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How To Shop Safely and Eat Well During the Coronavirus Pandemic – Environmental Working Group

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:48 am

Although our daily routines have drastically shifted in the past few weeks, one thing hasn't changed: the need to eat healthfully. Healthy eating is always important, but now theres an even more crucial reason supporting our immune system to fend off invading pathogens like the novel coronavirus.

But during this pandemic, shopping for groceries raises daunting concerns. How do I keep my distance in a crowded produce aisle? How recently was my shopping cart cleaned?

Thankfully, with millions of Americans staying home under quarantine, many grocery stores are now offering delivery or curbside pickup of online orders.

Here are some tools developed by EWG to help you choose the healthiest options for you and your family.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh food is typically the best option for healthy eating. But when shopping online in these uncertain times, look for foods in the frozen-food aisle.

Organic vegetables, like whole green beans or green peas, offer a great nutritional bang for your buck. Frozen green beans are half the cost of fresh and retain more vitamin A and Ccontent than other frozen vegetables. Frozen green peas retain more vitamin C than fresh peas that may have been stored for several days. Dont forget that if you use part of a package, transfer the rest to an airtight container to retain nutrients.

Organic fruits, like whole strawberries or blackberries, make a great snack, and they're superior to dehydrated berries, which can lose up to half of their original vitamin C. If you thaw them in the fridge, theyll retain more of their nutrients. The longer frozen foods are left at room temperature to thaw, the more nutrients they lose.

When it comes fresh fruits and vegetables, food safety rules haven't changed. To reduce the risk of ingesting pesticides, wash all conventional produce by running it under the faucet, and use clean hands to rub off any soil or dirt.


The omega-3 fats found in fish promote heart and brain health. Theyve also been found to promote some immune functions, such as the destruction of invading pathogens by white blood cells.

Frozen fish helps you add omega-3 to your diet at a reasonable cost while avoiding the endocrine-disrupting contaminant found in BPA-coated cans that can be used to package fish. Experts recommend two servings a week, and keeping a supply of frozen fish at home can increase how often you eat fish.

Frozen seafood is typically less expensive and often higher quality than fresh fish, which may be transported on ice for more than a week before reaching the grocery store. Use EWG's Seafood Calculator to choose fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury.

Meat and Dairy

All meat is not created equal. Organic meat and meat raised without unnecessary antibiotics have fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria, reducing the risk of a bacterial infection during the pandemic. Lamb, beef, pork and cheese tend to be high in unhealthy fats. Their production also generates the most greenhouse gases and has other negative environmental impacts.

Here is a handy meat label decoder to help you identify meat and dairy products that are likely produced with antibiotics and hormones, so you can make the best choices for you and your family. And dont forget other sources of protein; American adults eat too much processed meat and not enough fish, nuts or beans.

Beans, Nuts and Seeds

Dried beans and roasted nuts and seeds are great shelf-stable sources of low-pollution protein. Store raw nuts and seeds in the fridge or freezer to preserve their nutrients and healthy fats, including vitamin E and omega-3, which support a robust immune system.

Packaged Foods

EWG's Food Scores is an easy-to-navigate database that helps consumers make healthier, greener food choices, with ratings for more than 80,000 products. In dozens of categories, shoppers can use it to cut through the noise of brand advertising, dubious marketing claims and misleading nutrition labels.

Every food in the database is scored on a scale from 1 (best) to 10 (worst) based on nutrition, the degree of processing, and ingredients of concern, such as food additives and contaminants. Food Scores has multiple search options, including age, gender, life stage, and pregnancy, and highlights options that may be contaminated with pesticide residue contamination or are certified organic, GMO-free or BPA-free.

Kids cereals are notorious for added sugar. As EWG reported in 2011, a single cup of three brands of cereal aimed at children contained more sugar than a Twinkie, and 44 brands had more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies. Food Scores also highlights amounts of added sugar in cereal and other foods.

Other ideas for online grocery shopping:

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and your local public health department websites.

Please consult yourdoctorif you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. This material isfor general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professionalmedicaladvice.

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How To Shop Safely and Eat Well During the Coronavirus Pandemic - Environmental Working Group

The food that could last 2000 years – BBC News

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

However, if you did decide to seek out something edible here, you would need to choose your seeds carefully. Apple, apricot, cherry, peach and plum seeds, for example, are coated in amygdalin which when digested releases cyanide. Although, an adult man would need to eat 75 apricot kernels to receive a lethal dose, which is unlikely to happen under normal circumstances.

Foods of the future

Rather than take the risk, you might be better turning to foods that have been specifically produced in a laboratory for their durability. Technology is helping to give us foods whose shelf lives could put our ancestors best efforts to shame.

Sulu suggests that food designed for space travel could be a good bet. Designed to be lightweight and stay safe for a long time in fluctuating temperatures, space food is dehydrated and vacuum sealed. Similarly, general purpose army rations, known as Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE) in the US, are good for three years at 80F (27C), according to US military guidelines. They are also designed to withstand a whole gamut of conditions that commercial food is not like being airdropped from a plane.

"Commercial products are not formulated to meet extended shelf life requirements, says Julie Smith, a food technologist at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, Natick, Massachusetts. The mission of the commercial industry is to sell products quickly. Whereas the Defense Logistics Agency report they currently have five million MREs in storage ready to go. That is food just sitting, waiting for the right time to be eaten.

Other food replacements would still be edible, like Huel, and everything that is derivative of that, adds Sulu.

Huel, a company who offers a nutritionally complete diet in powder form, uses freeze drying and milling to create powders with no moisture in them. They can be certain that their products have very long shelf lives because of the amount of processing the powders go through to make them shelf-stable.

The control comes from how we package with moisture, light and oxygen barriers, says Rebecca Williams, a nutritionist at Huel. We screen everything to make sure it is hygienic. The packaging has to be sterile as well, so we use steam or acid to remove microbes that are on the packaging.

Walking into a supermarket that has been abandoned for several years should present a few interesting options. If you know where to look, there would probably be a lot of food that is still safe to eat.

I would still expect it to be dessicated foods, says Thomas. Though, all the hobnobs might be gone.


William Park is@williamhparkon Twitter.

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Dine Savannah: Positive practices with produce during pandemic – Do Savannah

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

While paper products remain harder to find than a Twinkie in Zombieland, do not despair. Just push your cart over to the fresh produce department, knowing that everything there is still good for you, widely available, and safe to eat.

I repeat: safe to eat.

