Covid-19 Food

prepare, prevent

during infection & while recovering

“There’s no specific diet for those with COVID,” says Nate Wardle, spokesman for California’s Department of Health. “Boosting your immune system is always a good thing, and certain foods help with that.”

I neither support nor endorse the above statement. I post it here to illustrate that people without an understanding from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or a scientific approach to nutrition should not make misleading claims. (I do invite anyone to discuss health issues.) What are “certain foods”?

Let’s start by examining “boosting your immune system.” This catchy phrase is over-used and misleading in many ways. Yes, our immune system serves an important role in keeping us protected and prepared against adverse changes to health, but there is no short-term pill to boost the immune system. A powerful immune system creates, stores, and distributes the white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses that enter the body, especially during cold and flu season.

The first rule is that an uncompromised body reliably provides a healthy immune response. The foremost benefit to the immune response is to obtain a sufficient number of hours of sleep: A toddler needs a minimum of 15 hours of sleep a day, a child needs at least 12 hours, a teen needs 10 hours, and an adult needs 7 hours. Amounts of sleep even 60 minutes less than these guidelines sabotage having a healthy immune response, even though some people tell me how little they sleep yet how well they feel. 

Once you adapt the first rule above, you can start adding smart food choices, beneficial lifestyle changes, and personal care practices that can enhance your immune system’s readiness. I’ll let you use the term “boosting” for long-term self-care and healthy foods consumed over a long period of time, but “boosting” is still a misleading term. You cannot super-charge your immune system by consuming juices or a daily vitamin supplement, despite the misleading claims made in marketing products that allegedly enhance the immune response. Besides, a “super-boosted” immune response is what kills people who contract Covid-19; some die because they experience a Cytokine-storm

The immune system includes white blood cells and the organs and tissues of the lymph system, such as the thymus, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and bone marrow, but immune cells are especially significant in your bowel! Gut health is important. Nourish the spleen, the skin, and your mind if you are serious about preparing or restoring your immune protection.

The mammalian intestinal tract is our largest immune reservoir: 25 feet long. It is loaded with trillions of microbes, which are collectively known as the microbiota. That’s where you need to pay attention!

Bacteria and viruses have a sweet tooth! It’s no coincidence when these microorganisms attack the human organism to make us ill, for example when they give us pneumonia or flu. The great majority, around 80%, of these bacteria and viruses seek out the sugars on the surface of our cells.

Humans have three types of immunity: innate, adaptive, and passive. The innate immune system is your child’s rapid response system. It patrols your child’s body and is the first to respond when it finds an invader. It is an inherited capability and is active from the moment of birth. When exposed to invasive bacteria or viruses, the cells of this immune system surround and engulf the invader. The invader is killed inside the immune system cells. These cells are called phagocytes.

The acquired immune system, with help from the innate system, produces cells (antibodies) to protect the body from a specific invader. These antibodies are developed by cells called B-lymphocytes after the body’s exposure to the invader. The antibodies stay in your child’s body. It can take several days for antibodies to develop. But after the first exposure, the immune system will recognize the invader and defend against it. The acquired immune system changes throughout your child’s life. Immunizations train your child’s immune system to make antibodies to protect the child from harmful diseases.

The conclusion is simple: To prevent Covid-19 or recover from any virus complication, you need to follow strict lifestyle changes:

• Avoid foods that are strenuous on the digestive tract, and reduce the consumption of foods that aid bacterial or viral multiplication and mutation.

• Consume no sugar, no dairy, and no preserved or cured meats. 

• Reduce salt intake but add spices and fresh herbs. 

• Cook all your greens; eat no raw broccoli or kale. 

• Do not consume juices from which the fiber has been removed (e.g., through using a juicer). 

• Forget about counting calories. (Read and share the blog below.) 

• Consume honey, which is good for you, but consume no artificial sugars, Stevia included.

It is baffling how most nutritionists promote the consumption of yogurt as if the probiotics contained in it were healthy. Your body doesn’t need probiotics. You already have healthy bacteria in your gut.

I wrote a whole blog about dairy products and how difficult they are on the human digestive tract and why milk, yogurt, and soft cheese are NOT ideal choices when trying to prevent or to recover from Covid. However, the dairy industry is huge, so you are being bombarded with advertisements that claim that milk and dairy products are healthy, that aged cheese and butter are OK.

Let’s get to the lifestyle changes that you must adapt when coping with Covid-19 infection, even if you exhibit no symptoms or are in recovery from Covid-19:

• Cut out all sugars. Bacteria need sugar to thrive (as does cancer)!

• Avoid eating ripe bananas, as well as most sweet fruits.

• Cut down on breads, pasta, and nightshades: no eggplants, tomatoes, or yams. However, sweet potatoes (often confused with yams in the U.S.) are healthy for Covid patients.

• Make sure that you sleep enough. Turn off your cell phone, computer, or TV at least one hour before you go to bed. 

• Drink plenty of liquids. Although you think you drink enough fluids, you probably don’t. 

• Do not consume alcohol. 

• The only vitamins or other supplements that you need are high amounts of Vitamin D and zinc. 

• Keep your metabolism going by remaining active. Walk while on the phone, exercise strenuously, stand more than you sit, move your body whenever you have a chance, tiptoe, stretch in all directions, and roll your head and limbs.

