Quarantine Diaries: Staying sane and healthy
As many probably know, I'm currently studying Nutritional Biochemistry for my degree and I'm in my second year. I’ve learnt a lot about the power of food on the health status of the whole body and I firmly believe that what we put in our body dictates our health and wellbeing, and to an extent our ability to prevent disease. With this being said, I’m putting in to practise what I have learnt into my daily habits to best prime my body for staying fit and well during this quarantine period and supporting my immune system as best as possible.
Here are a few of the things I'm doing to do so:
1. Daily exercise
Personally, I love doing HIIT training as I love to do short but effective work outs, getting sweaty and feeling like I’ve tried the hardest I can. Since I’ve started training from home, I’ve been using Instagram live videos where I follow the guidance of those such as Belle Hutt and Rhiannon Bailey every morning around 8am. Now by no means do you have to get up first thing to exercise with the videos as they go live – the Instagram live videos save for 24hrs so you can access them at any time in that window – but for me I find that having the time that the class starts live makes me get up out of bed and turn up. Otherwise I could be laying in bed and keep putting it off until I fancy – which could be half way through the day!
So although many of us have the flexibility of having the time in the morning not spent commuting and instead in bed, I would really recommend setting your alarm just a bit earlier to maybe go for a walk, do a yoga or Pilates video or join me and the gang on the Instagram lives. Doing something first thing to get my heart rate up and blood pumping sets me up for a productive day ahead.
2. Eating whole foods
Though this tends to be the way I eat anyway since I follow a plant based diet, I'm being especially conscious of making sure I eat as wide of a variety as I can of fresh fruits and vegetables alongside whole grains and legumes. For me, I know this makes me feel my best as I know my digestion definitely benefits and I have more energy. One of the most important things about whole plant foods is the fibre in them, which you don’t get as much from meat and dairy products. The best thing about fibre is its that you can eat as much as you want of it, it fills you up and helps to get your food moving through your digestive system. As the saying goes, ‘eat the rainbow’! I try to eat lots of different coloured vegetables in all my meals as there are different nutrients commonly associated with the different colours and these are your best friends for supporting not only your immune system but the healthy functioning of your entire body. Never underestimate the power of fruit and veg! Your immune system needs nutrients such as zinc, vitamin C, A and D. On the days that its sunny, I try and make sure that I get some time directly in the sun for my body to pump some vitamin D as it can be quite tricky to get in the diet otherwise.
3. Long walks and podcasts
I’ve always loved walking, from walking instead of taking the bus to work or in a new place I find myself in when travelling. Now more than ever I make my daily walk a priority and really notice on the odd day when I don’t take myself out. For me it’s a time when I can either completely zone out and listen to a podcast or take a moment to check in with myself and devote to thinking properly and in depth about the things that I tell myself I’ll get back to. I'm a chronic overthinker so having a dedicated time when I can just not think and get fully absorbed in a podcast is my form of meditation. Some of my favourites to listen to are The High Low, The Rich Roll Podcast and my newly discovered How to Fail Podcast with Elizabeth Day. Since during this time we are all doing our best to stay sane and utilize our daily opportunity for exercise we see that places like my favourite Richmond Park or down by the river are busier than usual and so it can be hard to maintain a suitable distance from one another. Its for this reason that I try to go out as early as I can manage in the morning, usually around 6.30am. At this time I rarely cross another walker on my usual route to Pembroke Lodge, whereas in the afternoon I'm dodging the flocks of people. As a morning person, I find it a really amazing way to start my day and get some fresh air and is something I definitely aim to continue as a habit once life starts to settle back to where it was ‘normal’.