Fresh, tasty and good for you
At a farm stand not far from my house a family sells produce plucked from fields right next to the roadside tables on which they are displayed. Squash, tomatoes, lettuce, sweet corn, peas, cukes, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupes -- they're true joys of summer.
Even if you buy groceries in the supermarket, fresh produce is a real treat -- and one you can indulge in without guilt. Fresh vegetables and fruit have lots of nutrients, low fat and not too many calories. That's a welcome change for our culture, where collectively we have an awful diet that makes us heavy and unhealthy.
Americans are officially the fattest people on the planet, with 65 percent of our adults overweight, and 30 percent so overweight they are obese -- up dramatically from 46 percent and 15 percent, respectively, 25 years ago, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
Experts point to lots of reasons, but the basic one is this: We eat too much.
We are eating too much, and too much of what we are eating is fast food -- both served in restaurants and bought at the market ready for the microwave. These heavily processed foods generally are high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates and low in nutrients, and the serving sizes just keep going up. For instance, Hardee's Monster Thickburger contains 1,420 calories. By comparison, McDonald's Big Mac has "just" 570 calories, and Burger King's Whopper with cheese has 800 calories.
Along with or expanding waistlines is a big rise in type 2 diabetes, hypertension, joint trouble, heart disease, gall bladder ailments, and on and on. We pay a cost in bodily health, but also in monetary terms -- additional tens of billions every year, the CDC says.
Being Christian stewards means taking care of all our God-given gifts, and that includes our bodies as a matter of priority. If we're unhealthy, how can we take care of anything else? Clearly we have a lot of work to do, and eating a balanced, healthy diet and maintaining a normal weight goes a long way toward that goal.
So next time you drive past the farm stand or the produce aisle at the supermarket, indulge in one of the joys of summer. It's good for you, and it's good stewardship!
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
Reprint right gladly given to congregations for nonprofit, local use. Just include the following note: "Copyright (c) 2008 The Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission."
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Joke of the Week!