If the anxiety of having to be housebound while watching another news conference about COVID19 is making you eat more, you’re not alone. When we’re under stress (mental or physical), the hormone cortisol can really do a number on our appetites. Lack of sleep related to constant worry also raises cortisol levels. Kids being off school, spouses working from home and gyms and rec centers being closed will likely take a toll on our waistlines. Eating due to boredom, fear or frustration isn’t helping either. Call it the “quarantine 15” or the “COVID-19”, we’d all like to avoid weight gain right now.
The good news is that you CAN prevent the possible ‘spread’ from COVID19. If you’re an emotional eater, now is the time to get it under control. Here are a few tips to help.
- Keep a journal. Writing down what you eat, when you eat and how you feel will help you keep an eye on eating patterns and emotions. It will keep you accountable for what you eat in addition to making you pay attention to hunger VS habit or emotion.
- Don’t hoard food. While a few US cities are forcing people to stay in (which is good advice for all of us), there is no need to hoard food. The more food you have in your frig or pantry, the more you’ll either eat or throw away if not used. In the age of Instacart and Amazon delivery, you can have food (and toilet paper) delivered if needed.
- Limit purchases of snack foods, alcohol and other empty calories. Sure, we’ve all been joking about turning to baking or drinking to ride out this pandemic. You may want to save your money (and liver function) during this uncertain time. Keep up the water intake- hydration prevents headaches and fatigue.
- Eat scheduled meals. Work and school life is completely upside down right now, but keeping your family on some semblance of a schedule will help ease their anxiety and help regulate appetite. While this doesn’t have to be militant, keep meals roughly 4 to 5 hours apart.
- Keep eating produce. Just because every article you read says “stock up on non-perishables”, you can still buy, prepare and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Until we run out of romaine, we’re going to keep up the salads in my house.
- Be creative. Have a little extra ‘thyme’? Try a new recipe to get you out of your food rut. While you may crave comfort food, it’s OK to mix things up (literally) now and then.
- Get outside! I am so inspired by how many neighbors I see outside with their families and pets. As the weather warms up, take advantage of biking, hiking or just walking around the block. You can still keep 6 feet of social distance between you and a neighbor or friend while outside.
- Go to bed already! It’s tempting to stay up later if you don’t have a normal work or school schedule. But your body and brain still crave 7 to 8 hours sleep to remain healthy. If possible, keep your usual sleep and wake cycle, even on weekends. Getting enough sleep keeps cravings down, maintains energy and prevents depression. It also keeps your immune system humming!
- Maintain food rules. Eat in your kitchen or dining room only. Don’t allow snacks in your kids’ rooms or snacks while playing board games or watching TV. Mindless eating contributes to the “COVID-19 spread”.
- Seek support. Many mental health providers as well as dietitians are providing virtual visits (telehealth) and phone support to clients. If you’re interested in this service, don’t hesitate to email me to set up an appt.
Keep washing your hands and stay healthy friends!
Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
I had the opportunity earlier to talk with Dan Wells of Fox 19 about cancer prevention. It’s awfully hard to cover all the foods you should eat to prevent cancer (and why) in 3 minutes. So, below is a list of anti-oxidants in commonly eaten foods and why you should eat (or drink) them: Link to earlier segment: https://www.fox19.com/video/2019/09/19/healthy-foods-cancer-prevention/
- Green tea- contains catechins that have been found to reduce the risk of breast and other cancers.
- Coffee- contains polyphenols, compounds found to reduce the risk of liver and other gastrointestinal cancers. Take it black or with skim or 1% milk. Limit use of sugar and cream.
- Canned tomatoes, salsa or sauce- processed tomatoes have more bioavabilable (absorbable) lycopene- a phytochemical found to reduce prostate, ovarian and uterine cancer.
- Broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts- contain indoles and sulfuraphane- two nutrients found to fight cancer. Leafy vegetable intake may reduce risk for lung cancer (so does smoking cessation)!
- Berries- blue and blackberries contain anthocyanin- a phyochemical that reduces risk for Alzheimers disease and cancer.
- Whole grains- go for farro, quinoa, barley, rolled oats, bulgur and other whole grains. These contain more selenium and vitamin E, which are known anti-oxidants. Get these nutrients from foods, not pills. Selenium supplements have been found to raise risk for diabetes.
- Be moderate with alcohol- alcohol is a known toxin in our diets. Moderate drinking means 1 drink/day for women, 2/day for men. To reduce breast cancer risk, cut the amount down further to 3 drinks/week.
