The unpredictability accompanying the coronavirus epidemic is unsettling. Many have flocked to supermarkets and warehouse clubs to stock up on every thinkable necessity. We can still be eco-friendly and support local economies as we adjust to the COVID 19 pandemic. We are stronger when unified with our neighbors and planet. Here are 5 tips for maintaining our health and our earth’s health during this difficult period.
Stock up on water filters*
The abundance of water bottle purchases is alarming. During a crisis like a pandemic, many people stock up on plastic water bottles big and small. Most bottled water is purified or distilled tap water. It is not fresh water sourced from a mountain spring. Both processes do help with removing certain chemicals that can be found in tap water. But, it is not mandatory to drink bottled water for your ‘health.’ In fact, tap water usually is tested more regularly. Also, plastic nonreusable water bottles can leach toxins, especially when not stored properly…
Many coffee shops and other public places have banned refilling reusable water bottles. This is an imperative decision, as every measure should be taken to decrease all potential cross-contamination. Yet, you can still use your reusable water bottle by refilling at home. Investing in in-home water filtration systems, as simple as a Brita, will allow for less impact on our carbon footprint during times of trouble. At this moment, we are striving to take care of our communities, and that includes our Earth. Promoting synthetic plastic production and waste production should be avoided.
*Please advise: If you reside in an area that is or has been reported to possess polluted drinking water, this, of course, does not apply.
Natural cleaning solutions
You do not need to stock up on potentially toxic cleaners to properly sanitize your home. These toxic chemicals contribute to water pollution, through evaporation and rinsing products down water drains. Below are a few key ingredients that wholly sanitize hands, surfaces, and what have you in an eco-friendly way!
It is plain and clear. Alcohol kills germs. I prefer 91% if there is any left on the shelves! Otherwise, find yourself a super clear distilled spirit like vodka. With at least 80 proof, you can have a strong antibacterial resource along with a cocktail base after your cleaning session…
The Acids: White Vinegar and Lemon
White vinegar is a saving grace in cleaning. I will thank my mother for teaching me this. It is extremely acidic, making it cut through oil and grease, mildew and scum, and all that jazz. Its acidity also makes it a great disinfectant (thanks to its acetic acid component!) You can use it in a solution to clean out stains. The concentration is up to you. In my opinion, the best is a 1:3 ratio of vinegar and filtered water.
Lemon is a milder alternative, but definitely beneficial. First, it has a wonderful scent. You can use it in a naturally scented cleaning solution. Second, its citric acid content allows for it to act as a bleaching agent, helping to remove stains and soap scum. It is antibacterial as well, but not as potent as vinegar.
A commonly used antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide is also a mild antibacterial cleaner. It is non-toxic and has no odors, making it a nice addition to your cleaning supplies. Beware: it does not mix well with white vinegar.
We all heard of baking soda as a miracle worker. Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, it can help with indigestion to removing stains. It neutralizes acids and bases. This makes it a fantastic odor killer, for those few pieces of lettuce that were forgotten in the back of your fridge…Combined with water, baking soda also forms a very useful paste. The addition of water to baking soda allows for dirt to easily and quickly dissolve.
Making your own cleaners also feeds into less waste, as purchasing containers of cleaner in abundance will only leave more in the trash or wrong recycling bin. Even if you prefer to buy brand cleaner, try reusing bottles for other cleaning purposes.
Sounds pretty plain and clear, but, with something like a toilet paper shortage, we may have forgotten that you can live a sanitary life with fewer paper products. I understand that for ‘bathroom purposes,’ reusable materials seem a little..yucky. But, for other purposes, like kitchen and bathroom cleaning, there are more sustainable alternatives.
You can purchase packs of rags for cheap prices everywhere, like Target! However, you do not need to spend on brand new towels to be more sustainable! Old t-shirts, towels, and any mostly cotton materials can work. We all have hammy downs that need to be put to rest…!
Buy Roots & Gourds
Supporting your health and our nation’s farmers during an outbreak is a double whammy of support to communities during a pandemic. There are a variety of nutrient-dense root vegetables and gourds that can last months when stored properly in your fridge. And, many are grown not too far from your door. Remember to use gloves when touching produce and bring your reusable shopping bag! Below are a few suggestions and tips for getting the best out of your roots!
Sweet potatoes and turnips are super high in antioxidants. These guys can keep your bellies warm and your immunity high! Turnips, in particular, possess lots of vitamin E which boosts immune support.
Beets are fantastic for cleansing and improving agility. Their natural sugar content is great for a quick boost before a workout, or just in general! Also, they are naturally abundant in lutein, an antioxidant that supports eye tissue health. We all need good vision during crazy times!
Fennel is fabulous. Shaved raw or baked (with cheese if you have the cravings…,) it is a delightful addition to your diet. It is loaded with potassium and manganese, two killer nutrients that make us superheroes. Manganese boosts our metabolisms and also helps with maintaining bone health (this is especially for us ladies!) Potassium keeps our blood flowing strong, making our heart and kidneys stronger! Both help you absorb nutrients better into your system.
Ginger and garlic are two little guys that can bring anti-inflammatory bliss. Even in small doses, their potency can strengthen your health. You can simply add them to stir fry and soups. For more potency, juice them or boil them 20 minutes for a superfoods tea! Once boiled, honey and lemon accordingly!
Squash is the most commonly consumed gourd. Great for our diets and digestion, they are chock full of vitamins and water. They also have tons of soluble fiber. I do not need to explain the benefits of that…There are lots of beneficial squashes:
Butternut and honeynut squash will last the longest when stored properly. These guys are plentiful in Vitamin A and generous in Vitamin C. These vitamins are key protectors of our immune system and skin health!
Acorn squash is just as vitamin-rich but is more seasonal and often grown only in the Fall. Either way, it is rich in potassium, helping with heart health and stress relief!
Honorable mentions: The more ‘softer’ squash like zucchini and yellow squash are awesome too. While they may not last as long, they make great additions to your diet and health. Along with Vitamin A and C, they are particularly rich in B vitamins. This boosts energy and contributes to a better mood. I loved them cooked in extra virgin olive oil, lemon, and salt. Maybe get wild and toss it with some pasta, eh?
Storing roots & gourds is not hard. Simply remove any greens they may be attached (for example with beets!) Eat these first! Then, make sure they are DRY. This will prevent any mold or fungus from growing. Keep your roots in ventilated bags or containers in a cool place in your house. If you store them in your fridge, make sure it is the driest area. Here is a great article by Taste of Home on how to store all different kinds of roots!
Stress affects our health a TON. When things are hectic, we must remember the importance of breathing and overall mindfulness. We cannot help each other without maintaining inner balance!
I always support morning stretches and deep breathing exercises. I really enjoy Hannah Barrett Yoga and her youtube channel.
My personal tip: Anytime you feel tense, try the 3 count breath – take a deep breath in for 3 counts, hold it for 3 counts, and let it out for 3 counts.
Our community is everything during times like these. Even at a distance, we must stand in solidarity and work towards a healthy and accessible future. If you need anything, like recommendations on cleaning solution recipes, food recipes, or anything at all during these crazy times, please do not hesitate to reach out!