12 posts tagged “diet”

Fall feast: 3 ‘Parkinson’s-friendly’ recipes + cooking tips

Posted 8 months ago by

Are you living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and looking for some dishes for Thanksgiving or another fall feast? Or just to boost your appetite? Our friends at Community Servings — a Boston-area nutrition and meal delivery organization for people with health conditions — handpicked three tasty recipes with a healthy balance of nutrients for people with PD. Plus, they’re sharing some quick pointers to help you keep on cooking with your condition.

3 awesome autumn recipes

“These are all high in fiber, have healthy fat, a moderate amount of protein, and are pretty easy to prepare,” says Alison Schlisser, a registered dietician and manager of Nutrition Services at Community Servings.

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salad – This earthy salad features a flavorful combo of beans, squash, feta cheese, lemon juice and cilantro (with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, to boot). Serve it warm or at room temperature as a side dish or main course.

Mediterranean Sweet Potatoes – The stars of this vegan dish are roasted sweet potatoes and crispy chickpeas (spiced with cumin, cinnamon and paprika), plus a creamy tahini (sesame) sauce. This could add a nice kick to your Thanksgiving menu!

Delicata Squash & Lentil Soup – Delicatas are the long, cream-colored squash with dark green stripes. Their mild and slightly sweet flavor pairs well with hearty lentils and kale, plus a host of spices that scream “fall” in this soup.

Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to check out some other Thanksgiving recipes the PD community swapped in the forum.

Just keep in mind the timing of your meals and medications (for example, avoid eating too much protein close to when you take carbidopa/levodopa or Sinemet—see chapter 2 of the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Nutrition Matters booklet for more information). Talk with your doctor or a dietician to learn more.

Pointers for cooking with PD

Alison also passed along these pointers that could help you in the kitchen:

  • Buy pre-cut fresh, frozen or canned items to decrease preparation time. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as their fresh counterparts. If choosing canned items, make sure to avoid added sugar and sodium (salt)!
  • Invest in some adaptive equipment for your kitchen. Angled measuring cups with well-gripped handles can be read from above, which means not having to lift the cup or having to bend over to read the fill level. Angled knives make one-handed cutting much simpler. Non-slip mats are very useful to help secure plates, bowls, and cutting boards in place when doing food prep.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation also rounded up 5 Ways to Make Cooking Easier with PD, such as sitting on a counter-height stool for much of your meal prep and using cut-resistant gloves, and a rice cooker (or slow cooker), whenever possible.

Do you have any favorite fall recipes or cooking tips to share? Sign up for PatientsLikeMe and swap ideas here with the PD community!


Why is dietary advice so all over the place? Nutrition experts explain

Posted 9 months ago by

If you’re confused about what kind of milk to drink, what type of cooking oil is “healthiest” or whether the Mediterranean diet is the ticket to heart health, you’re not alone. Nutrition experts dig into the complexity of dietary research.

Digesting dietary advice

The constant churn of nutrition news, books and blog posts — combined with the growing number of food options at the grocery store — can feel contradictory and make your head spin when it comes to making healthy diet decisions.

“As a dietitian, even I get tripped up when new studies that come out that question my beliefs,” Washington Post writer Cara Rosenbloom admits in a recent article on “how to handle ever-changing nutrition science.” She interviewed Dariush Mozzafarian, the cardiologist and researcher behind this 2018 BMJ analysis of nutrition science.

They make the case that we have an issue with how we “digest” food advice:

  • We take it very personally. “If you learn in physics that there was new research about a black hole, you may say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’ but you don’t change your habits because the science has changed,” Mozaffarian says. But people these days tend to swiftly avoid or adopt foods (such as wheat/gluten or coconut oil) based on new information or faddish magazine reports that may not warrant dietary changes.
  • We cling to every new study. New nutrition research comes out weekly but people (and policymakers) would be wise not to focus on single studies, Mozaffarian argues. Understanding the relationship between foods, wellness and disease takes a long time.
  • We don’t have centralized government guidelines. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are just a few sources of government recommendations on nutrition. Mozaffarian says a cabinet-level position that centralizes or coordinates nutrition guidelines would help eliminate confusion.

Other issues + pointers

Other nutritionists point out that dietary science is still in its infancy (see this infographic), and most nutrition studies are observational (rather than randomized control trials, which offer more evidence about “X may cause Y or Z”).

Researchers behind a major study on the Mediterranean diet and heart health recently had to retract and re-analyze their work because it was flawed (although version 2.0 reached the same conclusion — the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial for those with cardiac risks).

Even if you’ve figured out your own eating plan or nutrition philosophy (like Michael Pollan’s famous one: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”), articles about diet still make great clickbait. Look for pieces that ask questions and cite research and credentialed nutrition experts, rather than making blind declarations or heavily promoting certain products. And always check with your own doctor or care team before making dietary changes or even taking new vitamins or supplements.

Do you follow a certain eating plan or style? What do you struggle with most when it comes to eating (or understanding nutrition advice)? Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to connect with the community in this forum discussion. As a member, you can also add any supplements or diet types (such as Mediterranean or low-carb/high-protein) to your profile (under the “My Health” tab) to assess them and track a more complete picture of your health.

Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.