- Yogurt and low-fat dairy products- yogurt contains pro-biotics to keep gut bacteria thriving. Dairy products are good sources of calcium, which helps reduce risk for colon cancer. Avoid excessive calcium intake from supplements or too much full-fat dairy. There is a link between high dairy intake (4 or more servings/day) and prostate cancer risk.
- Get moving- weight control and regular physical activity may help prevent cancer and cancer recurrence. You don’t have to be a gym rat, but regular walking, biking or other activity makes a difference.
I’m providing a webinar Thursday, 7-13 from 2-3 PM EST through Food & Health Communications. If you’re interested, click on the link below to register!
Webinar: Debunking Fad Diet Claims
I recently met Leah Berger, the manager and director of the Madeira Farmer’s Market. Leah and I share a passion for home grown, delicious food and cooking. I was so flattered when she invited me to have a community booth at the Thursday market. I will be there this Thursday, 9-15 from 3:30-7:00 PM. The market is located at the Madeira Silverwood Presbyterian Church at 8000 Miami Ave. Madeira. Come out and say hello and taste my quinoa, beet and kale salad with beets from farmer RB2. Thank you!
I’m sure everyone has tried some version of this delicious slaw at a block party or potluck. Every time I have it, I think, “I have got to get that recipe!”. So one day, I decided to just wing it. This recipe is not only pretty to look at it (remember, you eat with your eyes first), it’s also really nutritious. Broccoli slaw is made from the woody stalks of broccoli, which are often discarded in favor of broccoli flowerets. But don’t toss them out! They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and sulforaphane- a powerful phytochemical that helps prevent cancer. Red cabbage and shredded carrots add additional color and nutrients such as vitamin K and beta-carotene.
I typically keep minced ginger, garlic and sesame seed oil on hand, so I all really needed was the broccoli slaw, cilantro and almonds. This slaw can be made ahead of time or could also be used in a stir fry. If used in stir fry, add the sesame seed oil and cilantro last for flavor. Sesame seed oil has a very low smoke point and should not be used for frying. It will have a rancid, off-taste when heated.
2 cups (1 container) broccoli slaw
Juice from 1 lemon (~2 Tbsp)
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger paste
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup slivered almonds
Place the broccoli slaw and slivered almonds in a medium sized bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sesame seed oil, canola oil, garlic, soy sauce and ginger paste.
Add the dressing to the broccoli slaw and mix. Add the chopped cilantro at the end, save a few leaves for the top for garnish.
Makes 6 servings: Nutrition information per serving: 144 calories, 13.9 grams fat, 2.6 grams protein, 3.8 grams carbohydrate, 1.8 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium.
Truth be told, I have 3 dietary ‘vices’. They are the 3 C’s- coffee, cheese and chocolate and I must consume at least a little of each on a daily basis for my happiness. I really don’t feel too guilty about enjoying these, to be perfectly honest. Coffee has numerous good studies that indicate it is beneficial in reducing Parkinson’s disease, liver disease and depression. Not to mention, I use coffee as a vehicle for milk, which I don’t drink often. As for cheese, I choose light cheese when I can, typically in the form of a mozzarella cheese stick that I grab with an apple or pear when running out the door. But if you’ve got a good bleu cheese, I will indulge a bit. And chocolate- well, do I need to explain?
I have always loved homemade cookies, dating back to when I grew up. My mom treated us about twice a month to a batch and I can still remember the perfectly soft, chewy texture. When I make cookies now, I tweak the recipe just a tad, which reduces the butter content by 25% and use a wee amount of whole wheat fiber which produces a richer texture. Trust me, you’d never notice these slight changes! This is not health food. It is soul food.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (accept no substitutes)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet mini chips
1/2 cup almond slivers
In a large mixing bowl, place butter, brown sugar and white sugar together and cream on high speed for ~2 minutes.
Add 2 eggs and beat the mixture together.
Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla and continue to blend.
Add the all purpose and whole wheat flour into the butter/sugar blend until flour is absorbed.
Add the chocolate chips and almonds to the batter.
Drop one tsp. of batter on a cookie sheet until the sheet is filled with ~12 cookies.
Makes 36 cookies. Nutrition information per cookie: 144 calories, 7.1 grams fat, 1.8 grams protein, 19 carbohydrate, .7 grams fiber, 19 mg cholesterol, 164 mg sodium