Living During the Coronavirus Crisis
This is an extremely challenging time. This page is designed to help people manage stress by providing useful tips and guidance to help with everyday living.
Self-care tips during the COVID-19 pandemic
July 1, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic can feel overwhelming due to new information, long work hours, and caring for your family and yourself. It’s important to pause for a moment and collect your thoughts, as worldwide pandemics can be extremely stressful. Remaining calm can help.
It is normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed during uncertain times. Emotions in response to uncertainty may include anxiety, fear, anger and sadness. You also could feel helpless, discouraged and, occasionally, out of control. Physical responses may include headache, muscle tension, fatigue and sleeplessness.
Taking care of yourself is important so you are equipped to help your family through this time. The MAYO clinic share some useful advice on how to take care of yourself during this difficult time:
- Fuel your body by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water.
- Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise every day.
- Take deep breaths and stretch often.
- Avoid risky or destructive behaviors, such as abusing alcohol or drugs, excessive gambling or ignoring public health recommendations.
- Spend time outside, such as going for a walk in the park, but follow social distancing guidelines.
- Set and maintain a routine at home.
- Focus on things you can control.
- Use technology to maintain social connections with your loved ones. Consider a regular check-in schedule to give you something to look forward to.
- Focus your thoughts on the present and things to be grateful for today.
- Listen to music or read books.
- Consume reliable news sources that report facts, and avoid media that sensationalizes emotions. Limit your exposure or take a break from news and social media if you find that it makes you anxious.
- Lean on your personal beliefs and faith for support.
- Look for ways to help your community, such as blood donations, checking on older people in your neighborhood, or donating supplies or money to local organizations.
- Acknowledge and appreciate what others are doing to help you and your community.
Symptoms to watch for
If any of the these things become persistent or interfere with daily functioning and are outside the norm for the COVID-19 pandemic, contact your provider for help and guidance:
- Trouble focusing on daily activities
- Anxiety that turns into feelings of being out of control
- Strong feelings that interfere with daily activities
- Having emotions that become difficult to manage
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
Your Starling team is here to help. Talk to your provider about your concerns and make sure focus on your physical and mental health.
Time to Bake
May 7, 2020
What kind of dietitian pushes chocolate chip cookies? This one! Everything in moderation, right? Hilton DoubleTree by Hilton has decided to release their famous chocolate chip cookie recipe for all the home bakers. Likely you have all the ingredients so you might as well make your family happy and whip this up!
Hold the Beef!
May 1, 2020
With beef and chicken in short supply, here is an easy recipe. It is likely that you have everything you need in your pantry to make this quick, easy, and delicious meal. It is good…really, really good!
Pasta with Tuna and Olives
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp basil
2 tsp parsley flakes
1-2 pinches of hot pepper flakes (if desired)
2 – 14.5 oz cans peeled/chopped tomatoes
½-1 cup water
1 can tuna (either packed in water or oil per your preference)
1 -2.25oz can of sliced black olives (drained)
1 lb. of ziti
Grated parmesan or romano cheese (optional)
In a large stock pan, sauté garlic in olive oil. Add in basil, parsley, hot pepper flakes, tomatoes, water and olives. Bring to boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes uncovered to thicken sauce. Cook ziti according to package instructions; reserve half ladle of pasta water. Combine half ladle of pasta water with tuna and sauce. Allow to simmer for a minute or two. Drain pasta and transfer to the pan with sauce. Stir to combine. Serve immediately with grated cheese on top.
Poor Diet Can Lead to a Host of Issues
April 27, 2020
The New York Times shared an interesting article about the indirect costs of a poor diet. While a poor diet does not cause COVID-19, poor metabolic health was the immunity-impairing factor underlying cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity-related cancers that left so many nutritionally compromised Americans especially vulnerable to the lethal coronavirus now all but paralyzing the country .Click here to read the article.
Bean there, done that
April 17, 2020
Talk about a food that over the years has received only limited interest and has now been elevated to top billing! COVID-19 and fears of food shortages have sent people to the grocery stores in search of any and all shelf-stable items to stock their pantries with – and beans (dry or canned) have been the item of choice.
