Coping with Food Shortages During a Pandemic

The current food shortages in the US are not due to a broken supply chain
or production issues. The empty store shelves are a result of people panic
buying more than they need and hoarding supplies.

Some folks are buying in bulk so that they can price gouge these products
and sell them at a mark up to desperate people. Never encourage price
gouging by buying from people hoping to make a quick buck. Things are not
that desperate yet. A couple here in B.C. were fined for doing that!

The empty shelves are just a temporary inconvenience. In fact, trucks are
still transporting supplies and store shelves are being stocked even as
you read this.

Quotas are being enforced to limit how many essential items every customer
can buy. So, there’s no need to panic that you’ll die of starvation unless
you kill and eat your neighbor.

In the meantime, here’s what you can do to ensure that you don’t end up
with nutrient deficiencies…

1. Get supplements
We need food for nutrients. It’s as basic as that. If there’s insufficient
food, supplements will help to take up the slack. In fact, even with food,
supplements are crucial because our foods are low in nutrients due to
intensive farming on nutrient-depleted soils.

So, pick up a multivitamin, a greens supplement, some fish oil pills,
garlic oil, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, curcumin, coconut oil,
etc. Since many places are on lockdown and self-isolation is required,
vitamin D is especially important if you don’t get enough sunlight.

Bodybuilding supplements like whey protein, egg protein, BCAAs, etc. are
all useful. Most people do not look to these as a source of food… and yet,
they can be used to replace meals too.

2. Protein beats carbs
Your body can survive without carbs, but you need protein and fats. So, if
there’s canned food like sardines, beans, etc. get those.

Your goal should be to buy foods that are high in protein. You can get your
fats from coconut oil or olive oil. Carbs should be an afterthought. Buy
foods based on nutrition and not taste.

Very often, people try to stock up on pasta, rice, bread, instant noodles,
etc. These are unnecessary carbs that lead to obesity. We’re in a pandemic
now. It’s time to wean yourself off your carbs and get lean. The silver
lining to this COVID-19 cloud is that you finally have all the necessary
conditions to accelerate weight loss.

3. Intermittent fasting
Here’s the truth – if the shelves are empty and it’s going to be a few days
before the food arrives, you can’t eat like you’re accustomed to. Aim for
just one meal a day. Don’t worry. You won’t perish. In fact, your body will
begin a process of self-cleansing and you’ll actually feel better. Even if
all you did was go on a water fast for 5 days, you’d be fine. You’ll
experience increased mental clarity, more energy and a feeling of
‘lightness’. You’ll feel great. All hunger pangs usually disappear after
the 3rd day.

4. Ration your foods 
Take stock of the food you have and make a weekly plan as to how you’ll
ration it among your family members. Eating blindly without concern will
put you in a situation where you may not have enough.

5. Shop when you can
Even if it means waking up at 6 am to join a supermarket queue, do it.
Family members can take turns daily to do some shopping. While you
shouldn’t be hoarding, you should at least have enough food to last you
and your family for 3 days. Just by buying a little extra each time, you’ll
be able to meet your requirements. Most importantly, you must have a plan.
Don’t end up having a pantry that only has chocolate cookies and canned

6. Order your groceries online
There may be some hiccups and your orders may get canceled or the
inventory may have sold out. Nevertheless, be persistent. Things are getting
better now and you should be able to get an order through sooner or later.
Shopping online is easier and you’ll have food stores to tide you over any
shortages at the brick and mortar supermarkets.

The COVID-19 pandemic is NOT World War 3. There’s no destruction of supply
lines or amenities. Everything is still functioning, just at a slower rate
because of the lockdowns and other measures. Hoarding and panic buying will
not help you or anyone else during this situation.

Keep a level mind and buy what you need and just a little bit extra to last
for 3 days. That should more than suffice. Eat one meal a day and look at
this period as an opportunity to lose weight and achieve the body you’ve
always wanted. Now is as good a time as any.