This is the best health podcast brought to you by wake forest Baptist health in partnership with MedCost. Good day everyone. Welcome to the latest edition of best health podcast. Um, we are, um, going to be, uh, facilitating several podcasts, um, around the topic that is, uh, obviously encapsulated our nation and North Carolina and Forsyth County and, uh, with covid-19 and Coronavirus. And, um, there's just lots of different things to talk about with, with Covid19. And, um, what our quote unquote new normal is with, with life without a traditional school. And, um, a lot of businesses being temporarily closed and, um, most everyone's life is, has been impacted in one way or another. And, uh, we definitely recognize that and are sensitive to that. Um, and, um, wake forest Baptist health has a good resource page. If you are looking for information, it's wakehealth.edu/Coronavirus. So we invite people to visit that webpage and, um, get all the information they need about various aspects of that. Um, but specifically we're going to kind of zoom in today and talk about, um, just different methods and ways of, of acclimating to, um, what a lot of us are working through right now, which is, um, some social distancing and possibly being at home with our children and trying to do e-learning and virtual learning. And, um, some of us, a fair amount of us may be stocked up a little bit for groceries. And so we are talking with Caroline Thompson, who's a registered dietitian with wake forest Baptist health. Welcome, Caroline. How's it going?
Thanks so much for having me. Yeah, I'm a, I'm not self quarantining yet, but I think we're all heading there pretty soon.
Okay, gotcha. Well, um, I appreciate you, I know you guys have been busy, so I appreciate you taking time and talking to us today on the best health podcast and we're going to be talking about is really managing some sort of healthy diets, um, during this whole time. Um, there's a lot of factors that kind of come into play. Uh, maybe some of us, um, are, are wondering how, um, we're getting, um, you know, uh, food for next week and, and relying on some of the food distribution points and some of us may be, you know, stocked up, uh, anticipating some social distancing and isolation and, um, you know, there's this other kind of factor that, um, you know, we have our kids with us at home possibly is a whole nother angle too. So we're going to, we're going to talk about all that, Caroline, but before we do, just, uh, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
Sure. Thanks so much for having me too on the podcast and really excited. Um, like you said, I'm a dietitian, so I work for wake forest, um, and I actually work for the diabetes and endocrinology department as a diabetes educator. Um, so I kind of have a dual role as a dietitian and diabetes educator and I've been doing that for about two years. Um, but other than that, you know, I enjoy just being outside. And, um, before pre Covid-9, I loved traveling and going to the beach. And, um, just being outside in general. So hopefully, hopefully one day soon we can get back to that.
Yes, yes. I totally agree. One day we will all get back to doing those, those fun things. Um, so I'm going to jump into it, Caroline. Uh, we hear a lot and maybe you've seen, um, you know, uh, things on the internet or social media about stress eating. Um, you know, I know that's uh, may, may or not, may not have happened in our house already, um, with my family. So I guess just talk to us a little about stress eating and why human nature is to kind of revert back to, um, some sort of comfort food or, or why would you use food as a, as a stress reliever?
Yeah, such a good question right now. Um, yeah, I mean, I think you said it earlier, but we really are adjusting to a new normal, right? And so this is just an unprecedented time. We'd never found ourselves in this scenario before. And so a lot of our kind of like primal instincts are to find comfort in some way or to just look for, um, things that are going to give us maybe like a sense of escape for the moment. And so I think that's where stress eating, even when we're not in such dire straits, like we are right now, you know, of course everyone's experienced some type of stress eating on some level. Um, it affects all of us. So, you know, now we are in this little microcosm and that is, um, unfortunately a really big thing that a lot of us are dealing with.
Um, because it does kind of offer comfort during this crazy time. Um, and I think that it's also something like, uh, you know, we revert back to old habits. Like I always think about like when you were on summer break as a kid, you know, your eating habits were totally different because summertime was such like a novel time every year and it was almost like coveted. So of course all of our eating habits would change. And you know, you may have been home alone as you got older. And so it was easier to stress eat or something like that during that time. So some of it is just like falling back into old patterns where we were so used to doing that during a stressful time or even just a novel time where it's just new. And you know, we don't really have like a roadmap for how to act as humans when we're home alone all day with our families.
Yeah, yeah, that's true. So do you know, or can you talk a little bit Caroline, to why, why do we like the really sweet sugary things and the salty things? Like why [inaudible] to, to derive joy from this stuff that's maybe not so great for us?
