Weighing In: Thoughts shifting toward healthier

Published on Saturday, 13 September 2014 22:24 - Written by BY COSHANDRA DILLARD, cdillard@tylerpaper.com

We’re living in an interesting time as ideas flow and people are receptive to culture changes.

This week, we begin a series on mental health. It’s an opportunity to explore several issues related to the topic such as faith, stigma, lack of funding and disparities. With an upcoming conference on mental health and the church all abuzz, sources tell me that this marks real change in Tyler.

It’s a shift in how we think about health, period.


People are stepping outside of comfort zones to address the most pressing matters that affect us physically, mentally and emotionally.

In recent months, there have been other initiatives, events and opportunities charged with transforming our health in ways we’ve not thought about before. Thousands weighed in for Lighten Up East Texas. Local food advocates are lobbying to get food from the farm to school cafeterias.

Proponents of a plant-based diet have gained some ground in cattle country, with the Eat Healthy Tyler group meeting monthly to share dishes and recipes. The Process-Free Support Group also meets to encourage a diet of whole foods that are closest to its natural form as possible.


Eastern medicine practitioners have located here as residents seek options that are complementary to conventional western medicine. Zen Station: A Holistic Haven, a network for holistic living, promotes activities that boost mental clarity and they also facilitate various support groups.

Bicycle and running clubs have long been a staple here, but are becoming more visible.

Trendy fitness facilities, like Hot Yoga Tyler, and classes such as barre — which makes use of a ballet bar for Pilates-like workouts — are typically seen in more urban cities.

With rising health costs, a scourge of chronic illness and the average American pinching pennies, it’s only fitting that Tylerites welcome unorthodox ways to retain or reclaim health.

Health and fitness have become a real cause. People are fighting against disparities in access to health care and for the freedom to grow food or buy it from local farmers. They don’t want to go broke after an illness and they want to find healthy food in their neighborhoods.

Hopefully, the quest for health literacy, awareness and equality will continue long after the conferences, contests and initiatives end.