Nearly one in three Georgians is listed as obese according to the State of Obesity project, while the United Health Foundation reports that nearly 40 percent of Georgians have high blood pressure.
The taste of down-home, fried Southern cuisine definitely plays a part in that, according to Phillip Pfeifer, the health ministries coordinator for Battlefield Community Southern Adventist Church.
"As Southerners, we love our fried food," Pfeifer laughed. "It's why eating healthy is even more important in the Southeast."
To help combat the obesity and high blood pressure epidemic locally, Pfeifer and the rest of his health ministry staff are hosting free seminars to the public on the topic of a plant-based diet and how to make it work. The seminars will be held July 18 and Aug. 15 from 6-8 p.m. at Battlefield Adventist.
Each presentation will include several recipes for breakfast and dinner, as well as tips on how to make affordable decisions when buying fruits and vegetables.
"With parenting, we know menu planning and proper preparation are both very important," Pfeifer said. "When we were producing these recipes, we made sure they were all simplistic, delicious and economical."
Guests at the seminars will be able to try out the recipes as they're made, giving them an idea of the culinary possibilities of working with plants.
Pfeifer and his staff recently held a similar event centered around reversing the effects of Type 2 diabetes. The upcoming vegetarian cooking seminars will also teach attendees how to manage their diets to combat the disease, he said.
The plant-based seminar gets much of its information from a program designed by Steven and Karen Wickham from Grundy County, Tenn., who have found success in aiding people dealing with diabetes through a plant-based diet, Pfeifer said.
Pfeifer is no stranger to healthy habits, though. He's been hosting community seminars on how to live healthier through his ministry positions for over a decade, although he's only been in the Ringgold area for five years.
"We just want to show the community the benefits of a healthy diet and how it's possible for everyone," he said.
For more information about attending one of the seminars, contact Phillip Pfeifer at firstname.lastname@example.org. No RSVP is required.