Loading...
BYH Zoning Commission. Take your chairs and sit in the field by Bostic Sugg in morning or afternoon and tell the...

Building resilience through nutrition

Kolasa, Kathy
Loading…

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Dear readers: Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful that Chris Crotty a soon to be physician and former service member volunteered to share his story of Building Resilience Through Nutrition. As you gather with family and friends this holiday season, share your tips of living a high quality, healthy life. Here is Chris’ inspiration.

Medical school has been an amazing journey thus far; helping patients maintain or regain health is very rewarding. However, many ailments from which my patients suffer could have been lessened, if not prevented, if people had made different lifestyle choices. I am not referring to tobacco use or alcohol abuse, although these clearly apply. I am referring to nutrition, which may very well be the most underemphasized player in our modern medical system.

Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician considered by many to be the father of western medicine, had clarity on the importance of nutrition. He wrote: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” While we do not take this literally, we should strongly consider the major role nutrition has on our health because eating healthy builds our overall resilience.

Resilience is our ability to bounce back after a stress is applied to us. The stress can be physical, mental, social, or spiritual; all of these, though, are interrelated. We can plan ahead to manage or avoid life’s foreseeable stresses, but life will confront us with illness, loss of loved ones, financial hardships, or career changes, just to name a few. Consistent healthy eating behaviors help protect us during these unavoidable, major life events.

At the microscopic level, our body is programmed to carry out its physiological functions, such as building and repairing tissue and maintaining chemical balances. We give our body the tools to accomplish these functions through eating nutrient-rich, diverse, real foods. Without some determination and planning, this is honestly harder than it might seem. High-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar, and processed foods are everywhere we turn. Their widespread availability, deceptively low price, long shelf-life, and engineered taste can make it difficult for us to look elsewhere. However, these foods often are nutrient-poor, make our organ systems suffer, and in the end, leave us vulnerable.

We all know we should eat right or better. But, our relationship with food is personal, emotional, habitual, and often affected by our culture, which includes upbringing, the people we live with, and even where we live. For most, getting the right foods on our plate is not as simple as “just eat right.” Yet, it is what we need to do if we hope to have health and longevity.

As I talk to my patients about nutrition, I cannot help but reflect on my own journey with food. My single mother of three boys sacrificed so much to raise, protect, and feed us well. I never went to school hungry; in fact, I never went anywhere hungry. I over-ate constantly as a child and although I was athletic, I struggled with my weight, how my clothes fit, and my resulting self-image. Even at the age of ten, I unsuccessfully tried to persuade my own mother to admit I was fat. I grew weary of it and as a teenager started reading to educate myself. I discovered eating the right foods in the correct proportions could help, and when I finally tried it, it worked. Through my adult years, not only has the right amount of nutritionally balanced food helped me stay fit, it has also helped me stay resilient through tough times.

As a military aviator, my time in austere, unfamiliar, and hostile environments required life and death decision making which challenged my body and mind. Spinal surgery after being injured flying fighter jet aircraft tested my body’s ability to heal. As a local volunteer firefighter, fighting intense fires in the hot NC summer sun put my organ systems to the test every single time. After retiring from the Air Force and entering medical school as a husband and father of two, I faced a rigorous curriculum, which often left me short on sleep and seeking to find the right work-life balance.

Through all of this, I have been perfectly imperfect with everything, including occasionally choosing foods for taste or convenience. Nobody is or will be perfect, yet I have learned after years of failure to make healthy eating habits my default everywhere - in the grocery store, at restaurants, and even on-the-go. I base my healthy eating habits on two principles: 1) what to choose and 2) how much to eat. In the grocery store, I stay on the outside perimeter of the store where I select vegetables, fruits, lean meats, milk, eggs, low-fat cheese, yogurt, and whole-grain/wheat breads; I actually spend most of my time in the produce section. I limit going down the aisles and you likely know why- cookies, crackers, chips, sodas, and candy. At restaurants, I immediately ask for a to-go container when my food arrives, as portion sizes are usually inappropriately large. Moreover, I have several on-the-go places I choose based on healthier available options. Ingredient listings and Nutrition Fact labels empower me to discount any misleading marketing on product containers. I had to form these habits, and after seeing their results, they have become my foundation to stay healthy and resilient.

If you feel like you are struggling with your knowledge about or relationship with food, I strongly recommend you make an appointment to talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about how you can build your resilience through nutrition. It may be the most important, life-changing, life-preserving discussion you ever have.

 

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and Ph.D., is an Affiliate Professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

February 16, 2019

Although we’ve had some warm weather, it's still winter. But as a tease, paper-whites are opening up in the yard, and red maples are already showing their bright flowers. Fragrant Daphnes and a few withering winter-sweets are scattered around the neighborhood, and this afternoon we had a…

021619mystery.JPG

February 15, 2019

There have been plenty of movies about tough women. In fact, picking the Top 10 is harder than you might think. But here goes, the ones I picked and the ones I didn’t.

10) Trinity, “The Matrix” — Carrie-Ann Moss’ Trinity was hacker chic before the hacker chic of…

Sigourney Weaver

February 13, 2019

If you’re hungry and seeking more authentic flavor for your next meal, why not and take a trip to India without leaving Greenville. Go beyond steak & potatoes, dive into a new culture, expand your culinary palate and you’ll be sure to add Cinnamon Indian Cuisine to your top…

20190206_123537.jpg

February 13, 2019

Q: My girlfriend is a health nut, but I really want to give her some chocolate for Valentines. Is it ok? MK, Greenville

A: Kathryn Clary, a Brody medical student, suggests that dark chocolate really can prevent a broken heart with its benefits to the cardiovascular system. Here is what she wants…

Kolasa, Kathy

February 10, 2019

You're from out of town going 65 mph down the highway heading west, and you want to catch another highway going north. What do you think the exit sign should say in 3-foot-tall letters?

A) Gophertown

B) Exit 42

C) Gov. Tiddwilly Memorial Highway

D) Pinewood Mall

Quick, you've got nanoseconds to…

JimMullen

February 10, 2019

I was thinking recently about all the fallout from the removal of the Confederate soldier statue, “Silent Sam,” at UNC-Chapel Hill.

That, in turn, led me to remember the deafening silence of UNC’s first African American cheerleader, Jimmy Womack, during the football season of 1966…

Bob Garner

February 10, 2019

North Carolina’s most important emergency is not the next federal government shutdown. Nor is it a fake national emergency on the nation’s southern border.

Our state’s real emergency is a real threat to its dominant position in the world of barbecue.

Forget for a moment about our…

Nielsens

February 10, 2019

This story is part of an occasional series of features provided by the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission that will focus on city’s history and historic structures.

This picturesque two-story Victorian house, which stands across from the Greenville Museum of Art, has somehow remained…

Jones Lee.jpg

February 09, 2019

Most people tend to overlook tree bark as rather uninteresting, at best. It's too bad, because bark is a fascinating and often attractive plant "invention," and is actually rather complex in its various appearances and origin. Of course, it is only developed on woody plants. Clearly, bark varies…

platocc jbn.jpg

February 08, 2019

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

A DOG’S WAY HOME — A dog travels 400 miles in search of her owner. (1 hour, 36 minutes) Rated PG. 

A STAR IS BORN — A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism…

124 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 13
        Next Page»   Last Page»