about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.



My Healthy Journey

Hello friends!  My name is Emily.  I am a vegetarian chef who graduated from culinary school in May 2010, and in the past three years I have run five full marathons.  But food and fitness haven’t always been my passion.  In fact it was quite the opposite – they weren’t even on my radar.  For the first half of my adult life, my health and well-being were pretty much totally off my radar.

My journey to being unhealthy is fairly predictable.  Growing up, I probably had it better than most kids my age – my entire family sat down together to a home cooked meal each and every night.  There was always something green on every plate, and fast food was an indulgence saved only for long road trips.  I didn’t really know why we ate the way we ate – most of the time I was just happy to eat what was in front of me.  Even though I ate well and felt good, I had no actual understanding of nutrition or personal health. I went off to college at a normal size and weight, but with very limited understanding of health and nutrition, and what sort of choices I should be making now that I was on my own. 

In college I dragged through life on a cycle of very little sleep, way too much partying, and late night fast food.  My main forms of activity came from walking to and from class during the week, and dancing in the bars on weekends.  After four years of fun, I packed up my car on graduation day, and headed home with 30 extra pounds on my frame.

But the post-college years were still not my turning point.  I landed in a desk job that kept me seated most of the day, and I lived off of Diet Coke, snack packs, and processed food.  The problem was not that I was overweight; in fact my weight may have still been in a normal range.  The problem was that I was unhealthy.  I didn’t sleep enough.  I wasn’t getting necessary vitamins and minerals.  I didn’t feel alive.

The year 2005 brought a new boyfriend and a new burst of excitement into my days.  For the first time in a long time, I wanted to feel good about myself again.  I was tired of wearing extra layers to hide what was underneath, and I was ready to finally do something about extra weight I was carrying around.

It all started by simply going for a walk. Each day, I would walk.  And some days I would walk a little more.  But while I started to feel stronger and happier through walking, it was also eating up huge chunks of my time.  In an attempt to be more efficient with my time and exercise, one day I decided to run.  I will be the first to tell you, I am NOT a natural runner.  My gait was awkward, I felt uncomfortable, my clothes were all wrong, and I worried that passing drivers were laughing at me.  But the next day, I ran again, and that time I made it a little further.  With no fitness experience, and no sense of direction, I knew that in order to be successful I needed a goal.  I printed off the Couch to the 5K program, hung it by my door, and signed up for my local Race for the Cure.  In September 2006, I ran my first 5K, and was forever bitten by the running bug.  You can read more about my personal running journey here.  Running gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment that up to that point was a totally foreign feeling.

As running became a part of my daily and weekly life, I started to feel and look healthy for the first time since high school.  But while running was beginning to lift me up, my overly-processed diet full of junk was still weighing me down.  I realized that in order to be a fit person and a successful runner, I needed to start considering what I was putting on my plate.  I began to browse health food and nutrition sites like Calorie King, Spark People, and Cooking Light.  At the time that I began to learn about health food, my idea of cooking was opening boxes and pushing start on the microwave.

Reading health websites helped me gain an understanding of calories, fats, daily needs, and metabolism, and finally I understood what it really meant to be healthy.  Lethargic evenings on the couch were replaced by workouts at the gym, running in the sunshine, and playing in my kitchen.  For so long I felt like my life had been on cruise control, and suddenly I had regained my spark.

The next three years brought true meaning to the word transformation.  I started lifting weights and gained muscle definition.  I trained for and ran a marathon.  And then I ran another, and another.  I fell in love with cooking, and finding out where my food comes from.  I gave up meat and fish, and became a vegetarian.  I made a tough decision, and gave up drinking.  I felt amazing.  I had finally found myself.  I married the boyfriend who pushed me out the door for that very first walk, and he eventually pushed me to take the greatest leap of all…

At age 28, I quit my desk job and moved across the country to go to culinary school.  Just a few years ago, I had no understanding of food or ingredients, and now I have a Culinary Arts degree from one of the top schools in the country.  I am living proof that chasing a dream is worth any risk.

Today I create healthy, vegetarian meals and write about running and cooking here at Daily Garnish.  I try to show my readers that with the right motivation, anyone can be a runner, and cook delicious food.  My mission – to make people realize that healthy food is delicious – is something that I work towards one recipe at a time. I started my journey without any specific objective in mind – other than the fact that I knew I needed a change.  Several years ago, I couldn’t run down the block, and now I am training for marathons.  But more important than how far I can run or how well I can cook, is how amazing I feel inside.  It took losing weight, gaining muscle, and a new career for me to realize that as significant as my physical transformation has been, my true journey to health has come from within.


