Ashley – Growth Happens in Community

Hello! I’m delighted to be participating in this year’s Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge. One of my favorite quotes lately is “Growth happens in community.” I have found that to be true time and time again – from strength training to Bible study to professional development, having a small group of dedicated, supportive folks to learn from and cheer on makes a world of difference in pursuing a goal.

My goal is better eating habits – specifically, eating more vegetables and fruits – and it’s a goal that has new urgency because of a rather significant life change coming up for our household. We’re expecting twins to arrive in December. Talk about news that makes you reevaluate how prepared you are physically, mentally and emotionally for a serious adventure! And produce helps with it all. I know this because I actually participated in a less public way in this challenge in 2020. It was one of several ways I invested in my health, and the quality-of-life gains I made were nothing short of transformative. 

Given that I’m expecting, weight loss is not my goal this time around as much as establishing healthy habits. Our group leaders Megan Jacobsen and Beth Keeton have done an awesome job leading the conversation and giving us all a healthy focus each week: eating a fruit or vegetable with every meal, making produce half of each plate, drinking enough water, getting in movement, etc. These are the little changes that add up to an intentional lifestyle. It’s not about restrictions but rather about prioritizing the highest-quality fuel for your body so you can run whatever race is next to the best of your ability.

I’ve said before that the produce industry has changed my life personally as well as professionally, and I expect it will be the same in this newest chapter. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

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