The best news - in a time when we all need some hope and happiness - is that there is no evidence of food or food packaging being linked to transmission of COVID-19, which is not a food-borne illness and is not known to be transmitted via food.

Before diving into other facts and best practices, I have to give all credit to Lauren Ferguson and Jason Caslow of Sprouthouse Agency (Charleston) for contacting me and suggesting this valuable topic as this weeks Dine Savannah column.

Ferguson has been working with the teams behind the international Produce Marketing Association to ensure consumers are well-armed with positive practices and facts about produce during this time.

When fear sprouts in society, seeds of untruth are often sown, and consumers may be avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables during the pandemic due to a conflation of misinformation.

Sure, we all need another roll of toilet paper, but we also need a banana and some asparagus.

I freely and fully admit that the majority of this article comes directly from Dr. Max Teplitski, PMAs Chief Science Officer, whose sage and scientific words are quoted throughout. The explanations and verification herein are not the happy ramblings of a food columnist. They come from a most reliable expert.

The short version: now is the time to consume fresh produce, and we all can do so safely.


How can I make sure that I am not transmitting or picking up germs while shopping?

Both academic and government research conducted by the CDC and the FDA are consistent in the conclusion that there is no indication that COVID-19 is acquired as a food-borne illness. Even if coronavirus had never reared its widespread head, consumers can minimize the risk of introducing any food-borne pathogens and cross-contaminating produce by grabbing a sanitary wipe inside the sliding doors and wiping the handle of your cart or basket. Shop for produce first, put it in plastic bags, and keep it away from raw meats and fish.

Not incidentally, Dr. Teplitski also reviewed the results of more than a thousand studies that looked at the transmission of other respiratory viruses, and the results of these studies concluded that fresh produce or food packaging has not been a vehicle of flu, the common cold, or SARS.

Also separate from COVID-19 concerns, basic food safety practices hold true. When picking out produce, avoid bruised fruits and vegetables; several studies showed that bruised produce and those with small rot [marks] are more hospitable to human food-borne pathogens.


Do I need to clean produce and its packaging when I get home from the store?

By now, everyone has heard of the study that revealed that the coronavirus can survive on plastic for a few days, though it is important to understand that that study modeled a worst-case scenario: viral particles were misted uniformly onto surfaces and then incubated under very uniform conditions.

That means that the likelihood of COVID-19 being present in such high numbers in a uniform manner is negligible. At the same time, adopting a risk-based approach is essential; if someone in the household is sick, it is imperative to sanitize all surfaces with cleaning sprays known to kill viruses.

Just as you sing the chorus of Raspberry Beret while washing your hands right after you return from the grocery store or right before you eat, follow the FDAs guidelines for how to wash and to store produce properly. Once your hands are clean and you are ready to eat the berries, sing a shorter tune while you rinse them off under warm running water, either leaving them in their clam shells or putting them a clean container.

If peeling is required, wash the fruit and veg before you peel and then wipe dry with a clean paper towel. Produce labeled ready-to-eat, such as bagged greens and salad mixes, have been triple-washed and treated with food-grade sanitizers prior to packaging and do not need any further cleaning at home.

Again, wash produce only immediately before consumption; any items that are not going to be eaten within two hours should go in the fridge.


What type of cleanser should I use on produce?


Dr. Teplitski cited a number of peer-reviewed studies in which the removal of viruses from fresh produce was compared using running water and various disinfectants. The results of these studies are consistent: there is no statistically significant difference in the removal of viral particles from produce surfaces using running water and scrubbing versus using food-grade surfactants (detergents).

Accordingly, neither the U.S. FDA nor the CDC recommends using anything other than warm water to clean produce and especially advises consumers not to use hand soap or dishwashing detergents.

The various produce washes that are on the market, and which are probably making hay right now, are mostly effective in removing soil and some pesticide residues but can also shorten the storage life of fruits, while having no effect on any food-borne viral strains.

And do not even dare go for the Clorox. Come on. Its food, friends.


What is the best shelf-stable produce I can buy to cut back on trips to the store?

Nutritional properties and the pure joy of eating fresh fruits and vegetables cannot compare to those of canned or frozen produce, writes Dr. Teplitski. Amen, Doctor.

My wife and I are doing just fine hitting the grocery store every Saturday morning, though we shop for just the two of us, which admittedly means a lighter weekly load. I freeze a bunch of bananas to use in my daily smoothie, made with O.J., frozen mangoes and pineapples, and some vanilla yogurt. We are polishing off a bag of green grapes each week, and my wife has cherry tomatoes and celery at every lunch.

We have enjoyed a vegetable - spinach salad with radishes and mushrooms, braised-and-glazed carrots, blanched pak choi, roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled zucchini - with each dinner. Whether we have shopped at Whole Foods, Kroger, or Publix, none of our favorite fruit and veg have been hard to find, and everything we have bought has lasted until we ate it.

If you want to load up on stuff that lasts, generally speaking, hard-skinned squashes, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes will keep for months in a cool, dry place. If anyone around here has a basement, apples, all citrus fruits, cabbages, carrots, beets, white potatoes, and watermelons will store pretty well in a cool climate.

In the fridge, most leafy greens can keep for as long as two weeks, while Napa cabbage, Asian Brassicas, and cauliflower will keep for a couple of months. Keep those firm avocados in the crisper for a couple of weeks and pull them out to ripen at room temperature the day before you smash them.


What should I eat during this pandemic to support health and to reduce the risk of virus transmission?

No news here: fresh fruits and vegetables are a part of a healthy diet, no matter what crisis is circling the globe. Add to that regular physical activity and sleep to maintain overall health for everyone, including those with chronic illnesses.

That being true, Dr. Teplitski advises that eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes is more important than ever before and cites studies from the University of Florida showing that bioactive molecules from garlic and shiitake mushrooms have a positive effective on immunological markers and that aged garlic and polyphenols from cranberries alleviated symptoms of colds and influenza.

Other immunity boosters include tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, oranges and orange juice, strawberries, and pomegranates.

Clinical data gathered from around the world contends that individuals who have underlying chronic medical conditions have an increased risk of becoming more seriously ill. All the same, food is not a panacea; rather, regularly eating a diverse diet composed of fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables, should be a part of a healthy lifestyle, especially at this time.


Once again, there has not been a documented case of COVID-19 caused by the consumption of fresh fruits or vegetables - or any foods sold or consumed through commercial routes even. The coronavirus can persist on surfaces, which is why we are racing each other to Target to clean out the latest shipment of sanitizer products.

