Nutrition Tips for Covid Long Haulers

April 2, 2022

Today we are sharing our insights about the importance of eating real, whole foods to help with recovery from long hauler symptoms after having Covid-19. As a relatively new health issue, about twelve million people nationwide are suffering from ongoing symptoms after recovering from the virus. We’ve dug into the current research that’s out there to find what those symptoms are and what you or your loved one can do nutritionally to support the healing process.

Podcast Powered by Podbean

Similar Podcast Episodes:

Print Transcript


TERESA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today, we are talking on a rather serious health problem that more than 10,000 people in Minnesota are suffering from. And as many as 12 million people nationwide. These people are considered long haulers after having COVID-19. So today we will be offering some insights into the effectiveness of nutrition, your food choices, on managing these inflammatory symptoms and why and how nutrition can help heal the damage done by the COVID-19 virus. We believe we have new information for you, and that you will understand how this complex healing process is for most people. Healing from COVID-19 takes more than a pill. And after this show, you may decide it is time to change what you have on your plate.

BRITNI: That's what we're hoping.

TERESA: Of course, as dietitians and nutritionists, we believe eating real food is a stronger and better plan for healing than any pill that has been developed. In the future, there may be a prescription that manages these symptoms, but currently there isn't a pill that takes care of all of it. At this point in time, the best treatment plan is to carefully eat high nutrient foods to help that healing process.

Before we go any further, I am Teresa Wagner and I am a registered and licensed dietitian. And I have had COVID. So I can speak from both a professional and a personal level with this illness. In fact, my whole family had COVID back in November. It was kind of a mess.

BRITNI: I can only imagine.

TERESA: We were not a good quarantining family, as far as it was my daughter got it. Three days later, my husband got it. Three days later, I did. The next three days later, my next daughter. And then lastly, my son. So we had an entire month of, of quarantining with COVID. It was, yeah, it was not, it was not…

BRITNI: That's a lot.

TERESA: I've heard families who have been more successful at not infecting the whole family with the illness, but apparently we just missed the memo on that quarantine.

BRITNI: Oh; I am Britni Vincent and I am also a registered and licensed dietitian. I also had COVID-19 just a couple weeks before I delivered my, my twin girls. So we, we both have had COVID personally and we've both professionally seen clients who are having this, these lasting effects.

TERESA: Yes we have. And, and questions many of the clients ask to ask is, you know, how common is it to have symptoms for weeks and months after I no longer have the virus? I've had some clients ask who's at the highest risk for becoming a long hauler? Was it somebody that has had a severe case of COVID and was hospitalized, or is it someone who had a light case?

Well, to answer these questions, we looked up some research studies and found a study from the University of Washington that reported that one in four COVID-19 patients develop long haul symptoms that can last for months.

BRITNI: Wow. That's a lot.

Statistically, who ends up developing long-haul symptoms?


TERESA: That is a lot. And as we looked deeper into more recent studies, we found four additional studies reporting that one in three patients experienced symptoms. So that's about one third of COVID-19 patients that had one or more symptoms after they were free of the virus.

You know, like I said earlier is, you know, in these studies we found that 10,000 people in Minnesota are experiencing symptoms after recovering from COVID-19. So there are 10,000 Minnesotans that are long haulers. And I would say, you know, even with that, maybe that's not even a you know, maybe, maybe there are more, just because not everybody who had COVID has gone to the doctor and told them about long haul symptoms. So, so perhaps there's even more people who are suffering from some of these symptoms than, than we know about.

BRITNI: I think, I think you're probably absolutely right. Yeah. And, and a lot of people maybe haven't made that connection either.

TERESA: Right.

BRITNI: Because some of the symptoms are a little strange. We're going to talk about that. So it, yeah. And you know, the next question we get is who gets long hauler symptoms? Is it people who are hospitalized or people like me or Teresa who had a mild case of COVID-19?

So it, it really surprised me to learn that Teresa and I were at the same risk as those who had severe cases of COVID-19. If you had COVID-19, whether you were hospitalized with a severe case or a mild case, or even an asymptomatic case, you may still be at risk for experiencing these long haul COVID symptoms.

