Here we are in Lockdown 2.0. I have to admit I used the first lockdown as an excuse to comfort eat and I’m determined not to let that happen again! So I’m taking advantage of the slower pace and restricted social life to focus on positive action. One easy win is to eat well and simply with wholesome home cooked meals (I’ve written a blog on this, read here). Eating healthily, of course, is one of the simplest things we can do to support our immune systems.
Here are some other ideas and really practical advice and tips on how to thrive over the next few weeks - from a diet, lifestyle and a mental health perspective
1. Prioritise Scheduling In Zoom Time With Friends And Family Now
I think it’s a great idea to get some dates locked into your diary with your friends and family via Zoom (or similar), and also to schedule physical time with your support bubble if you have one. If you’re aware of a friend or family member of yours that lives alone then think about bubbling up with them as their ‘executive support bubble,’ because spending the next 3 weeks alone will be really tough. Maybe it’s a friday night glass of wine on skype to your girlfriends, or a regular sunday morning dog walk with your designated bubble pal - whatever it is, get it in the diary now so that you have something to look forward to.
Community is so fundamental to human health, so do your best to hang onto a semblance of it if you can.
2. Eat The Rainbow Every Single Day
This isn’t only good advice for a pandemic, but a good practice to get into to maintain good health generally. Kids love this too so get the whole family involved! It’s pretty simple really - have you eaten one thing from every colour of the rainbow today? And if not, can you squeeze those extra colours in at supper?
Then, start to think about whether if you ate aubergine for your purple thing today, whether you could have blackberries or blueberries tomorrow instead - this adds in that crucial element of diversity which is key to keeping our gut bugs happy.
Every different colour in nature is a different plant polyphenol, so by eating the rainbow every day you’re simply and easily making sure that you’re taking in enough different minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
3. Feed Your Brain To Support Your Mental Health
There’s no doubt that the next month, and maybe longer, is going to be a tough mental battle for so many of us so it’s really important that we support our brain health with lots of lovely anti-inflammatory fats needed for optimal functioning - namely EPA and DHA, found most commonly in oily fish. The levels of these amazing essential fatty acids are unparalleled in the plant-based kingdom, so if you’re veggie or vegan please supplement with an EPA/DHA substitute.
At Cru8 we like to use a lot of healthy fats in our baking, and flax seed is often top of the list. Flax contains good levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and is a great addition to your diet from a fibre point of view too.
4. Exercise, Endorphins And Nitric Oxide.
Thankfully this time round we’re able to do unlimited amounts of exercise outside which I think is going to make a huge difference to our quality of life and feeling of wellbeing. Exercise produces nitric oxide which helps to dilate blood vessels and carry more oxygen around the body and to the brain. Just 10 minutes of HIIT in the morning can produce enough nitric oxide to get you feeling great all day long.
And let’s not forget that runner’s high! The endorphin rush from exercise is like no other and even if it’s grey outside it’s well worth putting on some workout gear and taking your favourite exercise outside, running, yoga, pilates, a bit of joe wicks etc...the benefits are endless. Do whatever you can, and just do something.
5. Remember That Sugar Doesn’t Equal Happiness!
It’s all too easy in times of uncertainty to turn to the one thing that will certainly make us feel great (temporarily): sweet comfort food! Cakes, chocolate, a lovely almond croissant with our morning coffee… It all feels so good at the time but then comes the inevitable slugger slump and tiredness, and that ‘low’ feeling that makes us all into sad humans until we get our next sugar rush! Well, aside form the fact that sugar is detrimental for our health and gut health too, I personally feel that there’s no place for sugar in a pandemic - we need to try and create stability not anxiousness, and maintain even energy levels throughout the day if we are to juggle working from home, family life and our own mental health and emotional stress too. Find something else to satisfy your ‘sweet tooth,’ a.k.a dopamine. We can get the same dopamine hit from laughing hysterically, having a really good boogie around the kitchen, supporting a small business and buying yourself something lovely for your home or working from home wardrobe (i.e. tops and jumpers, we only need sweatpants from here on in!)
We’ll be open throughout Lockdown 2.0 and here to support you along your health journey with our range of low sugar and keto snacks that are still wonderfully indulgent and unbelievably delicious - fudgy chocolate brownie, keto macaroons and so many more yummy options!
Wishing you all well,