The uniform contamination that is so worrisome may occur in the hospital setting but truly does not happen in the food production environment.

Dr. Teplitski reminds all of us who have not been to a food-production facility in the last five years that all workers along the conveyor belt wear gloves and masks, food-contact surfaces are routinely sanitized with disinfectants, and real measures are in place to minimize the risk of any food-borne illness.

This is what our industry has been doing since way before this pandemic, he explains.

COVID-19 or not, grocery stores that regularly promote food safety are the ones whose employees already observe food safety protocols. If fresh food retailers continue to implement measures that are in their SOPs - sanitizing floors and displays, preventing cross-contamination, enforcing employees hygienic behaviors, and keeping employees who are unwell from the stores until after they recover - risks of any food-borne illnesses can be eliminated from our retail.

For the next several weeks, heading out to the stores is going to be inherently stressful. I get it. Folks are scared and are inexplicably filling carts with bottled water and canned yams.

As it always has been and should be, food needs to be fun, a source of enjoyment in our every day. If the t.p. shelf is empty, buy a bag of potatoes and a bunch of broccoli.

Dont lick any door knobs. Eat an orange. Wash it first.

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Dine Savannah: Positive practices with produce during pandemic - Do Savannah

Can you safely use expired hand sanitizer? – IOL

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

By Nneka Jonas Apr 1, 2020

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Hand sanitizers expire as the alcohol concentration dissolves with time. Once it drops below 60 percent alcohol, it will not be as effective in destroying germs.

The manufacturer estimates how long it would take for the percentage of the current active ingredient to drop below 90 percent of the percentage indicated on the label. That time estimated becomes the expiration date.

However, expired hand sanitizer can still be very useful, especially if it has not yet been opened. Take a look at your hand sanitizer packaging.

You will see a date of expiration which is usually written on top or back. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) controls hand sanitizer it is legally required to have an expiry date and lot number.

This expiry date indicates the period of time that research has verified that the active ingredients of the sanitizer are safe and reliable. Normally the standard is typically two or three years beforehand sanitizer expires.

Sanitizer can still have some effectiveness past its expiration date because it still contains alcohol (the active ingredient). Even if its concentration has dropped below its original percentage, the product is not unsafe to use, but it is less effective, or even ineffective.

In most hand sanitizers gel and foam the active sterilizing ingredients are ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises the use of hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol Reliable Source.

The active component of the hand sanitizer, alcohol, is a volatile liquid that quickly evaporates when exposed to air. Although common hand sanitizer containers protect the alcohol from the air, they are not airtight, so evaporation can occur.

As the alcohol evaporates over time, the percentage of the active ingredient of your hand sanitizer decreases which makes it less effective. although hand sanitizer may still work after it has expired, the best option is to replace it after the expiration date has been reached, because it will be less effective.

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Can you safely use expired hand sanitizer? - IOL

Infant and Young Child Feeding in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic – Eastern, Central and Southern Africa – Africanews English

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

This joint note aims to consolidate the current recommendations on Infant and Young Child Feeding in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. This guidance is not intended to replace national guidance, rather to serve as a resource that is based on the latest evidence. The contents are adapted to the African region from Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected, Interim Guidance, 13 March 2020 WHO [1]

1. Caring for infants and mothers in the context of COVID-19: Infection prevention and control (IPC) and Breastfeeding

Published research [1]based on nine Chinese mothers, found no evidence of vertical transmission of COVID19 during pregnancy. Further, all breastmilk samples taken from the mothers after the first lactation were also found to be negative for the COVID-19 virus.

Remarks: Breastfeeding protects against morbidity and death in the post-neonatal period and throughout infancy and childhood. The protective effect is particularly strong against infectious diseases that are prevented through both direct transfer of antibodies, other anti-infective factors and long-lasting transfer of immunological competence and memory [2]. In settings where diarrhea, respiratory infections and infectious morbidity are common in infants, any possible risk of transmission of COVID-19 through breastfeeding (not reported to date) is outweighed by the known risks associated with replacement feeding. Therefore, standard infant feeding guidelines should be followed with appropriate respiratory hygiene during feeding. i.e.

Always wash hands with soap and water before and after contact with the infant.

Routinely clean surfaces, which the mother has been in contact with, using soap and water.

If the mother has respiratory symptoms, use of a face mask when caring for the infant is recommended, if available.

Maintain physical distancing with other people and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

2. Infants born to mothers with suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 should be fed according to standard infant feeding guidelines , while applying the necessary hygiene precautions listed above.

Remarks: Breastfeeding should be initiated within 1 hour of birth. Exclusive breastfeeding should continue for 6 months with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods at age 6 months, while continuing breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. Because the health and survival benefits of breastfeeding are dose-response and because neonatal mortality is reduced by early initiation of breastfeeding, mothers who are not able to initiate breastfeeding during the first hour after delivery should be actively supported to breastfeed as soon as they are able5.

3. As with all probable, confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, symptomatic mothers who are breastfeeding or practicing skin-to-skin contact or Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) should practice respiratory hygiene, including during feeding (for example, if the mother has respiratory symptoms it recommended to use of a face mask when near a child, if possible), perform hand hygiene before and after contact with the child, and routinely clean and disinfect surfaces with which the symptomatic mother has been in contact.

4. Breastfeeding counselling, basic psychosocial support, and practical feeding support should be provided to all pregnant women and mothers with infants and young children, whether they or their infants and young children have suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 .

5. In situations when severe illness in a mother with COVID-19 or other health complications, prevents her from caring for her infant or prevents her from continuing direct breastfeeding, mothers should be encouraged and supported to express milk , and safely provide breastmilk to the infant, while applying appropriate hygiene measures.

Remarks: If the mother is able to express breastmilk, the milk can be given to the infant using a cup with a wide mouth, or a cup and spoon. Using a bottle is not advised as it requires sterilization prior to each use and makes it more difficult for the baby to return to the mothers breast when she becomes well again. Expressed breastmilk (EBM) can be stored in a closed container or covered with a cloth or plate at room temperature for up to 8 hours. If stored in a sterile container, expressed breastmilk can be kept for 24 hours at 18o20oC in a shady place, for about 72 hours in a refrigerator (at 4o5oC) and for about four months in a freezer (at -18o to -20oC). [6]

If the mother is too unwell to breastfeed or express breastmilk, an appropriate breastmilk substitutes [7], informed by cultural context, acceptability to the mother, and service availability should be provided. There should be no promotion of breastmilk substitutes, donation of feeding bottles and teats, pacifiers or dummies or donations of breastmilk substitutes in any part of facilities providing maternity and newborn services, or by any of the staff. Health facilities and their staff should teach mothers/caregivers how to safely prepare milk and how to give milk using a cup with a wide mouth or a cup and spoon. Health facilities and staff should not give feeding bottles and teats or other products within the scope of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and its subsequent related WHA resolutions, to breastfeeding infants.10 Please note wet nursing is not recommended in contexts of high HIV prevalence and donor milk should only be considered if appropriate screening and pasteurization services are included.