TERESA: Yeah. Isn't that wild? Because wouldn’t you just expect that it's… You know, I mean for you and I, I mean, it's a part of our job is, is actually bleeds into our personal life. Right? I mean, we practice what we preach and, you know, I, before I had COVID, I was all, you know, if I get COVID, I'm sure it's not going to be a big deal. I mean, I didn't want to get it on purpose of course. You know, and I certainly in the back of my mind always wondered how, you know, how it would manifest itself.


TERESA: But I was one of those people who had some long-haul symptoms. So I think it's really interesting how, even if you take really good care of yourself, how, or if you had just had a mild symptoms that it can still, it can still manifest into long haul symptoms.

You know, researchers also found that two health problems, diabetes and obesity increase the risk of hospitalizations for COVID. But these health conditions did not increase the risk of ending up with long hauler symptoms. The research found that 32.7% of COVID outpatients, you know, so outpatients are people who didn't have to go to the hospital for their, for the COVID. So they had less severe symptoms. So 32.7% of COVID outpatients developed long hauler symptoms and 31.3% of patients hospitalized became long haulers. 

TERESA: So that's only a difference of 1.4% between the two groups of people; between the outpatient versus inpatient. That's I mean, it's barely a difference.


TERESA: I don't know. I mean, I, I stats isn't my strong suit, but I don't think that that's statistically significant.

BRITNI: I don't think so. No, no. And there are many questions concerning the long hauler symptoms. What are the most common ones? What are some of the unusual ones? And, you know, obviously we're still trying to figure all of this out.

What are some COVID long-haul symptoms?


TERESA: Right. Well, one common symptom, many long haulers complain of is shortness of breath. Some have joint pain and others have chest pain. And I think some of this makes sense too. I mean, at least with the chests pain and the shortness of breath because of the nature of COVID and its effect on the lungs, especially those who had COVID with a lower respiratory tract infection, you know, the, the people who had COVID and it really affected their lungs and the lower airways of their body, of the respiratory system. You know, as far as joint pain though, like that's a little bit more of a mystery. Why would the virus affect the joints?

BRITNI: Yes, that is mysterious. I mean, and that was actually one of my main, probably my main symptom was like joint pain while I had COVID.

TERESA: Interesting.

BRITNI: And achiness yeah in my hips. Yeah.

TERESA: I wonder too, because you were pregnant and you were very pregnant at the time because of those, the hip joints have to relax so much, that, I wonder if that's why they were so susceptible to that inflammation that COVID would cause.

BRITNI: Yeah. I mean, frankly, had I not lost my sense of taste and smell, I probably would've just thought it's because I was pregnant and that's why I was so achy.

TERESA: Yeah. Cause everything is a, is a pregnancy symptom, isn't it?

BRITNI: It, but you know, some of the other symptoms that long haulers can have: headaches, dizziness, brain fog; other neurological symptoms. And again, that doesn't connect as much as like you said, the shortness of breath.

TERESA: Yeah. you know, so I was talking about some digestive issues. Well, an another family member of mine who had a very light case of COVID has really struggled with digestive and intestinal problems too; a lot of constipation. In fact, it's taken months, almost four months. So I would say that she's mostly over it now, but it took about four months for us to get it straightened out. And it's not even totally fixed yet. So it's there, there's this long lasting issues that you can have with, with digestive issues. Some clients actually have ongoing diarrhea. Some long haulers lose their desire to eat.

Like Britni had said some lose their taste of smell or food starts to smell different; the perception of what food smells like. And some people, I mean they even lose their hair. So it's time for our first break. And we'll get back to talking about in terms of, of long haul COVID when we come back. But you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today we are sharing our insights about the importance of eating real whole foods to help with recovery from long hauler symptoms after having COVID-19.


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. During the pandemic, many people found themselves pulling through fast food lanes, stocking up on prepackaged foods, processed foods or doing the pizza night takeout several times a week. I mean, let's be real; Door Dash and Bite Squad and all of those makes things pretty darn easy.

TERESA: Yeah. Yeah. And easy habits to maintain now, now that we don't need it as much.

BRITNI: Yep. Yep. So yes, these past two years have been stressful. There is no doubt about it. And most people have gained weight. They're feeling anxious, depressed, and have no idea what dress will fit if they have to dress up. And how can you get your eating under control? Well, let me suggest signing up for Nutrition for Weight Loss classes starting in April. Call us as 651-699-3438 to discuss times and locations or you can register online at

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program

TERESA: Yeah. And I think we'll have both in person and online options for that one or Zoom, I should say options. The online option is always there.

