Journey to Wellness

Journey to Wellness 

Betty and I just had our annual physical check with our primary doctor.

We were pleased that our blood work showed all items in or close to the normal ranges, and nothing of concern.   

Our doctor went through the required protocol questions, even though he knew the answers.

Did we get a flu shot?  Did we want any vaccInes?  Did we want a bone density test?  There were other questions, but, our answer was “No”.

Our doctor told us we were doing great, and he would see us next year.

As he prepared to leave, he said, “I’m not paternal.  You have the right to manage your own health, and you are doing better than most people.”

We were affirmed to know we are doing great, and, we’d like to share what we do to manage our health.  

The following is a summary of what we’ve learned over the years that has kept us well and medication-free.

Wakeup Call

Our quest for good health began about 1972.  Betty and I had been married for seven years, and we had moved from Hilo on the big island of Hawaii, to Honolulu, where I taught at the university.

I was struggling with multiple allergies, and saw the allergist often for testing and treatment.  Dr. Neilson knew about the residuals from the encephalitis which had paralyzed me when I was a teenager.  On one visit, Dr. Neilson took Betty aside, and said, “Mrs. Hicks, your husband is like an automobile with eight cylinders, with only four working.  You need to keep those four working as best as you can.”

What a wakeup call!  We were motivated!  But motivation requires action and an openness to learn and try new things. 

Coincidentally, or providentially in God’s timing, we learned the components of a healthy lifestyle.

The Change

A friend referred us to Dr. John McDougall, MD, an internist who had become disillusioned with pharmaceuticals and was using diet to help his patients. 

Betty went to one of Dr. McDougall’s meetings, and came home to tell me she had signed up for a cooking class with the doctor and his wife Mary.

They were testing recipes to go in their first book, The McDougall Plan. 

Each week, a group of McDougall patients would meet in the kitchen of a Home Economics Department of a local school, and cook food provided by Mary – all vegetarian.   I could attend as a guest, and eat the food.  It turned out to be great!

However, there was a “catch”!  Betty had signed an agreement to eat vegetarian according to the McDougall Plan for sixty days. I exclaimed: “What! No hamburgers for breakfast; no hot dogs; no ham and cheese sandwiches at bedtime”!  I finally conceded that I could probably survive sixty days without meat.

After eating the delicious food at the cooking class for six weeks, and two months vegetarian, we could tell the difference, and Dr. McDougall’s complex carbohydrate based diet became our nutritional foundation. 

Like I mentioned before, first, motivation, then a willingness to try new things to make a change.

Dr. McDougall mentioned at one of his meetings, that his patients who followed the vegetarian diet lost their allergies to food. I forget how long it took, but my allergies gradually disappeared. Hurrah!   No more antihistamines.  No more allergy tests!

Not By Choice    a tough decision we had to make.  

During the 1980’s we had the opportunity to take a week’s training for certification to teach weight loss workshops.  We were already eating vegetarian, a low cholesterol diet, so we jumped in.  

It was a lot of fun teaching the workshops!  Each week we had a potluck supper with participants bringing a low fat, low cholesterol dish. 

Unfortunately the products that went along with the program were “chemical cuisine.”  We had yet to learn there is a better way to get good nutritious food.

On the supposition that if a little was good, more was better, we kept adding supplements.  Multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, etc. etc.  Every January or February, like clockwork, I got an upper respiratory infection and laryngitis.  In spite of all we were doing, I was slipping downhill.  

Because of the repeated laryngitis, the college kept reducing my teaching load.  My voice wouldn’t hold up for the 75 minute classes.  Finally, in 1989, one year away from reaching the requirement for retirement, the administration offered me a year’s leave of absence, without pay, so I wouldn’t lose retirement benefits.  I took it!  

Then we realized, one can’t live long in Hawaii without income.  Moving from Hawaii was not by choice.  We loved Hawaii having lived there 24 years.  Leaving our friends was hard.  We have many fond memories of all the fun things we did.  

Our journey to wellness now took us to Florida, to consolidate with Betty’s mother, who coincidentally was needing help also. 

For us it was a difficult change, but God had a good serendipity planned for us.  

The Serendipity

It was difficult!  But, we made it to Florida.  Our first priority was to find help for Betty’s mother.  Eating vegetarian with us was making a big difference, and Mother was already reducing medications and looking and feeling better.  

The serendipity was meeting Dale, a nutritionist who had a big impact on our lives!  

Dale’s session with Mother was eye-opening, so we made an appointment for us.  Betty emptied a shopping bag of vitamins and supplements on his desk.  The pile was the culmination of our using the assumption “if a little is good – more is better.”  But – not so! 

 Dale said, “Betty, I can tell you first, that you have very expensive urine.”  

We learned that isolated supplements were only a part of a food, and not utilized very well by the body but just passed on in the urine.  Dale pointed out that processed food had much of the nutritional value removed, and we were consuming chemicals; preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, bulking additives, etc!

We had to make a paradigm shift in our thinking!

Dale introduced us to real food, and whole food concentrates.  It was not long before Mother and I were both much better.  I was physically and mentally improved!

