Eating for Health
- Article | Patient Education May 04, 2020
- Nini Mai, DACM
If your experience with working from home has been anything like mine, I spend a good amount of the day preparing food, making food, eating food, cleaning up after food, and then thinking about what to do before that whole cycle has to start over again. Taking into consideration that I’m also homeschooling a young child and figuring out how to operate a full-time business during this global pandemic, I’ve figured out a few tricks that I hope might be helpful for you in order to easily maintain a healthy diet during our time of social isolation.
Whether you’re making meals for one or for a dozen, here are four guidelines to help you maintain some peace and order:
1) Regularity is your friend
In Chinese medicine, we have a saying: “the Spleen likes regularity.” We consider the Spleen/Stomach/digestive system to be the foundation from which you generate all of the necessary energy for your body. In order to support this process, you would want to do your best to maintain a regular eating schedule. Whether you’re eating three square meals a day or OMAD, try to stick to a similar timing of your foods everyday. Our bodies function best when things are predictable. Use your mealtimes as your anchors throughout the day for other activities. This will encourage you to take appropriate breaks as well as prevent you from skipping nutritious meals and/or making poor food choices as a result of lack of planning.
2) If you’re sticking to a schedule, try Intermittent Fasting
If you can maintain a regular schedule that enables you to practice Intermittent Fasting, even better. The idea is to give your digestive system a break from having to work all the time. From the moment you begin to eat something, your digestive system will be in “working mode” for the next 4-6 hours. Modern research has confirmed that the optimal stretch of time that allows the digestive system to “reset” for most people is about 13 hours.
3) Try making Breakfast your biggest meal
There’s the old adage: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Whether or not you prescribe to that as rule you abide by, there is truth to this! Breakfast is most likely to be the most efficiently processed meal of your day. Your digestive hormones are most effective first thing in the morning, and blood glucose is best mobilized at that time as well.
4) Be prepared
One of the biggest impediments to healthy eating is having access to good foods. Pick 5-6 meals that you know you like and can easily make, and always have those ingredients on hand. Developing a core set of items eliminates the guesswork out of grocery shopping and food prepping. If the idea of meal planning does not work for you, try one of the many meal kit delivery services such as SunBasket or BlueApron. Some local restaurants in NYC are also offering finish-at-home meal kits that can be delivered to your door. You can rely on these services for a set number of meals to plan your week, and fill in the gaps with things you know and like when you shop for groceries. You will be saving time and money in the long run if you build a workable foundation, which can consist of meals you create yourself, with the help of others, or a combination of both.
I’ll be back with more tips and/or recipes in the next installment of our monthly newsletter. In the meantime, if you have questions about diet and nutrition, or want to develop a customized meal plan and shopping list for you and your household, please feel free to reach out to us and we can set you up with a Virtual Visit with one of our expert clinicians.