Yeah. Well I do all the good foods taste so good.
Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Yeah. And you know, it really, um, it really does come down to the food industry and actually the way that a lot of these products were engineered. And, um, you know, a lot of people will say that they're addicted to junk food or they're a sugar addict or a soda addict or whatever. You know, they've tried to quit so many times and then of course they kind of hit a breaking point and, um, kind of spiral or start, you know, going back on their habits. And so a really big reason for that is because that, and sugar and processed food in general, it has this component to it that's called hyper palatability. And hyper palatability means basically think about like, it's just like the most delicious texture that melts in your mouth that makes you want another bite. That's what hyper palatability is. And so think about like a Cheeto, you know, a cheated of just like directly melt as soon as it hits your tongue.
And then of course it's gone and you want another one. And so that hyper palatability was actually engineered by the food industry and processed foods, um, to be more craveable, to be more addictive. And during these times of stress when we are looking for that sense of comfort and when we have, you know, um, we don't really have any other outlets. We're stuck at home. It's almost like a primal, primitive instinct where our brain is just drawn to those foods because it knows that it's going to offer that really instant, hyper, palatable reward. And we, we almost revert back to that primitive brain and we don't necessarily, it takes a lot of practice to override that. And especially during times like this when we're already under a lot of stress, the times are changing. Everything every day is changing. Like that can really take a backseat and stress eating doesn't become something that you feel like you need to work on. It just becomes a habit that you started develop.
Yeah. So what, you know, that's great information. Uh, what is, what can we do realistically to kind of, if we find ourselves stress eating throughout the day, how can we, we break that cycle? Um, w what are some things that we can do to maybe replace that stress eating behavior with, with another behavior?
Yeah. So if we go back to the hyper palatability example, one of the most basic things you can do is to stop keeping hyper palatable food or processed food in general around all the time. So remove the stimulus so that you're forced to then eat healthy items. Healthy foods. Right now, fresh foods may not be as available, but there's certainly lots of good options for frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, frozen protein options, things like that. So really just starting, um, super basic and going back to just real food. So getting away from some of that process stuff that's keeping us hooked on it over and over again is the first step that I would always say. Um, and then you know, there's something called the restrict in the binge cycle, which happens a lot with stress eating. So for example, you will, let's say it was a really stressful day.
The Corona virus is out there and lots of things are changing by the end of the day, you're emotionally so zapped that you do go into the pantry and you kind of fill that void with stress eating or just overeating in general. And then you get to the bottom of that package or carton or whatever. Um, and we've all done this, you know, the super relatable and get to the bottom of that package. And then we're like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe I just ate that entire thing. And then you feel super guilty. Um, and you're like, okay, tomorrow you know, I'm going to start over, I'm going to be good. And then you don't eat breakfast or you try to eat very minimally to try and kind of overcompensate for that overeating episode. So that's what's called the restriction binge. Um, or Benjamin restrict cycle. And I really, even if you did over eat last night, I always say wake up the next day, start fresh, eat regular meals, you know, just move on because if you start over in restricts, you're going to end up in the same place night after night or day after day. So I'm trying to stop that cycle and just eat normal, regular balanced meals in addition to eating real food based meals can be a really good strategy just from a nutrition standpoint.
Gotcha, gotcha. That's, that's good information. As well. Um, yeah, it's interesting that you said that. You know, and I, I've experienced this too where you almost, you know, you're almost on autopilot just eating that food that tastes good and then you get to the end of the package and you don't even realize it's almost kind of mindless in a way.
It is. Yeah. Yeah. And I always tell people, you know, um, this is kind of sounds like tough love, but when you've finished stress eating, you're still stressed. You know, the stress doesn't go away just because you've finished that bag or box of whatever type of food. It was really working to address the stress in your life head on. Um, because really when you think about it, the stress eating these overeating tactics are just like avoidance type tactics that we're using to almost, you know, suppress stress, the stress or something. Yeah.
Yeah. And you know, there's some resources on our website wakehealth.edu about, um, about and anxiety so people can feel free to visit that website and just search that topic and you'll see some resources come up. Um, I want to shift angles a little bit. Um, uh, so we have, you know, a lot of people around here, um, they, they were kind of anticipating maybe some social distancing and having to work from home or be with their children at home and docked up on some groceries ahead of time. And now there's this maybe a little bit larger than usual, uh, quantity of, of food in the house. Maybe some of it's healthy, some of it it's not healthy. You know, what, and, and you know, you kind of, you know, there's kind of joking in a way with your children. You're not to just eat everything in the cupboard and the first two days it has to last a while. Um, you know, what, what are some tips that you can give us to, so that, you know, we're not overeating or eating too much with, with this maybe increased level of food that some people have or, or, um, you know, the, they, they need to help space it out and make it last.