Beans fine points include:
- great source of plant-based protein
- lots of soluble and insoluble fiber
- good source of magnesium and potassium
- lots of varieties (black, kidney, navy, garbanzo, white, red, pinto, lentil and more)
- and above all VERSATILE!
Serve them hot or cold, as a main entrée or side dish…
Toss into soups, salads, chili, wraps, burritos, tacos or dips.
Don’t let those beans sit on your pantry shelf forever…you bought them so use them.
This legume can do it all!
April 17, 2020
We are indebted to our incredible hematology/oncology team. Thank you to our doctors, nurses, and office staff who are here for our patients during this difficult time.
Be Wary of Promises of Boosting Immunity
April 16, 2020
Starling Dietitian, Elisa Marley, shares an interesting article about the wide range of products of foods being peddled to supposedly boost immunity.
The truth is, there is no quick and easy way to boost your immune system. But, the article does share some recommendations on ways to help your whole body, including your immune system, function at its best. These include:
- Don’t smoke or eat undercooked meat
- Do eat fruits and vegetables
- Get enough sleep
- Minimize stress
- Drink in moderation (or not at all)
- Wash your hands
Click here to read the complete article.
Get the Family Involved In Healthy Cooking
April 9, 2020
The kids are home and the cereal aisle is empty… Stop saying “GET OUT of the kitchen”…and start saying “GET IN the kitchen!” Why not teach them how to cook? Here is a fun and simple recipe that is sure to please your entire family. Everyone can put in whatever ingredients they like! Best of all, the quiches freeze well for use later – just reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
6 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 10oz package of frozen broccoli florets, defrosted, drained, chopped
Chopped spinach, sliced mushrooms, diced ham or cooked/crumbled bacon, diced onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard muffin pan.
Whisk together eggs, half and half, salt/pepper and nutmeg. Stir in cheese and broccoli. Consider other add-ins as desired. Ladle evenly into muffin pan.
Bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes.
Guidelines for Food Storage
April 6, 2020
It is important to minimize trips to the grocery store during this time. However, keep in mind some safety guidelines on how long food can be properly stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Banana Bread’s Recent Popularity
April 2, 2020
Did you know that banana bread is quickly gaining fame as a comfort food during the coronavirus? Click this fun article to learn why >
Starling dietitian, Elisa Marley, shares her recipe for banana bread below:
1 cup sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
Cream sugar, butter and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs in one at a time; beat well after each addition.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork and combine with sour cream.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together.
Alternate back and forth between adding in banana and flour mixture into butter mixture. End with flour mixture. Stir in nuts.
Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hr. Set on rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Eating through the coronavirus? Walk away from the refrigerator!
April 1, 2020
Advice from Starling’s Dietitian, Elisa Marley, RD CD
Life has been completely upended! So many of us are on the front lines of healthcare or are perhaps working remotely while attempting to balance jobs, finances, and children. Whatever the situation may be – it all adds up to an incredible amount of stress. During these stressful times, we often turn to food for COMFORT. That is exactly why so much STUFF is just getting tossed in the shopping cart when we run in for “just a few things.” It’s not really NEED…it’s WANT. We want to feel better and for some of us, that means we look to our favorite cookies for support.
This is really a great time to remind ourselves of some MINDFUL EATING practices. By becoming more aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it, we can make better food choices. Try and ask yourself:
- Am I actually hungry? Or am I bored or stressed?
- Should I be sitting in front of the nightly news while having dinner or should I turn the TV off for a bit?
- Should I be going outside for a walk to refocus myself?
- Should I take one scoop of ice cream for dessert instead of eating the whole carton?
A return to cooking can be a very healthy way to deal with stress. Try a new recipe! Trust me, cooking and baking can be incredibly therapeutic. Search online for easy recipes or click here for some inspiration. Making meals is a tangible and rewarding way to prioritize yourself and your family’s health in these uncertain days.
If you have any recipes, suggestions, or feedback you would like to share, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soup is Your Friend
March 30, 2020
With aisles at the grocery store a bit more empty, it is time to return to some basics of cooking. Our dietitian, Elisa Marley RD CD, suggests that you look around your pantry and see what you can pull together for a quick easy soup for you and your family.
