I don’t know about you but during this “COVID-19” time I’ve kind of let my guard down a bit in the “nutrition” end of things. I’m being very careful in all of the other ways to avoid Covid but we’ve been a little free spirited with our diets.
I believe this is because we are spending more time at home and are reaching for comfort foods more often then usual. I think this is true in many households. We are cooking more and maybe even eating more than normal. The baking, the carbohydrates, the grilled meats, the sweet treats all comfort us in times of elevated stress. It’s not the right answer to our woes.
Eating healthy is more important now than ever, to keep our immune systems strong and able to fight off any potential invaders or free radicals in our bodies.
A diet rich in organic leafy greens, fresh colourful vegetables and fruits, lean protein, wild omega fatty acid rich fish and high fiber non-GMO grains is the way to keep our immune systems armed and ready for the fight. With the fall/winter flu season crossing paths with the Covid pandemic we must give our bodies the nutrition required to ward off the enemy…and give our bodies the vitamins and minerals and antioxidants it needs to close the door on potential viruses.
There are foods we all love to indulge in that are not necessarily the best choice for the job. These foods I will list for you are inflammatory. They cause or contribute to most health issues from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and they lower our immune systems ability to protect us from viruses and so much more.
Inflammation is at the root of all major diseases so don’t you want to learn what to eliminate from your diet to reduce and prevent inflammation in the body? I know the answer to this. It is a YES for me. I know what I should be avoiding. I just need a “refresher”…kind of like a little nudge to get me back on track.
Every bite of food that enters your body should be carrying a bounty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and health promoting elements. Some of the foods we “mindlessly” grab in times of stress do not fall in the “good” category.
Inflammatory foods damage. They damage our brain power and memory. They damage our heart and all things related to our heart. Inflammation causes free radicals to go wild in our bodies. Our digestive systems do not detoxify us as they are meant to if they are clogged up with bad nutrition. Our skeletal and muscle systems become compromised. We get fat around the middle. Our skin starts to age rapidly. We could also become painfully inflamed with joint and mobility problems. It’s a damn scary list of things affected by eating the wrong foods.
THE FOOD WE EAT CAN EITHER BE A PROMOTER AND HEALER OR THE FOOD WE EAT CAN CAUSE A SLOW BUT STEADY SLOPE INTO A DISEASE STATE.
Some of the worst things you can eat are:
- SUGAR: one of the most inflammatory foods there is and it is pervasive. It’s in all processed food. If you consume too much sugar your body can’t process it quick enough and it releases pro-inflammatory cytokines. This will lead to blood sugar problems. Skip the sugar and go for berries, green apples and sweet veggies such as carrots. If you need the sweet taste on your tongue then learn to bake and cook with stevia. It’s a natural sweetener that will not cause the blood sugar spikes that cause inflammation.
- REFINED CARBOHYDRATES: This category includes baked goods such as white bread, bagels, pasta, tortillas, most breakfast cereals, crackers. These processed foods contain gluten and bad fats, sugar and other nasty additions that are not “user friendly”. Your best bet is to avoid gluten. There are healthy options out there. Kale chips are readily sold in stores. There are snacks made with sweet potatoes or other root vegetables. They provide the crunch factor that a potato chip would but are far more nutritious. Make your own granola from organic nuts, seeds and gluten free oats and healthy fats like coconut oil.
- GLUTEN: Since I mentioned gluten in point number 2 let’s expand on it. Gluten is the protein found in grains. Some people are totally allergic to gluten….in Celiac Disease… but most of us are gluten sensitive and this causes chronic inflammation and poor digestion which spirals throughout the body. By eliminating gluten all together you can lower your inflammation and have better health. There are many options like almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa. Cauliflower is used to create pizza crusts, buns etc. Just be wary of many “gluten-free” products flooding grocery store shelves. They are not all created equal. You must know your ingredients list. Best is to avoid factory made products and learn to create your own gluten free foods with good natural organic ingredients.
- Conventional meats and dairy: This kind of protein and dairy is highly inflammatory. Usually full of hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified and grain fed. Your best bet to reduce inflammation is to switch to organic, grass fed animal proteins and dairy or non-dairy options such as almond milk, coconut kefir, cashew milk, coconut milk. Conventional dairy can cause many digestive woes. Organic, grass-fed is far more nutritious….more expensive but worth every penny when it comes to your health.
- Farm raised fish: These fish are raised in crowded pens full of disease. They are fed poor diet and antibiotics to fend off illnesses found in farming fish. If fish is on your grocery list, buy wild caught only. Go for fish that is low in mercury such as salmon, cod, light tuna, herring and sardines.
- Processed meats: I’m talking about deli meats and most sausage products. These meats are high in nitrates and nitrites. These additives are known carcinogens. I would avoid deli meats all together. There are organic, non-GMO, gluten free sausages on the market today. We enjoy them from time to time.
- Trans Fats: These are SO BAD! Artificial trans fats are found in processed foods. They are not safe but are still used in many processed foods. Super high inflammation associated with a diet of processed foods. Your best bet is to avoid processed foods at all cost unless you are very label savvy and know what to look for on the box of ingredients. There are healthy flax crackers and trail mixes, soups and sauces….just avoid the trans fats. The good fats are grass-fed butter or ghee, coconut oil and avocado oil….organic and from a good producer. One side note here….DO NOT USE CANOLA OIL or anything containing canola oil. It is refined and full of toxins contributing to inflammation.
- Food additives: found in processed foods. These are flavor makers and preservatives to improve shelf life. Some that stand out are MSG, colourings such as Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6. Inflammation maker and cancer contributors.
- Artificial Sweeteners: such as aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium. These are chemicals that screw with your brain. Just don’t eat them or drink them. Diet pop is laced with aspartame. It’s not good for you. With MS I was told right at the very beginning to avoid aspartame to protect my brain. I never consumed anything with aspartame in it…thank goodness…..but when I see others drinking diet drinks I cringe. My choice for making a sweet treat is definitely stevia.
Bottom line here…..eat for health. Reduce or eliminate sugar and grains, add in good fats such as coconut and avocado, grass-fed ghee and upgrade your meat to organic, grass-fed and wild fish and eliminate processed, artificial foods such as commercial salad dressings, margarines, deep fried foods.
Up your intake of organic fruit, leafy greens, turmeric and ginger, apple cider vinegar, bone broths from grass-fed animal bones, fermented veggies such as sauerkraut and Kim-chi, fresh herbs, organic onions and garlic, organic olives and organic extra-virgin olive oil from the “first cold press” good green tea, grass fed meat and poultry and wild caught fish and eggs from pasture raised hens.
GO FOR THE GOLD….WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR NUTRITION. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
And…..if you feed your body well, you are stacking the odds in your favour…..if you were to be exposed to COVID-19, (I hope not) you would have a better than average chance of kicking it to the curb….relatively unscathed.
LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE!!!!