monika andrea

food + fitness + life

this is my story…

Like many girls, I struggle with my body image… However, my obsession with looking “perfect” led me to compete in a NPC Bodybuilding competition. I thought that by competing I would finally be content with what I saw in the mirror. However, that wasn’t exaaaactly what happened… Competing actually worsened my relationship with food, destroyed my confidence, and weakened my friendships. When on “show prep,” your life revolves around what you look like in the mirror, and it takes a toll on your health, both mentally and physically.  By the day of my show, I had lost a total of 27 pounds and weighed 106 lb; I placed somewhere around 7th out of 22 girls in my division and like 9th overall.

After the show was over I thought I’d be able to enjoy eating and exercising at my leisure, but instead I was completely turned off from they gym and anxious about  everything I ate. I didn’t want to lose all of my progress from the previous 16 weeks, but I didn’t want to keep eating 4oz of lean ground beef and 3oz of sweet potato every day, five times a day. At the time, anything that wasn’t – chicken, rice, and broccoli was unhealthy.

It took about a year before I was able to indulge and really enjoy working out again. I had to take a complete break from the gym, and had to revaluate the  lifestyle I wanted for myself. Looking back I can’t say that my competition experience was all bad, I learned a lot about myself. I know that I have the discipline and drive to do really hard things, and even though I didn’t win… I walked away with some valuable life lessons.

The past two years have required me to deconstruct and re-brand my idea of a healthy lifestyle. I’ve finally found a healthy balance of killin’ it in the gym (and in the kitchen) and being happy with how I look.

I have always loved to cook, so I spent a lot of time in the kitchen learning to make meals that were flavorful and nutrient dense.  Aside from my love for food and cooking, I have a degree in Biochemistry, which allows me to appreciate that cooking is not only an art form but also as a science. Cooking is governed by the laws of chemistry and physics!

My family is extremely diverse, so I have come to appreciate that food is something that everyone can bond over and enjoy together.  I am a serial home cook, and spending time in the kitchen has become my therapy.

Food is engaging, scientific, creative, thoughtful, purposeful, and nostalgic.

I’m not a chef, dietician, or a health genius; but I love healthy food and I strongly believe in the benefits of eating unprocessed, real food. Hippocrates said it best… “Food Is Medicine”

 A Different Bite is a place where I can share what I’ve learned, and what I love.

If you’ve tried something on the site, I’d love to hear from you!