Not a day goes by where I don’t hear peoples’ experiences of unhealthy (meaning highly processed) food choices. Whether it is the isolation, the anxiety of the unknown timeline of all this, the frustration of not being able to be with friends or other family members; all these things are affecting our moods. This varies from boredom to anger to frank depression, which can lead to carb cravings and extra snacks.

I get it. It is extremely hard to maintain good nutritional discipline when we are feeling down.

It also is a difficult time to be thinking about weight loss.

However, as you are reading, I invite you to think about something more important: your immune system; and, how to optimize its ability to fight off a virus.

If you look at the data of those severely affected by Covid-19, a lot, if not most, have some metabolic compromise. The most common is a degree of insulin resistance; precipitated by the intake of foods high in processed carbohydrates (sugar). Whether we call this insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, makes little difference. If the intake of sugar/starch is high, and levels of insulin are high, our immune system is compromised. (Along with insulin’s macabre ability to store fat—especially the dangerous visceral fat.)

So, the very foods we want to eat when we are stressed, are the very foods that compromise the immune system.

The interesting thing is that we can rectify the internal situation rapidly. (You do not have to be thinking of a certain number of pounds to lose; simply start looking at foods that are dangerous to your immune system.) Within a week of decreasing high-carb foods, one’s insulin levels will drop, and immune or metabolic function will improve dramatically.

The chips, ice cream, scones, muffins, cookies, bread; all of these are simply a huge influx of sugar as far as our blood is concerned, and therefore detrimental to our insulin level and metabolic health. Our brain perceives them as delicious and pleasurable, but they can be deadly to our body’s immune response.

Our health has been severely altered by the food companies, who market their products without concern about their impact on health. The products are manufactured to be highly addictive (sugar), making it difficult for us to change habits or not crave these foods.

Realize, however, that this is about your health. Make a change today or tomorrow. Choose not to bring these food products into your house, as much as possible.  Create a food environment that you feel at peace with.  If others in your household insist on having addictive foods on hand, have an open and honest conversation about how they could help support your health journey. As well, have your own healthier foods on hand to fall back on.  Most importantly, find ways to “bridge” away from relying on food for emotional comfort. Creative outlets (i.e. music, art, knitting, puzzles, boardgames), physical movement, and going outdoors (removing yourself from environment) are all extremely helpful “bridges” for those moments when you notice a drive towards food for endorphins.

Challenge yourself. Can you go one evening without snacking? If you can do one evening, can you do two?? All of us are challenged during these stressful times, but each day is a new day to try and improve our health. Do not be discouraged if you have been off track.  Let go of self-deprecating and negative thoughts. Remind yourself that you have the power to change today and change your perspective.  You are powerful, and you are building resilience for future challenges by going through what you are going through right now.

The rest of today can be better. Tomorrow will be better. Make that decision for yourself right now!

Eat for your health first!

You can do it.  Never ever give up trying.

Dr. Doug