Updated: December 23, 2012 1:26AM
Q. Overload alert! I got fired (downsized), my mom’s moving into assisted living and now I’ve developed irritable bowel syndrome. Can you throw me a lifeline here?
A. Dealing with occasional adversity is what gives you the skills to keep your life on track and avoid stress-related health problems. So don’t let a bad patch throw you.
Here’s our two-step guide to regaining resilience and lessening stress.
Soothing your gut: Easing the pain, constipation and/or diarrhea of irritable bowel syndrome overlaps with de-stressing your life. While this syndrome may be triggered by brain-gut miscommunication, bacteria or even food sensitivities, emotions can play a big part. To ease your IBS, try:
† Practicing 10 minutes of meditation a day. (ClevelandClinicWellness.com has instructions.)
† Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
† Taking probiotics to balance good/bad bacteria in your intestines. We like ones that come in a stomach-acid-resisting hard shell.
† Starting a walking program (aim for 10,000 steps a day). It regulates body chemistry and emotions.
† Eliminating from your diet any grain that’s not 100 percent whole and added sugars or sugar syrups and trans fats; go for minimal saturated fats. Clearing out cruddy food builds strength in body and spirit.
Q. My 6-year-old nephew eats only beige food, like plain pasta with butter, French fries and fried chicken. At least that’s what I hear from my (never met a vegetable she liked) sister. But when I take him out for lunch, he’ll eat a salad or a big fruit cup with yogurt for dessert. How can I help her get the kid to eat right at home?
A. Sounds like your nephew is imitating what he sees around him. Not surprising, since kids follow their parents’ behavior about everything from physical activity to food preferences.
Help your sister expand her flavor favorites at the same time she works to expand his. Success will depend on the two of them taking this journey together.
What will work? Help her understand that improving her own food habits can change her health profile — and her son’s — for the rest of their lives. And you can help her discover how tasty veggies can be. Maybe you can whip up a few samples for her to try: slow-roasted root veggies, a spinach souffle or a vegetable pizza.
For her son? She should first try adding more healthy choices to his (and her) plate, not eliminating what’s been standard fare. It might take a dozen times for him to try the new food. She shouldn’t get mad about it. Food confrontations can make kids equate food with conflict and contribute to avoiding healthy foods.