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The Practical Herbalist

Tale of Two Companies

Everyone is talking about wellness and what can be done to get people to be more healthy. Quite often people are looking for a "fix" to the problem, a special herb, new diet, or the perfect exercise. The elephant in the room that no one really talks about is lifestyle. How you live your life really makes a difference in how well you live. Your lifestyle sets you up for the choices you make everyday. If my life only leaves me with the option of sitting all day and the only food available is a fast food burger, then those are the options that will shape me.

I like to point to olympic athletes. All are very healthy, yet look very different sport to sport. These are people who have dedicated their lifestyle to a particular activity. Despite the fact that as babies they all looked alike, the weight lifters look different from the runners, who look different from the gymnasts. Yet all the gymnasts look similar to each other, their bodies have been honed and adapted to their sport. For many people their bodies are adapted to eating greasy food and watching television after a hard day in front of a computer. It is hard to layer healthy food and activities over the work days of most Americans. Again it is a matter of what choices our lifestyle presents us.

A perfect example of this are two companies I am familiar with. Both are huge multibillion dollar operations, both with hundreds of local employees in large buildings mostly spending their days sitting at computers. These companies are concerned about employee health and wellness, and have at various times asked me to be at health fairs promoting healthy lifestyles to their employees. At the one company I spend 6 hours talking to people about losing weight. It is rare to see a thin person, and even then, they look worn down. These people are generally dull in complexion and quiet in the way they present themselves. They complain of back pain, obesity, high blood pressure diabetes, and heart disease. There is no on site recreation or even nearby sidewalks or paths to walk on. The onsite cafeteria serves burgers and fries and softserve icecream. They have salads and wrap sandwiches but they do not seem popular. At the other company I spend 6 hours talking about sports injuries to bright excited people who want to do more in life. Chronic disease questions are few and are generally information for friends or relatives. The health fair is held at an onsite mini health club with trainers, classes and exercise equipment in a facility surrounded by open green space and walking trails. Few people are over weight and they rave about the food from the cafeteria. The menu varies daily, with many international dishes prepared by the chef. The food is exotic and interesting, heavy in brightly colored fresh vegetables and spices.

In both of these places, I often feel like I am wasting my time. These people are a product of their environment and the lifestyle it encourages. One group needs far more help than I can give, and the other really doesn’t need my help at all.

David Bock

This article was from David's LakeCountryOnline.com column, "The Practical Herbalist"

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David Bock, C. Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM
Wisconsin Certified Acupuncturist
National Board Certification in Oriental Medicine
Fellow American Board Of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Bock Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
888 Thackeray Trail #206
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 53066