• Published on Aug 19, 2020

Video Transcript

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JOHN WHYTE: You're watching Coronavirus in Context. I'm Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer at WebMD. The pandemic is certainly causing a lot of stress. And one of the ways that we can deal with stress is healthy eating. But how do we eat healthy during this pandemic when, sometimes, uh, the foods that we want aren't available, um, or we still rely on fast food? To help provide some insights, I've asked my friend, Dr. Chris Mohr, a registered dietitian based in Kentucky, to provide the answers. Chris, thanks for joining me.

CHRIS MOHR: It's great to be here, John. Thanks for having me.

JOHN WHYTE: Let's start off with, how has nutrition and dieting changed during the pandemic?

CHRIS MOHR: Yeah, that's a great question. It's one I get all the time. You know, we've now been home for [INAUDIBLE] shelter-in-place for about four months now, at least. And because of that, there is a lot more access to food, just-- and your pantry is always there, your refrigerator. And it's very easy to just walk by, grab a handful of this, grab a handful of that. So it's important to make sure that we are really being mindful when we are around the kitchen and have access to food so we make better choices.

To me, that means having fresh foods available. For us, for our kids, we make sure we have fresh fruit on the countertop, even prepped veggies on the countertop, so when they walk by, they'll grab a handful of this and a handful of that.

JOHN WHYTE: Mm-hmm.

CHRIS MOHR: They think they're sneaking food, but we know they're getting great-- great options and great nutrition.

JOHN WHYTE: Have you changed how you shop and how you buy groceries? CHRIS MOHR: We have, just with the nature of what's going on. You know, certainly doing a lot more grocery delivery than we-- than we ever did. So we are still picking the same foods-- obviously, if they're available.

JOHN WHYTE: OK. Mm-hmm.

CHRIS MOHR: Um, so still making sure we get the same fresh produce. We've-- you know, studies have shown that it is perfectly safe. And we know that, of course, including lots of fruits and vegetables are-- are very healthy. So trying to have as much access to that as we can is important.

JOHN WHYTE: Has snacking changed? You mentioned those fresh fruits and vegetables on the countertop. Any other changes in the Mohrs' snacking routine?

CHRIS MOHR: Yeah, I-- I think, for us, it has-- certainly, with our kids. Of course, they've been home now since the middle of March. And for them, that's very, very different. So a lot of it was just eating out of boredom, just like we do as adults. So that's why, again, we try to make the-- the-- the "better for you foods" available and-- and easy access. Kids are, most of the time, not going to be hungry or bored and go into the carr-- and go into the refrigerator and start peeling carrots. So--

JOHN WHYTE: [INAUDIBLE]

CHRIS MOHR: --we do that prep work for them, the leg work for them, to make sure they have easy access.

JOHN WHYTE: What are some of those other better foods?

CHRIS MOHR: Again, certainly the fruits and vegetables. Um, nuts are a great one as well. So our kids like pistachios, for example. They love the-- the cracking off the shell of the nuts. Takes them a long time to eat them, too. So that barrier of slowing you down from putting just a handful into your mouth has been great. So things like that. With the nuts around, the fresh fruit and-- and-- and vegetables around, hummus, guacamole-- all those easy options, again, we want to have available so we all make better choices--

JOHN WHYTE: All right.

CHRIS MOHR: --because let's face it. Being stuck in our house, sometimes we just get bored and want to just snack on meaningless food.

JOHN WHYTE: And you can make homemade guacamole as well. That's not hard to do. But everyone's been--

CHRIS MOHR: Yeah. no, absolutely.

JOHN WHYTE: Everyone's been talking about pandemic cooking. People are obviously not going out to restaurants, or not as often. Tell us how we can cook with our kids during the pandemic.

CHRIS MOHR: Yeah, that-- that's such a great question and an important one. I think it's really important, just in general, to get your kids in the kitchen. Now, of course, we want to be, you know, age-appropriate, depending where they are in their-- in their abilities. But the more we can expose our kids to quality foods, the better off they're going to be down the road. And I honestly think that's one of the biggest challenges we have, pandemic or not, is the lost art of cooking.

JOHN WHYTE: Right.

CHRIS MOHR: People are not in the kitchen as much. But now, we have the ability. Like you said, we're not going out as much. Um, so--

JOHN WHYTE: [INAUDIBLE]

CHRIS MOHR: --or, [INAUDIBLE] we're now doing takeout. I'm sorry?

JOHN WHYTE: That you're involving them in the cooking. What else are you doing?

CHRIS MOHR: Letting them get messy. While it is frustrating as a parent--

JOHN WHYTE: Mm-hmm.

CHRIS MOHR: --letting kids-- there's been study after study that show that letting kids play with foods encourages them more to try new things. So getting them involved, letting them get messy, and they're more likely to explore different foods that they may have not otherwise done.

JOHN WHYTE: So what have you been making with your kids?

