5 Healthy Towns Foundation

Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

Here’s the thing… it’s another study.  This one says sugar will kill you & they studied a lot of people eating a lot of sugar who are having health problems that are killing them.

But maybe it’s not just the sugar.  Maybe it’s the fact that sugar is combined with unhealthy fats or the people selecting food with a lot of sugar are also sedentary or have genetics that develop ‘addictions’ to sugar (much like family treads of other addictions).  Many other things could be influencing these findings.

We don’t need another study to scare us.  We know a lot of sugar is unhealthy.  We know fried foods and large quantities of ground red meat are not good for our heart.  We know sodas and other sugared drinks make a mess of our blood glucose.  We know we should stay physically active throughout the day. 

Instead of more scary studies, what do you really need to support your efforts to be healthy?


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Never Give Up!

They say 90% of us won’t keep our New Year’s resolutions in 2014. 

 That means if 100 people make resolutions, 10 of them will change their lives for the better this year.  That’s not bad – especially if you’re one of the 10 who make it. 

Let’s say the remaining 90 make the same resolutions in 2015 and 10% of those people keep their resolution (that’s 9 more).  Now 19 people have changed their lives for the good. 

And in 2016, let’s say the remaining 81 make the same resolution.  Now 8 will make it & of our original 100, 27 have changed their lives – and possibly brought about changes in the lives of the people around them. 

The remaining 73 will be reduced to 66, then 58, then 52 and so. 

The point is, never quit quitting.  Don’t be discouraged if you are one of the 90 who don’t make it this year.  You can make changes and reap benefits.  If you keep trying, eventually you will.

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Here We Come on the Run with our Burgers on our Bun

Last night there was a fund raiser at the Chelsea Big Boy.  A percent of the take went to the Chelsea Senior Center.

At the end of the fund raiser all their tips were donated to the Senior Center by the staff of the Big Boy.  If you ever worked (or work) as a server, dishwasher or cook in a restaurant you know they work hard and you know those tips are important to their personal budgets.

I’m certain Trinh and her leadership team from the Senior Center extended many thanks to the staff at the Big Boy – I would like to add my admiration for their contribution.  Events and sacrifices like these make our community healthy in a special way.

He Has a Big Name. We have Big Ideas.

Tom Brady (NFL quarterback) is opening a sports therapy clinic to train athletes properly and PREVENT injury. 

 Think of the 5 healthy towns initiative as our 5 healthy towns own version of prevention only instead of prevention for elite athletes, it’s prevention for you and me.  We want everyone to have the opportunity to get and stay well. 

Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester and Stockbridge won’t get the press Tom Brady does but who needs all that attention, anyway?

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It’s The Right Thing To Do…..

Everywhere we look we’re being told to “Eat whole grains.” “Eat fresh food.” It’s very popular and quite hip to buy organic, at farmers markets or to grow your own food.

When did the food world turn upside down? Not more than two generations ago it was the poor people who ate whole grains & grew their own food because processing was more expensive.

I am going to fly in the face of the pundits who say it’s expensive to eat healthy foods. Ounce for ounce, you still get better value & better food value if you buy whole foods instead of processed foods. Compare by weight and nutritional labels the difference between un-popped popcorn and pre-packaged popcorn; old fashioned oatmeal and instant oatmeal; Rice a Roni™; a bag of potatoes and a box of instant cheesy potatoes; fresh chicken or even chicken pieces and frozen, breaded chicken fingers…

We don’t have to let hipster, foodies and food industry marketing hijack healthy eating. Ignore all the hype and serve and eat whole and fresh foods because you know it’s the right thing to do.

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

There’s a study that tells us if we want a mentor we shouldn’t pick the flashy, high profile producer (the fastest runner, biggest loser or mother-of-the-year).  The study suggests we select the solid producer who day in & day out does a good job.  They are easier to copy because their production isn’t likely to have included some luck or big risks that happened to work out. 