BRITNI: Yes it is.

TERESA: You can always sign up for the online course and just take it whenever, whenever it fits in your schedule. Of course, with Zoom it's more scheduled and in person even more so.

BRITNI: Yeah. And it's a 12-week class. You get two, one-hour appointments with a nutritionist, which I think is so valuable.

TERESA: I think so too, because you can take that information and really tailor to that person.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. So we will create an individualized plan just for you to, to get you feeling better again. So before the break, we were talking about all the different symptoms that you could have with as being a long hauler. And you were talking about hair loss.

TERESA: Changes in smell.

BRITNI: And all sorts of things. I just had a client last week and she's two to three months post having COVID and her hair is really starting to fall out. And I guess that's the common timeframe: two to three years and she had a mild case of it. So I was looking things up after the fact and it is a common…

TERESA: So two to three months?

BRITNI: Two to three months after having it. Yeah.

TERESA: Oh, interesting. I wonder maybe some of our, our people out there that do hair, you know that they know the life cycle of hair would have an understanding of why it would be at that time frame.

BRITNI: And again, I think that would be a symptom having it occur so long after having COVID, I'm sure most people don't think, oh, this is probably from having COVID unless you're doing some research about it. Yeah. And some other symptoms could be fever, continuing to have some fevers, fatigue, muscle pain.

TERESA: Yeah. While other COVID long haulers; for some reason that's not rolling off my tongue; struggle, they may struggle with some symptoms that are a little bit different whereas it's more like depression and anxiety. Tens of thousands of people in the U.S have lingering illness following COVID-19.

BRITNI: And as nutritionist, you know, I see all of these symptoms as symptoms of inflammation. And as nutritionists, we also understand that most autoimmune diseases are diseases of inflammation.


BRITNI: And you know, a lot of experts believe that it is an autoimmune-type reaction that's happening in your body that's causing these long hauler symptoms.

TERESA: Yeah. And autoimmune just means basically you attacking you; your immune system attacking your healthy body tissue.

BRITNI: Exactly. Basically.

How to reduce inflammation: eat real food


TERESA: Yeah. It has been reported that some people are so desperate that they are turning to unproven treatments that may not work or on the flip side may actually make the inflammatory conditions worse. We know there is no risk when people eat real food; when they eat grass-fed meats, organic vegetables and natural beneficial fats several times a day.

These solutions are risk free. This healing diet has been shown to effectively reduce inflammation for a variety of autoimmune conditions. An anti-inflammatory diet has helped many clients with multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia or even clients with thyroid Hashimoto’s.

An anti-inflammatory eating plan usually helps any condition of inflammation. And I have to say like with, with my child that we, when things were getting really bad, we did switch to an, an, a very anti-inflammatory eating plan. It was, it was pretty what I would say, selective versus restrictive. It was lots of foods that she liked, but it was, it was eliminating some of the foods that she, she likes just for a time and because her, you know, constipation can be painful.

BRITNI: Oh yeah.

TERESA: The motivation was there for her even at her young age. And so we found that there was a, a significant improvement when we made those changes. And when, you know, when things started to slip, as they do with time and especially with kids, is that we could see how it would come back, how, how things would become more difficult again eating some of those inflammatory foods and, and the ones that we found to be the most inflammatory for this for her was gluten containing foods.

So breads and a lot of the, a lot of the school lunch foods I think like were contributors because, you know, they tend to be gluten and dairy heavy type foods. And so we just really started to see things come back as, as she’s starting to eat a more liberal diet. But like I said, we continue to work on it and, and things are starting to normalize now, but you can really see a difference, the difference that diet makes. So, so it's just, it, isn't just us saying this. I mean, we really do experience this in our own personal, personal experiences.

BRITNI: For sure.

TERESA: An anti-inflammatory eating plan like I said, it usually helps any sort of inflammatory condition. COVID-19 is a disease of inflammation. Research studies advise COVID patients to seek treatment for their long-haul symptoms. We believe it should start with what a client is putting in his or her mouth or on their plate. You know, we recommend a food first approach to reduce inflammation, which would allow the immune system to work well again. So let's talk about some simple food first approach to lowering inflammation.

Eliminating/lowering sugar intake is anti-inflammatory


BRITNI: You know, I think first and foremost, sugar. Sugar is so inflammatory and yes, it may sound daunting for you to give up sugar, but with our help, I promise it's possible. Clients who are experiencing anxiety find that it helps to reduce overall anxiety. And then it's easier for them to stay off sugar.

