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Gina Cousineau

By Gina Cousineau, aka Mama G

Today, we sit in the midst of a pandemic that affects every individual worldwide, threatening our very lives.

Interestingly enough, just a month ago, a large portion of us were afflicted by another pandemic, obesity. This, too, has endangered our lives and futures, yet no one took it seriously.

I want to take a moment to remind you that in order to care for those you love, you must put your face mask on first. That being said, self-care in the midst of this crisis or any other is paramount to your standing strong against that which makes us vulnerable.

Step one is to ignore the fear-mongering and bullying by influencers who claim their pills, potions and diet plans will protect you from the virus—all for their monetary gain.

I am going to suggest—based on science and evidence—that our best defense in the midst of any storm will come from wholesome, minimally processed food choices. While we saw extreme hoarding of food and supplies at the start of our quarantine, I am happy to see shelves full, once again, allowing us to better plan healthy meals for our families.

Using my “healthy plate” visuals can help you to make food choices to not only bring joy and comfort to our very stressed bodies, but also to build our immune systems, while bringing the family back around the kitchen table.

A “healthy plate visual” Mama G designed to help make food choices easy and enjoyable. Graphic: Gina Cousineau

Recommendations from Mama G:

  • Come up with a routine/schedule, especially when it comes to food, such as no alcohol during the week or closing the kitchen between meals.
  • Limit the treats and splurges in the home, especially highly processed foods, and instead choose one day a week to make a special meal and/or dessert together.
  • Allow everyone to pick a meal theme night, and use the healthy plate as your guide for Taco Tuesday or Pizza Friday.
  • Try to sit down at the dinner table together for at least one meal in which electronics are put away.
  • Keep bedtimes and wake-up schedules consistent Monday through Friday.
  • Consider group exercise opportunities for the household, taking advantage of the wide spaces we have access to here in South Orange County—with proper social distancing, of course—and online options.
  • And, most importantly, stay connected to those who are alone and in need. Visit if you need assistance or would like to volunteer.

Gina Cousineau works with clients virtually and is offering her services at no charge during the pandemic. Her extensive education with a BS in dietetics and MS in integrative and functional nutrition, chef training, and more than 30 years as a fitness professional, allow her to help clients with finding a practical nutrition that works for their lifestyle. You can reach her at, 949.842.9975, and on Instagram and Facebook @mamagslifestyle.

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