How To Prepare Your Meals During A Pandemic

Almost all countries ordered city-wide lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19. This lockdown meant lessened supplies, decreased workforce, several closed restaurants and stores, and fewer trips to the market. For families with children, it was a meal planning frenzy. This statement is most especially relatable to people who often turn to fast food chains. Everybody had to figure out a game plan for supply runs and ration the supplies they could buy.

Since it seemed impossible to keep hoping for fast food deliveries, people started grappling with home-cooked meals. Here are a few tips for healthy and safe lunches to help you ease in the meal prepping during a pandemic.

What’s On The List?

  • A Healthy Meal Plan

Prepare a grocery list based on your family’s likes and preferences. Visualize what you’ll have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Make a list of meals they like suitable for the number of days until your next trip to the supermarket. This tip helps you avoid going back out too soon. Corresponding to each meal are the ingredients and quantities to make grocery shopping quicker and efficient.

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“Limit purchases of tempting foods like chips, sodas, cookies, and ice cream. They are high in empty calories and run up your grocery bill,” according to American Society for Nutrition members Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., RD, FAND and collaborators. Aside from that, cut out highly processed food from your diet. These are your packaged snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and desserts.

While on a supply run, try to get in and out of the grocery as fast as you can. Therefore, create a grocery list of healthy meals in mind. Take note of the supply shortage, so be flexible with your meals and already have in mind replacement meals or ingredients. 

  • Eat Your Fruits And Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables may be hard to come by these days, but when they’re in stock, better take what you can finish. An alternative for this is frozen fruits and veggies. They may have lesser nutrients and vitamins compared to fresh ones, but they will last longer. You may also cook fresh vegetables into soup, allowing an extra couple days worth of serving.

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  • Canned Goods As A Replacement

In the event fresh produce like fish or vegetables aren’t available, you may opt for canned foods. Canned chickpeas, veggies like tomatoes, beans are a good source of glow food. They are easy to store and prepare. For your grow food, you may choose to swap fresh seafood with canned tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc. These choices are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, and protein. Quickly whip up a sandwich or salad with the canned goods in your home.

  • Find Healthy Snacks

Everybody tries to avoid snacking, and everyone fails consistently. Snacking is a favorite pastime, so stock up on healthy snack options like yogurt, crackers, nuts, cheese, or dried fruits. 

Practicing Food Prep At Home

  • Washing Food

It’s good to see people become more careful in handling their food, but sometimes they go overboard. Other people wash their meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs in water or juices. This food preparation practice is highly unrecommended by experts. It may promote bacteria from raw meat and poultry to spread to other utensils, surfaces, or clothing. Experts refer to this as cross-contamination.

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The Food and Drug Association advises consumers to wash their hands thoroughly before rinsing their whole vegetables and fruits only. Wash these items under running water and rinse them off with a clean cloth or paper towel. It is also acceptable to mix baking soda in the rinsing water as they wash away pesticides. Never use soap or detergent to “clean” your food. You may unknowingly introduce chemicals to the food you eat.

  • Kitchen Hygiene

Keep your kitchen space clean from unwanted bacteria or other harmful elements. Frequently wash utensils and kitchenware with hot, soapy water every after use. Avoid reusing plates or cutting boards to cooking different food like veggies then seafood. 

  • Cooking, Serving, And Storing Food 

Each type of raw meat has different temperatures safe enough for cooking and consuming. Make sure to cook meat, poultry, or seafood to a safe minimum internal temperature. When serving food, they should be warm at 140°F or warmer. Another tip people tend to forget to allow cooked food to cool before refrigerating them.

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It’s quite overwhelming to switch toward planning and cooking your food. We’ve been used to eating a mix of comfort food, fast food, and junk food. And now, healthy meals require an acquired taste. We urge you to choose healthy options and snacks and practice proper food preparation practices at home. During extraordinary times, a healthy immune system may save you from contracting the disease.

Ways To Volunteer And Give Back To Your Community

 

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The 2019 Socal Conference was a great opportunity for sponsors, supporters, and benefactors of the Southern California Grantmakers community to connect and gather together to learn about the current trends that are emerging in the business, home, and work sectors. Everyone was in the mood to exchange information about policy trends, business strategies, and various critical issues that have affected their communities. There were training and workshops available to community members who were designated to learn different types of volunteer work to help improve their communities and teach the other community members as well, especially the youth.

