Going on the Amish diet

Amish Work

A hard days work delivers rewards of health in the Amish world. Photo: Amishamerica.com

In light of studies showing that members of Old Order Amish communities have significantly fewer cases of obesity, diabetes and related health problems, some have suggested that an “Amish diet” might work even better than, say, an Atkins diet.

There’s nothing hifalutin’ or fancy about it. In short, it would mean eating hearty meals every day but being as physically active as are typical members of Amish farm families.

Amish meals routinely include lots of home grown meats, fruits and vegetables, but also some very tasty desserts. Not low fat desserts. Tasty desserts!

Fitting in your work out

But all of that is accompanied by hours of good manual labor (and the use of far less fossil fuel) in the growing, preserving, preparing and transporting of food. It also involves labor that goes into making many of their own clothes and otherwise taking good care of their households and farms.

In his book, Great Possessions:  An Amish Farmer’s Journal, author David Kline describes some of the simple everyday pleasures of living on his 120-acre Holmes County, Ohio, farm, where the entire family works together to grow and market food and take care of the land that is so vital to their way of life.

Without the distractions of radio, television, computers, e-mail, or cell phones, something as ordinary as cleaning out their horse barn becomes an opportunity for Kline and his teenage son to experience rigorous exercise while engaging in an extended man-to-man conversation, something that happens all too seldom between most fathers and sons in our faster paced urban society.

The Amish Diet How-To

While not many of us urbanites will be able to live like the Amish, a healthier, lower-tech lifestyle might involve the following:

  • less mowing and more hoeing–and gardening
  • less shopping at crowded malls and more sharing of homemade gifts and resources with our neighbors
  • less dependence on far-off corporate farms and factories and more reliance on home and locally grown products
  • less dependence on passive forms of media entertainment and more use of physically active and socially interactive work and play
  • less riding and more walking and biking

We could call it the latest, state-of-the-art “Amish Diet and Workout Plan.” But since it’s ages old and tried-and-true, we won’t. We’ll just say, try it, you’ll like it.

–Harvey Yoder, Transition Voice

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  1. John Andersen says

    Got rid of the car at the end of June. I now have a job that involves a commute of walking to the bus stop, riding the bus, then the light rail, and finally walking to the job site. The total walking distance each day is 2+ miles, and of course, I’m on my feet all day walking (commercial cleaning).

    Thing is, I love this active lifestyle, and see a lot of positives.

    The Amish have it right. We’d do well to follow their lead.

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