Start by sautéing some onions – add in diced celery or carrots if you have them. Pour in any kind of broth or bouillon and you have created the base. From there toss in diced potatoes, canned beans or cooked pasta and allow it to simmer. Consider adding some canned diced tomatoes and any frozen vegetables you may have to liven it up. Serve piping hot with grated cheese.
Don’t focus on what you may not have – keep cooking plain and simple for the most success and least stress.
How easy was that to create a delicious meal?
Need some other ideas? Click here to check out our recipe section.
Safety Tips for Cleaning & Hygiene
March 27, 2020
At this point, we all know how important it is to wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. But, here are some other helpful hints from a leading coronavirus medical expert on how he keeps safe during this crisis:
- To protect yourself, sanitize your hands right before eating and right after touching things touched by others.
- To protect others, use clean hands to touch others’ things or when handling things to others.
- Sanitize objects you get, and only give out sanitized objects. For example, I have hand sanitizer open and ready to clean my credit card right after I get them back from cashiers before I put it back in my wallet.
- Outside your house, sanitize smooth surfaces you will touch directly with your hands (e.g. tables and chair edges, wherever you put your phone and computer).
- Keep track of whether hands/objects are clean. As long as they have not encountered unknown/dirty things after their last cleaning, they don’t need to be recleaned. This is why I suggest immediate sanitation of hands after touching unknown/dirty things, so you can resume using your clean things without worry.
- You can open doors with your body or foot, and use paper towels to handle faucets or knobs.
- Create clean zones – your house, your office (if you’re allowed to work), your car.
- Sanitization can be done by soap and water (hands) or hand sanitizer (hands or objects) or Windex (objects).
- “Disinfectants” like bleach are for large areas for which soap (due to the need to rinse) or alcohol (due to fumes, expense) are not practical. If you can use soap or alcohol, you don’t need them.
- Finally, if your hands are clean, you can touch your face! But remember to sanitize them before you touch other people’s stuff.
Is Grocery Shopping Safe?
March 27, 2020
Everyone has lots of questions surrounding food and food safety at this time. Our dietitian, Elisa Marley RD CD, provides some helpful hints.
The concern here is limiting your contact with others. Please follow the basic precautions:
- LIMIT YOUR VISIT – both in time spent and frequency of trips to the store.
- WIPE CART HANDLES – use the sanitizing wipes located at store entrances.
- PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING.
- WASH HANDS – once you are at home and after unpacking groceries.
- AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE.
Is grocery delivery or grocery pick up a good idea?
Yes – if either option is available in your area. This limits your contact with others. Experts are recommending having the delivery person leave your order on your doorstep. Then you can retrieve it once they have left the area. Wash hands after bringing it in and unpacking groceries.
VIGILANT hand washing is the key to keeping your family and your food safe.
Stocking Your Pantry
March 24, 2020
During this time, it is important to have a well-stocked kitchen. Good eating begins with making your kitchen meal-ready. With a few basics on hand, you will be better equipped to pull together simple meals to keep your family healthy.
Starling’s registered dietitian, Elisa Marley RD CD, provides some useful hints below:
Grains: dry pasta, cereals, rice, couscous
Beans (canned or dry): black, pinto, kidney, chickpea, lentil, cannellini
Canned fruits (packed in juice): pineapples, peaches, mandarin oranges, pears
Broths (low salt): chicken, beef, vegetable
Canned tomatoes: diced, crushed, whole, tomato sauce
Nut Butters: peanut, almond, cashew
Oils: olive, avocado, canola, nonfat cooking spray
Condiments: Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, low salt soy sauce
Spices: kosher salt, black pepper, dried Italian seasoning, bay leaves
Other: trail mix, Lipton dry chicken noodle soup mix
Sports drinks, juice boxes, oral supplements (Boost/Ensure), individually wrapped cheeses, cottage cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, single-serving pudding, custard, gelatin, single-serving fruit cups, applesauce, single-serving hummus, and guacamole
Frozen vegetable, waffles, ice cream