A salad’s a salad…or is it?

Marci and I worked with the kitchen team yesterday doing some major cleaning and reorganization, .

I was struggling to move a large shelving unit in the pantry to get behind and clean (the result of which today is a very sore back) when Julia walked past me.  She stopped in her tracks, fixed me with a stern gaze, and muttered, “So you’re the reason we can’t have any more CROUtons!”

Guilty as charged.

After several frustrating forays in our HE-HAW (High Energy Health and Wellness) program, we are once again regrouping and rethinking.

You may (or may not) recall that HE-HAW was established about a year ago at Down Home Ranch to provide a platform for healthy living for our Ranchers by improving their diet and encouraging lots of activity.

The Ranchers are overall way more active at the Ranch than their peers in most other places. Our guys and gals have jobs, and they work hard at them–cleaning stalls, working in the gardens, swimming, jamming to Richard Simmons or just biking and walking around the Ranch in the normal course of their day.

The food front, however, continuesto be a bear of a challenge.  Despite repeatedly providing guidelines we find that within a few weeks, the diet begins migrating back to the Great American Food Pile, where a “salad” may consist of a heap of oversized croutons, a pile of cheese on top, and Ranch dressing poured all over the whole thing.

After all, all those things are found in the salad line, aren’t they?

While the above might be amusing,  and its logic unassailable, the overall situation is not.  Women with Down syndrome especially have an inborn tendency to obesity.  They’re short, female, and their metabolism runs at about 80% of normal.  It’s a huge challenge, and one many parents give up on early in the game.

But we’re not going to!  The stakes are too high.

So we decided the only thing to do is to hire a single person who will have authority and oversight over the entire HE-HAW program.  This person will be called the Food and Wellness Coordinator.  He or she will oversee every aspect of the food program, and work closely with other staff to provide guidance in the fitness program.

Although we can use our powers of persuasion and rewards to influence our Ranchers’ food choices while dining out or shopping at Wal-Mart, in the end they have the right to buy what they want.

But day-to-day here at the Ranch we can, and we will, assume control of the menu items available, and continue to work on education, portion control, and the lifelong waltz with weight control so many of us–certainly not just our Ranchers–contend with on a day-to-day basis.  It’s bound to help, but I don’t for a moment assume it will be easy. 

I know better.