SOL15–Better Breathers Luncheon for June 2015: “Making Healthy Nutrition Choices” at Trinity Mother Frances

Today’s Better Breather luncheon topic was about making healthy eating choice; it was delivered by Tami-the-Dietitian. The Better Breathers luncheons are for those with lung and/or heart disease. First of all, we received a fine three-page handout, “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Nutrition Therapy”” {Note: To copy and paste this link won’t prevent you from mysteriously going to the home page of this site, so I complained to them via email. An Internet search for this article was fruitless too–bizarre}.

Those of with COPD may be too heavy or too skinny, so it’s a somewhat complicated issue. Several small meals is a great idea because digesting food requires oxygen. We need food high in calories, protein, and fiber–but low in fats, sugar, and salt. Our dinner plate should be half fresh vegetables, 1/4 starch, and 1/4 lean meat with fruit and milk on the side. A 3-5 ounce steak portion is good. We should eat nine servings of vegetables (non-starchy) and fruit per day. If you’re more likely to eat canned vegetables like me, then rinse them to get rid of some salt. Salt can hurt one’s breathing. Frying food in oil is bad because of fat. Olive oil is the best oil. Carbohydrates turn into sugar during digestion– a reason for the complex carbohydrates.

Choosing colorful vegetables is a good rule–stuff like greens, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini. I was glad to hear good reports on three of my favorites: sweet potatoes (lots of nutrients), peanut butter (unsaturated fat, high protein)and granola ( if not high-calorie and fat). Two tablespoons of peanut butter per day is enough. Unfortunately, staying under the 1500 mg of salt per day is almost impossible. Substitute garlic powder when possible. Bananas are good because they are high in fiber and potassium, but one banana has 120 calories. A fruit serving is considered 60 calories.

Milk actually has salt and buttermilk is worse; its creaminess can cause phlegm. I mentioned horchata, a Mexican rice milk with cinnamon. Usually, it’s in powder form in a zip-lock bag; mix a tablespoon in glass of water. Soybean milk is less fatty too.

Our moderator, Debbie Germany, gave us some tips after Tami-the-Dietitian left. She said a fresh fruit bag that we keep in the ‘frig is excellent. A fruit bag can have strawberries, grapes, and cantaloupe. Plus, cold fruit can cool you down in the summer. Smoothies can be wonderful; add some yogurt. I gave Tami my note about horchata on her way out. Later, I gave a note about nopalitos (cactus) to Debbie. Cactus can be pickled in ajar or fresh, and it’s great vs. diabetes or to reduce the impact of sugar in one’s diet.

I’ve written articles about our Better Breather luncheons with speakers in the past, but this time was extra special for two reasons. First of all, I was asked to write the article because I just started volunteering at East Texas Council for Independent Living (ETCIL)! ETCIL helps physically or mentally impaired individuals, so they can live at home. I’m not only a new volunteer but a client for three years because of my raggedy lungs. Secondly, I’ve researched and written about the suggested COPD Diet in the past.