Is the coronavirus lockdown getting you down? Are you baking up a storm to soothe your stress? Drinking Quarantinis on Zoom happy hours to drown your depression? Indulging in comfort foods to quiet your anxiety? All of this could be adding up to the Quarantine 15—the extra 15 pounds of fat that so many people are putting on during the pandemic.
If you don’t want to emerge from self-isolation with extra padding on your body, you need to stick with a brain-healthy plan while you’re sheltering at home. Here are some simple strategies to come out of quarantine looking and feeling healthy.
When you’ve got the urge to bake:
Go grainless. You can make delicious baked goods without all the wheat flour and gluten that can weigh you down. Millions of Americans have a gluten sensitivity that can lead to weight gain and especially to visceral fat in the belly (the most dangerous kind of fat!).
Brain Warrior’s Way: Go ahead and bake with the kids or on your own with my Grainless Blueberry Muffins. For more than a dozen other recipes that are perfect for quarantine, there’s a whole chapter on baking in The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook.
When you want a quarantine cocktail:
Think “water mocktail.” Just because you and your friends are going to Zoom for happy hour doesn’t mean you have to drink alcohol, which is like downing a straight shot of sugar. Cocktails are like a double whammy because they often add sugary juices. Booze also increases impulsivity, which makes you more likely to say yes to the ice cream, candy, and other junk foods that lead to weight gain.
Brain Warrior’s Way: Get creative by making ice cubes with fruit (lemon, lime, raspberries, blueberries), veggies (cucumber), and herbs (basil, rosemary) that you can plop into your water. It looks festive, tastes great, and is good for your brain and body. Cheers to that!
When you’re craving comfort foods:
Think lean and green. So, you’re craving meatloaf, chili, and other feel-good fare? With some simple ingredient swaps, you can enjoy these foods guilt-free. Choose lean meats and add veggies like spinach, bell peppers, or kale to boost the nutrient factor.
Brain Warrior’s Way: Try my Spiced Cacao Turkey Chili for comfort food that will warm your heart without adding to your waistline. You can find other recipes—like The Best Beef Stroganoff, “Spaghetti” with Turkey Meatballs, and Try It You’ll Like It Turkey Bolognese—in my New York Times bestseller The Omni Diet.
When you need a crunchy snack while you’re chilling on the couch:
Go nuts. Forget about salty pretzels, chips, and rice cakes. They’re either full of empty calories or chock full of anti-nutrients, and these simple carbs cause your blood sugar to spike then crash. Stick with nuts for a good crunch that’s filled with good-for-you nutrients and minerals.
Brain Warrior’s Way: Grab a small handful—not a whole tub—of raw nuts. Go for mixed nuts to add a greater variety of nutrients.
When your kids (and you) want an ice cream treat:
Think smoothies. Ice cream is typically full of bad types of fat, dairy, and calories. Swap out a smoothie instead. Smoothies taste amazing, and you can make them with protein powder, healthy fruits, and even a few veggies (believe me, your kids won’t even notice if you throw a handful of spinach in the mix) that make them a nutritious snack that won’t spike your blood sugar or put you in an ice cream coma.
If you’re really struggling with cravings, try BrainMD’s Craving Control to calm the craving centers in the brain, balance blood sugar, and promote positive moods. For another way to improve mood, help cope with anxious feelings, and enhance focus while under mental strain, try Happy Saffron Plus. If you’d like 21% off your order at BrainMD, just enter TANA21 at checkout. Stay healthy!