Please read the interesting article in today’s Charlotte Observer entitled “Southern diet may be linked to stroke.” It confirms what many of us who live in the South know through anectodal evidence. All that sweet tea, soda, fried food, hamburgers, processed meat, bacon, ham, hot dogs, and sugary desserts won’t improve your health! The study found that people who ate these kinds of food for six meals per week had a 41% higher stroke risk than people who indulged only once a month. Significantly, the researchers found that people who ate a diet that was “high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish had a 29% lower stroke risk.” This significant study was presented at a conference of the American Stroke Association yesterday in Honolulu.
I have lived in the South since 1981, and have been happily married to my sweet Southern husband for thirty years on April 30th. I know what his traditional Southern diet was like when I first met him, and it has made me very happy that he has been willing to change many eating habits from his youth. I have come to enjoy many Southern dishes, but I have also learned how to adapt them to my meatless lifestyle. If you love Southern cooking, please check out the healthy versions in my book, Fool a Carnivore, of dishes like:
- Hoppin’ John
- Baked Chicken, Okra, and Tomatoes over Pepper Jack Grits
- Collards for a Crowd
- Southern Cornbread
- Meaty Cornbread Skillet
- Okra and Tomatoes with Chicken
Southern cooking has a rich heritage, and has produced many distinctive and delicious dishes. I think it’s possible to eat “Southern Style” with a lower stroke risk by upping the vegetable and whole grain quotient and eliminating the meat by substituting meat analogues – meatless products that closely replicate the sausage, ground meat, or chicken from the traditional recipe.
Now, if I could only get my husband to drink less sweet tea.