here is a photo of my cat, rory, sneeze-yawning to lighten the mood!
I have a lot of mixed feelings about COVID-19 like do I want to call it coronavirus or COVID-19? In all seriousness I think a lot of people are having mixed feelings right now, there are a lot of "facts" and opinions flying around and it can be hard to filter through it all or read past the headlines. This is scary because there's a lot of unknowns and other than staying home and staying extra vigilant about hygiene (wash your damn hands people) it feels like there's not a lot we can do right now other than sit and see how far it reaches. As a 24 year old I'm not crazy worried about getting it, I'm more concerned about getting it and not knowing and then spreading it to other people who have a struggling immune system.
As this becomes a reality closer to home, and the scare factor rises, I've been slowly preparing to spend most of my time at home and the past two days I finished getting everything on my list. I'm anxiety prone so if I'm just sitting rather than doing, my mind wanders to the worst case scenario - which helps nobody! It feels like Atlanta is on the verge of our inflection point. State workers are being told to stay home, schools are closing, offices are sending workers home, events are being cancelled. The good news is - if we are vigilant we can hopefully shorten the outbreak and get ahead of it! The general thinking that I'm aware of right now seems to be two weeks of social distancing. We don't really know what exactly that means yet, it'll be different for different cities. Based on Atlanta grocery stores today, I'm not the only one planning for two weeks or more. If you haven't been yet, try to make a trip this weekend! Some extra food won't hurt but by NO MEANS do we need to be hoarding right now y'all be reasonable - there are other people who need things too.
As far as groceries go I've been grabbing extra freezer and pantry items such as:
Brown rice (because its sooo much faster than cooking dry rice)
Chicken / shrimp / scallops
Freezer prepped meals
Almond milk carton
Any spices that are running low
Olive/ avocado oil - whatever cooking oil you use
Cans of coconut milk
White wine vinegar (for pickling veggies)
Pasta / rice
Cans of beans
Canned green chiles
Flour/ sugar/ baking powder
Coffee (I use nespresso pods)
Sausages (will last longer than raw meat!)
Any sauces I'm running low on (sriracha, mustard, etc)
Tortillas / Bread
Lettuce - several varieties
Things I'm prepping to freeze:
Cubed sweet potato (although these will last a while in your pantry)
The basic idea / my game plan here:
For a week it would be easy to keep your typical fresh fruits and veggies in your fridge. Meats will last according to their best by/ sell by date so try to buy a package thats farthest out. Eggs will last surprisingly long so grab a carton of those. One week would be pretty standard. I know lots of people only go to the grocery store 1x per week, so just buy extra because you wouldn't be eating out. Also buy things that you can cook in different ways to mix things up!
Now for preparing past a week: frozen fruits, spinach, and pantry almond milk (freeze after opening) will make great smoothies! You can also bake them into muffins. Frozen veggies and rice are great for a rice bowl, fried rice, omelet, anything you'd normally use fresh veggies for. Because frozen vegetables are frozen at their prime, they pack a great amount of nutrients. Frozen spinach can also be thrown into soups. I have a bunch of cauliflower gnocchi because I know how quickly I go through it and its great to have on hand at all times anyways. Frozen meats are easy to thaw out or sit in the fridge overnight especially if you've pre-marinated them, so easy!
I love keeping fresh herbs on hand, they add a lot to any dish. Because they won't last a full three weeks here are my two tips:
1) melt butter, add in herbs, put into an ice tray and stick in the freezer or fridge for easy herb butter! you can also do this with olive oil.
2) I bought a basil plant because it'll stay alive and keep growing leaves so I'll have fresh basil! I kept the last one alive for like six months with the help of my roommate.
Sitting at home would get boring quickly, I stocked up on baking ingredients because that's a fun at home activity. My roommate quickly pointed out that I can't stay home and bake for three weeks because we'd be the only people eating it. Fair. I also have puzzles, books, a cat, plenty of tea, friends to call, painting supplies and four different streaming subscriptions...lol. If you have a pup - try baking homemade puppy treats!!
Outside of the kitchen:
Pet food - even if you think you have enough for 3 weeks, grab an extra bag (also cat litter!)
Shampoo / conditioner / body wash
Other toiletries - toothpaste, tampons, hand soap, face wash, etc
Spa day things - face makes, nail polish, bath bombs - gotta keep yourself entertained!
First aid - band aids, ibuprofen, other meds you take regularly, vitamins (again, no hoarding, you probably don't need 500 advils)
Dish detergent and laundry detergent
Toilet paper (be reasonable people!!)
Candles / lighter / matches - candles are just fun and homey
Board games / puzzles / new book - entertainment!
I AM NOT AN EXPERT. This is just what I'm doing. Use the CDC, DPH, and your local government as primary resources.
Here's how I see it -
I'm not worried about getting it because I am (thankfully) a relatively healthy person and only 24. Now is the time to be considerate of other people who can't say the same - be cautious of who you could pass it on to. Help others where you can.
Create calm where you can. Nobody is having fun with this, choose your words carefully and spread some extra compassion.
If we can all make some small and smart sacrifices now, odds are we can prevent this from getting really bad.
Keep up with the news but don't hit refresh every five minutes!! (I was guilty of this, it won't easy your conscience) Stick with reliable sources.
This isn't a time to forget about nutrients. Don't give up on fresh foods. Even if the frozen aisle is out of frozen fruits and veggies - buy some fresh ones, cut them up and freeze them yourself!
Wash your hands. Be reasonable. Be smart. & try to stay positive.
drink lots of water, wash your hands, stay home if you need to. stay healthy people!