6. Mothers and infants should be enabled to practice skin-to-skin contact, kangaroo mother care and to remain together and to practice rooming-in throughout the day and night, especially immediately after birth during establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19.

Remarks: Mothers should not be separated from their newborns, unless medically indicated. Minimizing disruption to breastfeeding during the stay in the facilities providing maternity and newborn services will require health care practices that enable a mother to breastfeed for as much, as frequently, and as long as she wishes [8].

7. Parents and caregivers who may need to be separated from their children, and children who may need to be separated from their primary caregivers, should have access to appropriately trained health or non-health workers for mental health and psychosocial support.

Remarks: Given the high prevalence of common mental disorders among women in the antenatal and postpartum period, and the acceptability of programmes aimed at them, interventions targeted to these women need to be more widely implemented. Prevention services should be available in addition to services that treat mental health difficulties [9].

8. Mothers and health workers should be counselled/ advised to continue breastfeeding should the infant or young child become sick with suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 or any other illness

Remarks: During an illness, breastfeeding infants need to breastfeed more often. After an illness, babies need to be offered more food than usual, such as more frequent meals, to replenish the energy and nourishment lost due to the illness. Withholding breastmilk during an illness increases the possibility that baby will get sick and deprives the baby of the superior nutrition from breastmilk including the immunological benefits. Caregivers should increase childrens fluid intake during illness (including by frequent breastfeeding) and encourage the child to eat (for example, by offering soft, appetizing or favorite foods). After illness, caregivers should provide meals more frequently than usual and encourage the child to eat more.

9. Caregivers and health workers should be counselled/ advised on the importance of healthy diets during complementary feeding and safe food preparation/ handling to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Remarks: Parents should be supported to ensure that children 6-23 months of age are fed the minimum number of meals per day to ensure dietary adequacy and from at least 5 out of the 8 food groups to ensure dietary diversity. Young children need to consume a variety of foods to meet their nutrient needs and expose them to various tastes and textures. A diverse diet includes meals consisting of foods from a variety of food groups each day: (1) breastmilk; (2) grains, roots and tubers; (3) legumes, nuts and seeds; (4) dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese); (5) flesh foods (meat, fish, poultry, and liver or organ meats); (6) eggs; (7) vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables (carrots, mangoes, dark green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, orange sweet potato); and (8) other fruits and vegetables. To promote a healthy diet, caregivers should avoid providing drinks or foods with low nutritional value, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, chips and other foods high in sugar, salt and trans fats.

Before preparing or eating food, caregivers should ensure they implement the recommended hygiene practices such as handwashing with soap and regular cleaning and disinfecting of food preparation areas.

Those engaged in the COVID-19 response, therefore, need to be aware of and sensitized as to the importance of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and the continued protection and promotion of breastfeeding.

Chen H et al. Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records. The Lancet published online February 12, 2020.

WHO Essential newborn care and breastfeeding (

WHO Essential newborn care and breastfeeding ( 5, as endorsed by the Fifty-fifth World Health Assembly, in resolution WHA54.2 in 2002

Ensuring all health workers practice recommended precautionary measures e.g. wearing masks, social distancing, when providing counselling and other support

Ensuring recommended precautionary hygiene measures are applied while handling breastmilk

Where breastmilk is not accessible, appropriate breastmilk substitutes include: Ready to Use Infant Formula if the infant is 10 This recommendation is consistent with the WHO guidance Acceptable medical reasons for use of breast-milk substitutes (;jsessionid=709AE28402D49263C8D F6D50048A0E58?sequence=1).

WHO Guideline: protection, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services (

Africanews provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes.

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Infant and Young Child Feeding in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic - Eastern, Central and Southern Africa - Africanews English

Quarantine Diets Reveal the Absolute Worst of Diet Culture – Eater

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

As soon as it became clear that the only way to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus was to isolate and stay indoors, talk of the quarantine 15, a horrifyingly timely update to the freshman 15, was inevitable. Stuck inside our homes with only Netflix and snacks as comfort in the middle of what is arguably the most uncertain time in modern history, many of us were more worried about getting fat than contracting an illness that makes it so difficult to breathe that you might die.

It manifested, of course, in memes. One meme depicted a woman rolling her floured belly onto a cutting board like yeasted bread dough. So after this quarantine, will the producers of My 600 Pound Life just find me, another meme wondered. Self-described fitness experts shared at-home workouts, with posts detailing how to use ones own body weight and the canned goods weve all stockpiled to stave off isolation-related weight gain. Some fitfluencers suggested putting on actual pants, the kind that button, every couple of days to make sure that youre not gaining weight, because your comfy pants will make you believe that all is well in the kingdom. All together, it adds up to a neverending trickle of body-shaming.

It almost makes sense. In the middle of a global health crisis, why shouldnt people try to stay as healthy as possible? But, of course, there is nothing healthy about diet culture, which encourages everything from orthorexia, or an obsession with clean eating, to other forms of disordered eating in its pursuit of thinness above all else. These memes function as a shroud for the obvious harm that diet culture does to all of us. More than that, these jokes hide diet cultures insidious connections to classism, body shame, and a multibillion-dollar industry that stands to profit from all of us deeply hating ourselves.

First, jokes about the horrors of getting fat are a direct and painful jab at people who are actually fat in the present tense. All of us that exist in before-picture bodies are keenly aware that many people would rather be dead than fat. Theres nothing like seeing your thin friends react with disgust to photos of bodies that look just like yours. Every time you share one of those memes, you let the fat people in your life know exactly what you think of them that their bodies are disgusting, and youll do just about anything, including periods of literal starvation, to avoid looking like them.

And diet culture doesnt just harm fat people. It reminds all of us that we are not good enough, that being just a little bit thinner and more toned is the key to happiness. Quarantine-themed workouts targeting problem areas like chubby arms, bellies, and thighs remind us that the things we are told to be self-conscious about are, in fact, not good enough. Weight Watchers and NutriSystem literally would not exist without stoking fears that the couple of extra pounds that come with disrupting normal life will transform everyone into fat, shapeless monsters.

