Nutrition and COVID-19

Every crisis creates opportunity. One I see currently is the chance to focus more on self-care. Obviously I encourage you to dive deep into your yoga practice, especially the meditation component, given all this change. In this blog let’s talk one of my other faves…FOOD. Now’s the chance to stock up on nutrient-dense deliciousness and make magic in the kitchen. Consider how often you’ve said, “I would eat healthier if I had more time.” Well here it is! Not only is it fun and health-enhancing in general, you’ll decrease stress through self-empowerment by taking initiative in an area you can positively influence while things are chaotic. Here are my top shopping tips, nutritional strategies and meal/snack ideas for this Corona Craziness.ūüėä

¬† ¬† ¬†Number one, eat that rainbow baby! Fruit and vegetable intake is vital. These guys are loaded with¬†vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to boost your immunity and keep you¬†healthy all-around.¬†When buying fresh, pick up items that are both ripe and unripe. Bananas ūüćĆ,¬†avocadosūü•Ď, peachesūüćĎ, plums, mangosūü•≠, melonūüćą, pineappleūüć欆and papaya¬†are all continue to ripen after they’re picked providing fresh fruit up to 2 weeks post-purchase. Applesūüćéūü揬†and pearsūü柬†last a while too in the fridge. Grab lemonsūüć謆and limes for tea, water and recipes. Pick up frozen fruits and¬†veggies too. These will¬†last the longest and are excellent for smoothies, stir-frys, casseroles, soups, omelets and¬†desserts. Think strawberriesūüćď, blueberries, blackberries, cornūüĆĹ, broccoliūü•¶, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and kale. Always toss carrotsūü•ē and celery in your cart because they’re great¬†staples and create the base of many juice and soup recipes. Stock up on onionsūüßÖ and garlicūüߥ. These last a long time in a cool, dry, dark and well-ventilated place. Add them to your meals as much as possible as they contain¬†potent oils that have anti-microbial actions which protect against bacterial and viral infections. Also pick up fresh herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, oregano and thyme. Root vegetables such as beets, potatoesūü•Ē, sweet potatoesūü憬†help make¬†meals hearty and nourishing.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†Let’s venture beyond the produce area. How about those BEANS! They’re inexpensive, readily available, have a long shelf life and amp up protein and fiber intake.¬†Pick up canned (rinse to remove excess sodium) or dry. Some ideas for use are¬†chili (try it in the slow cooker), black bean veggie burgers, soups, burritos or quesadillas. Add cold beans or chickpeas to salads. You can make your own fresh hummus in the food processor and/or try your hand at refried beans or bean dips (my husband’s been on a kick with these). Here’s some recipes!

Vegan Lentil Soup: Get Your Soup On!

Homemade Hummus:

Black Bean Burgers:

Chili: slow-cooker-chili

¬† ¬† ¬†Nuts and seeds¬†are another nutrition powerhouse with a very long shelf life. Think almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts (just 2 of these a day supply enough Selenium for immune support), and peanuts. For seeds we have chia, sunflower, flax, sesame and hemp hearts. More healthy protein here, fiber too plus anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Oh ya! One of my fave snacks currently is a 1/4c walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Gives ya a sweet fix with some health benefits. Same with adding some natural nut butter to whole dates. These little nuggets taste better and are way cheaper than Lara Bars though they’re basically the same ingredients. Those nut butters also pair well with fruit and even some veggies (remember ants on a log?). Again add nuts and seeds to salads, stir-fry’s and also granola. Here’s my go to recipe for that:¬†¬†I just found this A-maze balls blog with 25 different kinds of energy ball recipes that use lots of these ingredients. What a great way to¬†keep those kids busy! I can’t wait to try all of these:¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†After getting nutty, proceed to buying your whole grains. Get rolled oats for those balls and granola listed above (gluten-free if needed). Brown rice, rice noodles and quinoa for stir-frys and other creations. Speaking of creativity, explore all the new options out there for pasta such as chickpea, veggie and brown rice varieties. If you eat bread, grab the kinds with lots of texture. I like Ezekial bread the best, also sprouted grain brands. Whole grain wraps and corn tortillas are nice for wraps, quesadillas and burritos. Another gem is fermented food such as sauerkraut,¬†kefir, kimchi, and some yogurt. These are more important ¬†now as the¬†good bacteria in them can improve gut health and therefore overall immunity. Look¬†for ‚Äúlive cultures‚ÄĚ on the label. ¬† ¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†Consume broth!¬†Chicken and beef broths are loaded with collagen, vitamins, minerals and¬†most importantly amino acids which build our immune system.¬†They also provide an excellent source of hydration and have the¬†electrolytes we need should we get sick.¬†If buying a pre-made broth, choose the low sodium options. If at all possible, buy local from your farmers. Always shop organic. This is better for the animals, community and Mama Earth¬†ūüĆŹ. Making¬†a broth is easy peasy. Try this simple recipe.¬†¬†Vegetable broths and soups are also excellent. Mix it up!

¬† ¬† ¬†Get your Vitamin D my friends. Yes C is important for immune health, (Ester-C is my go to) but D is also essential.¬†Great sources of vit D include oily fish such as salmon and mackerel (though personally I stopped doing all seafood for the sake of our oceans ūüĆä),¬†eggs¬†and mushrooms. These last two last a while in the fridge. Supplements are OK too. Follow dosage instructions and be sure to check expiration dates. More than anything, get outside! Some sweet sunshine goes a long way on many fronts ‚ėÄÔłŹ.

¬† ¬† ¬†Stay Hydrated.¬†This is essential to prevent¬†and treat any type of viral infection. When you‚Äôre dehydrated, your body¬†can‚Äôt produce enough saliva and mucus to keep your throat naturally¬†lubricated. This will make the swelling and inflammation worse.¬†Add fresh or frozen fruit and/or herbs if you don’t like to the plain stuff. Tap and well is fine. STOP WITH THE PLASTIC PLEASE! Again…ūüĆ欆There is no need stock up on water due to the virus. If you are unsettled about it then buy a Berkey and you can use water from just about any source.¬†¬†Herbal teas are also an excellent option. When drinking tea, add a touch¬†of honey and lemon for flavor. This will also soothe your throat and is¬†perfect if you develop a cough or sore throat. You can make Golden Honey to put in hot water and create a powerful medicinal food. Check out the recipe and benefits here:¬†¬†Best to avoid sodas, high sugar drinks, excess caffeine and alcohol as they all¬†negatively impact immune health.

¬† ¬† ¬†Lastly, limit sugar, alcohol, soda, and heavily refined, processed foods as much as possible. These promote inflammation in the body and can cause a spike in sugar, both¬†of which suppress the immune system. These substances don’t help our mental and emotional states either which brings up another important point. What we are going through is unsettling to say the least. Our relationships with food and body are often the indicators of how we are responding to stress, trauma etc.. If you notice these things taking a turn for the worst, hop over the the Body Peace e-Course for support or¬†connect with me directly for a one-to-one session.¬†

Ok, I think I got all my thoughts out…LOL. Feel free to share your ideas and strategies! Wishing you and yours ease, peace and vital health now and always. Julie

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