You know, less sugar and processed carbs equals less anxiety. And, you know, the typical American diet is so high in sugar, processed carbs, damaged refined oils, and really is a very inflammatory diet. And an anxiety producing diet for many people.

TERESA: Yes. And if the idea of giving up sugar sounds difficult for you, you know, you are not alone. I can think of several of my clients where it took months to finally let go of sugar. So if you need to do it step by step and take it, do it over time, that is certainly a way that you could do it. Other people prefer to go cold turkey.


TERESA: So we'll talk about that a little bit as we come back. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. In the past the only reason many talked about nutrition was about what they needed to eliminate to lose weight. Losing weight was a good use of nutrition, but we know that nutrition is also critical for healing from COVID-19.

It is also critical to manage menopausal symptoms. And it is so important for maintaining strong bones and avoiding osteoporosis. It is a key factor in maintaining good mental health, moods, and memory. Using nutrition to manage health problems is our profession and truly our personal joy. We are now accepting appointments and can get you started on a healing plan. Call us at (651) 699-3438 and make use of our expertise.

Nutrition Counseling


Easy real food ideas


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We have been talking about how an anti-inflammatory diet can improve long hauler symptoms. So I was thinking, why don't we share some ideas? What does an anti-inflammatory diet actually look like? So my plan for the weekend: some batch cooking and frankly, I keep think very simple nowadays.

TERESA: It's a good plan when you have three little kids at home.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. And so my plan is I am going to throw a bunch of chicken breasts in the crock pot with some chicken broth and you just cook it on low for like seven hours and it shreds up and then you can do various things with it. So I'm going to make a chicken salad. And then I'm going to do like a Mediterranean bowl with cauliflower rice and Kalamata olives, and cucumber, tomato. And some like dairy free tzatziki sauce.

TERESA: Oh, yum.

BRITNI: Yeah. And then I was also going to do instead of an egg bake, make egg muffins, because if you have like right now, my girls are starting to eat solids. So things that they can eat are a little different than the rest of us. So that allows me to individualize the little muffins easier.

TERESA: Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic.

BRITNI: And again, none of this will take much time at all.



TERESA: I know you could even use some of that shredded chicken to make like tacos.

BRITNI: Absolutely.

TERESA: Or something like line too.

BRITNI: Yeah. I was going to throw some in the freezer too, just to have on hand. Yeah. That's my go-to way to make chicken just because it's so easy; dump it in and press on.

TERESA: Yes. And it's anti-inflammatory too, because it's, you know, it's just real food, right? It's just, you know, it's, it's real proteins coming from, you know, animals. Maybe they're pasture raised.

BRITNI: Yep. They are.

TERESA: And you know, so as Jolene likes to say, our nutritionist on staff, she likes to say we are what our food eats.


TERESA: Is that, is that how she's says it? Is that how she phrases it?

BRITNI: I think so.

TERESA: Something along that line. So basically, you know, you're getting the nutrients that the chickens that you're eating got. And so if they're out free range pecking and you know, eating bugs and along with some of the grains that they eat, that they get a, a, a varied diet and then you get the benefit of all those nutrients that the, the chickens were eating. So anti-inflammatory proteins. And then all those veggies that you had talked about in that Greek bowl or Mediterranean bowl.

BRITNI: It could, I just made up a name. It could be, but yeah, I think a lot of people do not make that connection. What's the animal eating and how does that then affect me as I'm eating that food? But we really do need to think of that big picture because you know, a conventionally raised beef is more inflammatory than grass fed beef is.

TERESA: Yeah. Right.

BRITNI: So when we're talking about inflammation for, so yeah, we, we do need to think of the big picture about that. And you know, before break, we were talking about sugar as a good first place to start when you're trying to reduce your inflammation.

TERESA: Yeah, absolutely. And just how difficult it is to give it up. You know, a lot of times when, when we are talking about anti-inflammatory diets, the first step we talk about is giving up sugar and that can be really difficult. And so, you know, depending on the person's personality, because there is no right way to do it.


TERESA: Depending on the person's personality, sometimes you want to just go step by step. How can we eliminate it in the, in the first part of the day? Or at the end of the day.


