Managing a diet while in lockdown

Managing a diet while in lockdown

Lauren Chassebi

Lifestyle blogger Lauren Chassebi writes about accessible veganism and sustainable living. Here she shares her thoughts on how managing her diet during the Coronavirus pandemic has taught her to adapt.

The coronavirus pandemic has instilled fresh anxieties in us all, making it easy for us to slip into fear. We witnessed this when the initial fears of a lockdown led people to panic buy, stripping supermarkets of supplies. By now we’ve all seen the photos that circulated online of aisles empty of fresh food, tinned supplies and toilet paper.

In the weeks since these events, something has become very clear: in order to succeed, individuals cannot only think of themselves.

On my first visit to a supermarket after the panic buying began, I started to feel anxious. Seeing empty shelves made me worry about the people who weren’t able to do regular food shops and get all the supplies they needed. It made me nervous for elderly people, and for families living paycheck to paycheck who can’t afford to bulk buy foods.

Managing food shortages

Panic buying would never be in my nature, but as somebody who eats a fairly restricted vegan diet I worried whether I was going to be able to buy what I needed when the sudden wave of chickpea panic buying took the nation. These concerns are minimal compared to the struggles other people are facing at the moment, but we’re all having to make make sacrifices in the current climate, regardless of our diet.

A lot of foods that are vegan staples that were previously easy to buy are in much higher demand now. Foods like pasta, rice, tinned beans and fresh fruits are being bought much more frequently, because they’re easy ingredients to use and store. In the beginning this made me nervous that all the food I eat was going to disappear and I’d have to opt for other choices that weren’t in my diet.

Luckily this fear has reduced since shopping has been regulated by supermarkets, and the shelves are starting to look less scary. It seems obvious to suggest, but the best way to manage food shortages is to just buy only what you need. If you’re quite controlling of your diet, it can feel frightening to know that you might have to step out of a comfortable routine, but if you can’t find your usual choices in store, there are always other options. Remembering this has helped me to reduce my own anxieties around food.

Use what you have, and help others

The current circumstances have shown me that it’s really fun to experiment. This doesn’t only apply to vegan diets. I’ve found that when I don’t have the right ingredients in the house or can’t get them, I try other things which I may not necessarily have tried before. I’ve taught myself to make my own oat milk (it’s cheaper and tastes almost as good!), I’ve turned handfuls of blackening fruits into steaming banana breads, and made ‘any vegetable works in a curry if you grate it finely enough’ plates of wonder. I’ve whipped up frothy coffees and made my own hummus.

The key here is that it’s possible to adapt. Everything feels scary and difficult when it’s not what we’re used to, so focus on what you do have and not what you don’t.


The Coronavirus will be devastating, but it will help the world move forward

My life inside China’s coronavirus quarantine

We are currently living in times none of us could have ever imagined for ourselves or our loved ones. Through the rose-tinted lens of distance, the new decade looked to be one full of promise and new opportunities. It still can be, but before then, we need to work together to get through what feels like an extremely difficult period.

It’s important to think of others as well as yourself, and to lend a helping hand where you can. It’s about not letting fear get you down. We need to look out for those who have it hardest. When in crisis, the most important thing to do is to extend a hand to other people. This virus can affect anyone, but it is most likely to hit those who are already vulnerable the hardest Selfishness has no place in a worldwide pandemic, and panic buying, not staying home and thinking the rules don’t apply are what makes the situation worse.

Donate to food banks if you can, donate money to worthwhile causes or to the healthcare workers risking their lives, support your neighbours and offer emotional support to your friends. We can get through this, and we’ll get through it together.

More by Lauren:

Notes from an introverted feminist

Why I didn’t support the conservative party on World Mental Health Day


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