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Aakiem Philippe

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Considering a Diet? Read This First

By Uncategorized

Keto, gluten-free, flexitarian . . .  Chances are, you’ve come across at least one of these trending diets recently — possibly along with several others. And if you’re among the many folks who set New Year’s resolutions this year, eating differently in order to lose weight may be at the top of your goals list. 

But before you embark on an entirely new eating plan, there are a few things to consider.

The Dark Side of Diets

While dieting may once have been perceived as harmless or good for your health, in recent years, a darker side has emerged. “Diet culture,” or the set of beliefs that values slenderness over actual health and wellness, has revealed itself as potentially harmful, especially when “normalized” through social media channels that emphasize false images over substance. 

Any diet that encourages extreme cutbacks, for example, can have detrimental effects on your health, both short-term and long-term. Severe calorie restriction can lower your metabolism, cause nutrient deficiencies and fatigue, and even reduce immunity and fertility. 

There are also potentially harmful psychological effects that come with dieting. While most people planning to better themselves don’t set out with harmful thoughts in mind, restrictive dieting  “. . .  erodes a person’s belief in their own abilities, suffocates their sense of peace about their character, causes them to question their value as a person, and finally, sadly, diminishes what they believe they deserve in life,” Darice Doorn, RD, LD explained to HuffPost in 2012. “This trickle-down effect damages almost every area of their life — work, home, and relationships.” 

The good news is that there are ways to focus on weight loss without allowing the dark aspects of dieting to take over your life. Here are a few tips for striking a balance that works for you.

Explore Your Why

If you’re pursuing a diet, the first question to ask yourself is, “Why?” If it’s because you think you need to shed 20 pounds to be more “acceptable,” perhaps rethink your motivation. Wanting to have more energy, or to enjoy a long life by fueling your body more healthily may be more powerful long-term motivators (and better for you overall) than fitting into a specific clothing size.

Think Addition, Not Elimination

We already know that processed foods with added sugars, saturated fat, and excess sodium aren’t good for us. We also know that choosing minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods when possible is linked to a number of beneficial health outcomes, including:

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancers
  • Improved bone health and reduced fracture risks
  • Lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol

But it’s easy to become discouraged when we focus on what we can’t have.

So unless there’s a medical reason to eliminate a specific food or food group, consider practicing moderation across the board. Better yet, focus on what you can add — not what you need to take away. Filling your plate with a combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, and proteins as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans allows you to emphasize nourishment and health over restriction. And may make you too full for the other stuff. 

As with creating a new exercise regimen, changing your diet can take time, and experimentation. At LifeBrite Stokes, we’re here to address your body’s unique needs in a way that helps you feel and operate at your best. To make an appointment, call (336) 593-2831 or visit us online.

Learn more about LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.

Son helping father prepare vegetables for meal

Rinse and Repeat: How Often You Really Need to Wash Your Hands When Preparing Food

By Uncategorized

For nearly two centuries, handwashing has been one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. According to a 2020 survey by the Bradley Corporation, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 37% of Americans washed their hands six or more times a day. This percentage then spiked to 78% in April 2020. Now people are much more attuned to the CDC’s recommendations to wash hands after coughing, sneezing, or touching anything unsanitary.

The CDC also encourages people to wash their hands before, during, and after preparing food, in order to prevent foodborne illness. If someone consumes food contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, or E. Coli, it can cause serious and even life-threatening ailments. But how often is it necessary, and in which cases?

Handling Raw Food

Your dinner recipe may require the preparation of meat, eggs, poultry, or seafood. While delicious when cooked, in their raw state these can contain harmful bacteria. Your hands could then spread the bacteria to other foods or surfaces in your kitchen, causing cross-contamination. Washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw food (and also washing any knives or cutting boards immediately afterward) can keep you and your dinner guests safe.

Touching Your Face

People touch their faces about 23 times per hour. It’s such a human habit that many don’t realize they do it. While cooking, you may have to push up your glasses, scratch your nose, or rub your eyes. But your eyes and nose are entry and exit paths for respiratory infections. Handling food after touching your face is one way to spread those germs accidentally. It is best to avoid touching your face as much as possible, but if you do, remember to wash your hands before getting back to cooking!

