Milpas on the Move by Sharon Byrne
Chance conversations can provide seeds that produce amazing outcomes. I had a chance conversation in January with Luis Diaz of Milpas Chiropractic in the Milpas McDonald’s after a meeting. Diaz teaches at Santa Barbara Business College, and one of his subjects is community health. I wondered how you measure that? And how would we go about improving it?
It turns out that we are embarrassingly rich in resources for healthy living on the Eastside. First, we have great markets: Tri County Produce, Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market, Fresh & Easy – where you can get organic produce, grains, wild-caught fish, supplements, and more.
For fitness, we have Aggressive Soccer, personal trainers, the batting cages, fitness classes, and more.
We also have medical and well being resources: Franklin Clinic, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinic, and Milpas Medical are all here, as is the Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute.
Add to that those pushing me to do a Milpas Biggest Loser competition to lose weight… well it all that got rolled into the Milpas Healthy Community Initiative, whose big sponsor is McDonald’s.
Cue the catcalls on McDonald’s, but they do offer healthy items on their menu. When I traveled a lot for business, and despaired over poor airport food choices, my go-to solution was a fruit and yogurt parfait and a bottle of water from McDonald’s. The hardest part of losing weight is dining out – you have to navigate past a sea of temptation to find the healthier items. Make it easier on us, please! McDonald’s separated out their healthy choices on their menu for the Healthy Community Initiative.
They also have a McFit program for their employees. I met Claudia Hernandez, the manager of the Milpas McDonald’s, who lost 20 pounds on that program. She’s gorgeous. And tiny. And she got that way while working at McDonald’s!
Dave Peterson, the owner, is a fit and healthy guy. He connected us with Choo Choo – a tall, slender nurse from Cottage Hospital that oversees weight loss programs for their employees.
We felt we had the start of something that could be really fun and healthy for this community.
So we kicked it off April 12th with the Milpas 1000 Challenge – we’re losing 1,000 pounds on the Milpas-Eastside. Cottage nurses were on site on that cold, foggy Saturday morning to weigh us, advise us on healthier habits, and give us support materials. Teams from the neighborhood signed up for the Challenge. When you lose 10 pounds, you’re eligible for a drawing for prizes like a brand new bike from Hazard’s, a $100 shopping trip at Tri County Produce, gorgeous gift basket from Fresh Market, massage from the Body Therapy Institute, and more.
After weigh in, it was time for Milpas Moves! We’re bringing a free workout class every month to the neighborhood and moving together as a community. Casa De La Raza brought in a Zumba class that kicked mine and Monique Limon’s butts. People from 6 to 75 were out there moving to Latin dance music, doing Salsa moves on steroids. It was a total blast!
Being a gym rat….well…it’s just not appetizing for some of us. So we want to introduce the community to fun fitness activities with free classes! If you like the class, you can take more of them right here on the Eastside. The Zumba classas at Casa De La Raza are only $5 Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 PM. That’s fitness everyone can afford!
Want to get in on it? Weigh in at the Milpas McDonald’s Tuesdays or Thursdays at 6 PM. The next Milpas Moves! is May 17th 9-11 AM. We weigh in 9-10 AM, and workout 10-11 AM. Follow the Milpas Community Association on Facebook so you can stay abreast of all the offerings. It’s free and fun!