Nutrition Tips to Manage Asthma

I know a lot of people with asthma, from patients to family members. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects over 26 million Americans, including 7.1 million children.  It can really negatively impact a person’s quality of life and keep them from doing the things they want to do. With the prevalence of asthma is on the rise, recent research has focused on the relationship between diet and asthma.  Research has shown that specific foods with anti-inflammatory compounds may be beneficial for asthma symptoms.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that combat inflammation associated with asthma. Two anti-inflammatory compounds shown to attenuate asthma symptoms are quercetin and rosmarinic acid. Quercetin is an antioxidant that helps relieve asthma by blocking some of the inflammatory responses in the airways. Quercetin can be found in apples, onions, cherries, asparagus, cranberry juice, fennel, raspberries, spinach, and sweet potatoes.  Rosmarinic acid is an antioxidant that encourages cells to make compounds that keep airways open for easy breathing.  Rosmarinic acid can be found in rosemary, sage, oregano, and peppermint.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the inflammation that leads to asthma symptoms. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, sardines, cod, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Dietary fish intake has an inverse relationship with the risk of asthma, meaning the more fish eaten, the less risk of asthma.

Sources

  1. Bowden, J. (2007). The 150 healthiest foods on earth: The surprising, unbiased truth about what you should eat and why.  Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
  2. Mateljan, G. (2007). The world’s healthiest foods: Essential guide for the healthiest way of eating. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.
  3. Miller, A. (2001). The etiologies, pathophysiology, and alternative/complementary treatment of asthma . Altern Med Rev 2001;6(1):20-47. Retrieved from http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/6/1/20.pdf

#30thBirthday

30

I just celebrated my 30th birthday. YAY!! It’s so funny to think how birthday celebrations change as we get older. As a kid, I had birthday parties at places like Chuck E. Cheese. I ran around and then had pizza and cake with my friends. I remember having ice cream at school with my class too. In middle school I had epic sleepovers at my parents’ house with my girlfriends. I had a Sweet 16 party in high school just like the rest of my friends.  In college, I got flowers from my boyfriend, who now happens to be my husband, and surprise parties from my roommate. In my twenties before I had kids, I had dinner at nice restaurants with my husband. Now that I’m a Mommy, birthdays are little different…and it’s awesome.

My 30th birthday went something like this:

I went to the spa in the morning to help relax from the stresses of being a working mother.

I went to lunch at a local spot with my husband. We went to lunch instead of dinner because the kids are in daycare during the day. As all parents know, going to dinner requires making child care arrangements in the evening. Babysitters aren’t necessarily cheap, and good ones are hard to come by.

My birthday dinner still turned out to be special, even though I didn’t go to a fancy restaurant. My 3 year old son is the one who planned my birthday dinner menu. Anyone who knows preschoolers would not be surprised that he chose grilled cheese and cupcakes for Mommy’s birthday meal. He insisted that his dad take him to the store after school to buy the ingredients.

Was grilled cheese and cupcakes a balanced meal from a nutrition standpoint? Not at all.

Was grilled cheese and cupcakes a five star meal from a great restaurant in the city? Nope.

Was grilled cheese and cupcakes the best birthday dinner I’ve ever had? Absolutely.

Why? My son feels happy and loved when I make him grilled cheese, and he feels extra special when he gets a treat like cupcakes. He wanted Mommy to feel the same way on her birthday. Thinking about that puts a huge smile on my face. I love being a Mommy!

30th birthday

Before becoming a Mom, my birthdays were all about me. As I was telling my husband after my birthday dinner, as parents, our birthdays aren’t just for us anymore. They’re now a day to share with our kids.

How to Save Money on Your Next Trip to the Grocery Store

Grocery-List-meme

In professional practice I find that one thing that brings patients a lot of success is planning. Planning can help individuals make better food choices and healthier decisions. I find that planning is what keeps my home life anchored in sanity and balance as well. Like the Winston Churchill quote from WWII says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This wisdom still rings true today. Whether it’s meal planning for the week ahead, making a grocery list or prioritizing a simple to do list, planning is essential.

So, let’s talk about how to create a cost effective grocery list. Different households have different grocery shopping frequencies. No matter if you shop once a week or once a month, these step by step instructions can help de-stress grocery shopping.

Step 1: What do we need?

