The Health and Fitness Junkie’s List of Quarantine Staples (and the best ways to prevent a Coronavirus infection)

It’s quarantine time. As worried as many of us are about societal health and the uncertainty of the Coronavirus’s next whereabouts (aka, potentially any part of the universe), I view this period as Mother Nature’s form of intervention where we need to truly be mindful of what we do, where we go, and how we take care of ourselves. By no means is this Coronavirus a positive–in fact, if Coronavirus were a person, I’d take them to any local police station myself and make sure they’re arrested for the lives they took and have harmed.

On another note, this uneasy circumstance has a lot of us who are regular gym-goers, people who love to walk and run outside in nature, and socialize with each other at our favorite brunch spots in a complete frenzy. WHAT ON EARTH DO WE DO?! To summarize: it truly depends on where you live, but these are a few basic but unquestionably mandatory precautions if you want to remain safe:

  • Work out in an area where you are alone. This can be wherever you live or even just a remote area for you to bring a yoga mat and start. If you want to go out in nature for a run or a brisk walk, please dress warm and refrain from touching your face, even if you end up breaking a good sweat. Use wipes to dry your face. If you choose to work out in the gym, don’t. But in all seriousness, if you have a critical reason to go to the gym, do so when it is guaranteed for no one else to be around. Wash your hands before and after entering. Sanitize and disinfect all equipment, mats, and environmental surfaces before and after your workout as well. Lastly, social distancing, social distancing, and social distancing.
  • Drink water as often as possible. According to Stanford Health Care, the Coronavirus is moisture’s arch nemesis. Stay hydrated with water as often as you can (Stanford 2020).
  • Stay warm. Moreover, the Coronavirus despises the sun (pooey, because I do too); therefore, those cold showers and nighttime decreases in heat during sleep hours are not good ideas at this time. Wear thick clothing and drink warm to hot tea to ensure your body is not the ideal environment for this virus. Anything helps.
  • Wash. Your. Hands. For at least 20 seconds under warm to hot running water, scrubbing with soap efficiently.
  • Stay home as often as possible. People in Italy truly regret not having self-quarantined themselves much sooner before the outbreak exploded in their country (Parenti 2020). It is extremely heartbreaking to see this virus latching onto more individuals, as much as it is frightening. Why risk it?

This is not a tip, but we can all take this time to reflect on ourselves, meditate on our lives, and seek out anything that is missing from within. Sure, I sound like a total hippie now, but it’s true. Life is remarkably precious and worth more than any net worth quantity, grade point average, body fat percentage, or stock increase we tie ourselves to. With the past events and my grandmother’s passing, I see now that my priorities used to be so out of order that life has slapped me in the face in the future. I plan on returning home to my family tomorrow so I can spend the rest of my university experience with the ones I love and ensure that those around me know what to do in worst-case scenario.

Okay, how that we’ve gotten all the basics and sentimental brain-dump out of the way, it’s time to discuss some ways we can navigate through this troubling time.

  • Fermented foods. These gut-friendly staples will be incredibly helpful in supplementing your meals with healthy probiotics. The stress can truly mess with our hormones, especially cortisol–at least it’s doing so for me. Sauerkraut has done wonders for me in feeling better physically and mentally, but any foods with probiotics would help!
  • Nut butters and sources of healthy fat. You know what they say–fat is the most energy dense micronutrient! Don’t be afraid of nuts, nut or seed-based spreads, avocados, coconut, and peanuts for snacking and accompaniment of other foods. They are less susceptible to expiring more quickly unlike fruits and vegetables as well!
  • Dry staples (in bulk!). Think beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, canned foods, and dried snack items. This is pretty self-explanatory for optimal preservation of quality and shelf-life.
  • High protein snacks. I kid you not when I say that my boyfriend was constantly calling me to make sure my family and I stocked up on protein bars–enough to last for an entire month. Yes, I gave in and did so. Honestly, I don’t regret it! To me, protein has always been a very satisfying nutrient, so it’s even better during these times where I may be closer to the kitchen, be less busy, AND have more food surrounding me.
  • High fiber snacks. Trust me–you NEED this. It’s tempting to reach for all the heavily refined foods, but with less opportunities and incentives to go outside and be active, you need another way to keep your system moving more, even if that’s through physiological operations such as digestion and sleep. Since it takes more energy to digest fiber, PLUS it will prompt you to eat more healthily, it’s a win-win situation!
  • Ingredients you can use to cook/bake from scratch. If there is anything this quarantine will prompt you to do, it’s learning how to cook new recipes. Any excuse to whip up a good loaf of healthy banana bread, a hearty stew, or any other recipe that you’ve been eyeing for the longest time is a good one! Stock up on bouillon bases, grains, legumes, ground seeds, canned vegetables, dried herbs and spices, vegetable purees, or anything that serves as an ingredient for a recipe and get to it! Who knows? You might just create something marvelous in your kitchen without even planning!
  • Spices. They keep for a long time, do not need to be used in large quantities, and will elevate a dish immensely! Additionally, they contain a hearty amount of antioxidants for extra health benefits.
  • Non-nutritive sweeteners. It’s almost a pain when you run out of these! Whether you use them for cooking, baking, and sweetening your coffee or protein shakes, trust me when I say it’s optimal to buy this in bulk so you don’t have to go to a coffee shop and risk contamination.
  • Water. Need I say more?
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables. Let’s be honest: in a perfect world, fruits and vegetables would never expire and retain all their wonderful health properties. However, they don’t. Luckily, we can freeze them! You can either purchase fresh produce and plan on freezing some (specifically fruit or chopped vegetables) or purchase them frozen already. After all, we still need our five a day, regardless of how limited our time out will be nowadays.
  • Takeout. Treat yourself once in a while. Don’t rely on this, but sometimes we need a Thai food or pizza fix.

That’s all for now, folks! Please stay safe and healthy out there!

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