Stuffing Chips - © Michael Moss - Salt Sugar Fat Book

COVID-19: Welcome To ‘TWIN-VID’ Season…

Sorry for the sarcasm in that headline. The situation is nothing to joke about. But it bears affirmation that we’re officially into the start of the the next phase of the COVID-19 crisis: Phase 2 of COVID on top of our usual fall Flu season. A lot of folks are already full of fear and loathing about how to deal with it…

Kids Eat Fatty Food - © irishnews.comIt’s just too easy to simply order a Pizza rather than
make a balanced, nutritious evening meal…

The double whammy

I first realized we were into phase 2 of the COVID-19 Crisis a week or so ago, when the word ‘surge’ came back into heavy usage in the news media and even in daily conversation. Watching the daily graph of new cases on CNN over breakfast each morning, it was clear that COVID-19 was coming back with a vengeance. It was especially depressing to note that the resurgence could be put down in large measure to bad, uninformed or politically-motivated decisions in many jurisdictions to try to re-open the economy by easing lock down restrictions.

The resurgence of COVID-19 could probably have been avoided if everyone had agreed to maintain self-isolation and social distancing protocols for a few weeks or months more. But the politics surrounding the coming U.S. federal elections and the pressures being felt by politicians of all nations and regions to get their economies going again prevailed. And millions of folks suffering cabin fever such as they had never experienced before were straining at the bonds of their lock down lifestyle, begging for even a little relief. When they got the opportunity to get out and mingle again, they couldn’t resist the temptation to throw off the bonds of caution altogether and – BOOM! – the daily new case count has soared again, even in places like Canada where efforts to control the pandemic had been much more successful.

The foregoing ought to be a lesson to us all. But the public has entered a new phase of rebellion against authority, refusing to put their masks back on after their small but disastrous taste of freedom.

Why ‘TWIN-VID’ season?

Why the monicker ‘TWIN-VID’? Because the annual Flu is also a complex of coronviruses, similar in many basic ways to COVID-19. That’s another reason the experts are telling us to buckle down and overcome our desire to ‘get back to normal’ for at least a little longer to put a lid on the COVID-19 crisis. The same scientific and medical authorities are hoping that this year’s regular Flu vaccine is more on-target than last year’s which didn’t work as well as hoped against the whole spectrum of related diseases that we call ‘the annual Flu’. And they’re also warning that a real, effective COVID-19 vaccine probably won’t be confirmed before next April, much less be available in volume sufficient for everybody to get a shot before early 2021.

Meanwhile, it’s becoming clear, as a sidelight, that our overall health is suffering as we continue to live under the wartime-like privations of anti-pandemic lock down.

The symptoms of Lock Down Syndrome

To be clear, that’s just my name for it, but I know from what I read and see online and talk to others about that it’s a pretty general medical phenomenon. In fact, I’ve become a prime example.

Lost exercise

I’ve not be getting out for my daily exercise (walking up to two hours a day) since the pandemic hit. It’s not out of anti-mask feelings or fear 0f bringing home the coronavirus and infecting my 95-year-old, high-risk mother. It’s largely because her own restricted daily routine has become even more circumscribed, and she’s become more dependent on me for help with her personal and intimate affairs. I’ll not digress into details, but the bottom line is, I can’t leave the house, leaving Mom unattended, unless I have a real and present crisis of my own that requires immediate attention, or she’ll panic. So, my leg muscles and the groups in my back that interact with them have atrophied to a point where I am stumping and shuffling around the house like someone twice my age.

Lost dietary balance

I’ve succumbed to Mom’s stagnating dietary habits and eating habits, a routine into which she has slipped, not wanting to eat any great variety of foods and eating much less than she did before COVID-19, when she was more active and engaged with the world. Like many who get sucked into this kind of pattern, she’s relying too much on stuff like Peanut Butter and Jam, plain White Bread and prepared foods. Her convenience diet could hardly be less healthful.

She just can’t be bothered to think too much about food or consider healthy eating habits. She just wants to ‘play it safe’ and stick to a very circumscribed diet she knows she’ll be able to stomach and her system will be able to ‘handle’ without giving her digestive trouble (i.e.- constipation or diarrhea; always looming at her age). I occasionally change out some of her prepared foods for something more healthy and balanced, and hide Fresh Veggies in her Tomato-based Pasta Sauce. But otherwise, she’s pretty rigid. And I can’t be bothered making anything different for myself after I’ve finished catering (literally) to Mom’s daily dietary whims. She’s got to eat, and I’ve got to be responsive to her wishes to make sure she does.

Too Much Junk Food

The predisposition to sedentary recreations, expanded screen time and other bad habits under stay-home regimes just naturally leads to expanded consumption of Junk Food. For some folks, it’s hard to enjoy a Beer in one hand (see below) without a slice of Pizza or a box of Wings in the other. And all this after a ‘regular supper’. Human nature makes it hard to avoid letting an occasional ‘treat’ become a habit.

Too much booze

Sales volume surveys indicate that we’ve all been drinking more (and probably enjoying it less) during the COVID-19 Lock Down. The sun is getting over the yardarm (as the old saying goes) earlier and earlier in the day; and it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, literally, going by the ‘Jimmy Buffet Rule’.

It’s amazing how easy it is to start Happy Hour sooner and sooner after p.m. Coffee Break, through supper and on into the evening when you work at home. Not to mention the temptation to drink too much and too long during screen time sessions that, for one reason or another, stretch longer and longer when you’re in lock down.

My take

Setting aside my human nature for a moment, I offer the following recommendations, to help us all from going totally to pot during Phase 2 of the COVID-19 crisis:

Review the Healthy Eating Guidelines in the latest edition of Canada’s Food Guide. You’ll probably be amazed and ashamed when you see how far off the straight and narrow you’ve veered.

Take an active, daily interest in making your exercise and eating routines healthier. Make room for both among the other, basic routines you’ve evolved to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, or change those routines to accommodate your health-supporting activities.

You could do much worse than to emulate my old Brown Rice and Julienne Salad menu (from my much younger days) if you want as simple, basic, quick and balanced a main meal of the day that you can change up in any number of ways to keep it fresh. Review my reflective post ‘When Have I Looked And Felt My Best?’ from earlier this year.

Finally, remember that, the longer we’re living in the ‘alternate reality’ that is Lock Down, the less likely it is that ‘things’ will ever return to what we used to think of as ‘normal’. Work on developing – and optimizing – what could become a ‘new normal’ for yourself and your family, rather than fighting the pressure to adapt that nature is placing on you. You’ll be so much better off in so many ways, in the mid- and long-term if you do…

~ Maggie J.