by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/knock-tobacco-out-of-the-park">Knock Tobacco Out of the Park</a></h1>

I am grateful for the opportunity to sign on to this letter calling for tobacco to be removed from the game of baseball. Chewing tobacco sets a terrible example for our youth and has no place in our beloved national pastime. 

-Matthew Ellis, Executive Director, NEHM


CONTACT: Dan Cronin, Marie Cocco, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 202-296-5469
Elizabeth Wood, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention, 615-782-8417
Wayne Rhodes, United Methodist General Board of Church & Society, 202-488-5630

Faith Leaders Call for Major League Baseball Players’ Union to take Tobacco out of the Ballgame

Players must provide healthy role models for kids and families

WASHINGTON, DC (May 31, 2011) – Religious leaders representing 25 faith groups around the country today called for the Major League Baseball Players Association to agree to Commissioner Bud Selig’s proposed prohibition on tobacco use at games. The faith leaders join a growing coalition of medical groups, public health officials and fans that is urging baseball to prohibit smokeless tobacco use in the contract that is to take effect next year.

The leaders represent some of the largest faith groups in the U.S., including Methodists, Baptists, Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, Lutherans and Presbyterians. Among those who signed the letter are Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and a longtime leader among evangelical Christians, and James E. Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.

“In our calling, we see the impact that tobacco use has on families and communities,” the religious leaders wrote in a letter to Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLBPA. “This is a product that maims and kills those who use it.”

The leaders noted that smokeless tobacco use among high school boys has climbed 36 percent since 2003, and said big league ballplayers have a responsibility to be better role models for young fans.

“When the cameras are rolling and they zoom in on a player, the last thing we want our kids to see is a big wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek or under his lip, as if he’s an advertising spokesman for deadly tobacco,” Land said. “The players must recognize that they are harming their own health and jeopardizing our children’s futures by continuing to make it look as though smokeless tobacco is integral to the major league mystique.”

Winkler said: “The players’ union has a chance to resolve this issue without delay by following Commissioner Selig’s recommendation for a Major League Baseball prohibition on tobacco use that’s similar to what already is in place in the minor leagues. This shouldn’t be contentious. It’s a matter of protecting players’ health and the well-being of kids.”

Smokeless tobacco use causes oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions. Its use by young people also may serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking, the nation’s number one cause of preventable death.

In November, 10 major medical and public health groups asked Selig and Weiner to agree to a prohibition on tobacco use at games as part of the current contract talks. Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey also have called for a ban, and in March, the top public health officials in a majority of Major League Baseball cities joined together in backing a prohibition.

Selig announced on March 31—Opening Day of the 2011 season—that the league would propose a tobacco ban comparable to the one currently in place in the minor leagues. The players’ union has not responded to Selig’s commitment, and has said the issue is the subject of negotiations.

Many of today’s young baseball stars, including Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton, have spoken publicly about their addiction to smokeless tobacco and difficulty in quitting. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn’s recent cancer diagnosis and his public comments attributing his disease to years of chewing tobacco have underscored the health threat from smokeless tobacco.

Tobacco use was banned in the minors in 1993. The NCAA and the National Hockey League have instituted prohibitions on tobacco use. Major League Baseball lags behind.

For more information:

Letter from religious leaders to Major League Baseball Players Association:

Additional letters, media coverage and other materials about smokeless tobacco and baseball:

Episcopal Church Resolution 2000-D001: Declare All Church Buildings to be "Tobacco-free Zones"

tags Tobacco
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/episcopal-aids-ministries-evolve-along-with-the-epidemic">Episcopal AIDS ministries evolve along with the epidemic</a></h1>

This article originally appeared at Episcopal News Service

'Willing to be inconvenienced'

Looking at the future of Episcopal Church AIDS ministry, current NEAC board Chair Lola Thomas sees the need for increased hands-on ministry. Her own organization, the AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia, offers various educational and supportive services but always has included personal assistance for HIV/AIDS patients, whether they need a ride to the doctor or someone to feed their fish while they're in the hospital.

"I want the church to be willing to be inconvenienced," Thomas recently told the NAEC board. "People don't just die on our schedule. When people are in great need, many times that means that you have to jump in there and be willing to be inconvenienced.

"I really see ministry for people living with HIV to some extent being made a part, but a vital part, of just ministry in the church."

"Whether someone has HIV or they have cancer or they have whatever they have, it can be brought into ministry in a more inclusive way," she said, adding that this might help combat the continued discrimination against HIV patients. "We would also love to be able to provide more education to people in those parishes throughout the church so that they themselves are not afraid of HIV."

"In the early days," Thomas said, "NEAC convened a lot of educational programs and had conferences that all focused on HIV and AIDS, and this was at the time when you saw a lot of care teams in churches."

NEAC stopped offering conferences after attendance dropped during the 1990s, perhaps because people no longer needed the same education or because the crisis had shifted with the advent of new medications, she said. The coalition began working more "behind the scenes" and with individual groups, she said.

NEAC recently launched a new website as part of an effort to revive its networking role, said Matthew Ellis, executive director of NEAC and National Episcopal Health Ministries.

