The coronavirus outbreak caught us all off guard. No one was prepared for what 2020 had in store for us, including how it’s affected not only our work but also our lifestyle and diet. With the lockdowns happening all over the world, poverty and malnutrition are simultaneously on the rise.
I decided I would use this time to strengthen my immune system and survive this pandemic through proper nutrition and getting enough sleep and exercise. Holistic nutrition, after all, is not just a diet but a way of life, so I want to discuss how we can all use this approach to overcome the pandemic.
I started with what I know: Healthy food is organically raised, unrefined, and unprocessed, leaving all its nutrients intact. Whole nutrient complexes from fresh, organic, whole food help cleanse the body of toxins, which in turn helps prevent disease and allows the cells to function and regenerate correctly.
One of the first things I considered was what to snack on. Healthy, whole foods, right? Any food that’s worth eating provides good nutrition and makes a great snack. Organic fruits and vegetables; organically raised chicken, grass-fed beef, and fish; raw milk cheese and cultured products such as yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk; low-temp roasted nuts. The list goes on and on. I found great ideas from the Selene River Press Self-Health Nutrition blog. Their carefully curated books are also worth browsing through.
Next spring, I plan on starting a vegetable garden. It will be a good way to use the time at home and get children involved in their own source of food. We can also be confident that our meals won’t be sprayed with insecticides and herbicides.
Leave Junk Food at the store
This is a great time to tighten up my resistance to junk food. No more chips on my grocery list! I followed by removing white bread, white rice, pizza, pasta, and pastries. Chances were good, I told myself, that I wouldn’t be quite as active as I had been, and refined carbs increase glucose levels in the blood—a great way to gain weight while confined to smaller spaces! Why risk obesity, insulin resistance, and other cardiometabolic disorders when instead I can use this time to make changes to my lifestyle and diet that I keep putting off?
Here’s where the SRP Historical Archives came to my rescue: “124 Ways Sugar Ruins Your Health” by Dr. Nancy Appleton is a great article to read—and reread—to keep your sugar-reduction goals on track.
Check out just the first six items on the list:
- Sugar can suppress the immune system.
- Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
- Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
- Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
- Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).
- Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function; the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you lose.
Number six really surprised me. Refined sugar = FLAB!
I also came to learn that refined carbohydrates, sweets, and sugar are associated with increased cardiovascular disease. There are links between high sugar intake and inflammation. Chronic, low-grade inflammation is a key factor of cardiovascular disease because sugar intake increases fat production, fat deposition on the belly, and blood lipids.
Soft drinks, cookies, and candies have no nutritional value, so off the grocery list they go!
Sleep became another project of mine. At first, I let myself sleep longer and felt more relaxed because I was getting enough of it. I wasn’t as concerned since I could now make my own hours. We all know how critically important sleep is to our health and development. However, as time went on I began finding it difficult to draw a line between work and home. Eventually I disrupted my sleeping pattern by staying up late and getting up late.
Generally, the ideal amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours a day. But in reality, optimal sleep is not the same for each one of us. In this pandemic, we have to make sure that we sleep enough but not too much. When I started to enforce a disciplined wakeup and bedtime I became more productive.
Suddenly, I didn’t have to carry a water bottle everywhere I went, which was great until I ended up forgetting to drink water. Hydration is one of the key factors in maintaining homeostasis. Our bodies are more or less composed of 50 percent fluids. We need these fluids to help our bodies perform hemodynamic functions, thermoregulation, and various other tasks across the body’s different systems.
Without water, we would shut down in just a few days. Undoubtedly, water is the most vital nutrient. But not all water is the same, as Stephanie Selene Anderson explains in her books Why Your Doctor Offers Nutritional Supplements and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is! Some water is actually a refined food!
Furthermore, not all water contains the most assimilable form of one of the most important minerals: calcium. The body uses ionizable calcium for so many health functions that we have a gland exclusively dedicated to it: the parathyroid gland. As Dr. Keppel explains in his important article on the relationship between calcium and immunity: “There is abundant research regarding ionized calcium and viruses. As a matter of fact, studies show that low ionized calcium levels are a predictor for the severity and hospitalization of COVID.”
Find Ways to Exercise and Play
While homebound, not only did I sleep more at first, but I was also becoming more sedentary. I decided to find ways to stay active at home.
I found lots of suggestions online, including dancing and yoga videos. With a good mat and a few weights, you can take advantage of many kinds of workouts. I also started doing more housekeeping, and I even broke a sweat while cleaning out closets and cupboards! A friend recommended online boxing classes, which I thought was very clever but not for me.
There are definitely limitations and downsides to these approaches. Nothing can replace the social aspect of certain physical activities or the one-on-one contact with a trainer or instructor. I miss these things very much. But I remind myself that this a temporary situation, and I’ll go roaring back with renewed spirit when we’re all finally able to work and play together again.
Meanwhile, this pandemic may have disrupted our regular schedule, but it doesn’t mean we have to succumb to an unhealthy lifestyle. Health starts at home, so let’s take advantage while our busy daily routines are on pause. Let’s get healthier, stronger, and in sync with a lifestyle that supports us far better than when we started.
If you find yourself with enough time and curiosity, here is some further reading that may help you beef up your own health:
- “Timeline of WHO’s Response COVID-19”
- “Coronavirus Cases”
- “Health benefits of fruits and vegetables”
- “Fruit and vegetables and cancer risk: A review of southern European studies”
- “Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health”
- “Strategies to reduce dietary sodium intake”