Whats so frustrating about all of this self-torture is that science has told us, over and over, that it is extremely unlikely to work. Somewhere around 95 percent of all dieters will eventually gain back all of the weight that they lost. Often it will be more, because dieting trains our bodies to hold on to every single calorie like its the last one well ever eat. Diet culture isnt successful because dieting works, its because its designed to set you up to fail. If it were, in fact, possible to lose all the weight and keep it off, we wouldnt all be dieting all the damn time.

And dont think that the industry doesnt see this moment as an opportunity. Multilevel marketing shillers and snake oil salesmen immediately realized that this is their time to shine, hawking everything from quarantine-friendly diet plans to vitamins that will allegedly prepare the immune system to fight off the novel coronavirus. As a journalist, Ive been pitched everything from bone broths to protein powders that will allegedly boost my immune system while warding off weight gain.

Most crucially, many of us arent sitting indoors just watching Netflix and relaxing. For the millions of people who have lost their jobs in the service industry and beyond, these are not times of abundance and leisure. People are having a hard enough time figuring out where their next meal is coming from, and shaming them because that meal is a package of ramen noodles or a fast-food burger is at best a dick move, and at worst a classist punch-down at people who are doing their best to survive. Admonishing working parents feeding their kids what theyve got instead of veggie-packed bento boxes they cant afford is as cruel as it is pointless.

Being stuck indoors, socially isolated and inundated with diet culture bullshit, is particularly fraught for people who are struggling with disordered eating habits. These unhealthy eating patterns are much more common than we think, and arent limited to the clinical diagnosis of illnesses like anorexia and bulimia. The leap from dieting to disordered eating is often not that dramatic, and because being stuck indoors can limit access to mental health treatment, its a good idea to err on the side of not being a complete asshole to those who are stuck at home, suffering in silence, enduring countless jokes about the weight that people are terrified to gain.

What we should really be doing right now is figuring out how to stop fighting with our bodies every single day. That is a productive use of this time, especially considering that no amount of starvation or exercise is going to make this pandemic feel any less scary, and no amount of thinness can protect any of us from contracting COVID-19. What is possible, though, is using this time to be a little bit nicer to both our own bodies, and the bodies that we are told are not good enough.

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J. Kenji Lpez-Alt Quarantines With Carnitas and Breakfast Strata – Grub Street

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

Photo-Illustration: Megan Paetzhold. Photos: Getty Images

Last week, New York and Grub Street asked some of our favorite past Grub Street Diet subjects to keep one-day diaries of what they eat while self-quarantining, which well be running over the next few days. Here, author and restaurateur J. Kenji Lpez-Alt walks us through Monday, March 23.

The first thing my daughter usually does when she wakes up is use up her daily allotment of screen time on Tumble Leaf. After 25 minutes, she says, Papa, its breakfast time, and we head to the kitchen. This mornings project: strata with bacon, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and Colby-Jack. She always wants pancakes. We eat a lot of pancakes, but not today.

I put Alicia to work tearing up bread heels. We have lots and lots of Japanese shokupan heels that came from the 16 loaves of bread I made sandwiches out of yesterday. The heels of all those loaves of bread ended up in a plastic bag in my kitchen.

Like most restaurants, mine, Wursthall, is facing some tough times. Part of our revitalization plan is to work with a couple of fundraising organizations (as well as our fundraising initiative) to raise some money and put our team to work making free meals for folks in need first responders, emergency room and other hospital staff, folks out of a job, people with kids home from school, etc. Everyones having a hard time, but some more than others. Were building the plane as were flying into new territory here, and this has been occupying nearly all my free time since the pandemic started in earnest.

The day before, Alicia helped me drop off deviled-egg-salad sandwiches and roasted broccoli with pumpkin-seed vinaigrette to San Francisco General and the Oakland Fire Department, a trip I almost had to postpone because, in all my planning, I didnt think about how I would fit 75 individually packed meals and a toddler into my car. (I finally found a couple big boxes in the shed.)

Incidentally, that amazing shokupan came from Andersen Bakery, and its likely the last Andersen shokupan heels Ill ever see, as I just got an email announcing that this Fridays delivery will be their last ever. They are closing the business for good. Damn, this one really stings.

We whisked the custard together, layered everything in a buttered casserole (she loves buttering things), and popped it in the toaster oven to bake. It was pretty darn delicious, and I decided then and there that breakfast strata is gonna be the first recipe if and when I ever start doing the Food Lab Jr. column Ive been dreaming of.

My wife, Adri, woke up and we all sat down to eat. I used a hot sauce that my buddy Greg Kuzia-Carmel made at his (excellent) restaurant Camper in Menlo Park. He calls it NAPALM. I think he needs to up his spice tolerance (I love you, Greg). Adri used a hot sauce we picked up in Colombia (the brand is Codi) made with uchuva (gooseberries) and habaneros. Im sorry we sound like hot-sauce snobs. We arent, I swear. Id be lost without my Franks.

Alicia went au naturel.

Ive lost 30 pounds in the last year or so, finally hitting my ideal weight, with a combination of exercise and portion control. Since social distancing began, Ive gained back ten of those, because we cant go to the gym, and eating just seems like a good way to pass the time. I hope Im not going to gain back the full COVID-19. Gotta find another way to exercise.

Lunch was chili that Adri made from one of those Sun Basket kits. Up until a few months ago, I did 100 percent of the cooking in the house. Adri wanted a chance to cook for us, and meal kits seemed like a good way to ease into it. Its fun for her, I love when other people cook for me, and the chili is pretty darn delicious with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a dash of Tapato.

Adri is still working full-time from home, so I hang out with Alicia all day on most days, taking a precious hour or two during her naps for Zoom conferences and work-related phone calls. Currently, those phone calls are with virologists and food-safety experts Ive been consulting with to write a comprehensive food-safety guide for Serious Eats, that I intend to keep updated as new information on the virus continues to roll in.

Taking my daughter during the daytime is a fine arrangement for me, as hanging out with my daughter is my favorite thing to do (Ive missed her since she started going to preschool a few days a week), and keeping happy is one of the best things we can do. Happy people have stronger immune systems, and we should all be taking whatever steps necessary to make sure that we dont get sick, whether its COVID-19 or anything else thatll put a strain on our medical system.

