My husband, Don, died unexpectedly eight weeks ago and our family has been “sheltering in place” since then. We are oddly comforted by the fact that the world has now joined us in our hibernation – although we are deeply saddened by the cause.
Here in California, we have officially been on “lockdown” for nearly two weeks. As the rest of the country slowly joins us, our experience might be helpful as you prepare, so this first postcard is focused on the most basic of necessities: food! We’ll get to all the creative ways to work, exercise, socialize and actually enjoy this time later!
Store What You Eat, Grow What You Can
This global pandemic presents a unique opportunity to create the pantry of your dreams, just remember to store what you eat, grow what you can. Think about what you enjoy eating, make a loose menu plan for a month and shop with those recipes in mind. Don’t forget to include daily medications and food for your pet on your list.
We are mostly plant-based and so we know what that means for us – lots of beans, rice, quinoa, pasta, eggs, almond milk – plenty of broths for making soups, onions, garlic and jars of gourmet sauce to make our pasta delicious. For us, fresh produce is the issue, so we are growing herbs* and lettuces, we have frozen ingredients for our daily smoothie, and we added a weekly CSA box to supply what we typically would get from the farmer’s market. Some of these things you will be too late for – like the CSA (community supported agriculture) box or toilet paper delivery from Who Give a Crap – but join the waitlist and then consider keeping when life goes back to normal, so the suppliers can count on your business.
*Herbs have been used since ancient times to fight viruses and boost immune systems – so get growing!
Plan for Emotional Eating!
Don’t forget to stock up on baking supplies + ice cream! Baking your own bread can be a fun activity as much as a necessity and occasional batches of cookies or ice cream can provide a much needed emotional boost. You also may be exercising more (we’ve loved the live classes our local studio is offering and “joining” friends at theirs) so consider the indulgence your reward!
When You Have to Venture Out
We are able to use Instacart, and schedule our deliveries on Monday or Tuesday when the stores are restocked. If you must go out to shop, if possible limit to one person, once a week. Reusable tote bags can sustain the COVID-19 and flu viruses — and spread them throughout the store – so experts recommend leaving them at home or wash them after each shopping outing. Some stores here is CA are temporarily banning them and returning to paper – so check your local store for guidelines.
Many stores have worked out clear systems and visual cues in place (ie tape on the floor) for spacing out when waiting in line – so be patient, follow directions and remember to thank the employees providing their essential service. Protect yourself and those around you by wearing gloves and a mask (a buff is a good solution) if possible, and remember to remove your gloves before you get back in your car to drive home. Wash your hands, shower and wash your clothes immediately, and disinfect any countertops used for unloading. (Don’t forget to follow this protocol when unboxing any deliveries – as the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours at a minimum.)
I recognize that many are struggling financially, emotionally and physically, but hopefully, this postcard from the inside will provide some practical solutions you can adapt to your situation. It is up to all of us to embrace this new world with bravery, creativity, humor, gratitude, hope, and intelligence – things my family has learned a lot about recently – and find the silver lining in it all. Wishing you continued health and safety, Sarah