coronavirus quarantine

How to Prepare for Quarantine: A Mama Doctor’s Guide

Dr. Jolene Brighten What to Eat Leave a Comment

In this article I’m going to walk you through how to prepare for quarantine and what my family did to prepare. And I’ve got a 3 day meal plan for you along with some recipes to support. Plus, you'll find a shopping list below with additional items to help you prepare.

My family and were placed on quarantine as of yesterday. We are not sick. But our governor mandated a quarantine in which traveling outside of the house for anything other than food or medical needs incurs a $5,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. So yeah, we're taking this seriously.

In times like this we need to be mindful of our food sensitivities and food allergies, but we also need to be flexible with how we can nourish our body. Be gentle with yourself. Do the best you can with your circumstances and skip any judgement or diet dogma (per usual).

Before heading to the store, please keep in mind that taking only what you need ensures others have enough to eat. Some have to budget and will be making trips to the store later than you. Imagine if they arrived to find empty shelves and are unable to feed themselves or their family. Reach out to neighbors, donate if you take too much, and do your part to ensure we all have enough to eat.

In this video I review with you what we did to prepare and things to consider for your family.

How to Prepare for Quarantine Food

These are items everyone should consider having on hand in case of an emergency. They will also serve you in the event you are quarantined and can last you a long time.

As a general guideline, start with perishable food first. If you don’t feel you can get to it then consider cooking and/or freezing or donating to someone else in need. 

Make larger batches of soup, casserole and other meals to freeze. You can make extra if you’re cooking and store in the freezer for later. 

Consider freezing onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to make a quick soup stock. In the video below I share a freezer tip for building bone broth.

I also recommend freezing herbs in olive oil. All you need to do is chop herbs, place in an ice cube tray and fill with olive oil. Once frozen, store in a freezer bag. These are easy to use to put into soups, stews, and other meals.

Ensure you have enough salt, pepper, seasonings, condiments, and what makes you enjoy food. Butter, jelly/ jams, cheese, hummus, guacamole, as well as cooking oils are good to consider as well.

The list below is a long term food strategy. You can still buy fresh produce, meat, eggs, and other things you’d normally purchase for a 1-2 week period, but you should also have some of these items on hand.

Root Vegetables

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and yams can last longer and provide nutrients plus carbohydrates. Also consider having turmeric, ginger, and other root spices on hand as they can help with stomach upset, are anti-inflammatory and have a host of other benefits.

Oh and have chocolate. Definitely chocolate! 😉

Dried Foods

Have on hand beans, lentils, oats, flour, cereal, rice, quinoa and other dried foods that work for your diet. If you know you have a corn, gluten or other sensitivity then make selections like coconut, rice, cashew, and almond flour. I also recommend getting some baking, pancake, and bread mixes if baking is your thing. This can be a great activity and a way to add variety.

Consider dried soups like ramen or bone broth soups to have on hand, as they last a longtime and can be great for when you want to make something quick.

Don’t forget to stock up on the baking soda, salt, baking powder, and other baking essentials.

Frozen Foods

Vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower rice, carrots, peas, and many other vegetables can be found frozen. You can even grab cauliflower rice to add to a variety of meals. This can help you ensure you’re getting enough vegetables daily and deliver you nutrient dense meals.

Fruit

Strawberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, acai, bananas, and cherries can be bought frozen or prepared at home. Preparing at home can give you something to occupy yourself if you are quarantined and aren’t working. You can also look for smoothie blends that include greens with fruit in individual servings.

Broths and Soups

You can freeze your own or you can purchase pre-made versions. This can be a great meal to have on hand if you do get sick. Sipping on broth can be so comforting and nourishing.

See the recipe below for a Curried Cauliflower Soup.

Meat

You can buy meat and store yourself or purchase frozen burger patties, chicken, lamb, bison, etc. Finding frozen salmon, shrimp, and other seafood is relatively easy and it can help you ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients in your diet.

Also consider corn dogs, chicken nuggets, fish sticks and other things that can make it fun for kids or just mix it up for yourself. In our house, we find gluten free versions. It can really turn a bad day around for my son to have a fun, kid-centered meal where I cut cucumbers into stars, making dipping sauces for vegetables, and have a handful of chicken nuggets.

Pizza and Other Pre-Made Meals

We had pizza on our list because “pizza and a movie” on Friday night can add a sense of normalcy to a not so normal situation. Find some premade meals that can help lift your spirits. During quarantine it’s ok to have a meal that lifts your spirits. 

Canned Foods

Canned foods, when stored properly, have a very long shelf life. Having canned food on hand can ensure you’re ready for many of the unexpected things that can come your way. If you need to plan your food supply, save these items to use last and focus on the most perishable items first.

Vegetables

Look for low-sodium if possible, but know that unless you have a medical condition, this isn’t a deal breaker. Canned pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A, an essential nutrient for immune function. 

Beets are an excellent food for supporting liver metabolism of your hormones. And while you’re at it, load up on some carrots, peas, and green beans as a vegetable based carbohydrate source and fiber to support estrogen clearance through the bowels.  

Fruit

Sure, I know the idea of canned fruit might not sound amazing if you’re reminiscing about childhood. But canned fruit and fruit cups have come a long way. Consider getting a variety of pears, peaches, pineapple, mandarin oranges and other fruits to mix up your stay at home meals.

While it is best to select low sugar options, in times like these we need to get what we can and stay fueled.

Canned Beans

Navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans…all the beans are great sources of carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Pair them with fat, vegetables, and maybe even some additional protein.