But it does mean that Im left to nights for the restaurant and writing. Ever since the restaurant closed for dine-in service, Ive been spending a few nights a week there, prepping and cooking for the free-meal deliveries. I was going to head in at six, then thought twice. Nobody has ever said on their death bed, I wish I had spent less time with my children, and fuck it, Im the chef I can just work extra late tonight.

Dinner was another meal kit Adri was going to make, but she was busy playing with Alicia, so I took over. I crisped up the prepacked pork carnitas in a cast-iron skillet while I heated the tortillas on a Baking Steel griddle (easily top-five most used things in my kitchen). Alexa played Beethoven and Beatles, my usual cooking mix. The tacos were legitimately delicious. (Though, I admit, I did not follow the directions that came with the kit.) This time, on the table was El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Kutbil-Ik, possibly my favorite widely available hot sauce.

Afterdinner, I gave a good-night hug and kiss to Adri and Alicia and finally headed into Wursthall. These days, were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (so my incredible and tireless sous-chefs, Erik and Orlando, can have a full two-day weekend), which means I had the whole place to myself. The night before, I braised a few pork shoulders, sauerbraten style, in wine and vinegar. Today, I pulled, seasoned, and shredded them, cooked ten pounds of chickpeas I had soaking overnight (in salted water it helps prevent the skins from blowing out during cooking), and shredded 20 pounds of cabbage.

This particular batch of pork sandwiches should feed 48, and was destined for the San Mateo Samaritan House, where Ill deliver it bright and early.

My last meal of the night was a test-fire of the pork sandwich Ill pack into cook-at-home meal kits later this week. Half of them will go to the Samaritan House, and the rest will go to currently furloughed employees, especially those with kids out of school and families to take care of. Its heartbreaking whats happening, especially the feeling of helplessness that comes with it. A good sandwich can help a little. I crisp up the pulled pork, glaze it with a vinegary pork jus, and pile it on a buttered brioche bun with a red-cabbage slaw and pickled Fresno chiles (which I could eat by the fistful theyre so good). The kits will also contain a marinated chickpea and carrot salad.

But before I started cooking, I strapped a GoPro to my forehead. For some reason, people seem to enjoy watching first-person cooking videos on my YouTube channel. Im fine with that, I guess, as silly as it is. These days, I relish any opportunity to be silly.

*A version of this article appears in the March 30, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

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J. Kenji Lpez-Alt Quarantines With Carnitas and Breakfast Strata - Grub Street

Refeed Day: What It Is and How to Do It – Healthline

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

Adopting a healthier lifestyle can be challenging, especially if youre trying to lose weight.

With most weight loss diets focusing on consuming smaller portions and fewer calories, many people struggle to stick to these diets due to feelings of frustration when they dont experience results even if they follow the plan perfectly (1).

That said, many people are reporting success by adding a refeed day into their weekly eating routine.

Simply put, a refeed day is a planned increase in calories for one day on a weekly or biweekly basis. Its intended to give your body a temporary respite from calorie restriction.

This article tells you all you need to know about refeed days, how to do them properly, and whether theyre right for you.

A refeed day is a day on which you intentionally overconsume calories after a period of being in a calorie deficit whether it arose from eating fewer calories or increasing physical activity, or both (2, 3).

The idea behind a refeed day is to counteract the negative effects of being in a calorie deficit, such as lower hormone levels, increased hunger, lethargy, tiredness, and hitting a weight loss plateau (2, 3).

Although this sounds similar to a cheat day, the two should not be confused.

Cheat days involve uncontrolled and unplanned eating for one day. On most cheat days, any type of food is allowed in unlimited quantities (4).

In contrast, a refeed day involves thoughtful planning and controlled food intake. Unlike cheat days, only a moderate increase in calories is permitted, and the type of food matters, as most refeed days emphasize calories from carbs over fats and protein (2, 3).

While refeed days can vary from person to person, the main goal is to eat in a calorie surplus in a controlled manner.

A refeed day is a temporary break from calorie restriction that involves a controlled day of overeating with a focus on carbs. It aims to counteract the negative effects of calorie restriction and aid weight loss.

You may wonder why a temporary calorie surplus would lead to weight loss, but the reasoning behind it addresses one of the main problems most people have when losing weight a weight loss plateau or slowdown.

As you decrease your calorie intake and begin to lose body fat, a change in hormones occurs, which tells your body that youre experiencing a calorie deficit. At this time, your body will begin to look for ways to reduce it as much as possible to limit weight loss (2, 3).

In particular, a hormone known as leptin begins to decline. Leptin is produced by fat cells and tells your body that it has adequate fat stores, helping regulate appetite and encouraging calorie burning (2, 3, 5, 6).

However, low levels of this hormone signal your brain that youre entering an unknown period of calorie deprivation. As a result, your body receives signals to eat more food and burn fewer calories. This process is known as adaptive thermogenesis (2, 3, 5).

Adaptive thermogenesis is a protective process that alters your bodys metabolism to increase energy intake and decrease energy output to slow weight loss.

During this process, your body releases various hormones and increases food cravings to push you to consume more calories (2, 3, 7).

Additionally, the rate at which you burn calories can change. For example, you may experience a decrease in exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).

EAT involves deliberate physical activity while NEAT includes any energy used for daily tasks, such as walking, fidgeting, and general movement. Other components of your energy expenditure include your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the thermic effect of food (TEF) (2, 3).

Due to the changes that occur as you lose weight, you may feel less energetic about exercise, opt for the elevator instead of taking the stairs, and move less in general.

Combined, the reduction in the number of calories you burn and increase in calorie intake lowers the likelihood of continued weight loss (2, 3, 7).

Though this may be viewed as a problem, its an evolutionary process that helped people survive during times of famine or starvation (7).

When youre trying to lose weight, you may be in a calorie deficit most days, therefore progressively forcing your leptin levels to drop (7, 8).

By introducing a refeed day every week or so, you might temporarily increase your leptin levels through increased calorie intake, which may help keep your bodys fat-burning process working more efficiently (3).

Carbs are the main focus of refeed days due to their superior ability to increase leptin levels, compared with fats or proteins. Therefore, by eating carb-rich foods on your refeed day, youre likely giving your body the best chance to balance its leptin levels (3).

Refeed days may elevate hormone levels, such as leptin, reducing the effects of adaptive thermogenesis, a survival process that has been shown to slow weight loss.

Refeed days may provide certain benefits.

The main reason for refeed days is to prevent a weight loss plateau.

