Positive Living: Looking After Yourself (cont.)
Cooking and Eating Defensively
People with HIV get sick more
often from food-borne illnesses than other people. Everyone can get food
poisoning, but people with weakened immune systems can get a lot sicker.
Once someone with HIV gets sick from a food-borne illness, it can be
very hard to treat and can come back again and again.
Know how to protect yourself from
food-borne illness. Diseases such as salmonella, botulism or
hepatitis-A can cause serious infections or even death. Most of
these diseases are caught directly from an infected person, but you can
also be infected by raw or poorly cooked food, improperly canned food,
food contaminated by insects, and food that has been handled by someone
who has not followed proper food handling practices.
thoroughly to kill bacteria
and germs. Red meat is not properly done for someone with HIV
until it is brown; fish should flake; egg whites and yolks should be
firm, not runny; and chicken juices should be clear, not pink.
Tips for Shopping
Know your market. Are you comfortable with
how clean and fresh the meat, produce and dairy products are? Does
your market put raw meat next to raw or lightly steamed fish or
shellfish? These are unsafe practices. If you are
uncomfortable with the conditions and you can change stores, do so.
If you can't change to another store, ask the market manager directly
about how things are kept and ask how the store complies with guidelines
for food-borne illness regulation.
labels on packages and cans, not only for nutritional values, but to make sure
you are buying them before their expiration date. Stay away from the carts
overflowing with on-sale cans that fell off the display and are dented. Dented
cans are often a sign of contaminated food.
If you have any questions about your
store, you should always feel comfortable asking. People are usually
more than happy to help.
Tips for Cooking
- ALWAYS wash your hands before and after you touch or
- Wash all of your fresh fruit and
vegetables to get rid of chemicals, pesticides, and
infectious microbes such as E. Coli.
- Double bag fish, chicken, and packaged meat and place
them in the freezer if you don't plan to use them right
away. This will help keep bacteria from growing.
- NEVER cut raw meat or poultry on
the same surface that you use to cut fruit and vegetables.
This is very dangerous because raw meat is often
contaminated with bacteria.
- Whether you're using a microwave or a conventional
oven, follow the directions carefully. Allow for plenty of standing time
after cooking because the food is still cooking. Use a meat thermometer rather
than guess. Shortcuts can lead to illness.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and a capful of
bleach. Have it handy for cleaning counters and cutting boards.
- Always wash the tops of cans
before opening them to avoid getting germs in your food.
Food safety problems are especially scary when you are in a
restaurant because you have little or no control over
how food is prepared. Since you don't know who is handling your food,
or how, the best thing you can do is to remember this motto: Boil it,
cook it, peel it, or forget it!
chances dining out. It's smart to ask how a particular dish is prepared
and whether it contains raw ingredients. It's good to stay away from
creamy salad dressings if you're not sure they're fresh - remember that Caesar
dressing often has raw egg in it. Stay away from anything prepared with
raw eggs (eggnog, hollandaise sauce). Stay away from sushi and steak
tartar. If your steak is too rare, or if your
chicken is pink near the bone, SEND IT BACK. Don't let a surly
waiter or waitress make you feel bad. You are paying for the food and it
should be prepared in a way that is safe for you.
Pregnancy and Nutrition
If you're pregnant, it is even
more important to keep your body strong. This will help you maintain
energy and will reduce infections, making your pregnancy easier. Most
pregnant women need to gain about 30 pounds during their pregnancy to help the
baby get to a healthy weight. Following the basic nutritional guidelines
is a great start toward keeping you and your baby healthy. If you notice
you aren't gaining weight or that you are having trouble keeping your diet
balanced, check in with your health care provider for some good suggestions on
helping you gain weight. Your health care provider will also recommend a
prenatal vitamin pill for you
and your baby. It's very important to tell your health care
provider if you are taking any other vitamins because too many vitamins
may be harmful to your baby.
Food Gimmicks - What to Watch Out For
It's important to be careful when you are
shopping for diet supplements. There are a lot of products out there
that will claim to "cure it all" when in fact they don't have a
lot of important nutrients. On the other hand, there are some good
diet supplements on the market that could be helpful in making sure your
diet is balanced. If a product seems too good to be true, it
probably is. If the answer is "yes" to any of the questions
below, it would be wise to look into the product further before buying
it. Contact your health care provider or a dietician.
- Does the promoter of the product, book or diet leave
out entire food groups?
- Does the research provided mostly consist of personal
stories from people who swear that they "have been healed" by this
product? Though it is tempting to believe these claims, more often
than not they are exaggerations.
- Are there nutritional claims made in the pamphlets
but not on the product labels or in the advertising? You
should know that the government regulates claims made in
advertising and on labels but NOT on other printed materials, so these
pamphlets can claim anything.
- Does the promoter of the product
have a financial or personal motive to deceive you?