Here are some ways that volunteers can help their community improve.

Organize A Yard Sale

If you have a knack for business or marketing, think about putting up a yard sale for your community, promising the proceeds to a charity that you have wanted to help. There’s always an appliance, equipment, or furniture in mint condition that’s lying around in your house. These things still have value, and some people who can’t afford to buy a new one will surely consider purchasing them.

Visit A Senior Facility

There are a lot of nursing homes that have become new homes for the elderly whos families are busy or no longer around, and many of these older adults need care, attention, and love from the outside world. You can volunteer one or two hours of your week to visit these homes and interact with the seniors, maybe ask them how they are or what their favorite food or television show is. If you think you won’t learn a thing or two from them, think again. You will have a wonderful time listening to their past and how they lived their lives.

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Donna Dules, a Meals-on-Wheels recipient, is hand-delivered her ready-made meal from Luke Schroeder, 11, son of Tech. Sgt. James Schroeder, 7th Mission Operations Squadron, in the local Abilene community June 30, 2011. Children ages 9-18 from the youth center here perform a Meals-on-Wheels route every Thursday morning in the city of Abilene. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chelsea Browning/Released)

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Cook And Serve Food

America may not be on the list of poorest countries in the world, but there are still thousands of hungry and homeless people everywhere. There won’t be enough volunteers and philanthropists to feed them, so preparing meals and serving these groups with free food will definitely help a lot. Join Meals On Wheels, volunteers that serve more than 2 million seniors daily, or better yet, organize your own in your community.

Help Out At Your Local School

Teachers are stressed, fatigued, and overworked, and they badly need help. If you think you have language, math, or any skill that can help a student learn, then be a volunteer tutor. You can also read stories to preschool children so the teachers can do their paperwork while you’re at it. Cleaning the school grounds is also a great idea. Your efforts will surely be appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Tips On Creating A Diet Plan Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

The spread of COVID-19 is affecting every aspect of our lives right now, and this includes food-related practices. More and more groceries and supermarkets are operating on a limited time table, if not closed. Some restaurants only allow takeaways as well. Lastly, a couple of items on your grocery list might not be available in the stores due to supply constraints.

Despite these happenings, it is essential that we still take good care of our health. It is also crucial while we’re in the middle of the pandemic since we need a healthy immune system to fight back the virus. With this in mind, here are some tips that can help you draft your diet plan despite the said crisis.

Plan Ahead

Do not just think about what you’re going to prepare for you and your family for the next three days. Instead, you should visualize your meals from breakfast to dinner for at least a week. You have to consider which viands you have to prepare, the exact ingredients needed, the food preparation method, and the amount of time and energy you will need to make the meals.

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Once you have listed down everything you need, that’s the only time you should go to the grocery. Take note that you should minimize your trips to crowded places like these as it’s too dangerous. Therefore, make sure to maximize your shopping time by buying enough stocks for 1 to 2 weeks.

Prioritize Fresh Products

You should also make it to the point that you maximize the food available in your pantry. However, you should know how to prioritize. The most important rule that you need to keep in mind is to use the fresh ingredients first or utilize those with shorter shelf life.

Examples of these include reduced-fat dairy products, vegetables, and fruits. One technique for your fruits and vegetables to last long is by freezing them. Do not worry as they will retain their original nutrient profile despite staying inside the refrigerator.

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Listed below are some nutrition-packed food that has longer shelf lives.

