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This past weekend I started the process of turning over new ground for my backyard garden. I live in middle Tennessee and I quickly discovered why the University of Tennessee’s fight song is “Rocky Top Tennessee!” My first pass with the garden tiller threw me around like I was riding a wild horse. I slowed the motor on the tiller down and tried again. Same result. I tried using less pressure on the back-end of the tiller and this seemed to cause less jumping. However, I was making very little progress breaking up the dirt. The tiller I was using was borrowed from a friend who has a small farm not far from my house. I called him to ask what I was doing wrong and he said he would come over and take a look.

When he arrived I had got a system going and things seemed to be improving but not very quickly. At the current pace I was going to run out of daylight before I finished tilling. He decided to give it a try and the tiller jumped around on him as well. I was standing to the side of the tiller and I discovered the problem… rocks, and they were big ones. I’m not talking pebbles, these were the size of frisbees and anywhere from 2-4 inches thick! And there were lots of them too! After he took several passes with the tiller he said what I already had thought. This process was going to take too long.

I didn’t want to give up on my garden and this spot in my yard was the only place suitable for growing vegetables. Like I said, my friend has a small farm and he offered to go get his tractor with a tiller on it and do it with that. I thought it was quite silly to use a farm tractor on my small garden, but he said it was no big deal and I really wanted the garden. So he drove home, loaded the tractor and brought it up.

Sure enough, the tractor made it a lot easier, but there were still a lot of rocks. We ended up making a pile of them as we picked them out and it was about 3 feet high, 2 feet wide and 5 feet long. I was amazed at the amount of rocks that came out of that small spot in my yard.

I got to thinking about all those rocks and the obstacle it created to me starting my garden. I am sure you can relate to this. We have all faced obstacles in our lives. In particularly, I hear a lot about obstacles when people try to improve their health. These obstacles usually boil down to weak excuses. There are the classics, like “I don’t have time,” or “I am so exhausted when I get home from work,” or “I hate to run.” Then I am encouraged when I see someone who has a true physical health impairment/challenge and yet they find ways to get out and be active. Other excuses are, “It’s expensive to eat healthy.” How much is your health worth? How expensive is it to get sick?

We are in a unique point in history. Healthcare reform has passed Congress and is here to stay. If you think it is going to bring great things to our health, talk to someone from Canada. I have never met anyone from Canada who is happy with the healthcare that their government provides them. That is why so many of them cross the border into the US to get the medical procedures they need.

If you don’t want to be a part of this system, you have to take charge of your health right now. Get rid of those “ROCKS” in your life that are keeping you from getting healthy. There is no time like the present to get started. I would  love to help you if you need some direction.


For a few weeks every 2 years we get to see the most amazing athletes in the world perform on a stage we call “The Olympics.” Whatever sport they participate in, whether its summer or winter, their training regimen, nutritional intake and positive mental attitude make for an amazing study for someone interested in Wellness. Have you ever watched one of the behind the scenes stories on an Olympic athlete? Their dedication to wellness is awe-inspiring!

What would it take to incorporate some of their routines into your lifestyle? I don’t recommend eating 10,000 calories a day like Michael Phelps does, but I am sure there are certain things we can learn from their training routine. If you want to improve your health, I suggest you begin to pay attention to some of their habits.

First of all, these athletes definitely get out and move. I don’t recall anyone winning the gold medal in “Arm chair reclining speed!” In my opinion, improvement in health starts with moving. Even if your diet is horrible, begin with moving because innately your body is going to begin to crave better foods. You simply cannot perform physical fitness on a diet of hamburgers and french fries. I think it is incredibly funny that 2 of the biggest sponsors of the Olympics are Coke and McDonald’s! There is no way those athletes could perform at the high levels of competition with that junk in them. Your body is no different. By getting out and moving, you will begin to crave better foods. This will begin to improve your diet by default.