When people are trying to lose weight, they may see immediate results initially, but this is usually followed by a period during which no weight loss occurs. This is partially due to a survival process called adaptive thermogenesis (9).

By feeding your body excess calories mostly in the form of carbs, your leptin levels temporarily increase, which may prevent adaptive thermogenesis from interfering with your weight loss (10).

However, more research is needed to better understand the effects of temporary refeeding and leptin levels (3).

Most research has found that food restriction ultimately leads to overeating or binging, which is why cheat days have become popular in the fitness community (4).

However, cheat days are designed as a way to binge on an unlimited amount of food, which may lead to a distorted relationship with food and limit your progress. In contrast, refeed days are designed to gently and purposefully increase calories, which may reduce binging (4, 11).

Introducing a refeed day may help limit binging by permitting foods typically discouraged on many diet plans, especially carb-rich ones. Furthermore, it may help satisfy cravings and decrease feelings of deprivation (12).

However, a refeed day coupled with an overly restrictive diet wont likely resolve this. Therefore, opt for an eating pattern that welcomes a wide-range of foods that you enjoy (12).

Refeed days may help improve physical performance.

During periods of calorie restriction, your bodys ability to store glycogen is limited. Glycogen is a long-chain carbohydrate thats stored in your muscles and liver and used as a quick energy source during physical activity (3, 13, 14, 15).

Since refeed days emphasize carb intake, this may help replenish glycogen stores, potentially improving your performance in the gym, on the race track, or on the field.

Though more research is needed, refeed days may help you overcome a weight loss plateau, avoid binging, and improve athletic performance.

Despite the possible benefits, some potential downsides need to be considered before introducing a refeed day.

Though the theory of refeed days makes sense, there isnt much research on the topic. Moreover, adaptive thermogenesis is still a contested topic among researchers, further calling into question the effectiveness of refeed days (16).

Moreover, the human body is incredibly sophisticated and can easily adapt to changes in food intake. Your metabolism does not experience lasting changes from one day of being in a calorie surplus or deficit and is largely dependent on genetics and age (17).

Just as it takes many days to weeks of calorie restriction for leptin levels to decline and adaptive thermogenesis to take place, it likely takes more than a single day to adequately elevate leptin levels enough to support weight loss (17).

Even though you may have a thoughtfully planned refeed day, you may have a hard time controlling your intake once you start. Depending on the intensity of your calorie restriction during the week, you may experience intense cravings that override your good intentions.

Therefore, when trying to lose weight, it may be best to limit yourself to no more than a 500 calorie deficit per day through both increased exercise and a modest decrease in calorie intake (18).

Though this balanced approach may make weight take longer, you may be less likely to regain it in the long run (9).

Although refeed days encourage a temporary respite from calorie restriction, they still emphasize diets as a way to lose weight.

Considering most diets fail to produce long-term weight loss, following a healthy lifestyle that does not eliminate entire food groups or encourage an intense calorie restriction may be most sustainable (19).

Most guidelines recommend a conservative approach to weight loss for long-term success. It involves a modest calorie deficit through increased physical activity and the consumption of whole, minimally processed foods (20, 21).

Through this approach, weight loss may be achieved without the need for a refeed day.

Any diet comes with the risk of negatively affecting your relationship with food.

Though refeed days encourage carb-rich foods for one day, theyre usually paired with diets that vilify carbs or other food groups, creating an unhealthy good versus bad mentality (19).

Moreover, only allowing one day free of calorie restriction every week or two may create a heightened sense of stress and fear surrounding food and calories. This may ultimately lead to disordered eating thoughts and behaviors (22).

If you have a history of disordered eating or eating disorders, it may be best to avoid refeed days and diets altogether, or to consult a qualified health professional.

Although refeed days are popular, theres limited research on their efficacy. Moreover, theyre usually paired with extreme diets that may promote a negative relationship with food and disordered eating thoughts and behaviors.

If youre interested in incorporating refeed days into your eating routine, its best to spend time planning them out to ensure youre not going overboard. Moreover, you may need to adjust the rules to meet your bodys needs.

Generally speaking, most people in a calorie deficit should consider including a refeed day once every 2 weeks, although this will depend on your body fat percentage and goals. Those with lower body fat percentages may need to increase their number of refeed days (2, 3).

Use the following chart as a reference:

*Note: Most women should aim to have a body fat percentage above 15% to support reproductive and overall health.

Although there are no official guidelines, most refeed days should aim to increase daily calories by 2030%. For example, if you need around 2,000 calories per day to maintain your weight, you should aim to have 400600 additional calories per day.

Aim to consume most of your additional calories from carb-rich foods, such as whole grains, pasta, rice, potatoes, and bananas, as carbs have been shown to increase leptin levels more than protein or fat (2, 10).

You can continue to eat protein and fat at each meal. However, prioritize carbs first, then protein, and limit fats.

Most refeed diets recommend limiting fats to around 2040 grams per day and suggest consuming around 0.680.9 grams of protein per pound (1.52.0 grams per kg) of body weight.

To ensure youre meeting your bodys needs, it may be best to speak to a healthcare professional before implementing a refeed day into your eating regime.

On refeed days, aim to increase your total daily calories by 2030%, with most of the increase coming from carbs.

If youre wondering what a refeed day would look like, here is an example. Keep in mind that the portions of each food will vary depending on your weight and other needs.

Conversely, follow an eating pattern similar to that of your regular diet and add additional servings of carbs to each meal.

Meals on refeed days should emphasize carb-rich foods with moderate amounts of protein and limited fats.

Refeed days are designed to give a temporary break from calorie restriction.

The theory behind refeed days is to improve your hormone levels, namely leptin, to prevent weight loss plateaus caused by a process known as adaptive thermogenesis. They may also decrease your risk of binging and improve athletic performance.

However, more research is needed to better understand the purpose and role of refeed days in weight loss. Moreover, they may not be suitable for those with a history of disordered eating.

If youve reached a weight loss plateau, you may want to consider incorporating a refeed day into your routine.

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Refeed Day: What It Is and How to Do It - Healthline

Coronavirus: How to stop overeating and avoid weight gain in self-quarantine – TODAY

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

Many Americans may find their bodies flabbier and less healthy when they finally emerge from the Great Quarantine of 2020.

And is it any surprise? Hello, pantry full of snacks and comfort foods. Heres looking at you, refrigerator packed with meat, cheese and milk.

Its all so tempting during the coronavirus crisis as people stay at home bored, anxious and stressed and seek relief by eating all day.

