good bad carbs

Spring is the ideal time of year to align with nature. We need to be outside in the sun and fresh air. We also need social interaction. It is time to go to the park, beach, go hiking or camping. Instead, we are in quarantine and cooped up. This worries me as what we do in one season affects us in the next season. Generally, healthy people and young people are asymptomatic or not affected in a serious way by the coronavirus. However, staying inside weakens our immunity and puts everyone at a greater risk.

So this lockdown may keep the number of cases down temporarily. However, I fear that if there is another wave of COVID-19 or the flu at the end of the year it will be more serious than need be since everyone’s health and immunity will be weakened from social isolation and limited exposure to the sun and nature.

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Social Isolation

People with pre-existing conditions need to protect themselves. Additionally, we can all practice safe habits to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Here are the CDC preventive actions you should follow:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • If sick or not feeling well, stay at home 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Wash your hands
  • Wear face mask if you are feeling sick or ill

Having said that, we need to start transitioning back to our old normal and social isolation needs to quickly phase out. We should not wait for a vaccine to feel safe. In 2002-2004, we were not successful in creating a vaccine for SARS-CoV-1. Trying to fast track a vaccine for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is very risky and will likely be minimally effective and may potentially create more harm than good.

Natural Immunity

Good health is really the most effective and lasting safeguard and not a vaccine. In more than 90 percent of the cases people with pre-existing conditions are the ones who have suffered the most. People who create a healthy diet and lifestyle decrease their chances of contracting the coronavirus and other diseases. According to the research of T. Collin Campbell, PhD, a whole-foods, plant-based diet such as SHIMacrobiotics inactivates viruses. This doesn’t mean that we cannot contract the virus but that our body can deal with it naturally and in turn strengthen our immunity. From my experience with the flu, healthy people get a healthy or mild case of the flu. And it is the same with COVID-19. That is why my recommendations are geared towards strengthening health and immunity naturally through diet and lifestyle.

Foods to Minimize or Avoid

  • Dairy foods
  • Meat, poultry and eggs
  • Simple sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and fried foods

Dietary Practices

  • Eat grains with every meal. Brown rice, barley, farro, millet, buckwheat, oatmeal, polenta, sourdough bread, etc. 
  • Have at least one vegetable dish with every meal including breakfast.
  • Include a variety of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, arugula, kale, daikon, etc.).
  • Try to keep grains and vegetables relatively equal by volume on your plate.
  • Have a wide variety of blanched vegetables and steamed greens often or daily.
  • Try to have miso soup, shoyu soup or vegetable soup several times a week or daily.
  • Have a variety of other healthful foods including beans, tofu, tempeh, seeds, nuts and fruits.
  • Use seaweed in cooking (kombu and wakame) and as side dishes (arame or hiziki).
  • Use dried shiitake, dried maitake and other mushrooms in soups and other dishes.
  • Have naturally pickled and fermented foods daily including miso or shoyu soup, sauerkraut or kimchi, homemade pickles, umeboshi plums, unyeasted sourdough bread, brown rice or apple cider vinegar or umeboshi vinegar.
  • Drink bancha twig tea, roasted barley tea, dandelion root tea or filtered water.

Healthy Lifestyle Practices

  • Eat slowly and chew your food well until it is liquid.
  • Try not to overeat.
  • Walk outside at least 30 minutes a day. Vitamin D is a huge protection against viruses. That is why I still encourage people to walk outside
  • Rub your entire body gently with a hot, damp cloth daily for about 15 minutes to activate your lymph and circulation and deeply clean your skin.
  • Practice breathing, meditation or yoga daily.
  • Laugh and have good conversations.
  • Find at least one thing every day to be deeply grateful for.
  • Reflect on and marvel at nature, it’s beauty and endless ability to regenerate

If you should come down with the coronavirus or flu, contact a qualified macrobiotic counselor for guidance in strengthening your immunity and recovering naturally, in addition to seeking medical attention.

For more interesting articles about nutrition, macrobiotics, and living a healthy lifestyle, please visit Denny’s macrobiotic blog.