So here we all are – staying at home keeping safe, and that’s a good thing! I’ve noticed two main types of people during this period – the one that is bored, doesn’t do much and can’t wait to get back to the shops, and the other is the sort of person who wants to really make good use of the time to eat more healthily, lose some weight, stop smoking/drinking, study something and even perhaps do some “Mari Kondo” cleaning out. I’ve put together some tips I have found helpful during this time. There are so many hundreds of things I could say so I’m going to give you my short list, and I know you’ll be thankful I spared you my long one.
- Use your time wisely: have a reason to get up in the morning, set goals for yourself and keep a list of things you never get a chance to do – now’s your opportunity! It’s a good idea to dress properly and not slop around in your jammies all day, but to keep your mental state that of a person who is engaged with what they are doing by taking care of themselves. It’s a good idea to get a friend/s on skype, and all dress up and put on make-up so you look great on camera! Apparently many people ‘eat together’ and share their evenings this way on Zoom or Skype – what they’re eating, doing, etc. as though they were all at the same table. Set up meetings and chats with people so you don’t feel too isolated.
- Attitude is a choice: choose to be positive, do meaningful things and not watch too much depressing news. We do need to know what’s going on, but too much Covid-19 information can affect your mood adversely. Concentrating on the happier things in life, watching feel-good movies or reading uplifting books is far better for your mental health. Watch your stress levels, and do whatever it takes to remain calm and happy. You CAN do this – it’s a choice YOU make.
- Don’t forget to help where you can – there are ways to do this from electronic meal vouchers to helping the elderly couple next door with shopping. You can take precautions while still being kind to others and lending a helping hand. There’s always someone somewhere who needs you and there are so many ways you can help, from taking out the bin for the person who struggles next door, to staying in touch with those who live alone and would love some ‘company’ on skype or zoom – or even a WhatsApp.
- Shop online for essentials – veggie shopping from the dozens of organic and conventional vegetable delivery services has been a Godsend for so many of us who don’t want to leave our homes. There are fabulous butchers too who deliver, and virtually anything you need today can be bought online and contactless delivery made to your door. Try to not go out if you can help it. Impulse buying is also reduced, so we should all be saving money this way.
- Exercise inside if you can’t get out – keep your body moving. If you cannot get out because you live in a flat and don’t have a garden, there are a host of great exercises online that you can look at on YouTube – Google calisthenics, or any other kind of exercise you would like to do. Don’t sit around all day. Those who are disabled can even Google exercises for the disabled – there’s no excuse.
- Eat whole food – please don’t eat rubbish anymore, eat fresh food – you have all the time in the world now to try new recipes and cook from scratch. Eating processed meals really does nothing for your immune system, and will only predispose you to winter ills later on. Keep your immunity up with good food. Make sure you are not over-fed yet malnourished while in lockdown – eat fresh, healthy food and you’ll look and feel better than you have in ages.
- Take your supplements – there is so much in the news these days about how Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C (plus some others – see below) can make a massive difference to immunity. Don’t wait till you are sick, get your body ready now so you can fend off all viruses and pathogens, not only Covid-19.
- Don’t get dehydrated – sounds a silly thing to mention here, but we may forget to drink water while we are at home. Water supports your immune system believe it or not, as well as improving mood, stopping headaches and fatigue, and keeps your digestive system moving while you are not moving around as much.
- Don’t sleep too much – but of course, get enough sleep. Lying around late every morning is not really good for you – you need to be motivated to get up and get on with your day even if you are at home. Reserve sleep for night time, don’t nap in the day it will steal your quality of sleep at night. Go to bed early if you want to, but get up at the usual time so you maintain a routine.
- Sanitise surfaces not your hands – I can’t stress this enough. Soap and water is the best thing ever to kill viruses from your hands, not sanitisers. Sanitise surfaces, but wash your hands. The virus has a fat coating, and the only way to successfully protect yourself is to create a lather with soap and water – this breaks the coating of the virus and kills it. Think of a greasy plate – just water or sanitiser won’t break down the fat – but soap and water do – in the same way, the virus has a fat outer layer that soap will destroy. Lather well for 30 seconds, not forgetting the thumbs and palms – and then wash the soap off with water. Sanitiser on the hands will not do even half of what soap will, and often you are just adding chemicals to the body or using a sanitiser which isn’t strong enough, and just dries out your skin. Use it if you are nowhere near soap and water, of course, but don’t be lulled into thinking this is the answer.
HOW LONG DOES CORONAVIRUS SURVIVE ON SURFACES?