By the middle of this month, popcorn sales rose almost 48%, pretzel sales were up 47% and potato chip sales rose 30% compared to the same period last year, Bloomberg reported.

Theres also surging demand for cookies, crackers, soup, macaroni and cheese, breakfast food, potatoes, and canned, dried and fresh meat.

It didnt surprise Lisa Young, a registered dietitian in New York and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.

When people are stressed, they tend to fall back on lazy patterns, letting the vigilance with the food go. And its comfort food its feel-good food, it keeps them full, Young told TODAY.

I think that in these times, its not a time to diet and to make yourself crazy but (social distancing) has now become a way of life and its so important that we make our way of life healthy.

Its also not surprising that people are buying shelf-stable foods that dont require a lot of time to prepare, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

Still, food prepared outside the home is generally less healthy than home-cooked meals, so he was optimistic the break from restaurant eating could be positive when it came to nutrition.

We dont know, well have to see, but Im hopeful that people will actually be healthier than they were before. Theyre not eating at (restaurants), Mozaffarian said.

Here are expert tips on how to stay on the nutritional track during this time:

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

People may be disoriented by their new reality of staying at home all the time, so the No. 1 most important thing is to set up a plan for the day, Young said.

You dont just want to nibble on seven mini-meals. You want to set structured meals for yourself, she advised.

Set a time for eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Limit any mindless snacking in between. Stick to a routine.

Take the time when youd normally commute and do an online exercise class or take a walk. Any kind of morning exercise sets you up for good structure for the rest of the day, Young said.

This is a time when people truly should be supporting their immune systems, Mozaffarian noted.

Theres good evidence that healthy diets improve the immune system and so if you want to fight COVID-19, eating foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients especially many red and yellow and other colored fruits and vegetables can help the immune system, he said.

We have to try to make ourselves healthier COVID-19 is a reminder that healthy eating remains important.

Young advised buying healthy staples including:

Make your own comfort food by having whole -wheat pasta, red sauce and frozen vegetables, for example.

If you really want to have cookies in your pantry, stick to one type. Dont buy seven varieties of cookies because youll end up eating more of each of them, Young cautioned.

Eating snacks straight out of the packaging is a recipe for overeating. You dont want to spend unlimited time with that giant open box of crackers from Costco.

Instead, try portion control to limit how much youre eating. Its easy to do at home where theres usually access to a food scale or measuring cups.

Take the food out of the bag and figure out exactly how much you want to eat. Then you put it on a plate and you sit down and you enjoy it. You dont eat it standing while watching the latest news reports, stressed out, Young noted.

Young is a fan of what she calls the 80/20 rule, or eating well 80% of the time, and allowing yourself treats 20% of the time.

Its good to have something to look forward to, like air-popped popcorn, whole-grain pretzels or whole-grain crackers. Shes even OK with the occasional small portion of ice cream or macaroni and cheese. Just focus on nutritious food the vast majority of the time and sprinkle in any less-healthy favorites.

This is a stressful time dont make things worse by sitting on the couch and eating all day.

You think youll feel better after you eat, but then after you eat, you feel worse. It ends up being a totally vicious cycle, Young said.

You want to say: I want to be healthy, thats my goal right now. I dont want to get this thing and I want to stay healthy.

A. Pawlowski is a TODAY contributing editor focusing on health news and features. Previously, she was a writer, producer and editor at CNN.

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Coronavirus: How to stop overeating and avoid weight gain in self-quarantine - TODAY

How to choose a diet and weight loss app that’s right for you, according to a nutritionist – Business Insider – Business Insider

Posted: April 2, 2020 at 5:47 am

Let's face it when life hits a few bumps in the road, so, too, do our diets and food habits. As more people transition to a work from home lifestyle, the new normal of spending an inordinate amount of time confined to their homes and home offices takes some getting used to. There are shifts in work production, alterations of one's sleep and exercise habits, and drastic changes to what, when, and how food is consumed.

For many people, this change leads to eating habits and schedules that are less healthy than they're typically accustomed to, making it challenging to stay focused on their health and fitness goals.Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent resources a mere smartphone app away designed to help us stay on track no matter how difficult it might seem.

Both Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store are filled with apps offering the promise of losing weight and eating healthier. But wading through the choices can be both difficult and time-consuming, as even the best apps may not be right for everyone.

To help sort through the choices, we turned to Samantha Cassetty, an MS, RD, and national nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City, for a bit of advice and her thoughts were especially insightful.

"There are many free and paid apps to help you learn how to eat more healthfully," Cassetty told Business Insider. "The most important thing is to find one that supports a variety of healthful foods in balanced amounts that are right for your needs."

Using a smartphone to track your diet isn't a new idea. In fact, some of the earliest apps on the App Store were aimed at helping iPhone users eat healthier. After all, we carry our mobile devices with us everywhere, making them ideal for providing insights and advice on what we should be buying at the grocery store or ordering at a restaurant.

Some of the apps that are available even create extensive meal plans, provide diet and exercise routines, or offer consultations from dietitians and nutritionists. Others simply track what we're eating in order to raise awareness of the calories we're taking in. Cassetty says there are benefits to both and that even basic food trackers are valuable.

"Free tools allow you to track your food intake, which is a form of self-monitoring that's been found helpful for reaching or maintaining a comfortable weight," she said. "They can also expose when you might be grazing or over-snacking, which happens when you're spending more time working at home with a stocked kitchen."

While Cassetty does find plenty of value in the use of smartphone apps to track dietary intake, she also urges caution, saying that "unless you're getting the tools and information you need to make lasting changes, it's unlikely that you'll be able to maintain any weight you've lost."

She recommends working on developing an understanding of how to balance meals so they fill you up while tasting great at the same time. She also stresses the importance of developing healthier coping strategies rather than turning to food when we're bored, stressed, anxious, depressed, or even happy.

"Rather than focus on a goal weight, I think a better way to go is to focus on small steps you can take to create healthier habits," Cassetty said. "Examples include, limiting soda, upping your veggie intake at lunch and dinner, cooking an extra meal or two, drinking more water, and aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night."

Those are words of wisdom, no doubt, but Cassetty also expressed the importance of cutting ourselves some slack when things get especially stressful and difficult.

"I think it's important to be flexible and compassionate with yourself during these challenging times," she added. "You may not be able to eat as well as you'd like or maintain your healthy routines, and that's alright. As long as you're putting in some effort versus none at all it's a step in the right direction."

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How to choose a diet and weight loss app that's right for you, according to a nutritionist - Business Insider - Business Insider

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