New York, NY
When Rudy was just 15, his grandma died in his arms of a heart attack. This was a life-changing moment for him that continues to motivate him to this day. Growing up in the Washington Heights area of NYC as the son of immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, life wasn’t always easy for Rudy. Health issues and how to minimize the risk of them has always been on his mind. Rudy understands that his family history puts him at an increased risk of heart disease.
As a kid, he tried to stay involved with basketball and other sports, but there wasn’t always easy access to be able to do things like that. Although he’s had some setbacks with injuries, he still remains active by working out at the gym and is trying to get into swimming, which is a lower impact way of getting good cardio exercise.
More than that, Rudy has a passion for cooking and tries to reinvent foods that aren’t thought to be healthy into healthy, well-balanced meals. For example, when he was a kid, he recalls eating some meals where pasta, rice, and bread were all on the table at the same time. This high-carb diet is something he knows isn’t good. He points out that
healthy and delicious don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Rudy’s healthy chef tips:
- If you want pasta, instead of regular noodles, spiralize cucumber or squash for the noodles so you get a large portion of vegetables instead of carbs.
- If you’re craving rice, coarsely blend cauliflower to make cauliflower rice that you can use just as you would it’s high-carb cousin.
- Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable and can be turned into a lot of different foods: rice, pasta dishes, and even tortillas!
Aside from making these healthy lifestyle changes for himself, Rudy is trying to help his family along as well, especially his mom. He has introduced her to these healthier food options. He points out that Domincan food is typically very high in carbs, which his mom is accustomed to eating. However, he’s shown her – and the rest of his family – that there are healthy options out there that still satisfy those cravings. He also tries to make staying active a family activity by going on walks together and encouraging everyone to keep moving.
Rudy sums it up like this:
“I don’t want to be just a statistic.”
For all those trying to make healthy changes, here’s what he says: “It’s never too late to start a healthy lifestyle. Don’t be judgmental or punitive with yourself and your family.” By making those changes, “your family will follow you.”
When it comes to finding motivation, Rudy says to find what he calls the “real personal trainers,” or your friends, family, and peers out there to motivate each other. He doesn’t think people should feel ashamed or shy because they have health issues already like being overweight, having diabetes, or having high blood pressure. He says, “If you need help, just ask!”
Well, we agree, Rudy! Sometimes the best help is sitting right next to you. Your story, insight, and inspiring philosophy have earned you the prestigious title of being Heartbeat Elite! Congratulations, Rudy!
Do you have what it takes to be Heartbeat Elite? Claim your title here.