Apparently, this is the acceptable answer, and why we should sanitise these surfaces, and then go and wash our hands well:
- Droplets hang in the air – suspended – for up to 3 full hours! Wear your mask
- 4 hours on copper
- 24 hours on cardboard
- 2-3 days on stainless steel – so wash down regularly used surfaces
- 3 days on plastic
HOW TO KEEP VEGGIES FRESHER FOR LONGER
Some vegetables are best refrigerated, others aren’t.
- Refrigerate: Apples, Asparagus, Berries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cherries, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Grapes, Green beans, Green (spring) onions, Leafy greens – spinach, lettuces, kale, chicory etc, Leeks, Mushrooms (in a brown paper bag), Squash, Zucchini.
- Do NOT Refrigerate: Avocados, Apricots, Bananas, Citrus fruits – lemon and lime, Garlic, Kiwi, Melons, Onions, Pears, Peaches, Pineapple, Potatoes, Tomatoes
Another simple way of remembering what to keep where is to think about the produce department at your grocery store. They tend to keep everything in the right place because they want the produce to carry on being it’s best for as long as possible.
WE HAVE TWO ‘KINDS OF IMMUNITY’
We have 2 parts to our immune systems – innate and adaptive. You may be concerned because if you have an autoimmune disease you have been told that you need to suppress your immune system. Well yes and no – the adaptive immunity is usually what is ‘suppressed’ with chemo for example, or as with an autoimmune condition which has “turned on itself” – with other appropriate drugs. BUT you do still need strong innate immunity as a defence against pathogens and viruses, so take your supplements, eat well and do all those things I’ve spoken about which build your immune system.
Good supplements are never a waste of time. Endless studies show that they support immunity – especially as concerns the respiratory system – crucial at this time. There are 4 extremely important nutrients for respiratory support I feel are necessary for everyone:
- Vitamin C: As one of the most powerful antivirals known to man, all over the world now people are using vitamin C to great effect in order to keep their immune systems well supported. Both medical and anecdotal evidence is freely available, even as pertains to this virus. So make sure you have it every single day.
- Vitamin D3: I cannot express strongly enough the important for healthy levels of vitamin D3 regarding the immune system. This can take time to build up – and you want it anywhere from 45-75 or higher. Take a good D3 supplement (I stress a good one), and get a blood test every 6 months to make sure you are maintaining good levels. If you cannot get a supplement, vitamin D is not really readily available from the sun from May-November in South Africa, so you could eat more fatty fish, liver, eggs (especially yolks), cheese and farm butter to get more. Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is only found in the animal kingdom, not in the plant kingdom. Mushrooms exposed to the sun (which I doubt they do) offer a tiny bit of Vitamin D2 which is poorly absorbed and pretty useless. So if you are stuck inside or not eating plenty of the above foods, a Vitamin D3 supplement I would say is vital.
- Magnesium: the best form would be magnesium citrate due to the high bio-availability. Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation in tissues, regulating the immune system response, and keeps organs, bones and nerves healthy. Most people are short of it, so a supplement is a very good idea, but you’ll also find it in fresh leafy vegetables, milk, fish and pulses. Only about 15% of what we eat in terms of magnesium is absorbed from food, and that’s why a supplement is so important.
- Zinc: helps to flush out damaged cells and fight infection – it’s one of the main things being spoken about in alternative circles these days as well as allopathic, as one of the most important supplements to take. This trace mineral stimulates the activity of over 100 enzymes and is necessary for the healthy functioning of the entire body. If you are short of zinc, you will be far more prone to illness, as zinc helps the body’s natural ability to defend itself against foreign invaders.
This WILL come to an end. You WILL hug your loved ones again, and you WILL be able to eat out with friends again and life will resume – sometime in the future. For now, we’re in this together and we need to stay safe, practice proper hygiene, social distancing, and when it’s over we will emerge the better for it. Imagine the celebrations we’ll have – I can hardly wait.
DISCLAIMER: None of this information claims to prevent or treat Coronavirus, it is merely to support the body’s immunity, our best defence against all and any type of illness.
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
I am a Functional Nutritional Therapist, trained in Functional Medicine & Nutrition, and over the past many years I have been blessed to continue my studies all over the world (I never stop – always studying something). I have been in practice for many years but due to the lockdown I don’t do face-to-face work any longer. Because health and nutrition are my absolute passion, I have written 10 books on health, written several small nutrition courses, and am presently busy with another book at this time.
My relentless thirst for knowledge has me busy with perpetual research and some of my shorter articles can be found on my blog on my website. Having recovered myself from chronic illness many years ago, I know the euphoric joy of good health – an experience you will never know unless you have lost your health, and then regained it. Too often we take this wonderful gift of health for granted – cherish your health while you have it, guard it and nurture it – it truly is one of life’s greatest treasures.
My online store carries some of my own brand plus others (https://sallyanncreed.co.za/shop) and I’m blessed to say that it has been popular for many years.