarian and I lean towards vegan. I try to eat as much fruit as I possibly can and also vegetables.  Sometimes it’s challenging to keep my dietary needs since my family eats more processed and junk foods.

In the Vietnamese community, chronic diseases include: high blood pressure and diabetes. My father and two of my sisters have high blood pressure.  My mom had diabetes and died fairly young from a heart attack.  After she passed away, I made a dramatic change in my life.  I’ve been very focused on eating healthy and exercising.  Now that I have children, I’m also focused on having my children stay active and develop healthy eating habits.

One of the biggest challenges for me is finding time to eat a balanced meal. Because of heavy work schedules, I believe that many in my community opt to eat fast food or not eat at all and skip lunch.  I believe that we all need to reassess what’s important for us.

For me, exercise is 50% of the equation for staying healthy. I bike regularly – 5 to 6 times a week.  I also go running with my daughter and take my kids swimming as often as we can.  When I have time, I also do cardio, sit-ups, push-ups.

We live in such a beautiful area that my family enjoys doing outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, going to the beach and parks. I also take my kids to as many outdoor events and museums as possible.  My daughter runs cross country, plays tennis, and runs track for her high school.  My son is more into his computer and video games and I have a daily battle to keep him active.

When I was teenager, I smoked to fit in and I see that smoking is still prevalent – especially among the older Vietnamese. As I got older and had children, I changed my lifestyle and decided to live by example to model healthy habits.

One of the things that I really look forward to is being a grandfather and I want to stay healthy so that I can enjoy my grand kids and be able to play with them. For me, there’s nothing more pleasurable than holding a little baby.

Meet Ana Maria!

My mom has diabetes and I am focusing on helping my family to eat healthy and exercise”. – Ana Maria

ana maria

My name is Ana Maria Camacho and I’m originally from Veracruz, Mexico. I have been living in Orange County for 17 years and work in a dental office.

My family has a history of high blood pressure and my mom struggles with diabetes.   For this reason, I’m very determined to stay active and eat healthy.   I encourage my son (age 13) and daughter (age 11) to do 30 minutes of outdoor play each day.  On weekends, my husband and I take our family to the beach, park or hiking.  We always try to plan fun activities so that our children enjoy exercising.  My son is very active with the Boy Scouts and it provides a variety of physical and outdoor activity.

Maintaining a healthy diet for my family sometimes can be a challenge. I try to make sure that vegetables are always served and that the meals I prepare are colorful.  Even plain cereal can be enhanced with fruits and nuts.

My husband and I shop at a variety of stores, including Northgate. When we go shopping we stay away from the middle aisles with processed foods and focus on buying everything fresh.  Every Friday, each family makes recommendations for meals and we prepare a grocery list for the weekend. Sometimes we may buy a special treat, like“Chicharones” but moderation is always a priority.

I have many friends who’ve tried “30 day Diets” that you see on TV. I tell them that they have a negative impact on your body and could alter and de-stabilize a person’s health system. You are what you eat, and quick diets based on protein shakes may help you lose a 5 to 10 pounds in the short-term, but in the long-term you’ll regain the weight.

My family also uses websites such as “MyHealthOC” to find new recipes and new places to do outdoor activities. Back when I was young, only the recipes passed down from my grandmother and great-grandmother were used. Now, with the Internet, we have access to hundreds of healthy recipes and cooking tips.

Our main focus is to encourage our children to form healthy eating and exercise habits when they’re young. I also share with them our family’s history regarding chronic disease and how it’s very important to take care of your health.