TERESA: Wherever you want to start and then work through the day and see what kind of substitutions we can make. Cause we're never really about total elimination. It's usually what can we replace this with? So that it doesn't hurt so bad.

BRITNI: You know, another way to think about it is do a little experiment; try eliminating sugar for three weeks and putting a timeframe on it. And in your mind, knowing it's not a forever thing.


BRITNI: Helps people like, okay, I can handle three weeks. And then when you feel so much better, it's easier to continue to, to avoid it or limit it. And then also your cravings by that time will go away.

TERESA: Right. Yeah. And that's, you know, what one of my clients experienced after that experiment where she gave up sugar for three weeks and her headaches went away. Her sleep was better and she wasn't waking up throughout the night. She could breathe better. So then she could walk further when she was going out for walks.

She just had more energy, less fatigue. So it really can go beyond what you would maybe even just expect, you know, to think that you would breathe better because you're not eating as much sugar as; just not a concept we think about very much.

BRITNI: Well everything's relative. Right? We don't necessarily realize how poorly we do feel until we feel so much better.

TERESA: Yes. Good point.

BRITNI: So I, I, I definitely hear that from clients when they eliminate sugar, whatever it is, gluten, dairy, it's like, oh wow. I didn't realize like how tired I actually was or how achy I truly was now that I am feeling so much better.

TERESA: And that's huge motivation to continue with it. So once you get to that three me three week mark, and you're like, well, I'm going to celebrate with some sugar. And then all of a sudden your joints hurt or you're not breathing as well.

Then you're like, oh, okay. And then you have some information to make some decisions. You can say, is it worth it? Or is it not? And then the, you know, maybe as you continue on with this, it becomes less and less worth it because you're like, nah, I just like the way I feel.

Key nutrients support the mitochondria


BRITNI: It's so true. It's all about choices. So let's get a little more technical to help you understand, you know, how nutrition helps reduce inflammation and provide energy to your cells. So many articles and blogs about the healing of long-haul symptoms: they discuss nutrients necessary to support the functioning of the mitochondria. For many of you, this probably brings you back to high school science class.

TERESA: Mitochondria: the powerhouse of the cell, right? We all memorize that: the powerhouse of the cell.

BRITNI: So when we eat the correct foods, we take the energy from the food. Food has energy and that cell can use energy for its own energy. And the mitochondria, I mean, like Teresa said, the powerhouse of our cells, they're vital to our survival. They generate ATP or the energy of the cell.

And when we think of the mitochondria, I mean just simply think about energy. But the mitochondria can get sick. And the disease of the mitochondria can introduce muscle weakness, problems with vision or hearing, gastrointestinal symptoms, neurological issues, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders. The list can go on and on.

TERESA: Yes. And how do you keep your mitochondria alive and well? What nutrients does it need to stay healthy? Remember, like we've been saying, the mitochondria is the energy of your cell, which needs fuel and nutrients to run well. A few of those nutrients are vitamin D and we can get vitamin D from the sun.

Well, at least in Minnesota, we can get it from the sun in the summer. Or you can get vitamin D from taking supplements. We often recommend people take vitamin D supplements most of the year. You can get vitamin D by taking cod liver oil. I know that most of that maybe brings up some childhood memories for some of you. It tastes better now. They have, they have figured out a way to make cod liver oil not taste so cod livery.


TERESA: Now it tastes a little bit, a lot of the ones that we, that we have, you know, had recently are more lemon flavored. Yes. You can also get some vitamin D from organic egg yolks. So if the chicken has been exposed to the sun, then they will manufacture vitamin D in their body. And that will go into the eggs.

The mitochondria also needs vitamin B12, which we make in our intestinal tract from an intestinal bacteria called bifido bacteria. And from, from meat. To function, the mitochondria needs magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, which are nutrients we can get from foods like meat and nuts. And of course we always tell people to check the, the types of nuts that you're eating for the ingredients and either buy them raw or buy them dry roasted so that they are, so you can get the maximum benefit from those particular foods.

Foods to avoid to reduce inflammation


These, these foods that are rich in those minerals and the B vitamins support your mitochondria and give your cell energy. It's important to get all of these key nutrients for that health. And we can get those nutrients from eating real food, real grass fed, or pasture raised meats, real organic vegetables, and real natural, beneficial fats. A diet of pancakes, pizza, pasta, pies, on the other hand, this does not support the energy of the cell. It actually might be your source of fatigue.

