Positive Food Language

Positive Food Language for a Healthy Relationship with Food

Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed when consuming certain foods? Do you usually perceive food as healthy or unhealthy? These feelings towards food can be eliminated using positive food language.

What is “Positive Food Language”?

It is a way of talking about food that reduces shame or guilt around foods based on their perceived “health” or “junk food” content. Positive food language reduces categorizing foods into good/bad or healthy/unhealthy and instead focuses on the food and its flavors or reason for the food.

This can sound like: “I’m excited to go to my friend’s birthday party and enjoy some cake.” There is no categorizing the cake as “good” or “bad”, and there’s no shame or guilt following the statement. Instead, it focuses on the excitement of the celebration and the food that will be enjoyed.

Why is it important to use Positive Food Language?

It can help you feel better about your food choices and will encourage you to have a healthy relationship with food without promoting restrictions of any kind. As mentioned in our last blog, “Eating Healthy During the Holidays: A Holistic Approach”, food has a strong connection to emotion. So, shifting towards a more positive language will help you develop self-compassion when making food choices.

If you label or categorize foods as good or bad, it will usually lead to a cycle of restriction and bingeing, and ultimately guilt, shame, and a feeling of having no control over your food choices. By allowing all foods to fit and improving your food language, you can develop and sustain a healthy relationship with food.

How can you start using Positive Food Language?

It is very simple! You can begin with reframing our your thoughts on food. Words that highlight positive aspects of food, like “satisfying” or “energizing” can be a good place to start. Part of this shift in language is truly believing all foods fit and nothing is off limits. You can incorporate foods that you previously considered “bad” and use positive food language to describe them in a different way.

For example, if ice cream is not allowed in your house because you’ve been told it’s a bad food and you feel you can’t control yourself around it, bring a small pint into your home and allow yourself to eat it and however much you want. You can use language like, “I am glad to have this ice cream in my house on a hot day. It really helps me cool down.”

Here are other ways to promote positive food language:

  1. Not separating foods into “healthy” or “unhealthy” categories
  2. Not commenting on other peoples’ food choices (either positively or negatively)
  3. Using words like “nourishing” or “satisfying” to describe foods
  4. Allowing yourself to enjoy a variety of foods to promote overall wellness
  5. Discussing exercise in a way that promotes health, and not for the reason to be “allowed to eat more”.

Positive food language can help you promote overall health and wellness. Additionally, it will reduce your anxiety around food choices and encourage you to incorporate a variety of foods into your diet.

Healthy eating during holidays

Eating Healthy During the Holidays: A Holistic Approach

Eating healthy during the holidays can be quite a challenge. Holiday seasons are usually characterized by social gatherings, often surrounded by delicious foods that are linked back to different cultures and traditions. However, you must not get discouraged by the endless amount of foods over the holidays. As long as you don’t use this season as an excuse to overindulge, but rather focus on balance and moderation, you can eat and enjoy whatever your body wants! Taking a holistic approach to nutrition and acknowledging a whole mind-body relationship, here are a few tips to eat healthy during the holidays.

Balance

Balance is all about maintaining a healthy diet most of the time. A useful rule of thumb is the 80-20 rule. It encourages us to eat healthy, nutritious foods 80% of the time, and eat whatever our body wants for the remaining 20%. Maintaining a balance, rather than restricting ourselves from eating certain foods, is key to eating healthy during the holidays and will reduce binging.

Moderation

 Are you concerned about eating your favorite foods during the holidays? Do you often feel you need to restrict yourself from eating them? Well, there is no need to restrict. Forget the cheat days, it’s all about balance and moderation! There are no good or bad foods. You can enjoy all the holiday treats if you focus on limiting portion sizes. The truth is that all foods are okay in moderation, which is key to eating healthy during the holidays.

Practice mindfulness

Remember that cleaning your plate is not important. Listen to your body, and try to avoid eating when you are not hungry. Food has a strong connection to emotion, so sit and enjoy it. Limit distractions, control your portions, and choose a smaller plate if you can. This can help with calorie control, plus your plate will look fuller, so you’ll feel more satisfied during your holiday meal! Focus on slowing down, truly think about what you’re eating, savor every bite, and chew food thoroughly to enjoy the whole experience.

Staying Active

Staying active over the holidays will help you balance those extra calories and reduce stress and anxiety. Plan your activity by putting it in your calendar, and decide what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. If you have a busy schedule, short spurts of exercise can counterbalance the endless foods and help you keep healthy over the holidays. If you haven’t chosen an activity yet, you may consider popular choices including yoga, pilates, HITT (high intensity interval training), or even walking, jogging, biking, or dancing.