Yeah, that's a great question. Um, you know, as far as like grocery shopping and just like the fear and panic that a lot of us are feeling right now. One of the best things I think I can suggest is try not to succumb to that fear. It's almost like when you walk into the grocery store now you're like feeling that panic that everyone else there is feeling and everybody just like overcompensates and buys everything. Um, and so, you know, sometimes just being able to kind of override that feeling and just, you know, stick to a list of generally healthy non-perishable or minimally perishable items could be really helpful. Um, if you do have kids, I would recommend getting them involved. So get them involved in preparing meals or looking in the pantry and coming up with different ingredients and how to put those together. You know, that could be a really valuable time for families that may not get that time together to, to meal prep or plan together to cook together, to really start implementing those habits now and getting kids thinking about how do you actually prepare, you know, a balanced meal. What components do you need?
Yeah. Well let's follow up on that. Um, so, you know, we were here with our kids. What, what can, how, how would we, how would someone go through a meal plan and what do we need to have in that meal planning process that would make it a balanced, healthy, you know?
Yeah. So, um, you know, most meals need to have what's called what I call PFC, which is protein, fat parts. So your three macronutrients are PFC. Um, and that's easy for kids to remember too. And then vegetables as well. So it's really PFC plus vegetables. Um, but if you want those at every meal and that's, you know, it's so simple, it's almost stupid, but nobody does it. So, um, a protein every meal. So that's like any type of eggs, chicken, beef, of course, all your meats, tuna fish, um, dairy products, those are going to be all your proteins, your fats, especially healthy fats are we want to focus on. So that would be like avocado nuts, peanut butter cheese right now. And then of course oils that you cook with. So like olive oil, butter, things like that. And then carbs, you want to stick to whole food based carbs.
So that goes back to what we were talking about with real food. You know, even though potatoes are considered a carb, it's so hard to overeat tons and tons of potatoes in the same way that it's easy to overeat. Lots of potato chips. Once you start a process, these carbs, it's so much easier to eat them in mass quantities without realizing it. So whole food carves would be things like just Brown rice, whole grains like, um, Keala rice, whole grain bread, wheats, um, beans, squash, winter squash, peas. Let's see, corn is another starchy vegetables. So I'm really focusing on those first before getting out things like pasta or the white. The white foods can be a really good way to just portion size because of the added fiber in those carbs. And then lastly are the vegetables. So, um, even though I say them last here, they really are the most important. So trying to get at least five servings of vegetables in a day is the goal. Um, which right now, you know, maybe setting a small goal that might not be realistic right now, especially given everything that we're going through, we're kind of trying to in space our food out. So if you're not a big vegetable eater, just include one vegetable or two vegetables at dinner, something very small, very manageable that you can go home and do tonight.
Sure. Well, um, that is good information as well. Caroline. Um, do you have maybe just a, an idea, a healthy recipe that um, you kind of quick reference when you're talking to families about, um, doing something that would be quick and easy during, during this time when we're trying to, to adjust to a new normal, do you have a recipe that you can share with us?
Sure. Um, I can give you some of my typical ideas. So you know, just as far as like nonperishable items, any canned good right now or dried options are going to be really, um, popular because they're shelf stable. So, for example, like beans and lentils, those are an easy way to get in. A really nice complex carb that has a lot of fiber and a lot of protein cause make like a bean soup. A minestrone could make chili. Um, that would just be one of few ways to use a bunch of different types of beans. Um, lentils are really good with like a Curry or a very simple spice or SaaS. So those can actually, um, like the Curry sauce or Curry spice can actually really add a lot of flavor to just something plain like lentils. And then you could pair that with, um, with some type of protein and then maybe even like rice or a salad on the side if you wanted to do that. Um, as far as just, you know, simple meals, I typically will give people the example of the plate method. So that's what's kind of replaced our pyramid. Um, the food pyramid in the United States now. So that's really just half your plate vegetables, one quarter protein and one quarter carbs.
All right, say that again. So a ParaMed is out. The plate is, is in one. Yes. So tell us the plate, uh, ratios again.