 Once again, slow & steady wins the race.  That usually goes for changing your health habits, too.

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The More the Merrier

If you want to buy a pair of shoes, a corner with three shoe stores is the best place to look for that perfect pair.

If you want to work out, a community with a variety of fitness and wellness center options is a great community in which to live.

We all have ideas about what a ‘work out’ center should provide.  Some people like child care, certified trainers or the opportunity to swim laps.  Others are content to let themselves into a ‘turnkey’ operation and do a 30 minute circuit without assistance. 

The Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation’s goal is to get EVERYONE moving.  Somewhere in your community is just the right option for you.  Maybe it’s a full-service center with medical integration programs, diabetes education classes and open gym time like the new Dexter Wellness Center.  Or maybe it’s the body builder special at a local weight lifting gym, Pilates in a home studio or jogging on local walks and trails.  In our 5 healthy towns you have access to all kinds of options.  We just want you to find the one that works for you & have at it!

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Maybe Dennis the Menace’s Parents had it Right

Over the weekend I read about two interesting studies. 

 First, in one study, on average, for each additional hour of television a child watches on weeknights, their potential for incarceration as an adult increases by 30%. What?!  Yes, 30%. 

 Second, studies of school-age kids have found that regular aerobic exercise can expand their working memory—the capacity that allows us to manage facts and ideas to solve problems.  It improves the ability to pay attention and inhibits disruptive impulses. Regular exercise and overall physical fitness is consistently linked to academic achievement (the same is true for adults and our activities of daily living).

It’s an old-fashioned idea, but maybe playing outside is also a good idea.

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More on Grocery Shopping

I have a friend who lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Whenever he visits Chelsea (his home town) he marvels at the choices in the produce isle of the local grocery stores.  When I saw him at Christmas he said “What an amazing selection of greens!”

This week I read an editorial that started with a sentence something like “Every isle in the grocery store is filled with guilt producing choices.”

Yikes!  Our abundance – real, true abundance, should not be guilt producing.  We should be invigorated by it, like my friend from the UAE.  Embrace our good fortune to live in a place where we can find 2 or 3 kinds of kale, veggie chips, Canadian bacon, chicken raised without additives, milk & multiple milk substitutes, grains beyond imagination, fresh produce, organic produce, dried produce, frozen produce and sliced/diced & pre-washed produce. 

If you do need rules for grocery shopping to help you reduce the guilt, these were my Mom’s rules.

  1. Stay around the edges of the store where the food is real, less manufactured (produce, dairy, fresh protein, whole grain breads).
  2. Look high & low for the healthiest foods.  The more expensive, highly processed foods are often at eye level. 

That’s all there is to it. Happy, hearty, healthy eating.

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Healthy Groceries Can Go A Long Way

The other day I heard again that ‘healthy groceries are more expensive than unhealthy groceries’.  In the past year or two, prices on things like produce have gone up, a lot.  But guess what.  So have the prices on empty calories like macaroni & cheese, junky cereal & chips. 

Groceries are very expensive these days.  And it’s true – it’s cheaper to buy a box of mac & cheese than a whole chicken & a few vegetables to go with it.  But you eat a lot longer & healthier on a simple pot of soup than a box of mac & cheese.  A box of barely or brown rice to go with your soup is a pretty inexpensive way to fill the family up.

A bag of oranges, onions, potatoes, package of celery, and another of carrots can feed a family for days, along with some simple cuts of meat, dried or canned beans & rice.  I challenge anyone to find 3 days of pre-packaged dinners to feed that same family for less money – especially if we’re reading labels & you want your pre-packaged food to provide fruit, vegetable, lean protein, whole grains, low saturated fats & salt. 

 Even as I’m writing this, I’m thinking we should have a shopping challenge!  It could be fun.

 p.s. Next we should take on the myth it takes a long time to prepare a healthy meal.  And after that, maybe we can talk about a problem that’s even tougher to conquer.  How many kids really prefer chicken & rice soup to mac & cheese?

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