Quarantine Life: When the Body Rules the Mind
Updated: Apr 8
Usually, it is said that the mind rules the body. In other words, the mind can help the body heal. During the difficult times that we are currently living trying to cohabit with the COVID19, it is becoming obvious that the body can also rule the mind. How so?
We may be missing the gym or the jog, but if we can just focus on staying healthy physically through a more-than-ever healthy diet while we are deprived of our work-out, we could also stay mentally strong. The key is critical: eat healthy. If we feel good about our daily eating habits while we are in "stayhome mode", we feel good about the day, day after day. We are in control, even during the worst crisis, that is the current Covid 19 calamity.
So, it is important to keep (or develop) some very good, healthy habits during these times of stress and pessimism.
What we are realizing right now is that, after all, cooking at home is not that difficult, not necessarily time consuming, most likely more economical, and certainly and generally speaking, healthier.
Next time you go to the store, make sure you visit the produce section and be resolved to get a good portion of your cart full of beautiful healthy produce – carrots, kale, asparagus, juicy apples, vine-ripe tomatoes, a plump green pepper, a bundle of crisp, white leeks, and… a bag of potatoes – Most of us in the country are still able and lucky enough to get that type of produce. We may not get the sorrel, the white asparagus or the porcini mushrooms, but the produce section still looks colorful for the most part.
You will feel great about bringing home what is going to give you and your family a marvelous, healthy start for the upcoming days.
Whenever you decide to go grocery shopping, make sure that you assign an additional half an hour once you get home. Leave your coat and your grocery bag at the door, wash your hands, disinfect your phone, and do not turn on the news - The World Health Organization warned us not to watch the news more than once or twice a day… for a few minutes only.
Rather, play your favorite music and wash your beautiful, fresh produce. Prepare it (cut the leeks, trim the asparagus, etc), and bag it, wrapped in some paper towels to dry, readily available. It will save you time later, not to mention that it will keep your refrigerator much cleaner – a huge plus!
The trick is to have your fruit and veggies ready so that getting them out of the refrigerator and putting them on the table is as easy as opening a bag of chips… while it is so much healthier.
This is to say, it is not the right time to call it a day, or worse, to be defeated. It is not the right time to binge on unhealthy snacks and nap the rest of the time. Those may comfort us in the short time but definitely not so once we realize that we shouldn’t have… Then the guilt takes over and the day is ruined. We must take control of the day, one day at a time, and it is up to us and only to us individually.
Cooking from scratch and eating at home allows for a better diet because 1) you eat less, 2) your home-prepared meal has less fat, less salt, and less sugar than frozen food or take-outs. It is a big win, and you feel so much better mentally and physically by the end of the week!
So, get started on this new routine so that you can feel well today and, when your life goes back to normalcy, you have established some new healthy guidelines that you will keep following for the weeks and months to come.
I hear your next question: “What am I to do with this produce?” Well, some you will eat raw, and some you will cook. Make soups. Soups?! Yes, you might think it is the last thing you would eat, but make no mistake, soups can be oh so good!
Soups were on the lunch menu of my French bistro every day – cauliflower soup, carrot and tomato soup, cream of mushrooms, of asparagus, of spinach… And people loved the soups. I had so many customers – including guys – who confessed that they never liked soups… until they tasted mine!
Soups are easy, very easy to fix. Also, the beauty of a soup is that you can make it thin or thick. Not very hungry for dinner? Make it thin. Starving tonight? Make it thick and hearty. Cook a big batch - soups can be re-heated the next day. Finally, once you can make a specific vegetable soup, you can make all kinds of soups following the same recipe. For example, take a look at my recipe of leek and potato soup (voted the best leek and potato soup at my restaurant) and substitute the leek for the kale that you just bought, or the asparagus, or the tomatoes. The recipe stays the same!
Of course, you can dress up your soup the way you want – Add some milk or half & half to it, top it with a dollop of sour cream, some feta cheese crumbs, some sliced avocado, some cherry tomatoes, some shredded coconut, golden raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, sliced almonds… be creative as the possibilities are endless. Add to it your favorite bread or crackers and you have a meal... and we are now talking about a whole meal!
You see, the healthier our eating habits will be, the better we will feel day after day, week after week. We will be empowered. It will change our life, our mind, and our body. And later, when we are all back to work and life is hustle and bustle again, it will save us time. It will save us money. It will give us control. And when we work twelve hours a day running from one appointment to the next, we will still be in control of our life, of our health, of our spending.
Remember, something good always comes from something bad, and there is always a lesson to learn.
Let us stay healthy and optimistic and listen to the old folks in Europe who lived through war and depression. They tell us today that the coronavirus may force us to confinement, but we can still look at the stars at night and be re-assured that those "stars" are not roaring and whistling "stars", that the streets are safe, and peace is around us.
We have more to learn from them than we think!
And... to cheer you up, I invite you to read about the little pleasures in life that can make a big difference...