We attended Dale’s seminars, and ended up working with him teaching Healthy Living classes.  Betty would take groups on a “field trip” to a local grocery store for a “treasure hunt” of finding food items that were low in fat, cholesterol, and salt.  The idea was that by taking the time to read labels, it was possible to find healthier alternatives for the foods they were choosing.

That lasted twenty years, with us learning a lot about health, and earning income to supplement my retirement and social security income.

We were now eating fresh and frozen vegetables, and avoiding processed packaged “food” with chemicals.  Our complex carb based meals were now supplemented by whole-food concentrates, not supplements that were parts of food or isolated chemicals.  

Perhaps the most important thing we learned was that our bodies are best when chemically alkaline.  Cancer, and other diseases thrive in an acid environment, so our diet should be 80% alkaline residue food, and 2% acid residue.  

Everything seemed to be in place; we were healthy and medication free.  What more could we need? 

Anti-Aging    Discovering how to slow down the aging process!I  

The latest new-to-us big thing we learned was how important it is for the body to have hormone systems in balance.  Hormones are messengers made by endocrine glands such as the pituitary, that send a cascade of messages to all parts of the body to do their work.  

Endocrine glands such as the thyroid, pituitary, pancreas, and adrenal, send hormones to control use of food (metabolism), body growth, reproduction, healing, blood sugar levels, mood, body temperature, and blood pressure.

After 30 years of age, hormone production declines, and people began to see symptoms of aging.  And, toxins change normal body functions, which can lead to disease conditions. 

We found an anti-aging Gel that boosts hormone production and helps to balance the hormone systems.  One ingredient in the Gel is bio-identical to those from the pituitary gland to slow the aging process!  Other ingredients address the adrenal and thyroid glands to balance the hormone systems.

We both have been using the Gel now for 11 months and we know the Gel works!  One of the first benefits was better and deeper sleep.

In my next blog, I will share in more detail about the benefits we have experienced so far.

What we have learned has given us a lot of hope for making our journey longer and healthier!!

We love to share what we’ve learned over the years, and love to hear people report improvements in their health as a result of implementing our information.  

If you would like information about the Gel, for you or someone you care about, please email or call us.    727-842-8314.

We hope sharing our story has inspired you to make positive changes for your journey to wellness. 

11. Appleseed Corners Fireworks & Fox Hunt

11.  Appleseed Corners Fireworks & Fox Hunt

The Hicks family always bought fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday.  It was an exciting and fun time shooting roman candles, pop-bottle rockets and crackers of all sizes.  We were very disappointed when the State of Michigan outlawed fireworks, and considered getting some out of state, but breaking the law was not our kind of solution.

Then Daddy discovered that fireworks could be purchased for “community display,” and he officially organized the “Appleseed Corners Community” consisting of the Hicks, Yonans and Yeoman’s families — our neighbors. Walter Yeomans was a crop farmer, and the Yonans had a large commercial apple orchard. Their orchard and our small orchard across the road from them was the basis for the “Appleseed Corners” name. They joined us for a back porch barbecue of hot dogs and hamburgers, and legal fireworks on the Fourth of July – what fun!

Walter Yeomans probably knew Daddy had been trapping muskrats in our pond, and selling the pelts.  He asked Daddy if he thought the traps might be big enough to catch a fox that was nosing around his chicken coop.  If so, could he borrow a couple? 

Sure.  Of course.  But, now that a fox was brought up, Daddy said he had seen a hole under a big tree at the back of our property across the road and adjacent to the Yeoman’s that very well could be the fox’s den.  Daddy exclaimed, “We can get him there!”  The Appleseed Corners fox hunt idea must have sprung into his mind – and planning began.  A date set, Daddy called and invited the Yonans to join us, I think Alan came too.  Mom and Daddy, Walter and Lucille, Nars and Olive, and me, Bobby, were the total company for the “hunt”. 

I may have been 9 or 10, because I faintly recall having my bugle and blowing “Attention” as we gathered in our driveway and piled into a pickup truck and one car.  Daddy had his 10 gauge shotgun, and instructed everyone to be very quiet. 

After driving down the lane to about thirty yards from the tree, we dismounted, and Daddy waved at Walter to follow him as he moved toward the big tree – the others followed at a distance.  As Daddy rounded the tree he fired his shotgun at the base, and yelled, “I got him!  Walter – grab him, he’s going down the hole!” Walter was quick to respond and leaped to the hole at the base of the tree – saw the fox tail protruding – and grabbed it – yanked it hard – and then stood there holding Mom’s fox fur neckpiece high in the air!

Daddy was laughing uproariously, and the others joined in as the reality of the joke hit Walter.  I think he finally broke down and started laughing too.  Daddy had gotten Mom’s fur piece, left over from the fashions of the ‘20s, from the trunk in the attic, and put it in the hole at the base of the tree the day before.

The “Great Appleseed Corners Fox Hunt” was over, and I presume considered a huge success by everyone… except maybe Walter.

Did Walter trap the fox?  I don’t know.  But for sure, the fox never returned to the big tree!