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Mandy Banh: What the Babysitters Club Taught me About Health

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on December 4, 2015

Mandy Banh is the healthiest pocket rocket around. She tells me all about how she became fascinated with healthy eating, and how she has found a harmonious balance by leading a clean lifestyle, together with her hamburger and chips loving boyfriend Ethan.

“I used to read the Babysitters Club a lot and I loved Dawn,” she giggles.

“She was the health freak. I loved that she was healthy and would not eat pizza. People gave her a hard time but she was cool with that and didn’t care, so I just really wanted to be like her.”

So at the school canteen instead of ordering hot dogs and lasagne, Mandy went for the salad sandwich and bottle of water, beginning her journey into health.

Her healthy eating intensified when her dad was diagnosed with diabetes. And then when she was hospitalised because of gluten intolerance, she felt like she had no choice but to eat well.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Her affection for healthy eating isn’t something that she is forced into, but rather a form of self-love.

“Because I have eaten so healthily for most of my life I don’t really crave unhealthy food,” Mandy explains.

“When I crave a sweet I’ll eat fruit. I don’t eat sugary chocolates or cakes, I’ll have a healthy raw cake instead.”

But she does have one weakness, and that is her boyfriend Ethan. Mandy explains that he had a very different upbringing to her, and loves tucking into hot chips, burgers and all things not so green.

“Since we started dating I have definitely become more flexible in relation to my eating habits. I’ll eat ‘his food’ sometimes as he has to always put up with the fact that I am gluten intolerant, which means that there are heaps of places that he can’t eat at.”

But it’s not all burgers and fries for Ethan. More recently, he has begun sipping away at green drinks.

“He is actually having stuff with spinach in it!”

Mandy explains that most people don’t eat healthily because they think it doesn’t taste good, so her tactic has been is to force, and she means force, Ethan to try certain things that he would usually say no to but knows he will enjoy.

If Mandy does tuck into something a little bit naughty, her philosophy is to balance it out by having something healthier with it.

“My personal food motto is first do no harm and if you can’t do that then at least lessen it,” she says. “If I am eating something unhealthy I will look at ways to make it better for me. So I would pair a high GI food with a lower GI food, or with protein, good fats or spices.”

Her “don’t be good but don’t be bad” approach has really helped Mandy ease up on herself by making her a lot more flexible when it comes to eating.

And for anyone wanting to start on their own healthy eating journey, Mandy’s advice is to not to change everything all at one or too quickly. “If you do you will give up and think that you have failed. I think it’s really important to change things gradually until it becomes second nature, until it is just the way you live.”

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