Dear Dr. Walt,
Those of us who live in Mississippi are told our diets are deplorable. Besides the fact that others have called my people ‘deplorable,’ I kinda like the food down here and think the food is marvelous and delicious. Any thoughts?
—Marveling in Mississippi
In my most recent book, “Fit over 50: Make Simple Choices Today for a Healthier, Happier You,” Dr. Philip Bishop and I write, “Let us suggest what may be the worst diet in America. (Know that we say this as thoroughly Southern boys! I’m from Louisiana and Phil’s from Alabama) The most damaging diet, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is the “Southern-Style Diet”—described as including:
In fact, the authors describe the diet as “deadly, especially to African-Americans,” by increasing “blood pressure up to killer levels.”
Another 2019 study involved more than 100,000 postmenopausal women and showed that “frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, was associated with a higher risk of all-cause, and cardiovascular, mortality in women in the U.S.”
How did my wife, Barb, and I change our “Southern Diet Craving”?
Knowing that the average family eats about ten different dinners a month, we decided to keep a daily diary of what we ate for dinner. At the end of three months, we discovered we had eaten nine different dinners three or more times together. Barb picked up a couple of cookbooks that were chock-full of recipes for nutritious, healthy, and good-tasting food.
During the next three months, we alternated picking recipes to try. Of the 30 or so we tried, we absolutely loved twelve of them. These twelve healthy recipes now make up the core of our family dinners. Not only do Barb and I love these delicious and healthy meals, but so do our children, grandchildren, and friends.
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