The other day in the midst of the 90 degree weather I piled my family in our SUV and headed off to Avila Beach. As we were traveling down Hwy 101 I looked out the window to see men in working in the fields wearing full white spray suits, respirators and eye shields. In front of them was a tractor pulling a large cylinder with what appeared to be a liquid fertilizing substances that was being sprayed on the strawberries below.

spraying-strawberryAs I shook my head in disgust I started to look around and ask myself, “If this type of farming is acceptable, what is the state of the health in the community that I serve?

As I pondered this question my mind flashed back to earlier in the day when after a Crossfit workout  I made may way over to Blenders in the Grass to pick up my favorite post workout shake. As I entered Blenders I noticed that there was not one person in line, however just a few doors down the donuts shop was bustling with activity and there was a line out the door.

I think that anyone who resides on the central coast would agree with me when I say that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. From the temperate climate of the rolling hills, to the fresh ocean air that fills our lungs when out on a sunrise walk, the central coast is a place where many come to vacation and I stake my claim to live.

Even in a place with such beauty as this, as I walk around parts of my city, Santa Maria, I unfortunately see a different side of health from the residents who live here. What I bear witness to is a city that is laden with sickness, obesity and people who look more like they live in a depressed mid-western city then they do mere minutes from lush agriculture and ample supply of outdoor activities.

As a local chiropractor, my office sits feet away from a hospital that is constantly overflowing capacity and has a cancer center that claims to have a three week wait list before being seen by a doctor.

Why is this? Why is our city so sick and unhealthy?

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Some would reason the problem is two fold;

First, blaming the economic status of the community and the people who inhabit.

Secondly, people would want to lay blame at the lack of resources to be found locally.

I find both of these excuses a bitter pill to swallow.

I would agree with you that Santa Maria has a “small town feel” and was built on the backs of the ranchers and field workers, but we are not small town anymore. We now have over 102K people who reside in the Santa Maria Valley and with many new restaurants and attractions opening up.

Just steps away from the freeway we are surrounded by some of the greatest agriculture in all of the state. Santa Maria is fast becoming the berry capital of the world and has a booming wine industry following closely on its heels.

Many would argue that our healthcare system in this small town is lackluster at best, however I highly disagree. Have you seen the new Dignity Health Marian Medical Center or the plethora of outpatient clinics the area? Perhaps the issue with our healthcare does not so much lie with the resources of the doctor, but by asking oneself ‘why are you getting sick in the first place?’

With so much opportunity all around us here on the central coast, my question to you is why are we so sick? To help bring further clarity to this issue I emailed my list of patients and asked them one simple question. “What is the one thing that you want to know considering your health to make you a healthier person?”

Of the 225+ emails received, the number one response was this: Where do I start to take back my health?

Here is your answer: It starts within you!

The key to your health and longevity does not lie in the next magic pill or surgery that a doctor might prescribe. The answer lies in what you pick up to eat next, what you do to move your body and how you interact in your environment.

Before you go to sit down for your next dinner, when was the last time you asked yourself, “ Is Santa Maria known for anything else other than tri tip sandwiches and beans?”

If lack of healthy food options is your crux, try some of my local favorites. Have you had a Pitaya shake from Blenders In the Grass or tried a Heavenly Organic Chicken Salad from 6Degrees? What about the healthy dinner options at Moxie Café or Natural Café.

If your trying to find some local and/or organic produce try the local farmer markets that take place 2x a week in Santa Maria or susbscribe to the local CSA box through Tally Farms. Healthy food abounds all around us.

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In addition to eating healthy, you need to MOVE healthy. Did you know that Santa Maria has over 14 different gyms for you house for exercise?

If the gym is not your thing, do you know that we are blessed to have the Orcutt community trails that the city has worked with residents to create as a safe place for yourself and dog to run in the morning as the sun rises. If you need more inspiration than that, take the short drive up the coast and run on the soft sands of Pismo Beach and the dunes.

Lastly, you are only as healthy as you think you are. Health is not only compromised of the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual. Try waking up tomorrow and going for a walk in the early morning fog and just taking the time to breathe and think.

On my Facebook page last week I put a post out just blessing others in the community and I was stunned with the outpouring from friends and family. This type of positive self living and self affirmation are what sets your tone for success in all areas of your life.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does a small town Chiropractor have to do with all of this trying to make our city and world a healthier place?

Isn’t Chiropractic just about cracking your back and relieving my low back pain?

That could not be farther from the truth.

My belief is that your body is an amazing specimen that is self healing and self-regulating. As a Chiropractor I believe that your body contains everything that is needed to live a healthy, happy and vibrant life. Yes, as a doctor of Chiropractic my job is to monitor and detect the function of the nervous system.

So what do I see for the future for Santa Maria and its healthcare?

It is my mission to inspire your health, to guide this city and its residents in their health and happiness.

If you are interested in helping our city and yourself to live a more fulfilled life, then join with me and lets turn our city and our world into a healthier world together.

To start, please subscribe to my email list and let’s get to work on creating a healthier Santa Maria.

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