Keep a running list throughout the week to make sure things that get used up can quickly get replaced. The primary shopper, me in my family, won’t know if something is gone unless it gets put on the list. We keep ours on the fridge for easy reference.

Step 2: What’s on Sale?

Review your local supermarket’s sale circular. Whether you receive it in your mailbox or view it online, it’s important to know what’s on special for the week. Look for deals on lean proteins like chicken, fish, eggs, or whatever your family likes. Check out sales on fruits and veggies, whether fresh, frozen or No Salt/No Sugar Added canned. You’ll often find deals in the bread aisle on whole grain options as well.

Step 3: What’s already here?

Take an inventory of what you already have in stock in your pantry, cupboard, fridge, cabinets, or wherever else you may store food. It helps to keep staples like dried whole grain pasta, No Salt Added canned beans, whole grain rice, and flour always stocked as go-to ingredients for quick meals. You don’t want to buy something at the store only to find out you already had it when you return home and unpack.

Step 4: More savings?

Coupons! I’m not saying you have to go the extent of being an “Extreme Couponer,” but coupons can help save money, especially when the product is also on sale. You can access them the old fashioned way through the Sunday newspaper, download them onto your store’s loyalty card from their website, or print them off from sites like couponsuzy.com or coupons.com.

Step 5: Where’s the food?

If you frequent the same store week after week, you pretty much have a feel for its layout. Why not make your list reflect your flow through the store? If produce is the first display as you walk through the door, group all of your fresh produce items at the beginning of your list. If your next stop is the bread aisle, your list should reflect it. Make your list flows with the store all the way to checkout to ensure nothing’s left behind.

Almost 30…

As I approach my 30th birthday, I have the overwhelming urge to tell myself, “I need to stop letting life happen to me” and “I have to take control of my life.” But then a quiet voice says,

“No, it’s time to let God take control.  Stop trying to do everything on your own.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

God can change things in an instant that it would take me decades to accomplish with “the arm of the flesh.” I want to take control of things and will them to happen when I want them to happen because that just seems to be my personality. I can hear my pastor’s voice telling me that “I have the power to direct divine activity.” But I always seem to forget that in order to do that, I must first submit to Him. I don’t want it to seem that I am waiting for God to do something, when I’m the one who needs to take action.  However, I need to remember and realize that my efforts will be frustrating and fruitless unless my will is aligned with His.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10

We all have things we aspire to be. We all have goals we would like to accomplish either this year or in our lifetimes. We all have areas of our lives that we would like to improve. Whether we’re trying to eat better, exercise more, get more organized, or help others, we can’t do it all by ourselves. We need God…and each other.

Happy New Year!!

New Year 2015

Happy New Year!!! Just like you, I can’t believe it’s 2015. As the New Year began, one verse of scripture came to mind, Isaiah 43:19:

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (KJV)

This verse makes me think about doing a new thing (or things) for the New Year. With careful thought, I developed my list of New Year’s Resolutions to help create a healthier, more organized life for me and my family.

  1. Drink more water. Everyone knows the old guideline to drink 64 oz of water a day, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. My job requires me to talk all day to patients and coworkers alike. All that time talking means there’s less time for drinking. For this year, I’m committed to measuring out my fluids for the day, keeping my water bottle nearby at all times, and then actually drinking the water that sits next to me all day.
  2. No fast food. You might be thinking, “A dietitian eats fast food?!?!” Just like any other person with a full time job, a household to run, kids to care for and a marriage to nurture, time is short. If you fail to plan, it’s easy to fall into the trap of the convenience of the drive through or the pizza delivery guy. This year, I’m committed to avoiding fast food by planning ahead. Which leads into my next resolution…
  3. Consistent meal planning. Planning meals ahead of time saves money at the grocery store and time spent trying to figure out what to cook during the week. I’m committed to sitting down with the weekly grocery ad and making a list for what our family needs for the week. No more two and three trips to the store each week.
  4. Exercise. Since I had my second child last spring, structured exercise has not really been a part of life…at all. This is actually ironic since I used to be a D1 college track star at Ohio State…Go Bucks!! That was kind of a long time ago (not really), but that’s still no excuse. To get back into the swing of things, I’m committed to working out 2 days a week for at least 10 minutes. Public health recommendations are to get moderate exercise for 150 minutes a week, which works out to about 30 minutes 5 days a week. So I have a little bit of work to do. Baby steps!

So, that’s the jist of my New Year’s Resolutions. What are your goals for 2015?