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
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.
Brain Warrior’s Way: Try my Mango Smoothie. I think it’s better than a Creamsicle and so good for you. Make your smoothies with OMNI Protein in Vanilla or Chocolate.
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