• Keep your metabolism going by eating little snacks every hour: a few almonds, walnuts, veggie sticks, sunflower seeds, or berries. Make sure that you chew all your food thoroughly. 

• Eat fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi (live culture), and pickled vegetables (know your source) have been shown by current researchto benefit your gut to fight off Covid-19. However, the kombucha for sale in most stores is not a healthy beverage that I would recommend consuming as part of a daily health routine. Again, know your source! I have friends who drink kombucha combos produced by Coca-Cola who believe that doing so will produce a miraculous benefit.

• Eat regularly. Breakfast should be high in protein: beans, meat, fish, and eggs. Lunch should consist of food combinations that are easy to digest; do not mix dairy, fruit, and meat. Avoid heavy dinners, and eat dinners early. Drink fluids in between meals rather than during meals.

• Look at the foods that you consume. Most labels’ lists of ingredients are misleading. Everything that lasts beyond a natural expiration date will contain preservatives or sugars. 

• Invite family members and friends to tag along on your journey with you. Remember: this journey is not forever; it is an attempt to get you up to par and maybe even into better shape than you were before Covid.

• I’m not going to list what not to eat. That should be clear to you. Anything packaged, premade, in containers, or that has microwave cooking instructions is probably not going to help you. 

• Avoid protein powders and anything labeled as “keto” or “keto-friendly.” Keto is not a food; it’s a label hijacked by food producers that claim that their unnatural food celluloid combinations are healthy. 

• If you consume 420 in any way other than smoking, your diet needs a few adjustments . If you smoke or vape; STOP that first!!

Lastly, I will respond to your personalized inquiries and help you to create an individualized diet program. Please remember that I receive hundreds of responses to each blog post, so if you’re merely curious, you will clip time and effort away from someone serious who could benefit from my guidance.

TCM chef Raphael

Is Counting Calories Helpful?

There is no real debate about counting calories; for humans to count calories makes no sense. It’s a ploy by advertisers to entice people to consume their products. You could stop reading this blog here, but perhaps your healthy curiosity needs more information for you to become convinced that counting calories is pointless.

Is it in sellers’ interests to tell you that their foods contain “lots” of calories or “fewer” calories? You cannot generalize about humans’ consumption of calories. In basic physics, a kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to heat one liter (L) of water by one degree Celsius. However, variants are endless: What is our elevation above sea level? What kind of vessel (our body) are we using? Is it a summer day or a winter night? What is the density of the liquid that we are heating? Saltwater is one liter of H2O plus 30 grams of salt. The Pacific Ocean contains 26g/L. 

Because our human body (the vessel in this equation) is a hyper-complicated organism, no two of us are ever identical. The calories mentioned on a box of cereal do not include your height, weight, age, density, and activity output. Our physiological differences aside, the product you consume may have grown under various circumstances; veggies grown in the earth are not equal in their nutritional contents to salads grown hydroponically. 

Our gut health and how we digest foods play a crucial role in how we convert what we eat into sustainable energy. Although most food in packages today features calorie counts, this information is about as useless as the federal law that drive-through automated teller machines (ATMs) must have brail to facilitate access for the blind.

Food is energy to the body, but how we break down what we eat depends on how healthy our digestive enzymes are. Digestion starts when we are grinding food in the mouth. The digestive process continues as we break down the contents in our stomach and the remainder of the digestive tract. Complex food molecules are broken down into simpler structures—including sugars and amino acids—that can travel within the blood to nourish tissues or can be stored in cells. That reservoir of chemical bonds and simpler molecules depends on yet another set of variations that set us apart: health, where we live, how we live, and genetic predispositions. 

Fats provide about nine calories per gram versus carbohydrates and proteins, which support us with an average of four calories per gram. Most fiber is loaded with only one or two calories per gram because our digestive enzymes can’t easily break down most plant-based cells. However, if we prepare those foods correctly or chew them more thoroughly, they can provide more energy (i.e., more calories). 

Take a Caesar salad with 50 grams of chicken (200 calories), 20 grams of cheese (180 calories) and 100 grams of lettuce (100 calories). For this Caesar salad, you could find the total calories listed as 480. That serving portion would fit into a large coffee mug. However, if you ate this same salad slowly and chewed it thoroughly, you could derive from it over 650 calories of energy. Food sellers count on people gorging; this way, the sellers get away with estimating lower calorie counts. 

If you gave this salad to a teenage football player who was six feet tall and who weighted 200 pounds, he would probably eat it in four bites in less than 30 seconds and gain from it less than 150 calories of energy, which he could burn off within 40 minutes of walking. If you gave the same salad to Grandma, who was 5’5” tall and who weighed 140 pounds, suppose it took her ten minutes to eat the same portion. She could store over 500 calories from eating that salad, which would generate enough energy to sustain her throughout a four-hour walk. Sellers bend facts for their own benefit the seller.

Attempting to measure calorie intake serves only one purpose. Calorie counts provide yet another excuse for eating artificial food products, crackers and other foods low in nutritional value with empty calories, foods loaded with synthetic byproducts to make the product appear the way more wholesome foods do and to satisfy your cravings. You “feed” a psychological problem.

If you find yourself in a health situation in which you convince yourself that counting calories is the solution, you’re just kidding yourself!