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Paying Health & Wellness Forward

Being very active on twitter and facebook, I’ve made many wonderful “friends” and have learned a lot. But I was blown away recently by having my three books–So What Can I Eat?!, Feed Your Family Right!, and the latest, Nutrition At Your Fingertips turned into a wellness calendar that hundreds of media outlets would receive. It was an unexpected gift and surprise to me from the food journalist and registered dietitian extrordinaire, Dr. Sandra Frank. She has always been a great supporter of the work we registered dietitians do, and this gesture that honored me was simply extraordinary.

I asked Dr. Frank how the calendar came to be, and this was her reply:

“The wellness calendar has a history that spans almost 20 years. When my son Jake was about two years old (20 years ago), he discovered the joys of celebrations and holidays. He associated these events with gifts, food, family, music and fun. Every day, Jake would ask me, “What are we celebrating today?” Initially, I would make up events, such as a new tooth, the sun is out, etc… Eventually I would research reference books and later the Internet to see if there were special functions occurring on a specific day.

To my surprise and delight, I found numerous events each day of the year, but there were too many and it was a bit overwhelming. I started to note those days that dealt only with Health, Nutrition, Food, Safety, Disability Rights and Environmental Issues.

I realized many of these events went unnoticed or unreported by Journalists, Educators and Health Professionals. In 2002, I started to send out about 50 calendars to local and national media representatives in the hope the topics would encourage awareness and inspire ideas for stories and/or projects. Each year the number of calendars we sent out would increase, as did the thank you notes from local, national and worldwide correspondents.

Then in 2006, Jake and his friends graduated high school. They were unable to find employment due to their disabilities (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, MD). I asked them if they would be interested in working with me on the Wellness Calendar. They said, “Yes”.

I’ve never charged for the calendars, but I thought this would be a wonderful way to raise money to help them with their ADL, self esteem, independence, etc… Apparently, I lack the marketing and sales experience because we didn’t sell any calendars.

I didn’t have the heart to tell my staff. So through the years, I’ve paid them with my disability check. (In 2002, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I had a double mastectomy. It eventually became difficult for me to work outside of the home; Jake’s father had passed away and I needed to be around to take care of Jake.)

The calendar was created to make sure every Journalist and Educator knew when certain events occurred, such as National Nutrition Month, World Diabetes Day, Earth Day, RD Day and many others. The goal was to provide a useful tool to impress their editors with some interesting time-sensitive stories.

Later on, the calendar served to provide employment to individuals who have a difficult time finding jobs due to their special abilities.”

So here’s my way of paying it forward. I’m going to randomly give away 4 of the Wellness calendars, each with a copy of one of my books (whichever one you choose) as a thank you for the wonderful work of Dr. Frank, her son and his friends and in an effort to have you, too, pay health and wellness forward in whatever way you choose. To enter to win, you can do one or more of the following:

1. Sign up for my ZIED GUIDE newsletter (and send me an email to let me know you did); go to and sign up by clicking on the right side of the page.

2. Comment on the post related to this Giveaway on my Facebook Fan Page:

3. Share the post with others on Facebook;

4. Re-Tweet the post related to this Giveaway on Twitter;

5. Leave a comment below about how you’ll use the calendar.

Good luck! See below for more info about Dr. Frank and her wonderful work.

About Sandra Frank, Ed.D., RD, LDN:

Frank is a food journalist, web/blog designer, and researcher. Her Website, Dietitians On-line, is dedicated to acknowledging the contributions of the Dietitian on the Internet. She also has a blog (Dietitians Online) and can be found on Facebook at Dietitians Online or on Twitter at @DietitianOnline. But wait, there’s more! See below:

Website: Weighing Success
Encourages awareness & inspires ideas for Journalists, Educators, Consumers and Health Professionals
Blog: Wellness News
Facebook: Wellness News
Twitter: Wellness_News

Website: Wheelchair-Connection.
Become aware of the courage, strength and spirit of those we call “Special”. Discover and share
resources for assistance, equipment and changes in the law. Meet the heroes.

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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