It all started a little over a year ago: the barbecue obsession. I remember the exact moment when Chad decided to add brisket and smoked meats to our newbie culinary vocabulary. I come from a baking, stove top, and oven basting background. Smoking meats was never apart of that. Whether that’s feminist or fare, it is what is it, and I was about to enter a whole new world of food and flavor. Doing what he does, Chad set out to smoke brisket for 40+ people (never smoking meats before) during the big Fourth of July farmhouse party, and managed to wow just about everyone who could get their hands on that brisket.

We come from a small city in Ohio, one that has more pizza and Italian joints than some towns in Italy. Barbecue? Not so much. We’re literally no where even close to the Carolina’s, Memphis, Texas, or any other southern bbq state for that matter! But I’ll tell you, this guy has brought a new kind of barbecue to a small OH town, and I don’t think I can ever go back. During our trip to Nashville, we had some pretty incredible Memphis Style BBQ, but I would still choose our fresh, homemade pulled pork over any Nashville dish any day.

In case you were worried that this was a one time thing, let me assure you that his interest has only grown fonder and he is now the proud owner of an Oklahoma Joe Smoker, homemade sauce and rub expert, and has smoked just about every cut of meat desirable. Over this past weekend, we decided to go up to the farmhouse for a little Sunday Sunday and I could help but think about how I have never shared this side of us to all of you. Yes, I am a health and wellness blogger and yes, generally BBQ isn’t considered the “healthiest” of options. But it is apart of my “diet” or nutrition because it is a part of our lives.

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Drool worthy? I think yes

My favorite part about barbecuing is getting to make all of the sauces and rubs. I have never experienced seasonings and spices like I have over the last few months. I was always so interested in spices and could never understand how famous chefs would pick and choose from the array of options. I didn’t know which spice tasted like what, which to pair, or even why you needed them in the first place. Barbecuing showed me a different style of cooking; it taught me how to work with spices and flavors from earth-grown ingredients instead of store-bought and packaged sauces. I now use these principles for both daily meals, and how I choose the foods that I eat.

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Ha! I knew I could play in a “healthy” aspect somehow. Only kidding, this is a healthy aspect of my life. A matter of fact, it just might be one of the healthiest. There is truly nothing better than being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by family and friends, just enjoying nothing other than each others company and some darn good food. It gives you the chance to completely disconnect, think, feel, move, and eat without explanation. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this website and this blog more than anything, and I couldn’t wait to sit down today and write to all of you. What makes it that much better, is that it is not instant. I didn’t post a picture as soon as the perfectly smoked ribs were ready, and I didn’t capture intimate conversations to post on my story. Instead, I was able to just live in that moment, take my pictures, and plan a little chat with all of you.

That’s how I keep my mental health as strong as my physical; I listen to my body, my wants, needs, and I have learned to say no. However, I didn’t say no to dessert and HOLY CAKE am I glad I didn’t! Another mental health check: I don’t restrict myself from anything. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know how much I love the “Hanna Diet.” And if you’re new here, I’m Hanna and I listen to my body, eat very healthy 6 out of 7 days a week, and am happy every step of the way. I ate ribs, a burger patty, BACON macaroni and cheese, tomato basil salad, fresh corn on the cob, and homemade Twinkie cake for dessert. Again, I am just Hanna and this is The Healthiest Me.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and an even better start to your week! I truly hope you can take my barbecue venture and interpret into your own life. If I’ve learned anything at all about gaining weight, losing weight, and building a healthy relationship with food, it’s that short term choices (such as enjoying yourself on a Saturday night) isn’t what makes and breaks you. I’ve learned to always try new foods, never miss out on social events, and definitely say yes to dessert. Believe me, I am here to tell the tale.

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