What We Can Learn From a Pandemic
I was flipping through an old journal as I was unpacking some boxes into the new home that I share with my new husband. I have to say, I got a good kick out of reading some of the entries. Gosh, how stupid I was, I thought!! Some of the dumb things I did and said. Kind of embarrassing…but it was a reminder of a time where maybe I didn’t know better.
They say you shouldn’t live in the past, but my very wise grandfather used to say something a little different. We should learn from it as to not repeat the same mistakes in the future. In our personal lives, and in how we handle global crises.
A little over a decade ago, when I was first working on our Eat Cleaner line of products, preparing to go to market, H1N1, or Swine flu first struck in Mexico, then the United States, in the spring of 2009. By June, the novel H1N1 flu (swine flu) was reported in every state in this country, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 70 other countries worldwide. It hit countries in the southern hemisphere during their regular flu season — our summer months. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic alert of Phase 6, the highest level of alert. However, this was not because of how serious the novel H1N1 flu (swine flu) virus is, but rather because of how quickly this new flu had spread across the globe.
And like then, a few things happened in the ‘recaps’ of how we handled H1N1
Public information and risk communication messages were disseminated through a variety of media, including television, radio, and extensively distributed printed materials. However, on several occasions, government officials issued contradictory statements on the status of the pandemic or conflicting health advice.
Laboratory and analytical services were overburdened.
Anti-viral drug stockpiles were lacking.
Supplies of surgical masks and N95 face-fitting respirators disappeared quickly. While supply chains for many critical products and services were not interrupted during the pandemic, they certainly were for critical personal protective equipment.
And then there’s the rest of life.
What about the crashing stock market? Consistent headlines of a recession on our doorstep? Shuttering businesses? Kids unable to school and play outside causing boredom and parents to wonder, what do I do now? Normal life as we know it?
Putting the potential of infection and the ‘unknown’ aside for a second. A huge concern I have right now is, how will the stress of our ‘new normal’ impact our personal health while many wait for a vaccine.
That said, I want to talk about our immune system. If you are one of the millions considered ‘high risk’, meaning you have a pre-existing condition that compromises your immunity like MS, lupus or cancer, you are elderly or under the age of 5, or a pregnant woman, you know that every step in life is something you need to be cognizant of. After all, that’s why we created our Eat Cleaner line in the first place, so my father could eat a salad after being told to remove raw foods from his diet with his cancer diagnosis, because a bout of food borne illness could kill him.
But if you are someone who would otherwise be considered healthy, a person whose immune system can fight When germs, such as bacteria or viruses when they invade the body and multiply, you may be wondering, why am I being punished? Because we’re dealing with the unknown, the novel Coronavirus. Just like H1N1 was called ‘novel’ because we hadn’t seen anything like it. Superbugs are not just the fodder of big cinema movie directors like in the movie Contagion, it’s real and has the ability to create far more damage than we are even seeing.
We are all in this together. If we are going to learn from the past and the current situation, it will take living a ‘new normal’ and making different choices in our every day lifestyle.
It starts with the food we eat. Viruses and antibiotic resistance can transmit through our forks, so taking care to eat proteins that come from clean sources is so critical. If an animal isn’t eating right, and you’re eating the animal, guess what? You’re getting contaminated too. Supporting that factory farm by voting with your dollar and saving a buck doesn’t make sense – the mind or money kind. Farm raised seafood are eating radioactive pellets and getting contaminated with lice at a rate of over 90% and you think you’re immune?
Eating a bunch of GMO laden, highly processed foods and drinks with artificial colors, flavorings and sweeteners that cause cancer in animals is something you think you can do with abandon and be immune?
Consuming raw foods without properly cleaning them in hopes you won’t get bacteria or viral contamination is something that makes sense to you?
We have to get real with ourselves and our personal habits. If you don’t eat right, it will eat you alive. If you don’t manage your stress, your stress will consume you.
If you don’t value sleep, your nightmares could become your reality. And if you don’t move your body to keep it active and strong, it won’t bear the weight any longer.
On a positive note…In the time that we are being asked to quite literally ‘sit down’ our environment is healing. We’re a 50% decrease in CO2 emissions over last year. Air pollution is considerably dropping. Fish in the Venice Canals can be seen again, and the swans have returned. It is making impactful change at epic speed. And the same can be done in our own lives.
We can’t control the world, but we can start with out own ecosystem.
We can focus on eating to thrive. Start with proper nutrition. On a regular basis, we focus on getting the right balance of essential amino acids, or protein, because they are the building blocks of humanity. Without Lysine, you’d have a hard time keeping your immunity and antibodies in check. Without tryptophan, you couldn’t produce serotonin that helps you feel joy and also helps you sleep. Get your vitamin D plus some sunshine. Get your vitamin C and calcium. Fill up on probiotics to keep your gut health in check – Fermented foods are your friends! And then think about routines to help you sustain those great habits every day.
8 things you can do to support your physical and mental health everyday:
- Start by setting your alarm to the same time every day, even if you don’t have a set schedule. Routine is important to feeling a sense of focus and fulfillment.
- Make your bed
- Have time for prayer and gratitude
- Set up vitamins and supplements in a place you can see
- Meal prep with a plan so you know to get these foods in
- Plan your day with a calendar, and schedule movement
- Do something every day that brings you joy. Play an instrument, read, dance, listen to music, do art, whatever it is that gets the corners of your mouth to move upward
- Prioritize the people you love in words, actions and affection
And stay close to the people we love. By all reports, that closeness is something humanity not only craves but physically needs. If you have the ability to share that love and attention, I would say, you are very blessed indeed.
We have gone through this kind of pandemic before but most of us have already
forgotten about that. Folks, it was just 11 years ago when the N1H1 virus caused panic all over
the world. We came out of it stronger. And we also need to do that now. The world is healing
itself while we slow down our lives. To protect each other and our loved ones, we need to
isolate ourselves from the danger. But, don’t say that you’re bored. There is a lot you can do
while you stay at home. I want to share my tip jar with you guys. I have 8 tips on how to bring
positive routine back into your lives and learn from what we’re going through. It’s a beautiful
life and we have more time now to appreciate it. Tune in with me for another episode of
Recipes for Your Best Life!
“We can’t control the world. But we can start with our own ecosystem, and that is our family and ourselves!”
– Mareya Ibrahim, The Fit Foodie
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How to protect ourselves against the Coronavirus?
Coronavirus and the safety of fresh produce:
1:00 Looking back into the past
2:40 How we have handled the events before
4:20 Is this the new normal?
5:38 Our health is on the line – what we can do about it
7:33 Eating right, eating healthy, saving ourselves
11:41 A routine isn’t always bad and here’s why:
12:09 #1 Set your alarm clock for every day
14:02 #2 Make your bed
14:33 #3 Start your day with gratitude or prayer
15:08 #4 Don’t miss taking your supplements
16:10 #5 Set up a meal plan
17:21 #6 Get moving
18:05 #7 Bring some joy into your day every day
18:56 #8 Prioritize the people you love