After a recent 1 week vacation to Palm Springs California in early March, I returned home only to find out that there was a “self-isolation for 2 weeks” recommendation for all travellers abroad.
What? I was healthy, and careful throughout the week away. No close contact other than with my family. No public gatherings. We went on hikes in the canyons, washed hands and used hand sanitizers regularly.
We wouldn’t get the Coronavirus – would we? We thought we had done everything we could to prevent us from contracting the virus.
At the time, it wasn’t that we thought we were infected. It was simply, the right thing to do protect others as much as ourselves.
As the first week progressed, we realized that being at home was (and is) the safest place for us to be!
Since I couldn’t go to work, these are some of the personal things I started to do right away:
- Work-out daily in our basement -I am very thankful this was a possibility for us!
- Take our dog for a daily walk
- Rake in our garden and backyard – (this is actually quite therapeutic)
- Start the arduous task of clean up and decluttering (this is, I’m afraid an ongoing battle – but a little each day will go a long way!)
- Lots of contact with my family members and friends virtually of course – we even set up a What’s app group and taught my 88 year old parents how to use it!
Aside from all of this– I needed to take care of our nutritional needs – and realized that this is something I truly could share and assist my clients with. After all, as a Registered Dietitian this was something I knew how to do!
The second day in self isolation, after being unsuccessful with online grocery shopping, I contacted my son to pick some things up for us.
But before I did this - I defrosted my freezer – we had been complaining that we couldn’t see what we had in the chest freezer for some time now. I made a list of everything we had categorically with dates. (I have a food saver so will often purchase in bulk and vacuum seal)
Then I put together a list of foods we would need for a week.
Although I’m sure many people have food in their freezer much longer than I do (and it’s not necessarily unsafe – food can last indefinitely frozen) – the quality does decrease – but why keep things so long anyway – why continually buy fresh – when you have some already frozen? I discovered some food from 2018 I needed to use up.
After my list and my first grocery shop – I started to do some meal planning - and prepared some meals
- Roast Pork Loin out of 1 roast we made: roast pork, potatoes, onions, carrots; pulled pork in the crockpot and then a pork stew and still had leftovers for a few lunches!
- Baked Rainbow Trout – this was the only “fresh” protein food we had received on our initial grocery list and after a dinner with quinoa and salad, made the rest of the trout into a “trout salad” spread with crackers for lunch
- BBQ chicken thighs, salad and potatoes –batch cooked the chicken to allow for another creative meal two days later
- Broccoli Soup- this is a staple I make all the time
- Quinoa Salad using black beans, grape tomatoes, red pepper, onions
- Pita chips (whole wheat pitas cut into triangles –sprayed with a healthy oil, sprinkled with onion powder and salt)
- Pea Soup with Ham – used dried peas from my pantry, one onion, and a ham bone I had frozen.
- Mango Salad –green mango salad using basic ingredients we had on hand.
So what have I learned so far while in self-isolation (and tips for others who may have to self-isolate?)
- Meal plan – no matter whether you “need” to or not this helps you to eat better, save money and time (I can’t stress this one enough – it takes patience and practice – and one I can help you with! (check out my meal planning section)
- Establish a good supply of healthy pantry items - I can help you with this too - no need for panic buying
- Plan and use up what you already have (use FIRST IN, FIRST OUT) principle
- Eat well (this goes without saying!)
- Build structure in your day
- Be active indoors and/or outdoors with daily walks and outdoor activities when weather is good
- Plan virtual “social” time to keep connected with family and friends
- Get enough sleep –be proactive if this is proving difficult
- Clean something everyday
- Manage stress
All in all, Keep positive by being positive – we will get through this together.