Michael Minor, a Baptist pastor in Mississippi, has banished fried chicken from fellowship events at his church. He urges other churches and pastors to do the same.
This story "has legs," as they say, appearing in more numerous and increasingly prominent places, finally making the New York Times last week.
There are signs that food retailers are finally reversing the trend in serving sizes, and responding to the rising number of consumers looking for meals that are tasty and just-big-enough.
"If anyone knows about regularity, it's monks." That's a quote from Phil Fox Rose (at Busted Halo), and I detected a double-entendre that he probably didn't intend. Rose recently went on a monastic retreat, and among his epiphanies from that experience, he was struck by the value of having set daily meal times and limited menu choices. (At his retreat, breakfast each morning was 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 slices of toast with orange marmalade. Take it or leave it.)
Could our diet be a symptom, rather than a cause, of our unhealthy and unbalanced lives?
For many years, citizens of countries such as Greece, Italy, and Yugoslavia enjoyed excellent health relative to the rest of the world. Public health researchers credited the "Mediterranean Diet," an assemblage of foods that features fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry, whole grains, and olive oil (and includes little red meat or processed food).
Many North Carolinians don't have easy access to stores selling healthy food – a concept known as living in a “food desert”. Most of us know of food markets in low income neighborhoods that were deemed unprofitable and then closed, never to be replaced. (I can think of a couple of examples in east Raleigh.) That’s not surprising, given that that grocery stores, like most retail establishments, are designed to maximize profits, not to benefit the consumer.
Our friends at Partners in Health and Wholeness (North Carolina Council of Churches) recently passed along an announcement of a new program, Nourishing NC, a joint venture between the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. The mission of Nourishing NC is to install or enhance community gardens throughout the state with the goal of starting gardens in all 100 counties by the end of 2013. The initiative will be led by public parks, health, and extension depa
Health isn’t something we can achieve solely on our own – it’s connected to the environment around us. Having access to fresh foods (and being able to afford them!), being able to walk or jog safely without the risk of being hit by a speeding car -- these things all play into our overall sense of well-being.
There are definitely things that congregations can do to improve the health environment in and around the church. And we want to hear about them!
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is almost upon us. Let me call readers’ attention to Seasoning Lent -- an eight-week Lenten devotional that features daily healthy recipes.
Seasoning Lent invites us to contemplate cooking simple, healthy meals as a spiritual practice. Take a look.
John James, M.A.
Research Analyst, Clergy Health Initiative