I have always wanted to be in some type of work where I could help our own church members learn the principles of proper diet and healthful living, so that they could practice these principles in their homes. My opportunity came when I had the privilege of conducting the nutrition classes in connection with the institute for church workers held at Paradise Valley Sanitarium in April of this year.
Each church had the privilege of selecting its own representatives to attend the classes. These members then returned to their home churches and started conducting classes for the other church members. In this way, each church member is able to receive the benefit of the classes, even though it was impossible for all to come and take classes at one time and in one place.
We had eighteen regular students, and six or eight others attended most of the classes. Among the regular attendants were graduate nurses, dietitians, doctors' wives, college graduates, former school teachers, housewives with extra training in home economics, and women with no qualifications except that they were willing and anxious to learn. All made good use of their time, availing themselves of all the knowledge they could get.
A brief outline of our daily program was as follows: At eight-thirty the day's activities were begun with a short devotional period. This was followed by a supervised study period in which the class studied the lesson, and was permitted to ask questions, or have explanations on any part of the lesson for that period. At the close of the study period, a short oral or written quiz was given; then a fifteen-minute recess was allowed before taking up the lecture from ten to eleven. The lecture was followed by a demonstration during the next hour. In the afternoon the same program was employed from one-thirty to five —supervised study period, quiz, recess, lecture, and demonstration.
Our course was brief ; yet we made an attempt to cover the main points which would be most essential to our people. The relation of diet to health, supported by Bible references and scientific data, was our opening lecture. We studied the balanced diet and how to make it, by an understanding of the physiology of digestion, the energy needs of the body, and how the energy is supplied by the different foods. Different food constituents were taken up in detail—proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, etc.—and their importance in making strong, healthy bodies was emphasized. The food needs of children, and ways to prepare appropriate dishes for the child as well as the invalid, were also studied. Two or three typical dishes for each were prepared and cooked before the class. At the following meal, the class members were each given samples of the demonstrated foods.
I believe such nutrition classes are very helpful. Even with small beginnings, there is opportunity for much to be accomplished. One need not worry about not having equipment to work with, for where there's a will, there's a way. Wherever a group is anxious to carry on such a program, if they can secure a room adequate to accommodate the number of people who are planning to attend, utensils can be obtained from various friends and neighbors for a few days. And in most places it can be arranged to have a stove brought out from some store that is willing to display it. This advertises their stove, and at the same time it is fulfilling the needs of a nutrition school.
Several of those who were in attendance at this short institute called me by telephone, and others have written or have come to see me, and told me about the classes they are conducting in their home churches. They are all enthusiastic, and thoroughly enjoying their work in the local church.