BRITNI: Yeah, absolutely. And if you have an autoimmune inflammatory condition in your body, or you're a long hauler from COVID, we recommend that you avoid sugar, gluten grains, and those damaged refined oils, which would be like soybean oil, canola, corn oil, cottonseed, vegetable oil.

TERESA: Yeah. Vegetable oil and seed oils in general.

BRITNI: And of course, sugar and processed carbs: those increase inflammation, as we've been talking about, which can result in more pain in your muscles, joints. It can also inflame your lungs, resulting in more coughing and breathing problems. And the American diet of sugar and processed gluten grains and refined damaged oils often leads to fatigue, brain fog, anxiety. So to heal from COVID-19 long term symptoms, it is so important to eat quality protein, organic, organic vegetables, natural, beneficial fats to supply the necessary nutrients to your mitochondria, your cell energy.

And, you know, we talked about gluten. You talked about it. That was one thing that your daughter eliminated, and gluten can be very inflammatory. So when you already have this inflammation, it just exacerbates the inflammation, making everything even worse.

TERESA: Right. So if you have an inflammatory state and you eat something inflammatory, it increases the inflammation, whereas before maybe the gluten was still having an inflammatory effect, but maybe it was much more mild or unnoticeable. And so, yeah, it really can exacerbate that.

BRITNI: And dairy too. You had mentioned that earlier in the show. And so really dairy free, gluten free can make a huge impact like it did for your daughter. I just had a client this week and she is gluten free, but she, it was her birthday. So she decided to indulge and she had such severe near knee pain for like three or four days afterwards. And I'm not doing that again. That was not worth the enjoyment of those pancakes for, you know, 15 minutes of eating that.

TERESA: Right. Right. Yeah. I mean it's, and it gets to the point where it's, well, if I'm an indulge, indulge, maybe I'll indulge in a different way that doesn't create that. I mean, it might still be, you know, a little bit inflammatory, but not to the same degree. You know? Yes.

Well, it's time for our final break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Are you struggling with long haul symptoms after having COVID-19? Maybe the fatigue is just wearing you down or you have episodes of anxiety during the day, or your memory is not as sharp after having COVID. We understand and practice anti-inflammatory nutrition, and in just a few weeks following a real food plan, you can feel better. Call us and let's talk and figure out the best time for an appointment. Call 651-699-3438. And we'll get an appointment set up for you.

Nutrition Counseling


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. During the pandemic we offered Nutrition for Weight Loss classes virtually through Zoom. They're very popular. People lost weight, changed their eating habits. So we decided virtual Nutrition for Weight Loss worked for many people. So we're going to offer them again starting April 11th and 13th.

So it doesn't matter where you live. You can now take classes with us from anywhere, and it's so convenient. So, so convenient. So go online at to sign up or talk to a real person by calling 651-699-3438.

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program

So we've been, you know, we've been talking about eating anti-inflammatory to help long hauler symptoms. So I thought I would share a success story.


BRITNI: So one of my friends: she has had migraines for, I think, many years, but she's figured out her triggers. So she rarely gets them now. And she had COVID maybe about a month ago. And then she started to get multiple migraines a week and some other neurological symptoms, some tingling around the mouth, vision changes.

TERESA: Oh no.

BRITNI: Yeah. So, and she has children; hard to function. And she already eats gluten free, dairy free, but she really cleaned things up focusing on high protein meals, lots of veggies, lots of healthy fats. And it really did make a big impact on reducing the, the migraines. This week, I talked to her and she hasn't had one this week.

TERESA: Oh, that's fantastic.

BRITNI: So it was for her, she noticed a difference pretty quickly. Some people that's not going to be the case though. You know, you have to go into it knowing your body. For some individuals it takes a long time to heal. So give it time. It's not always an immediate, immediate improvement.

TERESA: Right. And I think that that's just sort of culturally how we've been conditioned, you know, we, we, we want things to work like an aspirin, you know, you, you have, you have a, a, a headache and you take an aspirin and it goes away and, or hopefully, like that's the idea, but with nutrition and, and doing a more natural approach to some of these types of healing protocols, it can take time, you know, your body has to heal.

