CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Have you gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you keep going to the fridge or pantry while isolated at home? Has the stress made you crave salty or sweet treats?
According to medical professionals around Charlotte, if you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re not alone.
They are warning parents and families to eat healthy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
John Bartemus, a chiropractic physician in Cornelius, says he’s seeing worrying trends as we head into month 11 of the pandemic.
Bartemus, who specializes in integrative and functional medicine, says in his view people are responding to the stress of COVID-19 with comfort foods, which can be dangerous.
“If someone entered COVID with say, sub-clinical blood sugar dysfunction, all the way up to insulin resistance or known pre-diabetes or diabetes, and now they’ve been locked down for 8-10 months. And they’ve been eating a lot of comfort foods, there’s the potential that those high-sugar foods tip them over into diagnosable insulin-resistant, type-2 diabetes,” he says.
The Centers for Disease Control and many other experts say diabetes can be a dangerous pre-existing condition for COVID-19 patients, making it all the more important to avoid, according to Bartemus.
Bartemus, a published author with more than 10 years experience in healthcare, recommends people plan their meals, exercise more, and eat a rainbow of vegetables.
Back in Charlotte, Haynes Paschall is a mom to three busy teenagers.
“They can cook for themselves, so that is really helpful and also sometimes challenging,” Paschall says in her kitchen.
Besides mom-duty, Paschall is also an experienced health coach, helping people like her kids make healthy eating decisions. She knows it’s not easy right now.
“For the most part I think people are struggling, life as we know it looks so different and people want comfort. Food is an easy place to reach for some sort of comfort,” she says.
There is some good news, the 7-year veteran of health coaching says some people took the opportunity of being at home for months to develop better habits for eating and exercising.
But at the end of the day, she is seeing some of the same worrying trends doctors are seeing. People with bigger waist lines, higher blood sugar, and poor eating choices.
“I do like to prepare fruits and vegetables and keep them where they’re the first thing that you see,” advises Paschall.
And she means it, her refrigerator is separated into little jars and Tupperware containers full of already prepared fruits and vegetables.
For her family she keeps those handy, plans ahead for dinners each night, and says if you don’t want unhealthy foods in your house, do not buy them.
Paschall also does not want people to get discouraged with costs. She advises families to choose a protein and then two to three vegetables to…