  • Grains: frozen brown rice, instant oatmeal, refrigerated pizza crust, couscous, and quick-cooking pasta
  • Bread: whole-grain English muffins, bread, bagels, corn tortillas, frozen whole wheat waffles, and wraps
  • Sauce: salsa and tomato pasta sauce
  • 100% Juice: shelf-stable cartons, canned, frozen
  • Eggs: egg whites in packages, fresh eggs
  • Soup and Broths: shelf-stable cartons, frozen, canned
  • Vegetables: plain frozen, sun-dried, low sodium canned, sturdy fresh vegetables (onions, potatoes, broccoli, and celery)
  • Fruits: plain frozen, dried, canned in water or juice, and sturdy fresh fruit (citrus and apple)
  • Cheese: cubed or grated hard cheese
  • Nuts and seeds: canned, bagged, nut butter
  • Seafood: fish fillet, canned tuna, sardines, and salmon, and frozen shrimp
  • Frozen chicken, pork, and beef

Control Portion Sizes

Being at home for an extended period due to lockdowns and quarantine may lead to overeating. Partner this with this inactivity, then you’re prone to a health disaster. Therefore, if you’re drafting your diet plan, make sure that your portion sizes are at par with the standard.

You can do this by seeking assistance from national food-based dietary guidelines. Here you’ll find what constitutes a right yet healthy portion. Be mindful that adults and young children have different allocations, and you need to consider this when preparing a meal.

“The healthiest meals emphasize whole grains, vegetables, and fruits—serve them in the greatest amounts. Meat portions should be smaller—this will save money and help keep dietary saturated fat in check,” share Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., RD, FAND, and co-authors.

Try Online Shopping

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We’re living in the digital age now. Most food companies who are trying to control their losses brought about by the pandemic are now extending their services via the online platform. As a household, you should utilize this approach. It will not only save you a lot of time but will also minimize your people-to-people interaction.

Keep in mind, however, that unlike supermarkets, you have to wait for a day or two to receive or pick up your orders. Therefore, it is vital to plan and manage your groceries.

Limit Sugar Intake

The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar intake per day. This amount is equivalent to less than 5 percent of an adult’s total energy intake; therefore, if you crave for something sweet, better to consume fresh fruits than any other delicious dessert.

Always remember that one can still achieve proper nutrition amid these unfortunate circumstances. All you have to do is follow the tips above and partner this with a physically active lifestyle.

IBD: Overview, Causes, And Symptoms

Abdominal Pain, Pain, Appendicitis, Bloating

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The distinguished organizers of the 2019 Gastroenterology Conference did well with structuring the program and topics of the event. There were discussions, presentations, and the exchange of knowledge and insights among the various participants focused on gastrointestinal health research. The conference further brought together a diverse scope of gastroenterology, including a brief explanation of common GI diseases such as infections, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancers of the GI tract.

Below is a brief discussion of a specific GI condition, inflammatory bowel disease.

Overview

Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is composed of a range of intestinal disorders that cause long-term inflammation of the GI – specifically – the digestive system. The digestive system consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, respectively. The system functions to break down the food that a person consumes, extract the healthy substances from it, and get rid of waste products. If there is swelling anywhere along with the digestive system, this interrupts its normal process. IBD can ultimately be very painful, troublesome, and in worst cases, life-threatening.

Causes

The precise cause of IBD is not known, but genetics and abnormalities in one’s immune system are apparently associated with the disease.

Genetics. If your parents or other siblings have been diagnosed with IBD, then there is a higher likelihood that you to may develop the disease. This is why researchers have associated it with having a genetic component.

Immune System. Typically, your immune system protects your body from organisms that cause infection and illness. If you have IBD, on the other hand, and a viral or bacterial infection occurs in the digestive tract, this may evoke an autoimmune response, wherein your immune system attacks your body’s healthy cells.

Symptoms

The symptoms of IBD depends on where the inflammation is located and how severe it is. These include:
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  • Diarrhea
  • stomach pain, bloating and cramping secondary to bowel obstruction
  • bleeding ulcer
  • anemia and weight loss.

 

Exercise For A Healthy Digestive System

 

Exercise helps us feel good and healthy inside and out.

Our digestive system works with great effort to keep our whole body nourished.  And for it to perform its function well, we must learn to take care of our gut, and one important thing we can do for our digestive tract is to exercise regularly.

 

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Exercise Heals Holistically

Exercise helps in digestion a great deal as it activates the digestive enzymes and the bowel movement.   The digestive enzymes play a significant role in digestion and nutrient absorption.  Regular exercising improves your circulatory system and keeps the nervous, endocrine, and muscular systems going.  It makes your body healthy holistically. “Physical wellness is affected by physical activity, healthy nutrition, and adequate sleep.” Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC eplains.