And so you may have to give it several weeks, several months for it to, to really notice the difference. So sometimes that's why we tell people to journal some of it, you know, especially right away in the beginning. Write down your major symptoms, because when things go right, we don't really notice that it's, you know? I remember I had a client once whose toe was just bothering her so much. And then when she came in for a follow up appointment, I had asked her, well, how's your toe. And I just, she pulled, she had a shoe that she could just flip her foot out of. And she just pulled it out. She kind of wiggled it around and she's like, huh? You know? So that was, was one of her major complaints that we were talking and then completely forgot about it.

So sometimes it's good to write down some of those things that are bothering you so that you have something to jog your memory to see if what you're doing is working because you might assume it's not when it actually is really.

BRITNI: And you know, sometimes I encourage people like pain for instance to rate it on a scale, because maybe there's a gradual improvement that you're not necessarily going to recognize unless you are tracking it and can say, oh, a month ago it was a seven. And now I'm a two.

Eat to heal the body


TERESA: Yeah. Yeah. That's a great idea. Helping clients overcome the damage done by COVID virus, it takes time. I find clients who develop this understanding of the value of eating real food do better. They are not on a diet to lose weight, but they are on a diet to regain their health.

And we don't even really use the word diet anymore. We just say, this is your food plan to regain your health only because it has such a negative connotation. Diets really do in some people just bring back terrible memories of restriction. So food plan to regain their health.

These clients understand that in order to overcome their long-haul symptoms, it is necessary for them to be more selective in their food choices. My job as a dietitian is to help you choose the foods that are packed with nutrients. My clients know that to support their energy or those mitochondria, they need to eat foods that supply zinc, selenium, magnesium, calcium, the B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C and iron. It is no longer a diet. It is eating to heal after the effects of COVID. Clients become in charge of their own healing process when they're doing this. So they feel an a feeling of empowerment that they have more control rather than it's out of their control.

BRITNI: Yes. Great point. And you know, frankly, today, nutrition: it's a very complex science. Back in my great-grandmother's time, nutrition was simple. People knew how to eat to support their metabolism. I mean, they really didn't have other choices.

TERESA: No. Yeah, yeah.

Protein is critical for healing and energy


BRITNI: And so they started their day with animal proteins so they'd have their energy for hard work. And I like to help clients understand the role protein plays in our healing and in our energy. And during a healing process, your protein means are actually higher too. And so that is something to keep in mind. Are you eating two to three eggs for breakfast, or maybe a steak salad for lunch, grilled salmon for dinner? Really, it's really important to focus on getting that protein at your meals at least.

TERESA: It's funny. I've got a, by just accident the other day I was in a hurry. I've had a really busy couple of weeks, and I was putting together my food for work before I was going out the door. Usually I do a better job of planning and realized I had no protein options. I didn't have anything. So I basically went to work with a lot of veggies, a fair amount of like good fat sources. And I just kept commenting to my coworker: I am starving. I am eating all the time. I brought plenty of food. I was like, it's fine to get through day. Like what one day is not a big deal, but I kept laughing cause I was like, all I want to do is eat today. So it's so good for your immune system, but it is great for satiety too. And just giving you that feeling of, of, of being done when you're finished eating, you know, so lesson learned. Continue to be prepared.

BRITNI: You know, sometimes we need those little reminders.

TERESA: That's right. And protein is important for our bodies because protein is a wonderful source of B vitamins. And these B vitamins are important in, in important in converting our food into energy. We need this energy for mental and physical energy I guess. Protein helps us maintain strong muscles. I think we all know that, you know, protein and muscles, but it's great for good moods. It supports our metabolism. And it's also vital to supporting our immune system.

BRITNI: And while vegetables, they supply us with a variety of different nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, fiber, calcium, folate. I mean, again, the list goes on and on. Lots of veggies are so important.

Natural, beneficial fats are critical for healing


TERESA: And natural, beneficial fats are critical for healing. Our cell membranes need these healing fats to allow nutrients from food to get into the cell to support energy and to reduce inflammation.

BRITNI: You know, a good nutrition treatment plan for long haulers should include a nutrient supportive real food eating plan, a systemic rebalancing approach to healing the digestive system and an anti-inflammatory plan to address lung, heart and nervous system damage. And we recognize the very best treatment plan starts with nutrition. And often it does take time for changes to occur, but there are no risks to eating whole real foods except good health.

TERESA: Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple but powerful message. Eating food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today and have a wonderful day.

BRITNI: Thank you.

Print Transcript

Back To Top