Fish

Canned wild-caught salmon and sardines are a couple I have in my pantry right now. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a source of selenium and iodine, these make for an easy to store and hormone-friendly food! 

Sample 3 Day Meal Plan

This meal plan is a general guide to give you an idea of using perishable food first before moving on to the dry, frozen and canned food. Use it as a guide and adjust to fit your dietary needs.

Day 1 

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sautéed broccoli, fresh sliced tomatoes
Lunch: Green salad with salmon salad on top 
Dinner: Shrimp with Sweet Potatoes and Kale
Snack: Apples and nut butter

Day 2

Breakfast: Breakfast Bowl with Beans, quinoa, canned tomatoes or salsa, fresh sliced avocado, cilantro
Lunch: Left Over Shrimp with Sweet Potatoes and Kale
Dinner: Curried Cauliflower Soup with ground turkey 
Snack: Olives, hummus, and celery sticks

Day 3

Breakfast: Pancakes with frozen blueberries and almond butter on top. 
Small salad: ¼ cup broccoli sprouts with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
Sausage links
*Use a pancake mix that works for you. We use Birch Benders.
Lunch: Lentils with mushrooms over brown rice with roasted cauliflower. Add protein of your choice.
Dinner: Pasta, ground beef, frozen vegetables, tomato sauce.
* If you need gluten free pasta choose chickpea, black bean, quinoa or other gluten free options
Snack: Chia Seed Pudding with canned fruit. A 1/4 cup of nuts.

Recipes 

Simple Salmon Salad

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve likely seen my salmon salad obsession in my stories. I LOVE salmon salad and load it up with things that can support your hormones, gut, mood, and more!

You can use canned salmon or leftovers to make this easy recipe. I’m a fan of making more salmon and then enjoying it the next day. But I also keep canned salmon on hand.

Here’s one variation I enjoy almost weekly…

Ingredients:

  1. 1 can of wild caught salmon (I opt for no bones, but if you’re down with them then go for it)
  2. 2-4 TBSP mayonnaise 
  3. 2 tsp mustard
  4. 1 pickle, diced
  5. ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
  6. ⅓ cup celery, sliced
  7. 2 TBSP fermented beets or kraut
  8. 1 carrot grated
  9. Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the salmon and mix all the ingredients together. Place the salmon on a bed of greens like kale, romaine, chard, spinach, or whatever you like. I will also sprinkled seeds that correspond with my cycle as part of seed cycling.

Check out this article on Seed Cycling to see when I choose pumpkin & ground flax seeds versus sesame and sunflower seeds.

Other things I like to add for variety include bok choy, cabbage, bell peppers, broccoli sprouts, tomatoes, and pretty much any vegetable I have on hand!

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Make ahead of time and store in the freezer to reheat later. 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium yellow onion 
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • ¾ cup water 
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14oz.) can coconut cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt

Directions: 

  1. Process cashews in the food processor until finely ground. 
  2. Add 3/4 cup water and mix for 2 minutes. Strain cashew mix through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard solids. 
  3. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add onion and saute until golden.
  4. Add the garlic and stir for one minute.  
  5. Add the cauliflower, coconut milk, strained cashew milk, and seasoning. 
  6. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the pot and reheat if serving hot. 
  8. Garnish with cilantro. 

Shrimp with Sweet Potatoes & Kale 

If you don’t have access to kale then select a different leafy green or improvise with frozen vegetables. You can purchase shrimp frozen to use in the future.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups kale, chopped, stems removed
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups fresh shrimp
  • 3 cups trimmed and coarsely chopped kale leaves
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. In a pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and red pepper flakes. Saute until onions are soft and golden. 
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of water, garlic and sweet potatoes. Cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp and kale. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked and kale is wilted. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Shopping List for Quarantine

This is a list of what was shown in the videos. What you need may differ.

Consider what you would need…

  • On a daily basis
  • If you do get sick
  • If you have allergies
  • If you have a baby
  • If you get your period
  • If you got a common mild injury (kitchen burns, minor cut or scrape, etc)

Medicine Cabinet

  • Burn cream
  • Neosporin
  • Benadryl
  • Allergy medication
  • OTC medications
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Bandaids
  • Gauze
  • Med tape
  • Ace bandage
  • Butterfly bandage
  • Ibuprofen
  • Neopropoline gloves
  • Mucinex
  • Hydrocortisone cream

Supplements 

Personal Items

  • Pads
  • Cora tampons
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner 
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Salve 

Water Filter

Household Items

  • All Purpose Cleaner: Branch Basics
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Handsoap
  • Toilet paper (only what you need)
  • Paper towels

Activities

  • Books
  • Crafts
  • Supplies for unfinished projects
  • Home workout equipment

Pet Supplies

  • Food
  • Medication
  • Litter

Addition Food Items 

  • Coffee 
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Wild pacific sardines
  • Canned salmon
  • Canned beans
  • Almost butter
  • Chia seeds
  • Broccoli and sunflower seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Birch benders
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Black bean pasta
  • Rice

I hope this information is helpful for you. In the video above I show you how we have prepared for a quarantine as a family.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is one of the leading experts in women’s medicine and is a pioneer in her exploration of the far-reaching impact of hormonal birth control and the little known side effects that impact health in a large way. In her best selling book, Beyond the Pill, she shares her clinical protocols aimed at supporting women struggling with symptoms of hormone imbalance, including Post-Birth Control Pill Syndrome and birth control related side effects. A trained nutritional biochemist and Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Brighten is the founder and Clinic Director at Rubus Health, an integrative women’s medicine clinic. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as Forbes, Cosmopolitan, ABC news, and the New York Post. Read more about me here.