Eating Healthy at Home During a Global Pandemic by Flora Athlete Ambassador, Patrick Reagan
During the 2020 year, my family has spent a great deal of time at home much like the rest of humanity. This year has been overwhelming and at times frustrating with the state of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Living in isolation from others and hardly ever leaving home was a difficult transition from my usual travels throughout the world as a professional athlete. Earlier in the year, I felt like every person I knew was making sourdough weekly with their extra time at home. In our home, we’ve focused a great deal of our energies on improving and diversifying our diet this year.
For years, we have subscribed to our local C.S.A (Community Supported Agriculture) in Savannah, GA which delivers to our home weekly. The “farm bag” contains 20lbs of produce from all over the region from farmers with sustainable growing practices. This year, our diet has become even more plant based as we’ve subscribed to the 30lb C.S.A. through Savannah Farm Bag. We are able to add eggs, bread, cheese, meat, and fish in addition to the diverse crop of vegetables/fruit the bag provides. Receiving the farm bag challenges us in the kitchen by providing foods we are not used to cooking with on a regular basis. The first time we received kohlrabi we didn’t know what to do with it, but now have a good grasp on cooking with it in many different dishes.
In addition to diversifying our diet with produce, we have also focused on using healthy fats to improve our diet and make our plant based meals more lively. We have always regularly used olive oil in the kitchen, but have been experimenting with Flora’s plethora of cooking and finishing oils. To accompany salads and quinoa/rice based dishes, we have been utilizing both Sacha Inchi and Toasted Sesame Oil on a regular basis. In the fall this year, we’ve been using Flora Pumpkin Oil to finish roasted root vegetables and really lean into the autumn flavors.
My wife Adrienne has become quite the fermenter during the pandemic. We have been supplementing our diet for a few years now with Flora’s Apple Cider based tonics. This year, Adrienne decided to take our love for fermented drinks and foods a step further by beginning to craft her own Kombucha with primarily produce and herbs from our garden. She prepares a new batch of Kombucha once a week. In the second ferment, she’s crafted interesting flavors from Watermelon-Jalapeno to Rosemary-Mint.
In addition to brewing Kombucha regularly, Adrienne has also been fermenting cabbage, peppers, radishes, and other produce at home to create a diverse array of flavorful add-ons to any meal. A few of my favorite items she has fermented this year are dill and turmeric ginger flavored sauerkraut. Having a diverse amount of fermented foods at home allows for easy improvements of both the depth and breadth of flavors in bowls, tacos, breakfast, and sandwiches. In addition to being tasty, regular consumption of fermented foods allows for improvements to the eaters gut biome and overall digestive health.
As a professional athlete, I’ve utilized several of Flora’s supplements to guard against iron and bone density deficiencies which have hampered my training i n the past. Floradix Iron + Herbs and Flora Calcium Magnesium Liquid have become essential supplements to my regular diet. Be sure to isolate consumption of calcium from your iron supplements as an athlete (calcium interferes with the absorption of iron). I suggest taking a calcium supplement in the morning with breakfast and iron isolated from dinner by at l east two hours. As a coffee l over, I’ve utilized Flora’s MCT Oil on a regular basis to blend with oat milk and homemade cold brew coffee. The mixture of MCT Oil with my daily cold brew allows for sustained energy throughout the morning and during my first training session of the day. **See my Instagram highlights for a video of this blended coffee drink.
I hope some of these tips on diversifying your diet help you to get creative in the kitchen and enhance the meals your eating while we are all spending more time at home. Stay positive, keep smiling, and keep eating delicious foods dear reader.
Patrick Reagan is a professional ultrarunner for HOKA ONE ONE and privately coaches post-collegiate runners at all levels. He lives in Savannah, GA with his partner, Adrienne, and their two dogs and one cat, Oy, Koda, and Squeaks.