Social Distance: Nix Carry-outs; Create Healthy Options At Home

I’m a healthcare worker (nurse support tech in Baltimore’s GBMC hospital), so distancing from people with pneumonia, the flu, and tuberculosis is nothing new.

Social Distancing on the MTA busses in Baltimore. The yellow chain prevents us from sitting in the seats closest to the driver, meaning we enter from the rear doors. Because the bus is my primary transport for work, I’ve reported my concern that on the more busier lines, we need the long busses. That chain keeps the driver safe from us, but bunches us up in the middle and back of the bus making social distancing impossible.

In the hospital, we gown, mask and glove up for the aforementioned conditions as well as, MRSA, C-diff, HIV and other health concerns to ensure that we can continue to care for our patients.

But for me, social distancing during COVID-19 means much more than staying out of movie theaters and getting off crowded busses. Along with protecting my physical health, social distancing also means being wary of where I’m getting my food.

SHOULD CARRYOUTS BE A CONCERN?

Well, shouldn’t they be? For me, they definitely are.

Actually, I don’t know how pizza joints, Subway, restaurants offering carryout foods wouldn’t be a concern during a pandemic where personal contact is prohibited to prevent the spread of disease.

FACT – COVID-19 can live on surfaces. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), while COVID-19 is primarily spread person to person via droplets from coughing and/or sneezing, it is possible that an we could touch an infected surface and then touch our face thereby passing the infection. (You can read the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions section here.)

FACT – People can be carriers of the virus and STILL be asymptomatic. (Basketball player Donovan Mitchell; actor Idris Elba and his wife)

Now because the CDC stipulates that we should primarily be concerned with person-to-person contact, they also insist that we wipe down surfaces and don’t touch our faces – hence my concern about carry-outs.

It’s that unknown factor.

Even if I stand in Subway and watch the workers don plastic gloves to make my favorite veggie patty sub as they always do:

  • How do I know that they are virus-free?
  • How do I know they’re practicing proper hand hygiene?
  • How do I know they’ve properly cleaned the oven door-handle that they just touched (gloves on) to open and toast my bread, and then continue making my sandwich (same gloves – which while I’m thinking about it, isn’t very sanitary pandemic or no pandemic.)

To be honest?

Everything I’m concerned about right now because of this pandemic, is a general concern on a day-to-day basis.

While I understand that restaurants offering carry-out are trying to keep their businesses running and offer convenience to their customers, I just find the unknowns very uncomfortable.

BUT THERE’S A BRIGHT SIDE!

Creativity in the kitchen!

You’re home with time on your hands and a well-stocked fridge and pantry, right? Instagram is loaded with virtual recipes – as long or short as you need; vegan, vegetarian or meat-based.

Why not take this time to not only try and create some of your favorite goodies you’d normally run to the carryout for, but improve your nutritional health by experimenting with low-sodium, – sugar, and – fat but satisfying foods?

Other than practicing preventive methods: washing/sanitizing our hands and staying home to control the spread, this health scare is out of our control. We don’t know new development each day may bring.

But we can take this time to skip carry-outs right now and create new health habits that can have ripple effects. On what? Check out these:  

  • Weight loss – Summer is still coming! Carryout food is delicious for a reason – extra fat, extra sugar, extra sodium – which mean extra pounds. Eating more prepared food from home is an excellent way to start taking control of your food intake.
  • Your financial health – How much do you rely on carryout food in a week? Think of the $$$$ you can save right now while we’re practicing social distancing.
  • Healthier lifestyle – You don’t have to be a chef to prepare/eat healthy meals. You just have to be motivated – perhaps by a wicked little virus. This is a great time to learn/practice food prep; to develop a taste for your own cooking style; to learn to be satiated with your own foods designed to lower your blood pressure, get you off medications, and boost your health for the long run.

Here’s to your health!

I welcome your thoughts!

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