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Posted: July 15, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Healthy living takes lifelong learning

I recently had the opportunity to speak to the first graduates of the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP) in Savannah. They are all patients of Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care (CVCPHC), and had participated in the 12-week program to learn about how they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

I was proud and humbled to talk with them because I admire what they have accomplished. Like them, I am also a student on a journey to learn how to live longer and healthier and to set a new standard of good health with my family.

Having lived longer with a better quality of life than my parents and most of my grandparents, I understand what it’s like to overcome the fear of chronic illness and discover ways to actually prevent the diseases that cost us financially and emotionally.

The completion of the first CRI LEP here in Savannah is just one example of the amazing progress that’s been made since I began talking in earnest with Canyon Ranch Institute last year about providing an opportunity for the people of Savannah to become “students of health.”

What’s exciting to me is that CRI isn’t focused on just one aspect of health and wellness. They are champions for the integrative approach that reminds us that health is comprised of mind, body, spirit, and emotion. As a result, CRI has put several projects into action in a short time here in Savannah, and we’re already seeing positive results.

In addition to the CRI LEP, the newly created CRI Healthy Garden at the northwest corner of Trustees’ Garden is just bursting with vegetables, herbs and flowers. On a regular basis, volunteers arrive to tend the garden, learn about how to create gardens at their homes, and harvest the bounty. Some arrive as strangers but everyone leaves as friends.
Now, that’s health literacy in action — people coming together for a common purpose and having fun while they’re at it.
In another area of Trustees’ Garden, we’ve identified the location for a demonstration kitchen that will offer another learning opportunity. People will be able to watch an expert chef create healthy, nutritious food.

And I can tell you from experience, CRI will help us ensure the recipes will taste great — no bland, boring dishes for Savannah!

What I love about being a lifelong student of health is that it isn’t just about me. Yes, I’ve personally benefitted from what I’ve learned, but I’ve also met some astounding people who have shared their journeys with me. We learn from each other.

We can support one another and rejoice in knowing “I’m not the only one.” That’s why I always tell people who are first starting down the path to being healthier to surround themselves with like-minded people. It adds to the fun, too.
On the heading of this page is a description of the Canyon Ranch Institute Savannah Partnership (CRISP). CRISP reflects that idea of working with like-minded people. Initially, CRI was collaborating with Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care. But in a very short time, the word spread about what was happening and other businesses and individuals began to ask how they could get involved.

That interest led to CRISP, and we continue to invite everyone who is interested in the ideas of prevention, integrative health, and a healthier community to join us in this journey to helping everyone in Savannah embrace a life of wellness.
How can we create a healthy change in Savannah? One person at a time. Each one tells one — or two or three or more. We’re building a strong foundation through the CRI LEP, CRI Healthy Garden at Trustees’ Garden and CRISP. We’re gaining momentum, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Charles H. Morris is a long-time Savannah resident and President and CEO of Morris Multimedia, the parent organization of Connect Savannah.

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