April 11, 2015 / 2013 / March / A Case Study in Personal Health Ministry

A Case Study in Personal Health Ministry

submitted March 29, 2013 by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1>A Case Study in Personal Health Ministry</h1>

I recently had the opportunity to practice a bit of health ministry in my home. My wife Karen and I were discussing our own desire to eat healthier, as well as our desire to help others in our family as well. I'm sure the profile is familiar to many of us: lives alone, approaching 70 years old, increasingly sedentary, overweight, experiencing more frequent health problems. So, how did I use NEHM's site to help?

The first thing I did was go to NEHM's Resources page and click on the tag for 'Healthy Weight'. We were looking specifically for resources for individuals, not parishes. We started by downloading the 'Aim for a Healthy Weight' document. This has a tremendous amount of very user-friendly material. A quick look through it gave us ideas for what foods we should be eating, portion sizes and substitutions for making our current recipes more healthy. We took a quick look at our estimated Body Mass Index (BMI).  It was clear this is a great resource. There's plenty to dig in to here, so we saved this document for closer reading later and continued looking.

The Portion Plate from Episcopal Retirement Homes in Cincinnati, OH is a terrific resource. An actual plate, this can clearly help with portion control. It's one thing to know you should eat less meat and more fruits and veggies but another thing to see the ideal proportions actually represented on your plate. While it is nice to know a church can use this as a program for members, we were excited to see we could also order individual plates and brochures.

We had purposely saved the Let's Move! website for last, as we had expected it would have a lot of great ideas to explore. We definitely were not disappointed. Pulling up the main site, the very first story was 'Let's Cook!', a new MyPlate recipe partnership that makes it easy for busy families to enjoy healthier meals at home. Immediately, we saw links to eighteen(!) cooking sites with recipes that were specifically designated as healthy. Even more interesting to me personally was the new set of Pinterest boards, showing you what many of these recipes actually look like when ready. It's one thing to know you are about to eat something that is good for you; it's quite another to browse great pictures and have your mouth water at meals that look delicious, are easy to prepare and don't take long either.

At this point, we were feeling really good about the information we had found and Karen and I were both excited about our ideas for different meals (we tend to repeat the same meals often). We returned to the 'Aim for a Healthy Weight' document and reviewed the information about the importance of physical exercise and its impact on health. The information was clear and the goals seemed reasonable. Sure, this isn't exactly new information. However, knowing the 'right thing' in the abstract and having a concrete plan to address it is often two completely different things. Here is what our review of resources on NEHM's site yielded for us:

  1. A document (Aim for a Healthy Weight) we could print and share with family members that provided an overview of essential health information and a basic plan for making positive changes.

  2. A Portion Plate that will help us visualize portion sizes and stick to them.

  3. A bunch of easy, simple, delicious (I hope, based on the pictures) recipes that will save us from not knowing what to make for dinner.

Finally, we recently volunteered with our parish to prepare a meal for a local shelter. The meal we served was good but I couldn't help wondering if we could serve a healthier meal with fresher ingredients instead of relying on processed foods. The Pinterest recipes have given me numerous ideas for our next meal there.

I'm excited about how we have reorganized NEHM's resources. I think the new model encourages you to browse topics and explore new ideas. This is just one example of how I personally used the site for myself this week. I hope you are finding it to be equally worthwhile!