Stepping Back From COVID-19: How My Regular Diet Keeps Me Healthy
All we hear on the news, social media, phone conversations, emails, and community/business posters is about the pandemic. COVID-19 is the topic of the month – and very little else is allowed to infiltrate our consciousness!
One thing that has struck me is that most of the victims have had pre-existing health conditions (including obesity) and that a large percentage of our population may be infected but exhibit no symptoms! This seems to indicate to me that if we take care of our health, most of us have nothing to fear. For many, this “news” may be too late to keep anxiety at bay but I certainly hope it is a wake-up call for everyone to do better in the future.
I have not personally had the ‘flu in 15 years other than a 2-day episode a year ago while we were in Yuma and there was some bug making the rounds during an unusually wet, cool spell. (We had just arrived to finalize the sale of our beloved vacation home following three long, often stressful, days of poor travel conditions so I believe my immunity was probably much weaker than normal due to emotional, psychological and physical stress.)
My colds seldom get past the sniffles or scratchy throat, and are gone in three or four days. I take no prescriptions, inoculations, or over-the-counter medications. I am 61 years old and on no medication, of any kind. My secret is no secret at all – I follow my own Health Coaching advice concerning nutrition, hydration, exercise, and sleep (still working to get this one consistent 😊). During the winter months I take extra Vitamin D and if I suspect a cold, I add Vitamin C, zinc, and sometimes echinacea to our regular multi-vitamin supplement. To be on the safe side, during this COVIC-19 outbreak we have been taking all but the echinacea.
It also occurs to me that our usual diet may be contributing to my healthy state so I decided to look up the health benefits of some of the foods which are pretty much part of my diet every day – sourdough, bone broth, Matcha tea, and kombucha. Turns out that all four foods are rank high on the list of healthy, or even super, foods!
As a Steeped Tea consultant, I was introduced to Matcha tea several years ago and gradually made it a daily part of my diet. I drink it hot (straight up or latte or “bullet”) or cold, and consume it sprinkled into smoothies, yogurt or cereals.
Matcha is an antioxidant powerhouse! It is an incredible energy booster – WITHOUT the caffeine or sugar crash of other “energy” drinks or coffee. The effect is often described as calm concentration and endurance. Matcha increases metabolism and burns fats and yet does not raise heart rate or blood pressure. Matcha is also rich in chlorophyll which is a fantastic detoxifier.
Kombucha Tea (and Jun Tea)
My interest in tea and health led me to Kombucha and Jun teas – fermented tea. I make my own and consume it daily.
Research indicates the tea may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Kombucha is rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acid, which have both been shown to suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts.
Sometimes my “Booch” gets too vinegary so it can replace vinegar in dressing recipes, etc. I also recently ran across a recipe which uses kombucha to make sourdough bread! I will let you know how that goes.
After years of wondering whether I had a gluten intolerance and totally shunning baked goods because whenever I ate them, I not only felt unwell but my arthritis pain increased, I read that sourdough was much easier to digest and did not cause inflammation! I just had to try it so I created and fed my starter and began checking out Pinterest for recipes. Not only did I find that there was no “bread-belly” feeling but my arthritis pain has pretty much disappeared! It was a no-brainer to switch to sourdough baked goods so we now enjoy Sourdough in many forms – Artisan Bread, English Muffins, Bagels, Focaccia, muffins and pancakes. I am also researching recipes for crackers, cookies, pizza, and anything else I can find! I have found that sourdough is very satisfying – a serving will keep away hunger for hours.
I will often research a food or supplement to better understand why I achieve the results I experience so that I know how to further modify my habits, and what could help others. I discovered that it is the fermenting process which breaks down the gluten and other difficult to digest proteins. Long fermentation also improves the bioavailability of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in wheat flour. During the fermentation the proportion of soluble fibre increases – the longer the fermentation, the higher the proportion. This increases the satiety of the bread and also slows the carbohydrate breakdown which contributes to a lower glycemic index than regular bread so blood sugars don’t spike after eating it – another reason it does not cause inflammation. It could, therefore, be a better choice for diabetics.
NOTE: These benefits are NOT derived from commercial sourdough! The process is too slow for commercial production. By the time modifications are made to speed up the process, the sourdough on the grocer’s shelves is no better for us than the regular white bread next to it.
And finally, bone broth is a food I have been making and serving pretty much my entire adult life. It may have been a strategy to stretch the food budget but soups made from homemade broth were always far superior in taste to the canned variety so I never passed up an opportunity to make stock from a chicken or turkey carcass, ham bone, oxtail, or soup bones. Turns out that not only is bone broth delicious but it also very good for us! Article after article tout its benefits for health for everything from gut biome, skin, and joints to improving immunity. It is rich in important amino acids and minerals so it also fills nutritional gaps left in our diet.
Although starting the processes from scratch may be time-consuming, all of these foods are relatively easy to prepare. Once you have the sourdough starter and the the SCOBY (kombucha), with a little practice you will discover that most of the procedures work unattended. After a little practice you will find the preparation-time is manageable and very much worth the benefits in taste, economy, and health!
Stay safe, healthy, and happy on your journey,
Note: Picture credits for the 10 Amazing Benefits of Matcha (Steeped Tea), 18 Healthy Reasons to Sip Kombucha (GMO Free Canada Group), Sourdough Bread’s Health Benefits Which Make It The Healthiest Bread (Foods 4 Better Health), and Health Benefits of Bone Broth (The Dempster Clinic) are as printed on the pictures themselves
All other pictures of Matcha drink, Kombucha brewing and bottles, sourdough starter and bagels, and beef bone broth soup are by Teresa Lansing.