36 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Lindsey     at 12:41 pm

I completely understand your “cruise control” comment. I have felt for a long time that I’m not really LIVING my life, it’s just passing me right on by. So last year I run/walked a half marathon. This year I’m planning to take it slower and try to run a 5k and progress from there to fully running a half. While I haven’t made the transition to vegetarianism, I still am inspired by your recipes and incorporate them into my family’s newly-healthy diet. And I’m inspired by your healthy journey so much because for so long I’ve been reading “Healthy Living” blogs and could not find anyone that I felt had been where I’ve been, but you have. Putting on weight in college and going to a desk job immediately after, living life on cruise control and even giving up drinking. I relate to you so much and that has motivated me in my own healthy goals. Keep doing what you’re doing because I know I’m not the only one inspired by you. And Neuroscience? WOW! :)

[Reply]

Karen     at 11:42 pm

Emily…thanks for sharing this journey with me. It is very inspiring. I have been working on my health and working out and going back to school at night. I now have two new masters degrees and putting out those resumes is scary. My husband was recently laid off again and I have just had several surgeries. I go back to work next Wednesday. I have only five weeks left and then I can resume going to the gym again. This time off has given me the time to reflect and to go back to my kitchen. This time around I’m focusing even more on vegetarian fare. I learned in nutrition class in the 70s about complete proteins. Reading up on this through the nomeat athlete blog, I discovered that this is no longer the latest and am told that the body will use the variety of amino acids from different meals. I’m curious what your current training from culinary school teaches you. In any case, I’m using a lot of my kitchen equipment more regularly, including my rice cooker. I love your recipes and will be trying more of them. :) Karen

[Reply]

Jenny     at 12:00 pm

You truly are an inspiration! I love reading about your journey, thank you for sharing!

[Reply]

Amanda     at 6:00 pm

Thank you SO much for sharing your story, Emily! I love reading your blog. I am on my own journey or marathon training, trying to pay more attention to what i put in my body, and just an overall desire to live a live of wellness. Thank you for being an inspiration!

[Reply]

Maral     at 6:25 am

you are motivation in its fullest definition. I am going through the same transition and readying about your story, was very helpful. thanks for sharing.

[Reply]

Jenny     at 4:58 pm

So happy to reread this. I think I read it a while back when I first found your blog. My first 5K a few weeks ago was hilarious. I have video of my last 30 seconds or so…arms flailing from side to side just just trying to make it to the end. Your story definitely helps motivate those of us who are awkward and not the most athletically inclined. :)

[Reply]

Mary Legare Whaley     at 9:43 pm

I just found your blog when I was looking up peanut flour…I found this amazing low-fat peanut butter (called “Better ‘N Peanut Butter”) it is SO good but it’s pricey, so I discovered peanut powder which somehow lead me here. Your story is great. I’ve never had a weight problem myself because I’ve always been very self-aware of changes in my body, and I’ve always exercised to maintain my weight (visit my blog if you need a good laugh!). But reading a story like yours makes me smile, because I know how happy you are. And I died laughing when you referenced your college “workouts”…walking to class and dancing at bars…sounds like my friends who HATED the fact that I ran almost every day!…(before joining them at the bar) Keep it all up! You are an awesome inspiration!

[Reply]

Morgan     at 10:00 am

Emily you really are an inspiration to live more healthy and happy. I’ve been a vegetarian, almost vegan now, for 5 months now. With this new lifestyle came a new love for cooking. I am addicted to finding receipes online right now and I frequent your blog for that :) I just ran my first 5k last month (was not a runner before I started the couch to 5k in May). Now that I am back in school, I have been trying to find motivation to make time for running. Your blog has brought me that motivation. There is an 8k coming up in my hometown in October, so that is my next goal. Thank you for sharing your story for us in need to read!

[Reply]

Katie     at 5:55 pm

I absolutely love your outlook on food and on life: health and happiness are very important to me and i believe to find balance, you need both. I know that I feel much better and much more energetic when I hit the gym sporting healthy and nutritious food in my body. I look forward to seeing your recipes and will probably (most definitely) be making them soon. Feel free to check out my journey to health at http://www.ohshineon.com

all the best,

Katie from http://www.ohshineon.com

[Reply]

Danielle     at 4:16 pm

Congradulations on finding your healthy balance. I too would eat a homemade meal with my family everynight with vegetables but did not know about nutrition and health. When I began to learn I gave up meat and read every book I could get my hands on over healthy eating. I am training for my first half marathon.

I can’t wait to try your recipes!

[Reply]

Sarah     at 6:29 am

This is my first time visiting your blog, and I’m so glad I was able to read this. It’s truly inspiring and just what I needed. Thank you so much :)

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Janna     at 9:28 am

I have a similar fitness/health journey, so I’m happy to read along! Very inspirational :)

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