Yeah. So if you did buy, if you were just looking at your plate and you divided it up, just looking at it visually, half of your plate should be covered in vegetables. One quarter could be your protein and one quarter, the final quarter is where your carbohydrates will go. Right. Okay. So easy ways to divide up your meal, just looking at your plate visually.
Okay. And, um, we can provide a link on the best health podcast page, um, over to some nutrition information on our website as well, just for the people listening. Um, yeah, we're gonna wrap up in a minute here, but before we do, you know, Caroline, you, you work with, um, people and patients that have, um, you know, various, uh, conditions or, you know, special situations, um, where food and diets is even more important than, than, uh, than, you know, as important as it's this all of us, you know, if, um, if someone has, um, some special dietary needs or restrictions, um, you know, you would probably encourage them to stick to that as much as they can even during this, this unique time that we're in right now. Right.
Yeah. That's so true. I'm glad you brought that up because I feel like a lot of people think that, you know, since this has never really happened before, there's, it's unprecedented times, right? There's no rules. So it's almost just like that feeling gives people permission to just like do whatever they want. Like we were saying, Tony, you fall back into your old habits just because you don't know what else to do, so you revert back. And so really pushing yourself, um, and trying to stay on plan with things that you've been working on and knowing that we're going to come out of this time and you'll be so much better for it if you can stay, stick with some semblance of your plan. Um, of course it's not going to be perfect. It's never perfect. But, um, knowing that you at least tried to do that, you're probably gonna come out of this so much happier and better off with your health. Yeah.
All right. That's good advice. So, um, you know, if, if some of us maybe have already seen, uh, maybe the scales go, um, a few pounds in, in the wrong direction here, since we've been more isolated and social distancing. Um, you know, do you have a, some quick advice for us as far as, as if helping them reverse that trend on the scales?
Yeah. You know, I think one of the best things if you feel yourself sliding is just to create a little bit of structure for yourself. You know, if you feel like it comes down to just snacks are always available. Trying to create a snack time, um, trying to eat your meals about the same time, trying to have balanced meals like we've been talking about and working up to five vegetables a day, you know, it, it really is in those simple things that you can find yourself getting back on track and um, your weight kind of normalizing where you're more comfortable.
Okay. Well I appreciate you taking the time, Caroline. This has been very helpful. And um, once again for those listening, um, this is Justin Gomez with with best health and we've been talking with Carolina Thompson who's a registered dietitian here with wake forest Baptist health system and talking about, you know, this unimpressed, unprecedented times that we're in with Coronavirus. How we can limit the, um, the stress eating and, and try and maintain a healthy, as healthy as diet as we can. And you know, Caroline, as we close, I like what you said, you know, if you just want to reiterate it one last time, if you know, tomorrow is a new day, the sun comes up again. If you messed up, you know, it's okay. You can, you can start over with, with some healthy habits tomorrow. Right?
That's absolutely it. You know, every day is a new day. Every day, every meal you get a new chance to make a healthier choice. So there's no point in beating ourselves up. We've got to move forward and just focus on our goals.
Well that, that's great advice as, as we sign off here, you know, that's, we can show ourselves some more grace and, and show our family and friends and other people as much grace as we can during this time. So thank you so much, Carolina. Appreciate it. And, um, just a quick reminder, we'll have this, uh, podcast available on, um, the bed, the best health podcast series through, um, you know, wherever you get your podcasts through iTunes or Google or there will also be on the best health page on the wake websites. And it'll also be on the Corona virus page, which is wakehealth.edu/coronavirus. Um, so people can listen to this podcast or like I said at the beginning of the podcast, um, all of the resources that our health system has available about this Cove at 19, um, people can go to that website and check it out.
You can also call, um, not so much dealing with diet or food, but if you had specific COVID19 questions, you can call three, three, six, seven zero [inaudible] and someone will be able to answer your questions 24 hours a day. So, um, Caroline, I appreciate it. I hope that you stay safe and well and um, when, um, later on down the road when, when we're all feeling better and the, we don't have as many restrictions and quite under the stress of, of covid-19, we can catch up again and maybe talk about some, uh, some other fun recipes. Yeah. Thank you so much Justin for having me. All right, well thanks everyone
for listening and until we, until we talk again, please be well thanks for listening to this episode of the best health podcast brought to you by wake forest Baptist health. For more wellness info. Check out wakehealth.edu and follow us on social media. Wake forest Baptist health, the gold standard of healthcare.
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