It’s not during the easy and comfortable times of life that we are asked to dig deep and find our strength, it’s during times of adversity. It’s during difficult times like what we are experiencing on a global level at this moment, that we can set a precedent of strength. Now is not the time to cower and hide, but to be deliberate in our actions with a clear purpose and direction. I’ve decided to take this opportunity to really investigate and dissect the information I’m being fed, and to make a conscious choice on what I will allow to be my focus. In the end, regardless of what you or I may believe is the best strategy to overcome our current situation, we can all agree it comes down to our individual choices. If we choose to focus on feelings and practice behaviors displaying fear and weakness, we are no doubt fostering feelings and manifesting a reality of fear and weakness. However, if we focus on feelings and practice behaviors that display courage and strength, in the same way we will directly manifest a reality that is strong and courageous. We are not passive receivers in our lives, we are active creators, literally able to choose the life we want. What path will we choose today?
Over the past few weeks, I have flip-flopped in my feelings and focus too many times to count. I’m not someone who watches TV or the news so at first it was easy to maintain a positive outlook. However, as time went on, my focus began to shift. I was diagnosed with asthma and allergies when I was child and I take a couple medications every day to keep my airways clear. I’ve tried to wean myself off these meds, but noticed my breathing became difficult every time. At the same time, I normally am not at all focused on the asthma because it’s under control, and overall I feel extremely healthy. I have always known that my choices directly affect the severity of my symptoms. So I make healthy choices and I live my life knowing I am healthy. The reason I bring up the asthma is because it was due to this diagnosis that I started to feel afraid for my health recently, due to what I believed about my risks and COVID-19. I allowed myself to go down a mental path of worry and weakness, wondering what would happen if I contracted this virus and was unable to care for my daughter. Being that I am a single parent, I really started feeling fearful that if I became ill, I would be separated from my daughter and she would have no one to care for her. Recently, I chose to allow these feelings to dictate my behavior. I chose to make my decisions based on fear. The real consequence of those decisions became heartbreakingly clear to me, when just a couple of weeks ago, my dad came to visit me, and for the first time in my almost 39 years of this lifetime, I didn’t hug and kiss him. I’m crying as I think about that choice we made, and I’m no longer convinced it was the right one. When he left to head back to his home on the Cape, I began formulating a new plan, and I’m about to share the details with you now.
What is our best defense against bacteria, viruses and pathogens? Our natural immune system is our best defense. It is not a product of the pharmaceutical industry and it is not isolation and fear. And the good news is that we are not passive owners of this immune system. We are active creators of our own immune systems, making choices on a daily, minute by minute basis, that will directly affect the degree of strength within this powerful and protective system. The degree to which most of our behaviors affect this miraculous immune system we possess is astounding. Our culture today is a culture of quick fixes and superficial displays of health. I can be sleep deprived and have the worst dark circles, but after applying makeup, you’d never know. I can eat junk food all day and then take various medications that supposedly combat the affects that junk is having on my body, and all the systems within it. I could go on and on here, but I think we can all agree we live in a world where we are encouraged to display a degree of health that our actions often don’t support. Our collective health leading up to this pandemic was already on a superficial level, which is not how our health and immune systems can thrive.
Without getting into too much detail, I want to share what I believe the best approach to preventing COVID-19 is. I can get more into the background of these recommendations at a later time, but right now we have an urgent need to take steps towards prevention of this virus, so I am going to keep this simple and straightforward.
In order to strengthen our immune systems, the first thing that we should do is to eat a wide variety of plants, especially those high in vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc. These nutrients are powerhouses for immune system strength. Vitamin C can be found in citrus, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, strawberries, parsley, thyme, sauerkraut, bell peppers, tomatoes, papaya and kiwi. Basically all vegetables, leafy greens and fruits have vitamin C, so stock up! Vitamin A can be found in sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, butternut squash, red bell peppers, broccoli, lettuce, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kale, collards, swiss chard, mango, papaya and tangerines. Many fruits and vegetables have vitamin A, so getting a wide variety is best. Zinc can be found in legumes (chickpeas, beans and lentils), seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame, hemp) and nuts (almonds, cashews, pine nuts and peanuts). Non-plant food sources of vitamin A are beef liver, cod liver oil, salmon, bluefin tuna, goat cheese, butter and cheddar. Zinc can also be found in eggs, meat, shellfish and dairy. Of course this is not a comprehensive list, there are many more foods that are beneficial. The best approach is to aim to get vegetables and fruits across the rainbow color spectrum and consume a variety of legumes, seeds and nuts.
My second recommendation is to get outside and soak up plenty of immune boosting vitamin D. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of time spent outdoors. Getting your exercise outside is a great way to up your vitamin D and strengthen your cardiovascular health simultaneously. Vitamin D is a powerful lung supportive nutrient. Get outside and garden, walk, do yoga, meditate, take a bike ride or just lay out and read a book. Added side benefit is that sunshine and vitamin D are excellent mood boosters. We need to be outdoors as much as possible right now to strengthen our lungs and improve our mental health.
We are all in this together. I hope each and every one of you has some type of support system in place during this stressful time. You may not know me personally but if you need a friend right now, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message. We will get through this! We need to lean on each other now more than ever.