5 posts tagged “healthy eating”

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

Posted 7 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!


Getting back in the groove — 5 hacks + hints for routines that work

Posted 9 months ago by

Even if you haven’t been a student for several years, back-to-school season feels like the time to get back into a routine. What’s involved in a good routine? And what are the potential health perks of a basic regimen? See what the research shows, and join PatientsLikeMe to swap ideas with other members in this forum chat.

How can routines help?

In the business world, countless books and blog posts have touted the importance of routines when you want to succeed.

Many PatientsLikeMe members have talked about the value of routines in coping with a health condition (log in and check out thousands of mentions of “routines” in the forums).

“For me, having a routine with a chronic condition is a must,” says one member with fibromyalgia. “I don’t have to think what I have to do, it is already in my routine.”

Health-wise, having a regimen can help people of all ages. Studies of preschoolers have shown that family routines (with regulated meals, bedtime and screen time) may improve kids’ emotional health and reduce the risk of obesity.

Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that healthy habits and routines help older people, as well. See their seven-year study of people ages 44 to 84 who significantly reduced their heart-health risks by adopting and sticking with certain healthy behaviors (like being physically active for 30+ minutes most days of the week).

What’s involved in a good routine?

Humans are creatures of habit, so routines offer the structure we crave and can help relieve stress. So what goes into a (generally) healthy routine? And what can you get out of it in return?

  • A solid sleep schedule — with the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends — helps regulate your body’s internal clock and sleep more soundly at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation (learn more in our recent write-ups on circadian rhythm and bedtime routines).
  • Healthy, regular meals (home-cooked, if at all possible) mean you’ll have the energy you need and won’t reach for fast food or junky snacks too often. Some people swear by a weekly meal prep day. Research also shows that when we eat (not just what we eat) can impact our circadian rhythm and longterm health. For example, eating over the course of a 15-hour window each day (rather than an 8- to 10-hour span) may throw off your metabolism.
  • Building in time for physical activity and self-care can help boost both mental and physical health. Studies have found that even light exercise is beneficial. Calming activities, like guided meditation and affirmations, or writing or sketching in a journal, are a nice way to start or end the day.
  • Embedding your medication regimen into your daily routine may also help you stick with your treatment plan. One study found that an activity- or cue-based system, such as taking medications while your coffee is brewing or during the weather report on the morning news, works well for some people, rather than just relying on the clock.

Check with your health care providers for personalized advice, of course.

5 hacks and hints for routines that stick

Have you struggled to stick with routines in the past? Consider these fresh ideas and approaches:

  • Stock up on supplies to help keep you on track (just like students do!), such as a daily planner, or colorful sticky notes and pens to jot down reminders and keep tabs on taking medications. You can find lots of nifty gear these days to help you store medshit your hydration goals and more.
  • Turn to technology, such as smartphone alarms and smart home devices to give you a nudge. From wearable activity trackers to apps that remind you it’s bedtime and alarm clocks that mimic the sunrise, there are more and more products geared toward healthy habits.
  • Try weekly routines with catchy names, like “Meatless Mondays,” if you’re trying to cut back on meat, “Takeout Tuesdays,” if you want to limit restaurant meals to just one day a week; “Long Walk Wednesdays,” and so on. Having an achievable motto for each day can keep things fun.
  • Set up cues and mini-rewards for yourself when you’re trying to weave a healthy habit into your routine. For example, if you’re forgetful about taking your meds but you love wearing jewelry every day, put a note in your jewelry box that says, “meds before bling.”
  • Tap into the PatientsLikeMe community! Join the site or sign in to access the following links. In the Mental Health forum, members have been tracking their daily goals together as a community for years. Consider adding to that thread, starting a similar one in your own condition forum or simply posting daily updates on the site to spell out what you’re hoping to accomplish today.

The “best” routine varies from person to person, but ultimately it involves a series of actions that have the potential to become automatic and (ideally) help you live better today. Think: autopilot.

What’s in your daily routine? Have you had success or trouble with getting into good routines? In this forum discussion (psst — join us or log in!), members are swapping ideas and offering support.

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