 

Workouts That Can Benefit A Healthy Digestive System

 

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Yoga

Yoga poses and deep breathing calm down the gut.  It’s like massaging your abdominal tract.  Stretches and contractions through yoga improve gut function and digestion flow. “Many practitioners and teachers of yoga claim it offers benefits for one’s mental health. It seems like an obvious conclusion, given that most yoga focuses on exploring one’s inner world of consciousness.” John M. Grohol, Psy.D. said.

 

Belly Dancing

Most of the belly dance moves involve the torso and the stomach which feels like massaging your internal organs.  Belly dancing movements, like the swaying of hips in a circle, helps in the digestion process.

 

Walking

“Exercise, even if all you do is to take a walk.” Yocheved Golani, a life coach suggests. A study done in 2008 revealed that after a meal walking increases the rate at which food moves through the stomach.

Brisk walking helps promote and raise metabolism and is a good kick start for our digestive system, thus, regulating our bowel movement.

 

Swimming

No matter what style you do – breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, or even freestyle – swimming is proven effective in calming down irritable bowel syndrome.  It reduces cramping and bloating.

 

Aerobics

Doing aerobics accelerates breathing and heart rate, stimulating the natural contraction of the intestinal muscles.  Comfortable abdominal muscle contraction helps in the passage of the stool to move out swiftly.

 

Exercise Is Not Just For Losing Weight

Many are encouraged to exercise because of the promise of weight loss.  What they are not aware of is that there is more to just merely losing weight when you work out.   It keeps you healthy and stress-free.

 

Always remind yourself that inactivity causes you to feel constipated, bloated, and gassy.   This feeling can make you feel stressed and depressed.   Exercise helps prevent this from happening and even helps prevent diseases of the digestive system like colon cancer.

 

Many exercises target the abdominal muscles, boosting digestion efficiency, helping toxin removal, nourishing the intestines, and promoting balance and quintessential metabolic state.

 

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Never Start Abruptly After Your Meal

When it says after-meal exercise, it does not mean that you should start your activity immediately right after eating.   Wait at least an hour after your big meal before starting your regimen.   Exercising all of a sudden after eating may lead to the weakening of intestinal muscle contraction and inadequate production of the digestive enzyme, which causes the intestines to move sluggishly, making you feel bloated and gassy.  It can cause you to become constipated.  So it’s important to give your body the time to digest what you’ve taken in before doing the exercise regimen you prefer.

 

Tips For Starters

For inactive individuals who want to start exercising, walking is the best way to start it.  You can do a 5 to 10-minute walk first, and gradually increasing it as the day goes by until you feel you’re ready to do low impact exercise.   Make it your goal to do it daily, rather than aiming to increase your activity abruptly.

 

If you want to do a brisker type of exercise, consult your doctor first, especially if you have some health issues and if you’re taking some kind of medication.

 

Stay healthy and keep that gut moving!

How Your Weekly Meal Plan Affects Your Partner’s Gastrointestinal Function 

You are a reflection of what you eat. Whatever your diet might be, its effects on your body will show up one day. If you have a balanced diet, you will reap the rewards of it. Consequently, poor meal planning can make you prone to lifestyle diseases. You need to be careful about what you put inside your body. Moreover, if you are responsible for your partner’s diet, be extra careful when planning their weekly meals.  

 

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Gastrointestinal Problems And Marriage

Having a chronic illness is unfortunate in a marriage. When your husband acquires a gastrointestinal problem that is believed to last for more than a year, there is a high possibility that his attitude towards you would change. Take note that the physical pain that he is feeling can make him feel anxious, stressed and depressed all at the same time. Because of this, it is expected that he will cause some problems in your relationship.

 

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How To Be Strong For A Loved One Who Is Sick 

One of the worst things that could happen in your life is finding out that the person you love is suffering from a disease. It hurts to see your husband go through a lot of pain, especially if you think that he does not deserve any of it. At the same time, it can also give rise to some financial troubles since hospital bills and medications usually go up as the sickness becomes serious. Because of this, it can be easy to show sadness and grief. Unfortunately, the more you show that your beloved one’s illness affects you, the more painful it will be on his part. 

  

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