Healthy Eating Tips

The 80-20 rule should help you get through the holidays without impacting your health. Besides, you can always swap out little things to make recipes healthier and better for you. Recipes are not set and stone. They are more of a guide that can be adapted and changed. One great way to start is by cutting sugars, or swapping refined sugars with healthier alternatives such as stevia or agave nectar. You can also limit saturated fat, mostly from animal products like meat, poultry, and dairy, and substitute it with healthier fats, such as avocado, olive, and canola oil. Check out our healthy recipes at Yumlish for more alternatives. Don’t forget to watch out for the extra calories in alcohol. As in food consumption, you should drink in moderation during the holidays (usually one drink for women and two for men), and have plenty of water. Additionally, you can take advantage of the holiday season to make your own food with the people you love, rather than having pre-prepared foods. In this way, you can actually control what is going into the food. Substitutions and swaps are very fun! It doesn’t really change the product in the end.

You can do it!

Remember that it is possible to eat healthy during the holidays through a balanced, moderate, and whole mind-body approach. It is not necessary to restrict yourself, just don’t overindulge, or save calories for one meal. Rather, control your portions and enjoy the food, aiming to add color to your plate, loading it half way with greens/fruits, ¼ carbs, and ¼ protein. A balanced, nutritious plate will always help with calorie control, even if you are eating all the food in it. So, eating healthy during the holidays is in fact possible if you focus on this plate method and choose the healthier food alternatives whenever possible.    
people sitting around a dinner table with the a large salad serving bowl at the center of the table and the focus being on one woman on the right who is picking up food with a fork

Personalized Nutrition Therapy in Diabetes Management

In our last blog, Why Prioritizing Minority Health is a Smart Business Move, we discussed how addressing diabetes and chronic illness is critical for minority employees, and for the success of your business. But what exactly are the best ways to address diabetes? Diabetes care can be costly, so you want to make sure the services available to your employees are affordable, as well as effective. So what methods of diabetes prevention,  management and treatment will be cost-effective for your business? The answer to this is personalized nutrition therapy. Personalized nutrition therapy is one of the best ways to manage diabetes in minority populations. Luckily, this is the kind of therapy that Yumlish provides in a virtual format, which is even more attractive to patients during these pandemic times. Keep reading to find out the reasons why our personalized nutrition therapy saves costs for your business!

Managing Diabetes

The costs of managing diabetes, no matter what kind of intervention is used, may seem expensive up front. However, the cost of treating diabetes is less in comparison to the cost of leaving it untreated. Diabetes management requires lifestyle changes, controlling blood glucose levels, usually medications, and consulting physicians on a regular basis. Thus, when it is not managed, the costs of diabetes complications highly increase.

The total costs of diabetes in 2017 were $317 billion. The estimated cost of direct medical expenses  was $237 billion, and reduced productivity was worth roughly $90 billion. Indirect costs due to early mortality and loss of work from diabetes and its comorbidities were valued at $20 billion and $38 billion, respectively. Unmanaged diabetes costs the nation almost $60 billion dollars, not including the actual medical costs of its complications. Therefore, you are saving your business money by ensuring that your employees are in control of their health through diabetes prevention and treatment programs such as those provided by Yumlish.

Nutrition Therapy

Nutrition therapy is a very cost effective way to manage diabetes. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) is associated with a reduced utilization of hospital and physician services, which are direct costs of diabetes care. The Institute of Medicine discovered and presented to the US Congress, that individualized MNT, provided by a registered dietitian with a physician referral, [should] be a covered Medicare benefit as part of the multidisciplinary approach to diabetes care.”

MNT services for populations over the age of 55 are speculated to save more money that is spent in providing MNT. However, usage is low, as it is not often covered by employers, or private health insurance. Therefore, it is highly recommended to increase coverage for services of this kind, in order to benefit both the patient and business.

Personalization

Yumlish saves your business from the economic burden of diabetes by providing patients with personalized nutrition therapy. Diabetes management must be personalized to effectively meet the individual needs of each patient. Therapies become feasible and sustainable when  culture, gender, religion, health beliefs, and other unique aspects of a patients’ life, are taken into consideration. One study reports that the patient’s willingness to participate in lifestyle changes increases with personalization, while another states that the provision of culturally relevant, personalized nutrition therapy is critical for the management of diabetes among low SES women in pregnancy.

Virtual Format

Other challenges of diabetes management include physical access to nutrition therapy. Finding the time to travel to see a dietitian is not always an option for people with busy schedules and families to look after. The novel COVID-19 pandemic adds another complication to in-person health services. Luckily, Yumlish offers personalized nutrition therapy through a mobile app. Research shows that patients “desire interventions with less person-to person contact” and that “technology-based programs represent an alternative approach to minimize in-person interactions.”

