Could there be a “silver lining” to the coronavirus pandemic? I think it is possible.
Norway was one of several western European nations occupied by Nazi Germany during the conflict between 1939 through 1945. The Germans removed all animal livestock from these occupied countries. The native population subsisted on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. Almost immediately death from heart attacks and strokes in Norway plummeted. With the cessation of hostilities in 1945 animal products became available as well as an immediate return to the pre-war levels of deaths from these illnesses. It is a powerful lesson in public health about the cause and cure of our most common killer-heart disease.
This was a common phenomenon in many nations around the world when the normal “aﬄuent diet” was disrupted by a widespread catastrophic event, such as war, or other causes of deprivation.
Could that happen here from the Coronavirus pandemic?
I think it is entirely possible, and not necessarily a bad thing, either.
On a recent trip to my local Whole Foods market, I was expecting to find depleted shelves, limited choices, and poor options for what I usually like to buy to eat.
But to my surprise, that was not exactly what I saw. Interestingly, the produce area looked quite normal. There were also abundant choices of chicken, red meat, and fish. What was clearly depleted were the aisles of cereal, pasta, grains, rice, crackers, cookies, and especially bread and bakery items. Also in short supply were dairy products.
Actually, none of this bothered me. I don’t eat the items that were depleted anyway! The items that I had almost a normal selection of were PALEO Foods. There was a good selection of animal protein and abundant vegetables and fruit — exactly what comprises the Paleo Diet. I was even able to find prepared deli items of cooked chicken.
That’s when it hit me. The pandemic is creating a scarcity of food for many people, but what remains is actually healthier for us to eat anyway.
People are hoarding and stocking up on non-perishable items. It’s not possible to hoard fresh produce. It will go bad. It’s also diﬃcult to hoard animal protein as most people have limited freezer space and it is also a perishable item.
So, it appeared to me that the perishable items like produce, fruit, vegetables and animal protein were of normal amounts in the store as people could buy only limited amounts of them and the markets were able to keep up with replacing the stock as usual.
This scenario creates an automatic shift in one’s diet, as we will become more inclined to purchase and eat fresh produce and animal protein, because all the packaged foods are depleted.
VOILA, a healthy result of the pandemic, which I have so aptly coined THE PANDEMIC DIET.
Just as Europeans during WW ll were forced to eat diﬀerently and actually became healthier as a result, so may the same result become evident if this pandemic continues long enough.
Another potential side benefit of this illness may be the tremendous shift in lifestyle forced upon us by the “shelter in place” directive. For many of us, working from home allows us much more flexibility in our daytime schedule, not to mention the time saved by not having to spend hours commuting to and from work.
What should we do with all this extra free time?
Don’t fret about it, to me it’s a simple solution. Go out and exercise! You can go for long walks, hikes or bike rides and continue to maintain the required social distancing, while simultaneously doing something beneficial for your health.
This may be a blessing in disguise for many of us, assuming we don’t contract the virus.
But taking extra eﬀort to stay well may result in a healthier diet, more time to exercise, less stress, and more time to catch up on sleep. It will be interesting to see if, after all of this is over, there is a measurable improvement in our population’s overall health.
So, take good care of yourselves. Continue the social distancing. Do more exercise. And eat the Pandemic Diet.
To all of you I wish only the best.
In Radiant Health, Dr. Howard Liebowitz
Special Notice to Patients – Office hours during the pandemic
We will attempt to stay open as long as we can to authorize hormone and medication refills.
We will also be available for procedures of Hormone Pellet implants and Ozone Treatments.
All other routine consults can be scheduled as telephone consults.
However, if you feel sick, or have a fever, cough or are sneezing, you should not come to the office. You must stay home to avoid contaminating other people.