My Quarantine Check-In (Groceries, Mental Health, Tips, Etc)
Covid-19 has quarantining and social distancing our new normal (at least for now). Grocery shopping has become a potentially life-threatening situation. The last time, I went grocery shopping was one week ago today and I am intentionally pushing myself to eat what we have here vs running out to get more. Now that 90% of the fresh veggies/fruits have been devoured, we are now working on eating our prepared/canned goods, frozen items.
With this virus encroaching on our lives, my family is taking heed and not allowing anyone inside that does not live here. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that a close friend passed away from Covid-19, which took a toll on me and my husband, as if it weren't already a high-anxiety/stressful time. I have been getting outside and taking walks, sleeping in/taking naps, working on keeping my mental health together, spending time with my daughter home from college and my husband. We have been binge watching All American, making funny videos and having game nights. I even wasted some of my life away watching Tiger King (social media lured me to watching it). Just over a week ago, I made sure to go check on my mom that is quarantined (no one allowed inside her senior building) and drop off some extra toilet paper, snacks, tell her I love her and put eyes on her.
Staying on track with eating plant-based has not been a challenge for me, as I remind myself that if I had not made the switch to a vegan diet, I could have easily been a victim of Covid-19, as I had asthma and severe breathing problems. I know I am feeding myself life vs death and I am so grateful.
Before I get into this list, these are the types of foods I have been loading up on and I am the only one in my household that is vegan. So I am mainly making small, quick meals and snacks, since I do not want to make large portions, if I am the only one eating them and not really needing to save time with pre-made food, if that makes sense (basically all I got is time to make something once I get hungry). The items I have been looking for at the grocery store outside of lots of fresh produce are:
Technically, these are produce, but they are such a bomb base to plant-based meals that are enjoyed by all. They last pretty long, we all love to eat them and there are endless options. I have mainly been making a veggie hash in the morning with potatoes that we slice/fry in grapeseed oil as the base and just load up a gang of diced veggies, vegan cheese, avocado and salsa. It is so good and satisfying. Then of course, there are french fries!
Properly stored, raw potatoes last for 1 to 2 weeks at normal room temperature. To maximize the shelf life, we have been storing the potatoes the garage because it has been slightly cooler. If stored in a dark and cool (45-55° F; warmer than the refrigerator, but colder than normal room temperature, potatoes can last about 2 to 3 months. For a list of vegetables that last the longest, check out this article.
I have been partial to canned artichoke hearts (I add them to flatbread pizzas and recently made this delicious spinach artichoke dip), pinto/black/refried beans (I throw the fat-free refried black beans with just about anything for a side of added protein), chickpeas, coconut milk (for savory, Indian-inspired dishes), canned tomatoes and since fresh ones tend to go bad fairly quickly.
I vowed to start giving my digestive system a little break and start replacing one meal a day with a smoothie. That hasn't gone over too great, because eating has been a form of comfort! Normally, I would use protein smoothies as a post-working meal, I am doing well if I work out 2-3 days a week with this quarantine. Either way, I am ready to start my smoothie replacements and have two small bags of perfectly ripe, cut and frozen peeled bananas. This is also perfect for vegan ice cream.
Frozen veggies are a better option than canned because they retain more nutrients and have less sodium. I have been stocking up on frozen asparagus spears, broccoli or a California mix (broccoli and cauliflower florets with sliced carrots), green peas, black eyed peas and basically whatever veggies our family eats that are are at Aldi.
Now you know with a quarantine, I had to throw this in my list! This would be the vegan cheeses, chips, cookies and ice cream. I currently have all of these at the moment.
My fave ice creams overall have been So Delicious and Ben & Jerry's but recently discovered Nada Moo on my most recent grocery trip and was so glad I decided to try it. I have the Strawberry Shortcake flavor and it was yummy! I don't really eat a whole lot of ice cream, so that little pint will last a month or two, but I decided I better get some and not eat it vs not have it and want it, ok!?
Vegan cheese can be a make or break thing for someone making the switch to vegan. I have tried many vegan cheeses and lately have been obsessed with Daiya Jalapeno. It comes in a block and slices and melts just like regular cheese. For the quarantine, I also have some Daiya mozzarella shreds for vegan easy dishes like nachos and mini pizzas and Daiya provolone slices. I usually keep the provolone around, as it melts great and can be used for things like sandwiches, hoagies, etc.
I grabbed a few of the frozen Amy's Rice Pasta Macaroni and Cheeses, because I have been "carbing it up", but do not want to have too much mac and cheese around to eat. The portion is small, but hits the spot for a mac and cheese hankering! With the right seasonings, it is bomb! If you do not doctor this up, the flavor is pretty bland, but the texture is on point. I use a few dashes of Lawry's seasoned salt, Old Bay, smoked paprika and garlic powder.
Hummus: Quick and delicious snack to eat with chips, cucumbers or as a side. I am loving the dill and olive tapenade flavors from Aldi. They also are a great replacement for cheese and/or mayonnaise.
Kombucha: I personally love this fermented tea, especially when I first wake up, right before my coffee. It is invigorating and energizing. I usually buy 3-4 bottles and they last just about a week or so. I drink a small amount from them each time and get about 3-4 servings from each bottle. It is also a great option if you want to feel like you are indulging in an adult beverage without actually having one. I will also switch from a cocktail to this and treat it as a mocktail, to avoid a hangover. My favorite brand that I have tried is GTS Kombucha and they carry it at my fave store, Aldi.
I haven't been eating hugely different during the quarantine, but I have been eating more junk food and instead of eating 2-3 times/day, I have been cutting back to twice a day, realizing any more than that, I am usually bloated and regret that last meal by the end of the night. Regarding weight gain, I am being gentle and realistic with myself. If I gain a few lbs, I'm not gonna freak out, but I will not just sit and negate all of my progress of 32 lb weight loss since switching to a plant-based lifestyle, either.
Overall, I am trying to eat less, stay moderately active with walks, but understanding that I am not burning as many calories that I normally would with hitting the gym 4-5 days a week and runnin' around.
Ways To Not Feel Isolated While Quarantining
I am grateful to be quarantined with people I love. Some of us are doing this solo or with people that we wish would get the hell out, but thankfully there are some fun and free apps I want to suggest that have been very helpful during this time:
1) Marco Polo - It a fun way to chat/send videos with friends/family. You can do this one on one or create a group.
2) Houseparty - This app has been so much fun. It allows for real-time videos (unlike Marco Polo) and games, so you can have a virtual game night with one or more of your family members/friends, or just use it as a video chat app.
3) Zoom - They have been catching flack lately from getting hacked, but I still recommend it this video conferencing from your phone or computer. A fun way to have a virtual happy hour!
All in all, I know that for us all to get through this quarantine without our wigs snatched off, we should all continue to count our blessings, be loving to ourselves/others around us by safely quarantining/social distancing, not binge watch Coronavirus TV aka the news and simply chill TF out. This will not end tomorrow, but it won't be forever, either. I hope you enjoyed this post! If so, please let me know with a comment and share with your people. Be safe and take care of yourself!