The Role of Diet and Essential Nutrients during COVID-19

Hi everyone! There’s been quite the buzz lately about supplements and medications revolving around COVID-19. No one is really publicizing (on main stream media) about the holistic ways we can keep our immune systems boosted during this time. I know what you may be thinking, “Here we go… more herbs, tonics, and tinctures… yadda yadda yadda.” Well, I thought about it, but I wanted to be more practical in my approach and tell you about foods we can keep in our homes to keep ourselves healthy (or at least in better health) during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclaimer: I do not have the cure all be all. You cannot change your immune system overnight. Healthy habits are just that…habits! You have to take time to build and practice strengthening/maintaining your immune system on a regular basis. The tips here are a suggestion from an educational standpoint.

You may recall, back in March, that I wrote a nice little blog post mentioning “5 ways to build your immune system.” Here we are in April still running around in utter confusion and more scared than ever (anxiety through the roof) about how to stay healthy during this time. Here’s a question I have for you: What are the three things a human cannot live without?

Any guesses?!

No, it’s not your cell phone or getting your nails done… It’s Air, Water, and Food. A human being cannot survive without those three things for an extended period of time (please do not try to experiment with this concept… do your research). The body begins to break down on a cellular level and can result in death. That’s pretty serious. There is much to talk about regarding air, water, and food. Air and water will be another blog for another day (there’s much to talk about), however, I want to focus on my area of expertise which is food and its health benefits.

So, if food is important, according to a number of scientific studies, then why aren’t people more “concerned” about the foods they consume?

Wait! I know…I know… How dare I come in between you and your food? Know that I would never do that. My job here is to keep you and your families educated and informed with information that will enhance your life, especially when it comes to food. So here’s the latest and greatest in helpful information to keep your bodies’ immune system boosted while staying home in quarantine.

Boost your immunity by choosing:

  • Zinc-rich foods: Helps regulate and improve functioning of the immune system. Foods that are rich in zinc include leafy green vegetables, legumes, sprouted seeds and beans, nuts, seeds, and oats.
  • Iron-rich foods: These are essential for good metabolism, healthy blood flow, and therefore oxygenation of the body. Iron helps improve muscle and brain function. Try eating dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, lentils (we love these), artichokes, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, or chickpeas (you can even combine many of these in a well-balanced plant-based dish).
  • Eat probiotic-rich foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, or pickles. These foods help the body’s digestive system and promotes a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Sunshine (when you can) for that Vitamin D!
  • Magnesium-rich foods: These foods are essential for hundred of reactions in your body, such as repairing and regenerating cells and providing energy. Don’t let yourself become deficient! Magnesium is found in chlorophyll (found in green plants), so eat LOTS OF GREENS!!! Avocados, chard, spinach, figs, bananas, black beans, and pumpkin seeds are some of the foods you can keep in your pantry.

Staying at home and keeping your sanity during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone. This stress and increased anxiety can cause people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and go into binge snacking. I’m here to let you know that you CAN continue to make good food choices and boost your immunity in the process. Remember that here at Plant-Based Eatz, we love each and every one of you. Here’s to your health.

Healthy Inside. Healthy Outside.

-Chef Kay

Coping with Disruption

Handling stressors and anxiety during COVID-19 quarantine.

How’s everyone doing out there? I’m sure watching the news and scanning social media posts isn’t making it any “easier” to deal with being quarantined. COVID-19 is creating anxiety almost everywhere you look. I’ve noticed that amidst all of the reports that we are being fed (whether traditional or social media) levels of anxiety and panic are at a high.

Stress and anxiety can have an overwhelming effect on the body. It can cause panic attacks, headaches, irritability, depression, increased blood pressure, upset stomach, loss of libido, muscle aches and other pains. How can we cope? Imagine what your life would be like if you could reduce your anxiety… Imagine cultivating an environment where “calm” is the norm while being mindful of the events happening around you. It can be done. This week on PB Eatz’s Medicinal Monday post, we will talk about coping with uncertainty during a time of high stress and anxiety.

**Disclaimer: No one here at Plant-Based Eatz is denying nor avoiding the issues. We understand that they are very real and should be taken seriously.**

COVID-19: The reality is unavoidable

People are losing their s***. Folks are irritable, schools and businesses are closed until further notice, grocery stores are limiting the number of customers shopping, many people are in complete isolation, and no one has a clue about what will happen next. Yeah, it’s some scary stuff. Not only is health a concern for the physical body, but the health of our economy.

Now, it is TOTALLY understandable to experience heightened anxiety during a time uncertainty. Depending on where you are geographically, it can be complete chaos for you. As I mentioned last week, you could use this opportunity to improve your physical health (eating well, getting sunlight, washing your hands, practicing social distancing), but you can also use this time as a chance to improve your mental health and anxiety.

Let’s Calm Down Together

Acceptance: We can only control what is in our control

This is a complete state of mind. The sooner we accept what we can and cannot control, we will see the anxiety dissipate. Has worrying ever changed anything? Accepting change (and how you deal with it) can improve your mental health.

Being Mindful: Choosing our focus and actions

Actively choose what you do and what you pay attention to. Instead of sitting in front of your television or staring at your mobile device all day, be active at home. Try meditation. Maybe some yoga. Doing more positive activities with loved ones or actively engaging in a new found hobby while focusing on the POSITIVE aspects, can help minimize worries about the unknown (the what-ifs/worst case scenarios). Be mindful even when you decide to make that run to the grocery store. The long lines and paranoia can cause high levels of stress… Don’t worry. Take a moment and breath deeply and be mindful that we are ALL in this together. It will take time.

Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet: Healthy Inside. Healthy Outside.

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water. Move more. Don’t stay sedentary getting your anxiety levels up. Stressing can do a number on your immune system. We want you healthy. That means your physical and mental health.

The truth is that we only have this moment to live in… Just this moment! We don’t know what will happen next or what lies ahead for the “coronavirus,” however, it is how we handle ourselves in this “unprecedented” time that will surely make or break us. I believe in you… I believe in us as a people on this planet. Keep believing and take time each day to enjoy it. WOOSAH!

I love each and every one of you. We here at Plant-Based Eatz want all of you to live your best life and stay healthy. -Kay

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