Good quality food enhances the effectiveness of ARV’s
One of the side effects of taking antiretroviral drugs is that it often induces nausea and lack of appetite. This is a horrid ‘catch 22’ situation as eating good food is essential to enhance the effectiveness of the drugs, and to help the body’s natural healing process. Part of the solution to this is to focus on the food’s digestibility and visual attractiveness. Have you heard the statement ‘We eat with our eyes’? Apparently what we think about food when we see it influences how we experience the flavour. So the attractiveness of the way food is laid out on a plate, and the variety of colours, will enhance the appetite and enliven the enjoyment of eating. So get creative with your food presentation.
Something else to think about is the experience of ‘mouth sensitivity’. This can be addressed by attending to the food texture. Things like soups and purees are helpful. However, we do know that soups can look very bland. So topping it with a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs, or a swirl of cream, and accompanied by a carefully laid our slice of bread, can just make all the difference to the enjoyment. Maybe even write a short uplifting message on a paper serviette.
Another thing to keep in mind is that people who are HIV+ often need to eat more calories since the body is constantly working hard to combat the disease. So it is really important that meals are eaten regularly and that food is always at hand to avoid feeling hungry.
For more information about a good healthy way of eating log onto the MEMBER PORTAL and scroll down to Road to wellness: General Health for general wellness tips. For specific eating guidelines for HIV scroll to Road to wellness: HIV
Making all the right choices to live a healthy and joyful life is just that much more complicated if you are also trying to manage HIV medication. Health Tracker is a tool that can help. It is a mobile app where you can record all your meds. It also has a journaling space where you can record how well you have been eating, your exercise achievements, and even your mood. By keeping these records you will be able to look back over a period and start detecting what is working well for you, and what things deplete your energy and mood. Access this app HERE.