Following up on The Passion Project with Frankie and her friend Gabby
Passion Project follow up
Back in March, I wrote an article about two 7th grade girls from Bayshore Middle School who reached out to interview me for a classroom project their language arts teacher, Donna M. Berg assigned them. The Passion Project, as it was called, was to get students thinking about topics that they can get excited and enthused about and then explore it more.
Frankie Stavola and her friend Gabby DiMiceli chose to combine their curiosity about healthy eating and their desire to try new forms of exercise as their Passion Project after viewing the documentary “Cowspiracy” directed by Kip Andersen, which addresses the effects of the cattle industry on the environment. The girls went vegetarian the entire month of March and integrated new exercise regiments such as yoga, Pilates and spinning into their routine about 3 times a week. Before the experiment, the girls were already pretty active and eat healthily. Frankie does trampoline at Elite Trampoline Academy while Gabby dances at Dance Factory USA.
I, myself, was sincerely curious about the outcome of their experiment, as were many readers who wrote in to commend the young girls’ maturity and interest in improving the environment. So, I checked back in with both girls and their experience with their Passion Project.
According to Frankie, while on the vegetarian diet and introducing new workouts to her routine such as yoga, she realized that her energy level had increased drastically, but she also found herself eating a lot more food because she was still hungry on most days.
Frankie’s experience eating out seemed to be the hardest part of the project since “there is limited vegetarian food options in certain places, but other than that it was pretty easy.” She really enjoyed eating vegetarian at “Kitch” in Red Bank. She was very open to trying new foods she had never tried before such as tofu and protein bars -and found she ended up really liking them. “I enjoyed finding other sources of protein even though it was a challenge since I was used to getting protein from meats,” said Frankie.
Being vegetarian seemed to be the easy part, however incorporating another form of exercise in addition to the activities they were already doing, seemed to be the most challenging part. “It was hard to find time to do the workouts since the days that we chose to do our workouts were also days where I had other things to do so it was harder to get to the gym or to each other's houses, and get the full workout in,” said Gabby.
That being said, the girls indicated they will continue to exercise since they found it fun. I asked the girls what they learned from the Passion Project and they said that they learned a lot about new foods and how to alter their diets to make them healthier, but they will not continue to be strictly vegetarian.
Frankie summed it up best by saying, “It was interesting to see how a food and workout choice could affect the way that we lived our lives. I learned that I can be healthier than I thought I could.”
As adults, we are so set in our ways – we typically take the same route to work each day, count calories eating the same food we believe to be healthy and are usually hesitant to experiment and try something new. It was refreshing back in March to meet Frankie and Gabby, but it is also a great lesson to learn from them that we can always makes the shift to make a difference and try something new. It’s what living is all about.