Picking Up Your Phone

These days, most of us are touching and carrying our smartphones constantly. We hold them up to our faces, put them in often-used pockets, and sometimes even cough or sneeze on them. Because of this, smartphones can carry 25,127 bacteria per square inch and are one of the dirtiest objects we touch daily. You may depend on your smartphone to show you the recipe you are working on, but wash your hands after tapping or scrolling to prevent spreading any bacteria to your meal. 

Connecting with Unclean Surfaces

When preparing food, you have to open the fridge, the oven, cupboards, turn the sink on and off, and more. Remember to keep these surfaces safe and sanitary, and wash your hands after touching unsanitized surfaces. As Dr. William P Sawyer, a physician in Sharonville, Ohio told the New York Times, “Your hands are only clean until the next surface you touch.” The key to clean hands and clean food is to stay conscious of what you touch, and wash your hands afterward if you’re unsure.

LifeBrite is here to help you learn more about the importance of handwashing and preventing the spread of germs. Our team is dedicated to serving our community with individualized and quality patient care. To learn more about our services or to make an appointment, visit us online or call (336) 593-2831.

Learn more about LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.

Woman looking at her laptop

Diagnosed with Celiac Disease? Start Here.

By Uncategorized

Being diagnosed with celiac disease can be overwhelming, and can raise a combination of feelings.  You may be frustrated about having to live with a chronic illness, mourning the life you had pre-diagnosis, and relieved to finally have an explanation for your symptoms. 

After you give yourself some time to process the news, here are some ways you can move forward.

Look for the Positives

No one would blame you for feeling disheartened over the fact that you’re among less than 1% of the U.S. population diagnosed with celiac disease — an autoimmune condition that causes damage to your intestines when you consume and digest gluten. But being diagnosed in the 21st century does have some benefits. Today, we know far more about the disease than ever before, and being informed gives both providers and patients the tools they need to control the illness and prevent potentially serious symptoms.

Increasing awareness about celiac disease has prompted food manufacturers to provide more gluten-free food options. Nearly a decade ago (2012-203), sales for gluten-free foods jumped more than 80%, and by 2025, the gluten-free food market is anticipated to reach a value of $8.3 billion. As others adopt gluten-free foods into their diets as a lifestyle choice rather than a medical necessity, dietary options also continue to broaden.

While being gluten-free will impact your meal choices, there’s little else from which it will hold you back. From Olympian runner Amy Yoder Begley to actress Zooey Deschanel, you’ll be avoiding wheat right alongside plenty of other successful individuals. 

Get to Know Nutrition Labels

You already know to avoid gluten, but aside from that recommendation, you may feel as if there’s a large gray area in terms of what you should and shouldn’t eat. First, let’s start with the foods that are naturally gluten-free. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, these include:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Dairy
  • Fish and seafood
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts

From there, things do become a little bit more complex. You’ll need to avoid all forms of wheat, including varieties such as semolina, couscous, bulgur, and farro. Rye and barley are also off-limits. Be mindful that other grain derivatives can be dangerous for people with celiac disease, including wheat starch, malt vinegar, brewer’s yeast, malt extract, and triticale. 

Until you become adept at scouring ingredients lists and nutrition labels, there’s one quick and easy way to weed out gluten-free packaged products in the grocery store: by looking for the Certified-Gluten Free emblem. According to the FDA, foods labeled gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, which is the lowest amount that can be detected within large volumes of food.

Look Out for Vitamin Deficiencies 

Having celiac disease means your intestines may not be able to absorb vitamins as effectively. People who have been newly diagnosed are more likely to be deficient in the nutrients calcium, copper, zinc, iron, and vitamins B12 and D. Fortunately, supplements can be used to address deficiencies.

If you suspect you could have a chronic condition like celiac disease or need help managing one, turn to LifeBrite Stokes. Our providers can help you get answers, manage chronic conditions, and receive exceptional care. To make an appointment, call (336) 593-2831 or learn more online.

More About LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. For more about our specific services and facilities, visit our website.