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One Appalachian's guide to hummus
Rick Morris was surprised to find such a selection of hummus at his local grocery store.
February 16th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

One Appalachian's guide to hummus

Editor's Note: Rick Morris is a web developer and volunteer firefighter from Canton, North Carolina.  He is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program.  Each athlete receives all the tools necessary to train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September, alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  The seven athletes met up two weeks ago in Atlanta for the official kickoff of the program, where Rick developed a new taste for hummus.

Hummus. The very word, for those like me, not in the know, sounded like a foreign term for something gross. Globular pustules on a teenager's face. A backwoods verb for singing under one's breath (“hummus a song, Cooter”). Perhaps a brand of automobile.

Until recently, I can honestly say that I had never heard of hummus. In fact, I was somewhat taken aback when it was placed in front of me at a recent restaurant gathering. It evolved something like this...

“Want some hummus, Rick?” they asked.

“What's hummus?" I inquired.

Atlanta's crowded Flying Biscuit restaurant went near silent for a moment that day, my friends. A myriad of eyes in disbelief angled my direction. I'm pretty sure the winds outside got angry and old-man winter was preparing a cold blast of disdain to lash at me the moment I walked out the door.
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'I gained more with them than I ever lost in a limb'
February 15th, 2012
10:58 AM ET

'I gained more with them than I ever lost in a limb'

Editor's Note: Denise Castelli, an office manager from Netcong, New Jersey, lost her leg to an infection following a tragic accident in a collegiate softball game. After sending in her iReport video, Denise was selected as one of seven CNN viewers  to participate in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program.  Denise, and the rest of the Fit Nation athletes receive all the tools necessary to train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September, alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  The seven athletes met up two weeks ago in Atlanta for the official kickoff of the program.

I’ve been playing team sports my entire life. I know how a cohesive team can win championships, and how a cancerous team, regardless of talent, can self-implode.

The importance of a team turning into a “family” is, in my opinion, a necessary feat. Once that happens, the team becomes unstoppable. That team’s possibilities go far beyond what any stats or win/loss record could show.

Last weekend was the official kick-off for my new team with the Fit Nation Challenge. Looking back on it now, I have to laugh at the fact that I was actually nervous about meeting my teammates.

Sure, I had seen everyone’s submission videos and we had spoken on a conference call a few times, but beyond that, these people were still total strangers to me. How could I manage to share my deepest fears, my most trying moments, and my greatest achievements with people I barely even know?
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The ticket that changed my life
Jeff Dauler (front) works out with his teammates and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Atlanta Hawks practice court.
February 13th, 2012
02:18 PM ET

The ticket that changed my life

Editor's Note: Jeff Dauler, a radio host from Atlanta, Georgia, is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program.  Each athlete receives all the tools necessary to train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September, alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  The seven athletes met up two weeks ago in Atlanta for the official kickoff of the program.

It was a day or two after kick-off weekend, and I finally had a few minutes to tidy up my house. The week or two prior were the types of weeks where everything falls into the "I'll get to it next week" category, so there was a fair amount of clutter to tackle.

I started at my desk and began opening mail, sorting receipts, filing paperwork, discarding trash. I came across the ticket to the Atlanta Hawks game that I attended with my new CNN Fit Nation triathlon family, and I quickly tossed it into the wastebasket beneath my desk.

I've been working in radio almost two decades. I've attended enough concerts, events, and games to fill multiple photo albums with used tickets. I don't keep them.
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Learning how to fuel myself and others
February 12th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Learning how to fuel myself and others

Editor's Note: Adrienne LaGier from St. Leonard, Maryland, is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program.  Each athlete receives all the tools necessary to train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September, alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  The seven athletes met up this past weekend in Atlanta for the official kickoff of the program.

One of my goals in completing this challenge is to create a new healthy lifestyle for myself, fiancé Chris, and the girls. Making exercise a priority is only half of the equation.

The other half is food.

How does this high school teacher/busy mom of busy twins/aspiring triathlete lose weight, resist temptation, and provide healthy meals for the family?
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Finally for me, something clicked
February 11th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Finally for me, something clicked

Editor's Note: Glenn Keller from Burleson, Texas is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program.  Each athlete receives all the tools necessary to train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September, alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  The seven athletes met up this past weekend in Atlanta for the official kickoff of the program.

What clicked? That’s the question I have had to ask myself. What clicked to cause me to realize the importance of my personal health? What clicked to make me stop ignoring my most prized possession: me!

Every 3,000 miles, cars have to get an oil change and service. Every 15,000 miles, the same for my truck. When either starts to make a noise or runs funny, off to the shop they go. Every two weeks I have to make sure the lawn gets mowed. It’s hard to believe everything gets maintained except for me.

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Triathlete takes a good look in the mirror
Nancy Klinger gets to the summit of Stone Mountain with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and her Fit Nation teammates
February 9th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Triathlete takes a good look in the mirror

Editor's Note: Nancy Klinger from Afton, Minnesota is one of seven CNN viewers selected for The CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, where they will train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September.  This past weekend, all seven participants came together with Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Atlanta for the official kickoff of the challenge.

The impact of the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Team kick-off weekend in Atlanta did not hit me until Monday morning.

It started out as a normal work day, up at 5:15 a.m. to take the dogs for a walk, ate breakfast, and grabbed a quick shower before heading off to work. I wrapped the towel around myself and looked in the mirror to dry my hair. And then it happened. The impact.

The tears started to flow and they kept flowing. The tears were constant and heavy, like a faucet fully opened.

Although I was looking in the mirror, I did not see myself but small video clips of this incredible weekend with the most wonderful people that one can imagine. The clips were not in any particular order but were random. Each clip sparked a different emotion; emotions that I have not felt, or allowed myself to feel, in a very long time.
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Small changes bring big results for triathlete
February 8th, 2012
02:58 PM ET

Small changes bring big results for triathlete

Editor's Note: Carlos Solis from Ontario, California, is one of 7 CNN viewers selected to train with CNN for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September. This past weekend, the "Lucky 7" came together in Atlanta for their first training sessions with coaches April Burkey and Laura Cozik.

Sitting here on the plane trip back from Atlanta, I am reminiscing about the small changes I have recently made in my life as I pursue the goal of completing my first triathlon, and the powerful effect they have already had.

One small run for the record, one giant stride for me

Ever had to think on your feet before? Well, I literally had to think on my feet this weekend! I had only gone a quarter lap of my first timed mile in almost thirty years and my calves were already screaming at me.

So, I made one small adjustment by shortening my stride and I was able to not only finish the run, but - according to my trainer, Dave Ruby - do it in a respectable 13:24. Finishing for me was an emotional experience.
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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