Updated: Feb 10, 2021
As I travel throughout the vast state of Texas, I am learning a great deal about myself, and understanding perspective--a very under utilized "human trait". Heading out on my journey, I believed I would teach health more simplified to the masses--that people would be eager, interested in improving and maintaining great health. But what I am seeing clearly is that
until I learn to communicate "real health" according to an individual perspective, the divide is too great for immediate progress and understanding. We all receive information as a child--in our youth, and we process what we were taught and believe. This early development leaves deep seated habits that aren't easily changed, but I do know it can happen. The key lies in effective, personal communication.
We have to replace old habits with new, repeatedly.
So, for with me and my mission to spread Simplified Health across America, I am realizing very quickly, I need to spend the time to get to know why people do what they do in their different cultures, environments, and socio economical backgrounds. Starting in Texas, where there are so many different kinds of people, has certainly given me fertile ground for growth.
As we started moving south from northern Texas, we found Fredricksburg. WOW is all I can say! Avie and I
settled in nicely with the locals, learning about their rich German heritage, filled with amazing religious history and yes, FOOD! You know what they say, when in Rome;) We even found a Natural Grocers and made friends quickly as a local shopper.
But one of my all time favorite experiences here was hiking up Cross Mountain, which is
a historic marl and limestone hill in present-day Fredricksburg, Texas. Before the arrival of the early German settlers, Cross Mountain was used as a Native American lookout. During the colonization of Fredricksburg in 1847, a timber cross was mysteriously found on the site's hilltop. But years before in 1757, a group of Spanish priests seeking to share the glory of the Christian God traveled through the Texas Hill Country to the San Saba River. They were following a conquistador and his soldiers in search of the glory of gold and silver, and paused in their trek to erect a wooden cross on a lonely hilltop.
Almost a 100 years later, in 1847, German immigrant John Christian Durst arrived in Fredricksburg and was assigned a town lot and 10-acre plot including that 120 foot hill. When Durst pushed through the brush to the top, he discovered the remains of that wooden cross. 100 more years later, members of the local Catholic Church erected a large steel cross, complete with lights, celebrating Fredricksburg, the city under the cross.
This sparked an epiphany in my soul, realizing even more then ever, our history--our heritage, is so important to remember, and learn from. There is so much more to each of us then the day to day topics we tend to review on a loop. I love knowing how early immigration happened. And with all of these tidbits of knowledge, there is a road map to restored health and wellness...this I know.
MOVING ON🚗 to San Antonio was just more discovery and excitement. I truly have fallen in love with this state and all its rich history and culture. Spending time talking to the locals, hearing about their personal life stories, and just listening without judgement or need to react is really fulfilling. More importantly, it gives me important information on how to help people improve their health.
I bet most of you didn't know that Texas grows some incredible citrus? Yes, Texas grapefruit are very well known, but did you know they grow lemons, lime, oranges and tangerines too? And the picture doesn't do the size or flavor justice, but everything really is BIGGER in Texas;)
Avie and I walked the neighborhoods and dined with the locals. We admired historic, stucco and terra cotta houses, and marveled at all the natural beauty. San Antonio is very much ALIVE with so much to offer it's million plus population.
If you know me, you know I love great grocery stores, and Texas doesn't disappoint. The range of fresh produce and meat/fish is simply incredible, and I instantly felt sorry for those I left in Springfield, Missouri with such a limited selection.
This very important epiphany helped me understand more clearly why so many people are obese and chronically ill. People will eat whatever is available, and millions are simply living in "nutrition/food desserts", with little to no fresh food selection.
But, not in San Antonio. The selection of food is vast and it makes me smile. My goal is to help the Hispanic culture learn a new way to cook all those things they love, with a variety of protein, veggies and healthy fat; that won't contribute to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. I don't want to change their culture, heritage and traditions. I simply want to help them make a few healthy changes to some of these deep seated habits of ingredients and preparation. I want to show them how a few simple adjustments can make a huge difference in their health and well being, without changing the taste or enjoyment of their traditional favorites. Eating a daily diet of dominating processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fat will not bring about long term health, for anyone...this I know.
Before we move further south into my Texas journey, I have to share with you the story of the Chili Queens of San Antonio, still serving up a menu today. The original restaurant started serving chili, bringing to the world a Tex Mex creation; mixing homemade chili, tamales, and enchiladas, for all to enjoy. Chili Queens photo taken in 1933.
For more than 100 years, women would arrive at twilight at the plaza in San Antonio, Texas, with makeshift tables and pots of chili to cook over open fires. The plazas teemed with people: soldiers, tourists, cattlemen and troubadours who roamed the tables, filling the night with music.
My goal and desire is not to ever change these beautiful traditions, heritage, or alter culture, but to show people how to preserve their health eating the things they love, by thinking of food, ingredients and health differently. It can be done from German to Hispanic cuisine--this I know, because I love it all❤
I will end this post with one final story of a very special, and memorable trip to Del Rio, Texas. For those of you who don't know my background, I was born in Oakland, California the day after JFK was assassinated--yep, 1963. My family and extended family lived all throughout the Bay area. I knew nothing about race, or social injustice. I only knew my neighborhood had all kinds of beautiful people, Hispanic, African American, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese and White American. Shoot, I was the minority in the group, but no one ever felt they were different. Everyone went out of their way to show unity, love and kindness. Fast Forward.....
As I drove from San Antonio to Del Rio, I see culture and history unfold before my eyes. I am in awe of the vast, endless miles of land--ranches, some farms with goats, cattle, but mostly just open land. I read lots of signs written in Spanish everywhere, with radio stations singing beautiful Hispanic melodies. I know there is so much more to this culture than what is being told in the media, or educated on the public square. I am humbled at the sincere kindness in the faces and the "Buenos Dias" that greets me.
More importantly, the center of my heart, my granddaughter, father's family is from this area. I arranged to meet some Healthy U graduates, and spend some time getting to know Sawyer's family. I was greeted with enormous love and welcome. We spent hours talking about history, as my questions were endless. Yes, I truly wanted to know everything--straight from the horses' mouth, this journey of immigration. I was overwhelmed with the stories of hard work and perseverance, and saddened by the struggle that so many endured.
The foundation for this post developed here, as I discussed food and nutrition, weight loss and more with many. They all had experienced the Healthy U program, and thoroughly enjoyed and embraced the weight they lost, and health they gained. BUT, a few had reported they had fallen off track struggling with Covid, which I certainly understood. The phrase that stuck in my mind was, "I love the health, but I love to eat". It was here I realized, I had to show people how to turn their favorite traditions into something more healthy. This is a doable task, and I left with increased motivation to help all those different cultures struggling with making the healthy swaps, and changing habits.
Finally, it has become more and more obvious to me that we don't have a racism problem in America, but a government problem, with decades of career politicians using the lives of hard working people to build their agendas, and platforms of power. Government builds the division, this I know. Media has built the division, this I know. Biased education has built the division, this I know. As I look on to the border fence separating Del Rio, Texas from Mexico,
standing arm in arm with beautiful people, whose families swam the Rio Grande, and fought the fight to be American, I still believe we are the land of the free, and home of the brave, and we truly welcome all those that want to make a better life crossing the American borders.
When we stop using people as political pawns, and create a system that works for all people wanting to honestly improve their lives, and lives for their families, we will have succeeded in living out the reality so many have envisioned as the American dream. Live healthy, happy, self sufficiently, and FREE. Be Well🌻