Inside EMS Podcast: Tricks to eating healthier in EMS

EMS1 columnist and nutrition expert Bryan Fass explores the challenges of eating healthy in EMS, and explains the importance of portion control


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EMS1 columnist and nutrition expert Bryan Fass joined hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson to explain the importance of portion control in EMS, and provide tips to make better food choices while on the job.

“We’ve been programmed to overeat,” Fass said, recalling the days when many of us were told to clean our plates. This attitude is a direct influence of the Great Depression, when there wasn’t enough to eat, and now it’s contributing to obesity.  “We’ve created a society that feels like you’re not full unless you’re busting a gut.”

Grayson said he often eats out of plain and simple boredom. Working nights, there’s also not a lot of options aside from fast food.

Fass discussed the differences between fatigue eating, stress eating, and how to manage portions. For instance, when eating out, EMS providers need to be aware that servings are usually double or triple what a normal portion should be, and packed with carbohydrates to fill you up.

Instead, Fass recommends eating smaller portions at more frequent intervals to keep your metabolism revved up. Next time you order a a meal, split everything in half, put it in a box, and come back to it three hours later when you’re hungry again, he suggests.

Grayson also suggested using an app that counts calories to keep track of what you’re putting into your body.

In the News

Cebollero and Grayson discuss a patient who died in ambulance collision. CPR was in progress when the ambulance collided with a pickup truck and flipped, and this highlights the dangers of performing CPR en route, they said.

“Why are we transporting cardiac arrest patients?” Grayson asked, especially when research suggests they do better on scene, and EMS should only transport in the event of an ROSC.

Cebollero applauded the NFL support of EMS providers currently in negotiations with Rural/Metro and considering a strike. There’s no reason both sides shouldn’t be able to work out differences at the table, Cebollero said.

Grayson also delighted in the news of more possible prison time for two men already sentenced for beating San Francisco Giants fan and paramedic Bryan Stow to the point of brain damage outside Dodger Stadium.

They recently pleaded guilty for possession of firearms, and face up to 10 years in prison. Louis Sanchez was sentenced to eight years and Marvin Norwood to four years for the beating.

“It just warms the cockles of my little paramedic heart,” Grayson said. “Because these guys need to spend as much time as possible in prison.” 

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