5 Healthy Towns Foundation
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
- Stay around the edges of the store where the food is real, less manufactured (produce, dairy, fresh protein, whole grain breads).
- 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.
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?
Maybe you were thinking too big when you decided if you just lost 40 pounds you could fit into your wedding dress from 30 years ago.
Before you give up completely, try a little goal (followed by another little goal). Your new goal could be as simple as making time to replace walking shoes so worn it hurts your knees to wear them. With new shoes you may find inspiration.
There is no reason to give up. Just make some amendments to lofty goals. One step at a time. One day at a time.
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Do you remember in Chelsea we drove by a ‘Coming Soon’ sign at the site of the Chelsea Wellness Center for about a decade? It might have been longer. Now that was a long lead time!
It takes time to build and pull together all the operating pieces of a state-of-the art Wellness Center. Everyone involved is working as hard & as fast as we can.
We don’t mind questions (www.dexterwellness.org to contact us or see pictures of A.R. Brouwer’s handiwork). We’re gratified by your interest. And like you, we feel like kids waiting for Christmas morning. We can hardly wait!
These are the types of people we see at our wellness centers, these days. See if you fall into any of the categories, below. By the way – they are all overcoming something to get or stay well. Good for you if you’re already working toward a healthier you!
Terribly out of shape/NOT skinny and feeling it. Congratulations to those who overcome their discomfort (physical & emotional) and make a decision to work out & connect in a healthy way.
Parents with young families who have little time for themselves. They are scraping out a few hours a week for a workout or class. It may be what keeps them sane.
Middle age in decent shape, but fighting to stay healthy and strong so they can actively enjoy their senior years.
Recent patients working with a medical professional (often a physical therapist) to get back to better functioning.
Healthy teens, many with competitive goals. But not always.
Seniors who embrace their aging selves and want to maximize every day. They also find good company at their local wellness center.
There aren’t a lot of the ‘beautiful people’ in spandex at our wellness centers. We’re kinda proud of that. Of course, the extraordinarily fit are welcome too. You serve as inspiration!