At the grassroots ministry level, "it's sometimes difficult to know exactly what's going on out there. We've not had a mechanism for people to connect," he said. The hope is that NAEC's site can spotlight best practices, list resources -- including educational tool kits and curricula -- and foster connections among people who otherwise can feel isolated in their ministry.

"One of the things that really we're looking to do is to really expand that network and to make people feel part of an AIDS community again in the Episcopal Church," Ellis said.

NEAC soon will release a written strategy in response to General Convention's 2009 charge in Resolution A162 for it to participate in developing a comprehensive response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, Thomas said. "NEAC does still see itself as providing a means for people to do HIV ministry, whether that be by sharing resources, sharing stories, helping people see how they can do ministry in relation to HIV and AIDS."

Read more:

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/christ-church-charlotte-has-a-new-parish-nurse-blog">Christ Church Charlotte has a new parish nurse blog!</a></h1>

 Low Fat Lifestyle - Part I

“So, what can I eat!?” you may be asking. Let’s start with fruits and vegetables. With spring here and summer on its way the variety of fresh produce available is wonderful and getting better. A healthy diet should include at least 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. A serving of most of these is ½ cup, however, for greens like lettuce and spinach one cup is a serving size. A half cup serving is about the amount most people can hold in their cupped hand or an orange or apple about the size of a baseball.

According to Harvard Heart Letter some of the best at lowering LDL are eggplants, okra, apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruit because of the large amounts of fiber in them. One important point to remember is to vary the colors as much as possible-each color in produce correlates to the nutrients that food is rich in and those different nutrients help in our overall health and our body’s ability to fight off infection, inflammation and aging. Be aware of the amount of sodium in canned vegetables and steer away from fruits packed in “syrup”.

Here is the link to a website that gives some information on fruits and veggies and hints on working them into what you eat

Read the full entry here.

Update: Here is Low Fat Lifestyle Part II.

Lynne LeBlanc has been a registered nurse since 1991 and a parish nurse since 2008. Her previous experience includes oncology, surgery (specializing in cardiovascular/thoracic and neurosurgery, but also cross-trained in just about every type), Pre-op/One Day Surgery, Medical/Surgical floor nursing and Home Health Case Management. She confesses that she now has the best nursing job in the world. She is a proud native of South Louisiana and a graduate of Northwestern State University of Louisiana.

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/seasoning-lent-week-3">Seasoning Lent: Week 3 - Finding Comfort</a></h1>

 From the Church Health Reader

True comfort comes from filling ourselves not with food but with God. And one way we can fill ourselves with God’s comfort is by practicing and developing a spiritual discipline – just like we are doing in this devotional. We are not always inclined toward discipline, but need to practice ways that we can fill ourselves with God’s comfort on a daily basis. Only by practicing our faith in tangible ways can we truly live into the comfort that comes only from God.

Therefore, our practice this week will focus on cooking a new kind of “comfort food.” Rather than relying on foods that make us feel stuffed, we will prepare and cook foods that are filling, foods that are made with nutritious elements and leave us feeling full and satisfied. One of the most common critiques of healthy foods is that they always leave us hungry and wanting more. But by eating more of certain foods we can feel full and satiated sooner and avoid eating on impulse. This type of food preparation is called “volumetrics” and was designed by Dr. Barbara Rolls. It is based on the idea that when we eat healthier foods, we can actually eat more food and feel full. This week we will explore how certain foods can bring us physical and emotional comfort, while remembering that true comfort begins and end with the practice of honoring God.

This week's recipes include: 

Cheesy Spinach Cakes are right up my alley! Let us know in the comments section if you make any of these recipes and how they turn out for you!

by Brooke Curtis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/a-sip-of-disaster">A Sip of Disaster</a></h1>

You may be eating better, but are you drinking better? Some of the drinks that are advertised as healthy may actually be fooling us. Labels can sometimes be complicated and contain ingredients that we have never heard of; therefore, we are easily deceived. One rule that I use, is that if I can’t pronounce the name of the ingredient or I don’t know what it is, then it is probably something that I shouldn’t be putting in my body. Also if you’re going to drink it, and it isn’t water, then please make yourself of the servings per bottle. Sometimes people only look at the amount of calories that the drink contains, and they forget that the calorie amount may not be for the entire bottle. Can you guess which drink is the unhealthiest?

Top Ten Drinks ranked from least healthy to most healthy: 
1. Sodas
2. Some Juices
3. Caffeinated Drinks
4. Alcoholic Drinks
5. Health Shakes
6. Diet Sodas
7. Energy Drinks
8. Some Herbal Drinks
9. Flavored Water
10. Tap Water

The best choice is always filtered water! It is recommended that the average person drinks eight 8-ounces glasses of water daily. In order to determine your specific water intake, divide your weight (in pounds) by two, and the remaining number is the amount of ounces you should drink daily.

This emphasis on drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks is a key part of the new USDA Dietary Guidelines. Find a simple overview of the new guidelines here

Brooke Curtis is currently a sophomore attending DePauw University with an intended biology major. She is serving as an intern for NEHM in early 2011.

tags Food