Hi, I’m Gina. Here’s the short version of me:

I like food. A lot.

I’ve got a 6 year old weimaraner, Ginger who is the coolest dog on the planet. Don’t bother contesting it.

Don’t want kids, never have. Sorry, mom.

Grew up a sports junkie, stopped playing sports & gained weight in college, got my act together in my late 20s, started to eat healthy, run and guess what? Lost the weight.

Now, I’m a CrossFit junkie who runs occasionally.

I live for a rare steak and a dark, chewy glass of red.

If I could hop on a plane to anywhere tomorrow it’d be Machu Picchu, Peru.

If you don’t “do” sarcasm, we can’t be friends.

Still want to know more? Well, you’re kinda nosy, but ok. Here’s the long version:

I’m Gina. I’m 32 and live in the suburbs of New York City with my husband, Ulysses and our 6-year-old Weimaraner, Ginger. I started this site in May 2011 after realizing I was spending way too much time reading about other people’s lives through food & fitness blogs and finally getting the motivation to start my own.

I grew up as a “foodie” (but I totally hate that word). My love for food goes all the way back to my childhood. I was the kid that never turned down anything edible. In fact, I can’t actually think of a food I don’t like, except maybe papaya. It smells & tastes like feet to me.  Anyone? I had a very active life through high school, playing soccer since I was 4. Soccer consumed all my free time.  Through school, club, and select teams I was constantly playing and keeping active. I didn’t think twice about what I ate because I was burning it all off on the field back then.

After I stopped playing soccer in college, of course that incredibly high metabolism stopped as well. For the next 10 years through college and the start of my professional life, my eating and exercise habits varied. From low carb diets after the “sophomore 10″ (which was really more like 20), to intense tennis matches with coworkers & friends, to a brief stint with running when we lived in Florida, and then even starting to play soccer again in a local league. Nothing exercise wise was consistent though, and I was still eating like I had been in high school. Needless to say, I ended up about 20 pounds heavier than my 5’7 frame should’ve been in the summer of 2009.  Our family beach trip that summer was my turning point. I remember feeling completely uncomfortable in my bathing suit, clothes, and pictures that entire trip. I started asking my sister in law (a registered dietician) tons of questions about weight loss that week. I was at the point that I wanted to do something and this time make it stick. She introduced me to calorie counting and I literally started on our last day of vacation. From that point I spent the next 3 months learning all the ins and outs of calorie counting, from the calorie stats of all different kinds of foods to the appropriate range for my body. I lost 10 pounds pretty easily doing just that and then I got stuck.

I was eating right (or so I thought at the time), and walking a lot, but I had hit a “plateau”. My sister in law suggested more exercise but I wasn’t ready to admit that’s what I needed to do. That’s when I discovered the rabbit hole of healthy living blogs and literally spent the next few weeks glued to the computer reading as many as I could find, emerging myself in other people’s lives who had similar stories. These were real people, eating real food, loving exercise and loving their lives. Something about these blogs opened my eyes and my lifestyle began to change.

First, I was inspired to run! Then, slowly I began the process of completely restocking our pantry and fridge. I started buying foods like quinoa (and proceeded to pronounce it like ‘kin-o-a’ for about 3 months), chia seeds and millet, swapping out most of our “white” foods for their healthier alternatives. Thankfully, I have a husband that will eat whatever I put in front of him so I had no opposition at home and a relatively supportive family, even if they thought I was nuts at first. I went from a statistical “calorie in, calorie out” sort of mentality to an intuitive approach of eating whole, real foods. It wasn’t overnight by any means, but through the combination of eating real foods and embracing exercise through running, I slowly saw those last 10 pounds come off.

From there, it has been an amazingly positive cycle. Running enabled me to re-identify myself as an athlete and eating real foods allowed me the body and health to continuously improve in my running accomplishments. My appreciation of food has been heightened and I literally get excited by the prospect of finding amazingly fresh produce or creating a new meal.  Running to the Kitchen is my space to share that excitement with you and hopefully make healthy food approachable & fun.