The Yumlish app provides excellent nutrition and lifestyle advice from registered dietitians. Additionally, it offers virtual connections with other patients with diabetes for support. In this way, your employees are more likely to continually manage their diabetes, which saves you costs in the long run.

Choose Yumlish

So, what are you waiting for? Start creating pathways to lower costs and improve the quality of life of your workforce with Yumlish. Take action now and learn more about how we personalize treatments with our registered dietitians and motivate our patients to make sustainable dietary changes that lead to positive health outcomes.

Hispanic Women Preparing Food

Why Prioritizing Minority Health is a Smart Business Move

Investing in the health of your employees is an investment in your business. Maintaining a healthy workforce plays an important part in allowing businesses to thrive, grow, and innovate. Addressing minority health specifically is an excellent way to make equity a priority in your business, and the economic benefits are worth the investment. As of 2018, racial and ethnic minorities comprised 22% of the labor force in the US; projections indicate that by 2050, minorities will comprise over 50% of the working-age population. With the increase in minority populations living and working in the US, it essential that their health needs be addressed, considering the major health disparities that exist among racial and ethnic minorities. Minority populations in the US are burdened by higher risks of morbidity and mortality from health conditions that are preventable. Barriers to accessing healthcare or obtaining health insurance are also challenges for minorities.

Investing in minority health, and providing a pathway for employees to access culturally relevant and high-quality healthcare has benefits that are invaluable to the health of the US population, but that is not all. We’ve compiled the data, to show you how addressing minority health, and helping individuals combat type II diabetes will benefit your business in both the short and long term. 

Decreased Direct Costs

The total cost of diabetes in the US was estimated at around $327 billion in 2017, $237 billion of which were allocated to direct medical costs. The early prevention and management of diabetes has never been more important for employers, in order to reduce the development of the serious health complications of diabetes that increase the need for (and cost of ) care. However, to reduce direct costs of diabetes care most effectively, targeting minority populations has never been more important. 

Minorities are disproportionately burdened by diabetes in the US. While diabetes only affects 7.5% of non-Hispanic whites, 11.7% of non-Hispanic blacks, 12.5% of Hispanics, and 14.7% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives are burdened by diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Numerous studies have reported that minorities are also more likely to have worse control over their condition, and higher rates of diabetes related complications, such as renal disease, blindness, and heart disease. Thus, targeting minority health specifically in the prevention and treatment of diabetes reduces the prevalence of these conditions among racial/ethnic minority groups of the workforce. This further leads to lower employer expenditures associated with high prevalence.

Decreased Indirect Costs

When diabetes goes undiagnosed or is poorly managed, the consequences for individuals, as well as businesses, can be severe. Indirect costs such as absenteeism, reduced productivity, inability to work and mortality accounted for a combined cost of $90 billion in the year of 2017. Given the disproportionate burden of diabetes on minorities in the US, and the severity of complications, access to adequate screening, prevention and management among minority workers is essential to reducing employer costs. Additional indirect costs that may arise for employers include disability benefits, and the hiring and training of new employees. Both are attributable to poor management of diabetes, and can be avoided by early prevention and management of minority health conditions. 

According to the National Business Group on Health: “Large employers, then, have a vested interest in ensuring that health care treatments and services, for which they are paying, are of the highest quality and deliver the greatest value”. 

  • Workforce Retention

Providing quality healthcare and nutrition guidance for the prevention and management of diabetes in minority groups is crucial for the professional growth and retention of your minority employees. Investing in their health not only translates to their physical and emotional well-being, but minimizes the indirect costs resulting from employees having to leave the workforce due to health complications. 

  • Ensuring Healthy Future

Health disparities among minority groups are not limited to your employees. They include their children and dependents, who also suffer from lack of quality healthcare for diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Since most employers cover employee dependents, it is beneficial to your business to invest in the health of minority employees and their families. In this way, you can reduce the direct and indirect costs associated with the disproportionate burden of minority health complications and ensure the well-being of your future workforce. Ultimately, this will increase employee productivity, professional growth, and retention.

An investment in minority health is an investment in the future: a brighter, more sustainable future for businesses and employees everywhere. By creating pathways to lower costs for innovative, culturally-relevant services like Yumlish, together we can improve quality of life of minority employees, and build a healthier work community. Take action now and help your employees achieve the best version of themselves with our personalized nutritional therapy plans!

YouTube Podcast Thumbnail with a fork and spoon in a heart with text saying "Yumlish Podcast with Shireen" with Emily RD picture

COVID-19 and Diabetes Management

Emily Timm, RD discusses the implications of COVID-19 on people with diabetes, what to include in a sick-day kit as recommended by the CDC and ADA, top staples to have on hand and eating habits to sustain, and recipes to maintain blood sugar levels.