By Orville Williams
As families across the country prepare to consume endless slices of ham and glasses of sorrel, one local dietician is urging residents to maintain healthy dietary habits, particularly those with underlying health conditions.
Christmas is traditionally a time when many people stray from their normal eating habits and down significant amounts of alcohol in the spirit of jubilation, and with this year’s holiday season set to be the most ‘normal’ since the start of the pandemic, many will be willing to throw caution to the wind, at least for a time.
According to Samantha Moitt, however, there are some specific groups of people who should remain cautious about how and what they eat.
“The special groups are persons who may, for health reasons, need to be on special diets…their diets are so special that if they go out of whack – whether up or down – it can be detrimental to their health and sometimes their lives.
“One such group is our kidney patients, especially those with chronic kidney disease and those on dialysis. They already have specific types of foods or nutrients that they have to avoid. [E.g.] They can’t have too much potassium, too much salt [or] too much protein.
“We also have the group with heart disease or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), they too cannot consume too much liquid and salt during this time,” she explained.
There are others too, who – though they may not be dealing with medical issues that are so severe – must be careful about their dietary habits.
In some cases, they need not eliminate certain foods from their diet completely, but be mindful of the types of food and the quantities they consume.
“For other conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, it’s not in all cases that they have to avoid foods, but in cases where it’s uncontrolled, they [should] be even more careful and very selective with what they [consume] during this season,” Moitt added.
The dietician also had some advice for persons who may be in relatively good health, noting that a holistic lifestyle approach is necessary during times like these, to ensure their health remains in good condition.
“In this season, persons tend to be [busy] doing all sorts of things and may not be eating well. [But] when you don’t eat well, that is the time when you’re more susceptible to become ill.
“So, still try to stay on track with eating on time, making sure that you’re not skipping meals and not eating once per day, making sure that you’re getting enough rest and exercising if you can, still consuming your fruits and vegetables and your water.”
She also gave some encouragement to those who are apprehensive about ‘pigging out’ during the holidays, saying that they should be comfortable to indulge a bit, while maintaining their discipline going forward.
“Some persons who feel guilty when they eat, especially if they’re trying to control their weight, my recommendation to them is to enjoy the moment.
“Christmas is only one day, so you can still get back on track, just enjoy and savour the moment.”