Healthy Habits While Social Distancing
Updated: Apr 22
Q&A From Thrive Global interview:
- Even though it might be more difficult, why is it so important to continue eating healthy foods and moving our bodies at this point in time?
Healthy eating is imperative to maintaining a healthy immune system. For example, high sugar intake have been shown in studies to decrease immune activity, specifically NK cells, for several hours after consuming the sugary food. Partially hydrogenated fats you'd get in fried foods have an impact on your antioxidant status, which is important when your body is faced with an infection. Antioxidant/flavanoid rich foods in general like dark leafy greens, blueberries, blackberries, acai and raspberries are helpful in improving your antioxidant status, which declines as we get older. One of the most important antioxidants that your body produces is glutathione. Sulfur containing vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc can help encourage your glutathione production. So you really do have a lot of power over your health and immunity by supporting your body with beneficial foods and healthy eating styles.
- What are some strategies to avoid stress-eating/reaching for comfort foods during this time?
Only purchasing healthy food items can really help. We can't go out unless it is for essential things during this quarantine, so keeping problematic foods out of your house can be a great way of preventing detrimental eating habits. Stick to your list when you go shopping and keep unhealthy foods off of it. Also paying attention to your emotions when you go to reach for food is important. Are you eating because you are truly hungry or because of an intense emotion? This strategy can help with identifying eating patterns.
- How can we still make healthy food choices as we are limiting trips to the grocery story and largely relying on pantry/shelf-stable foods?
Meal prepping is essential. I have been making stews, veggie quinoa mixtures and soups. I make them in bulk and then freeze them in individualized portions, so I still have access to fresh delicious food. I'm also buying a lot of frozen leafy greens and other vegetables that are quick and easy to prepare. You can also buy canned items such as tuna, chickpeas, black beans, coconut milk, jackfruit and other healthy items are available and last a very long time. I stocked up on many gluten free legume pastas and bought bulk quinoa as well. You can definitely find healthy pantry/shelf-stable foods.
- What are some strategies for fitting movement into the day while we are staying home and not going to the gym?
My favorite way to exercise is HIIT training. Science has shown that this type of exercise is excellent for your mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cells in your body), helps burn belly fat, boosts metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity. In fact, it is one of the most efficient exercise methods for reducing visceral fat and total trunk/abdominal fat. It has also been shown to stimulate production of human growth hormone, which can slow down the aging process, improve bone density and muscle mass.
I really enjoy HIIT because I can do it in the comfort of my own home and it only takes a short amount of time to preform and to see/feel results. There are tons of free videos on youtube that you can use as guides, or you can just make up your own routine. I usually do some combo of forearm planks, jump squats, plank jacks, lunges and donkey kicks, but I like to switch it up with videos.