CHRIS MOHR: We love pasta-based dishes. We love exploring different dishes that you could put lots of produce in there. So we're always trying to mix vegetables in, and fruits in, and things like that. Um, so pasta is an easy one for kids. They can get involved with that. But we also-- I mean, we're grilling. We are-- like, our-- our kids-- they've been-- I mean, we let them use knives-- of course, supervised. We let them really get involved in that kitchen so they can get-- get the job done and make sure that they're exploring different foods.

JOHN WHYTE: All right. Well, Chris Mohr, I want to thank you for providing those tips on-- on how we eat during the pandemic as well as how we cook during the pandemic. Uh, you have a website. Tell us your website.

CHRIS MOHR: Yeah, our website is Mohr Results. And my last name is M-O-H-R-- mohrresults.com. We have lots of these kind of tips and many others on there.

JOHN WHYTE: All right. Thanks for joining us.

CHRIS MOHR: Awesome. Thanks, John.

JOHN WHYTE: All right. Well, we've been talking about nutrition. Now let's turn to fitness. And my next guest says the future of fitness is all virtual. Chris Smits is from Toronto, Canada. Thanks for joining me, Chris.

CHRIS SMITS: Thanks for having me on your show, John.

JOHN WHYTE: Now, you've had a brick-and-mortar gym with your brother for several years. And now, with the epidemic, you've gone all virtual. And you say you're going to stay all virtual. So tell us what the future is.

CHRIS SMITS: Well, just to let you know, we have the busiest day in the history of our gym, uh, the day before we were shut down. And it was the fifth anniversary of our gym. And within a day, we were shut down. And we were just trying to-- we were in shock, and we were trying to figure out what-- you know, what are-- how are we going to keep our community engaged, and what is going to be the next move?

So everybody went onto Instagram, and that was working for a bit. But there was really-- there was something we were missing. And it was that community, that engagement. So I started playing with some, uh-- some other platforms and basically hacked about 10 different platforms--

JOHN WHYTE: Mm-hmm.

- CHRIS SMITS: To create this experience. And you know, the foundation of it was the Apple Watch, because it connected us all together, and we could see everybody's metrics and-- and performance. And we put everybody in teams. So we basically game-ified the whole, I guess, transformation--

JOHN WHYTE: Uh-huh.

CHRIS SMITS: --experience.

JOHN WHYTE: So you made it about community as opposed to me individually watching a-- you know, a certain type of aerobics class or, you know, abs class. Your platform and format says community is what's going to be successful when it comes to fitness.

CHRIS SMITS: Community, connection, the coaching aspect-- when you tie that all together and you make it real time, where people feel like they're being watched, especially through the Zoom platform that we're using as well, it's a game-changer, because it provides the accountability where, if you don't show up, I'm going to call you out. And you know, even if you're performing an exercise wrong, I will offer some form adjustments.

JOHN WHYTE: And you think the home in the future. Is that right? That, you know, if we really want to get healthy and fit--

CHRIS SMITS: Mm.

JOHN WHYTE: --let's focus on doing it in the home. Is that right?

CHRIS SMITS: Well, I think the predominant source of your fitness and your wellness should start in your house, in your home. You need to have an area where you can do a workout in front of a TV or, you know, using your-- your watch or using your-- your-- your phone. It doesn't need to be complex. You can use dumbbells. You can-- I have people using, um, wine bottles. Finally, they're putting them to good use. And then we have people using some knapsacks. So it's just-- you know, that should be the predominant source of your fitness.

And then I think there's going to be a hybrid model. I tru-- truly believe that, in the future, you know, obviously, we're going to train in the home, but we're-- we're going to use the studios and these gyms as a secondary source, not a primary source, of fitness, and especially in the interim until, uh, the COVID restrictions have been reduced or relieved. You know, a lot of people are going to be scared. They're saying 50% of people are not going to go back to the gym.

JOHN WHYTE: You mentioned to me that you've always been at big gym-goer over the years. And you said to me recently, John, I'm not going back. Is that really true, Chris? Tell us what's going on.

CHRIS SMITS: Yes, I believe that if-- it's more about the training program and the coaching than it is about the gym. Yes, you can go to the gym and get incredible results. But if I put you in the gym, and you do not know what to do, I'll take someone that has a proper coaching program and a periodized program that's going to give them the best results. I'll take that over going to the gym any day.

But yes, there is a limit to what you can achieve in the home. But the idea is to gradually build your home gym with some dumbbells. Potentially, down the road, you could get a bar with some plates, with some bands, and a Swiss ball. I think those are really the foundational pieces of equipment. And you know, with that, you can do a lot.

JOHN WHYTE: And this is a good way to adapt during the pandemic when one can't go to a gym, or doesn't want to go-- don't want to go to a gym, that they actually can still get on a fitness routine, um, and become healthy. Chris, I want to thank you for taking time, uh, to speak with me today.

CHRIS SMITS: Thank you very much for having me on your show, John. I really appreciate it.

JOHN WHYTE: And I want to thank you for watching Coronavirus in Context.