It’s a Real Good Time to Get Real about Healthy Living

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 makes some people really, really sick. And it’s not all about age. Studies show that regardless of age, obesity is a major risk factor, along with obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Specialists feel that there are multiple reasons for this concerning COVID-19 connection, including less-than-optimal physical conditioning and whole-body inflammation.

Before the pandemic, I had been working with local experts to create entertaining evidence-based videos aimed at addressing the behaviors that are associated with obesity and related problems, like physical deconditioning and systemic inflammation. In the weeks leading up the pandemic, we had recorded several shows that are now more relevant than ever:

*How to protect your aching body and scare away the orthopedic surgeon by losing weight and calming joint inflammation on Healthy Living: Let’s Get Real featuring Harvard Vanguard rheumatologist/ Harvard Medical School instructor Youmna Lahoud, MD.

*Gourmet healthy eating with an impressive, out-of-this-world (and surprisingly easy-to-prepare) low-sodium tahini carrot soup with pistachios (that doubles as lunch the next day!) on Healthy Living: Let’s Get Real featuring culinary wellness Coach Laura Klein.

*An easy healthy family-and-budget-friendly vegetable soup, chock full of goodness for your heart and your soul on Healthy Living: Let’s Get Real featuring registered dietitian nutritionist Tara McCarthy.

*The many, many health benefits of yoga, with a free bonus demo of simple, easy stretches for your aching lower back (which is more relevant than ever with the endless ZOOM meetings)! On Healthy Living: Let’s Get Real featuring Yoga master instructor Diane Ducharme Gardner.

*Real, helpful holistic lifestyle and medical strategies for chronic pain management, on Healthy Living: Let’s Get Real with physician and chronic pain patient Heather Finlay-Morreale, MD.

I got more than a little sidetracked when I was redeployed for the COVID-19 surge, but I’m finally writing posts about each show. Today I’m going to jump right into the first one, the excellent joint health show on featuring rheumatologist Youmna Lahoud, MD.

On the show, Dr. Lahoud describes how her patients with different types of arthritis– osteoarthritis (which is the age-related joint damage we all will develop), gout, and inflammatory arthritis– all benefit from the same four basic nutrition and lifestyle approaches:

1. Eating mostly plants, which is a naturally anti-inflammatory diet, 2. Avoiding packaged processed foods and added sugars, 3. Regular resistance training (that’s muscle-building exercise) at least twice weekly and 4. Cardiovascular exercise, anything that gets your heart rate up, for at least 150 minutes weekly.

These approaches will help people to take pressure off of their joints (through weight loss and better structural support), and also calm joint inflammation (which improves mobility, reduces damage, and lessens pain). She then teaches us about different anti-inflammatory ingredients as she teaches us how to prepare an easy, delicious Lebanese salad. It’s very good, and good for your joints (and your heart, and your brain…)!

After a kitchen-table chat about how people can eat and live to better protect their joints (and about NOT using NSAIDS and NOT wasting $$$ on supplements), we demo a recipe. This is a version of Balila, an easy, super-healthy anti-oxidant salad, perfect for summer!

Lebanese Chickpea Salad

A simple, protein-rich, high-fiber, anti-inflammatory meal that is good for you in so many ways. Don't have all these ingredients? That's OK! Experiment with what you do have.

  • 4 cups chick peas (Canned, unsalted is better)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (Diced small. You can use canned if that is what you have. )
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (You can buy these shredded. )
  • 1 cup cucumbers (Diced small. )
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (Fresh tastes better but you can use bottled.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs (This can be mint, cilantro, even basil. Whatever you have or like, chopped roughly. )
  • 2-4 cloves garlic (Use more or less according to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (can add more or less according to taste)
  • 1/4 cup scallions (diced small (optional))
  1. Throw all ingredients together in a salad bowl, stir, and serve!

There is so, so much real and helpful information in this episode, and I hope you’re able to watch it!

Coming soon: Posts on all of the other pre-COVID-19 episodes.

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