Teach Wellness and They Will Come

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher

About 10 years ago, my wife, Evelyn, and I began to recognize that many people in the generation following us have never really learned how to cook. It was not unusual to talk to newly married couples and find that they didn't know how to make even the most basic meals. For that reason, we began inviting small groups of people to our home to learn some foundational skills and have fun making different dishes.

Because we cook often and have quite a bit of culinary experience between us, we are usually asked to cook at family gatherings. These usually occur over the holidays in the greater Portland (Oregon) area, where most of Evelyn's family lives. These are special times; most of the adults swarm around the kitchen while the children are running around the rest of the house.

A few years ago, after a rather large Thanksgiving dinner, my wife suggested that we use the turkey carcass to make turkey soup. Her youngest sister (only nine years younger) was startled by the suggestion and remarked, "That sounds great, how do you make soup?" Soup 101 class began another opportunity to share what we knew about cooking. She has made soup several times since then, with great results.

The proliferation of health and wellness information can be very similar. My daughter Deborah just joined a new soccer team. Her coach is a former professional soccer player. As a soccer coach, she gets plenty of exercise, but is constantly on the go.

During one training session, I gave the coach a copy of some recent soccer research from Denmark.1 Delighted, she asked about my profession. After sharing a little basic information, she began asking questions. Surprised, I made some off-handed comment, at which point practice began.

Quickly realizing how flippant my remark was, I decided to have a more serious conversation with the coach after practice. [My remark was not intended to be rude; it merely reflected my assumption that everyone knew (or should know) about diet and healthy eating - an assumption that clearly has no basis in fact, given our country's alarming rate of obesity.] Her story is typical; on-the-go eating, grabbing food when and where she can. She understands the active/exercise side of health, but is less aware of the nutritional/diet side.

During our post-practice discussion, I spent some time getting a better idea of her goals. I shared information and studies that applied, ultimately letting her know that I would follow up with more information via e-mail. As my daughter and I walked hand-in-hand from the field, I gained additional appreciation regarding the importance of the information I had shared. For me, this was almost common sense. For the coach, it had the ability to change her life.

The e-mail I sent to my daughter's coach included a link to my blog (www.dynamicchiropractic.com/blogs/wrblog,) as well as an attached spreadsheet that will allow her the ability to calculate her consumed protein, carbohydrates and fat in grams. In addition to the e-mail, I put together most of a day's worth of food from a suggested menu. This provided the "first day" of a routine that she can follow. (Another victory against the fast food industry.) The food was delivered the next evening at practice in a cooler.

Her reply e-mail reflected the importance of the information. In a matter of a few days, she was making changes and starting a new routine. She was farther down the road to wellness than she had been even a few days earlier and was open to other suggestions, including chiropractic.

Wellness is many things. It is a lifestyle. It is a commitment to health. For some, it is an ideal. For us, wellness is almost a mandate. We are compelled to share what we know, what we live. It's an obligation to the people around us to ensure that they have the information they need to make the right choices for their health, rather than expecting them to fend for themselves.


  1. "Play Yourself Healthy." Report on a University of Copenhagen study; lead researcher Dr. Peter Krustrup. http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2010/2010.2/soccer_health

Read more findings on my blog: http://blog.toyourhealth.com/wrblog/. You can also visit me on Facebook.

Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.

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