So what kind of moving should you be doing? I am not a big proponent of long periods of cardio routines. For those of you just beginning a fitness routine, body weight exercises like push ups, sit ups, squats, chair dips will keep you busy for at least a year. If you do these exercises at a high intensity, your cardiovascular system will get plenty of work and therefore no extra time on the treadmill will be needed! Try this simple routine: 5 push ups, 10 sit ups and 15 squats (that is one round). How many rounds can you do in 20 minutes? A good goal would be 12-15 rounds!

The picture above asks a good question. Which of these athletes spent more time doing cardio type exercises? Which do you think is healthier? Like I said, I am not a big proponent of long cardio workouts. Short, high intensity workouts are much better for achieving wellness and they save you time as well!

Nutrition is also a key component of being healthy. I know I keep coming back to the basics of eating more food the way God made it, but it really is a recipe for success. The typical American diet is full of processed foods that are not even close to the way God made it originally. Wheat is a perfect example. Try a Google search for gluten allergies or gluten-free diet and see how many articles come up. The reason for these problems is 2 fold: wheat is a relatively new form of food for us. In other words, our ancestors did not eat that much wheat. Secondly, the wheat they did eat was not processed. It was completely whole grain. Look at all the foods today that have processed wheat in them: pasta, bread, cereals, cakes, pastries… the list could go on for quite a while! I cannot stress the importance of eating more God made foods!

Finally, have you ever seen an Olympic athlete that was a pessimist? I have never heard one say, “Well, I don’t know if I have what it takes to make it to the finals. I guess I will just get out there and see what happens.” These guys and gals are pumped up about competing and are out there to give it their best. Did you watch the movie “Cool Runnings” about the Jamaican bobsled team? Here are 4 guys up against great odds and yet they had great attitudes about the competition! Our attitude in life should be the same. My favorite definition of success is getting up one more time than you are knocked down. Life is rough, get over it! You will get knocked down… bounce back up and move on.

You would have to be living under a rock to not hear all the talk in Washington about health care reform. The White House wants to pass “reform” that would provide coverage for all Americans. No matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, the decisions being made right now in Congress will effect you and your children for years to come.

Have you ever thought about the healthcare plan for animals such as the white tail deer? It is certainly a plan that needs no reform. Let’s take a look at what animals do for their health. I am sure there are things we can learn from them.

Let’s look at their diet. They eat what God provides for them. Nothing else. “Yeah, but we are humans and we have been given the ability to reason and make new things,” you may argue. I counter with, “You really think you are smarter than God?!?” In all seriousness, if we were to change our diets to include more foods the way God made them we would be healthier. The more processed food you eat, the less healthy you will be… study after study proves this. What is processed food? Almost anything that comes in a package is processed. When grocery shopping, stay out of the aisles of packaged foods and only shop around the perimeter of the store.

What about their exercise? I can’t remember the last time I saw a deer sitting down watching TV or playing a computer game! Again, I  am joking, but to be healthy we definitely need to be moving. Fitness needs to be part of your daily routine. You may say that you don’t have time, you are too busy. Let me ask you this, do you have time to be sick? Fitness doesn’t take a trip to the gym and 2 hours spent there! You can incorporate fitness into your daily routine. Also, there are more efficient ways to workout than spending 45 minutes on a treadmill!

For true healthcare reform to take place in America, we need to change our way of thinking. The “healthcare” system we have in place is not “health” care… it is “sickness” care. Our grandparents were excited to get “hospitalization” coverage from their employers. This type of insurance only covered the major medical expenses of hospital stays. They were responsible for keeping themselves healthy and for the most part, they did a good job of it. Now with the pharmaceutical industry promising us a pill for every ill, our mindset has become one of waiting for that magic pill instead of taking care of our health now. So, without changing the thought process about “healthcare” we will not be able to change the direction it is heading just by providing more insurance coverage for more “sickness care.” Let me ask you a question in closing… If we are going broke with our current system of insurance coverage paying for sickness care, what will insuring more people for sickness care do to the dollar amount being spent?

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