Healthy Eating During Times of Crisis
- Jul 08, 2020
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world and cause what feels like an ever-increasing number of serious COVID-19 cases, most people everywhere are under some kind of stay-home order, bans on events, non-essential business closures, and following social distancing guidelines. British Columbia declared a public health emergency on March 17, which the very next day was upgraded to a full-blown provincial state of emergency, and the day after that Vancouver declared a local state of emergency. K-12 schools were closed until further notice. Does healthy eating even matter during a pandemic? The short answer is YES.
How a Crisis Affects Healthy Eating Habits
Grocery shopping during the pandemic can be a very surreal if not downright apocalyptic experience depending on what steps your regular market has taken to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus. In some, the number of customers allowed in a store may be limited, and many people are wearing face masks. You might also find you have to follow directional arrows as you move through the store to limit people being near each other. Check-out lines might be strictly monitored for social distancing to maintain that critical minimum distance from others. Then there’s the wide swaths of empty shelves in certain areas of the store. It’s eerie.
Needless to say, people are stressed, anxious, even scared. Families with school-age children are stuck at home with parents trying to figure out how to supervise online learning for their children while also trying to work from home, if they’re fortunate enough to still have their jobs.
So the question I want to ask you is this: What are you eating during this pandemic? How are you eating during this time of crisis? Is healthy eating something you feel like just can’t focus on right now?
Lots of people are making jokes about their poor eating habits during the pandemic while trapped at home. But the humor is masking an all-too-real crisis in healthy eating. Many people are stress-eating and binge-eating for understandable reasons, but it’s important to realize how you’re not doing yourself or your loved ones any favors if you let your eating habits fall prey to pandemic anxiety and stress.
An Opportunity in the Midst of Crisis
Turn off the news and take a moment to find the opportunities in this midst of this crisis. For the first time in a long time, we really are ALL in this together, at every level of society from the local community all the way up to one giant global community of people facing the same crisis. It requires us, all at the same time, to stay put, to slow down, to find ways of staying in touch while keeping our distance, to reflect on what really matters, and to take nothing for granted.
Health is one of the things a pandemic reminds us we must never take for granted. And we must quickly learn to channel our stress and anxiety into energy for healthier living, including healthy eating habits.
Simple, Wholesome Plant-Based Meals Cooked at Home
A basic pillar of lifestyle medicine is that food is medicine. We invite you to use more time at home during the pandemic as an opportunity to hit the “reset” button on your eating habits. If you’re already into healthy eating, double down on good habits. If you’re normally a healthy eater but have let it slip during the pandemic, now is the time to get back on track. And if you’ve never been a healthy eater, let this time of intense focus on health be your call to action to start eating healthier now.
When you go to the grocery store and see those empty areas on many of the shelves, steer yourself away from all those highly processed foods on shelves and to the section that’s likely overflowing with better options: I’m talking about the produce section of your regular market! It’s full of wholesome, fresh fruits and vegetables just waiting to be turned into simple home-cooked meals for yourself and your family. Plant-based eating is good for you, and it’s also good for the planet and ecosystems that sustain us all.
You don’t have to be a gourmet cook. You don’t have to go for elaborate dishes that take more time than you have to put into them. Keep it simple, keep it fresh, keep it healthy. Use your meal-prep time as a kind of meditation or time of mindfulness to appreciate the positive aspects of being home and enjoying simple, fresh, whole foods that will keep your body on the path to well-being and enhanced immune system function. And if you’re inspired to get creative and find new ways to express yourself with cooking, go for it!
Renewed Commitment to Healthy Eating for a Healthier You
We invite you to use this time of crisis to focus on your health, whether it’s through a renewed commitment to exercise and physical activity, a renewed commitment to healthy eating, or a renewed commitment to your psychological and spiritual well-being. Aroga is here to provide support and encouragement on your journey to a healthier you!
Aroga Lifestyle Medicine
Aroga Lifestyle Medicine is a trail-blazing clinic with an multi-disciplinary team that believes that most, if not all, cardiac and metabolic illnesses can be prevented and treated with intensive lifestyle modifications. Using evidenced-based therapies, patients are empowered to experience true healing and wellness.