eating for covid-19

Eating For Covid-19 / Coronavirus

Staying healthy during the pandemic is so important! It is important for prevention and it is important for healing during and after infection. Negative feelings and unhealthy binging will do nothing but inhibit your immune system. And right now, you need your immune system to be at its best.

Many of my clients have reported an increased desire for their favorite salty, crunchy, creamy, or sugary snacks. There are many reasons that you may be craving these foods right now. You may be bored. You may be anxious. You may be depressed. 

Remember how fleeting the satisfaction is – processed foods take your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. You immediately feel better but soon the coaster drags those blood sugars to a new low, negatively impacting your mood and you energy.

  1. Consider what you are craving at the moment.
    1. Salty cravings are often a need for minerals. Are you getting enough minerals in your diet? Think of the -iums – magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium. Foods to consider are seaweed, nuts, beans, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, salmon, seeds, mushrooms, whole grains, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, bananas, and broccoli.
    2. Crunchy cravings often indicate feelings of anger or frustration that you aren’t able to express or process. Switching to crunchy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds can help but you still need to find ways to safely and appropriately deal with those feelings. Journaling or speaking to a friend or counselor may be helpful.
    3. Creamy cravings will oftentimes pop up when we are feeling unappreciated. Times are tough and we are all just trying to get by. If your love language is Physical Touch and Closeness, you may especially be hurting right now. If you are quarantining with a family member and it is safe to do so, just ask for a hug – a long one. If that isn’t possible, and you are craving those creamy comfort foods, think of healthier versions, such as sweet potatoes, avocadoes or guacamole, nut butters, bananas, oatmeal, and yogurt. (And I personally find mashed potatoes with butter and salt (I leave out the milk) completely acceptable!)
    4. Sugary cravings may indicate that the body is crying out for energy. During the pandemic most of us are sitting waaayyyy too much. Force yourself (yes, even if you don’t feel like it) to get up and take a walk.
      Another way to prevent sugar cravings is to eat more nutrient-dense foods. Make it your goal to eat a green vegetable with each meal and to add lots of other colors to your daily intake. Eat the rainbow. Movement and proper nutrition have the power to diminish or eliminate sugar cravings.
  2. Consider what you are feeling at the moment.
    1. Feelings of anxiety can be helped with foods that increase the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. 
      1. To increase serotonin: 
        1. Eat eggs, cheese, pineapples, wild-caught salmon, nuts, seeds, and turkey
        2. Think positively – keep a gratitude journal and write down 3 things everyday for which you are thankful.
        3. Get some sunshine
        4. Get some exercise
        5. The majority of serotonin is created in the gut so keep your gut healthy and add some extra fiber and a good probiotic.
      2. To increase dopamine:
        1. Eat dairy, beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, mackerel, eggs, bananas, almonds, walnuts, and dark chocolate
        2. Get some exercise
        3. Get enough restorative sleep
        4. Meditate
        5. Listen to music – instrumental works best. You can also play Frequencies for Parkinson’s Disease on YouTube to increase dopamine (https://youtu.be/mzTg58u4ZJs)
        6. Get some sunshine
    2. Specific foods to boost immunity:
      1. Eat citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, oysters, cashews, pickles, sauerkraut, liver, grass-fed beef, kefir, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, whole grains, wild Alaskan salmon, ginger, green tea, garlic, and turmeric.

So as much as you may not want to hear this – JUST EAT REAL FOOD. As you can see, many of the foods listed are repeated over and over again. Americans want to make nutrition difficult. It is not! The problem is that most of us don’t want to plan, shop for, and prepare healthy meals. I know, I am one of them. But there is no shortcut to health. You can keep buying diet books and cookbooks all day long. It will not provide long term solutions for your health. The long-term solution is to eat ORGANIC produce – as many colors as you can find, GRASS-FED beef, bison, butter, dairy (if you can tolerate dairy – B blood types usually do ok with dairy, the others usually don’t), wild-caught fish, free-range chicken and eggs, nuts, seeds, beans/legumes, wild-caught meats, non-gluten grains (which means everything except wheat, barley, and rye). IF your body doesn’t react well to a certain food, then stop eating it! IF you can’t figure out what is causing problems, choose one food and take it completely out of your diet for 7 days. On the 8th day, eat as much of it as you want. Believe me, your body will let you know! Dairy, eggs, tree nuts, gluten (especially wheat), peanuts, shellfish, soy, corn are the foods that are most problematic for people. Start with those. Only remove one at a time.

How are you eating during this pandemic? Better, worse? Let me know.

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