• Dan Sennet

Is Covid Survival Killing You?

I try to focus Bald Baker content around healthy eating, recipes, a bit of entrepreneurialism, etc., but every now and again, I step back one level and discuss those topics in the context of a healthy lifestyle... something that has fallen by the wayside as I weather this storm with my family.

Doing my duty by staying in has dramatically increased my chances of avoiding any exposure to Covid, but it has also increased my waist line, my screen time and my bad habits. I'm actually anxious that by surviving, by getting by, that I'm setting a bad example for my kids. Why is that?

It starts with going grocery shopping - something I used to do often, eagerly and usually with a degree of joy. I could take my sweet time, browse the aisles, check out new products and compare them (aka judge them). Now, the entire experience sucks. I need to wear gloves and a mask, follow arrows, be mindful of other browsers, definitely not touch anything and get out as fast as possible. So what I choose to buy are the staples and the easy conveniences. It's no wonder that Bald Baker's in-store sales have seen a decline. Despite the best efforts of our retailers, the grocery shopping experience is scary and it sucks.

After a full day working then playing with my kids, pretty much the last thing I want to do is create more of a mess and bake a healthy snack batch. What's really scary is that I've tried to teach my kids to be mindful of what you eat - choose wisely, etc, but then I find myself around 10:30 eating chips.

I also try to limit my kids' screen time (under normal circumstances) because there's more valuable uses of one's time than watching Paw Patrol. But as soon as they go to bed.. it's a straight shot to the couch.

As a crutch, I play blackjack on my phone. It's mindless entertainment and it's my go to. My son sees me playing games on my phone and asks to play, and I'll naturally reply 'no' but that's so hypocritical of me, it's shameful.

I've become my own worst enemy - the guy I write about trying to avoid becoming. So, without sounding preachy, I've started experimenting with embracing these embarrassing stains on my conscience in a way that is actually positively affecting me and those around me.

For example:

  • I shit you not, I started eating chips while walking on the treadmill while watching tv. Not everyone has a treadmill, noted, but trying watching tv on the floor while doing crunches, or push ups or jumping jacks, or skipping rope. It's weird, but it works. Once you start working up a bit of a sweat, your body starts to release hormones that actually give you greater pleasure than what you get from those chips. Plus you've just burned a whole bunch of good calories that can mitigate the bad ones from the chips.

  • I started making a list of items to get before going to the grocery. Seems intuitive, but I used to just go, get what looked good, and that'd be that. Now, if I know that I want to eat a healthy snack, I can plan it out in advance what I want to buy and then bake when it's convenient.

  • I don't roll on Shabbos and I only bake on Sunday mornings. Then, I bake enough to stash some in a cookie jar, plus some in the fridge for later in the week, then some more frozen for next week. Bake enough for two weeks. Sunday mornings work because you're in a good mood with lots of energy, you've got the whole day ahead of you (as opposed to behind you when you're tired) and you're about to eat brunch and what's more awesome than a fresh baked something for a brunch dessert?

  • On screen time, I don't like the phone, I like the game mechanic of beating the dealer. I realized that my son is a natural gamer and so I taught him to play Blackjack with real cards, real chips and real people sitting around the table. Nevermind that I now have a 4.5 year old son with a bit of a gambling problem, he can now add every permutation to 21 and we have fun playing games together.

  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we are living in a bat-shit crazy pandemic that has literally shut down the world and affected every facet of our lives. If you need a little alone time in front of a screen and a bag chips - go for it and don't feel guilty. You do you and you do whatever it takes to get through this. Nobody at all can judge you for that.

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