Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are plenty of good reasons to be outdoors this summer, and now we can add ‘safe haven’ to the list. As we all know, strict isolation strategies have been employed since mid-March to curb the spread of the pandemic. The resulting isolation, combined with fear of contagion and misinformation overload (“infodemic”) is creating a great deal of confusion and stress.[1]

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There is no question that reducing the contact rate of latent individuals, and interventions such as quarantine and isolation, can effectively reduce the potential peak number of infections and delay the time of peak infection. However, as much as I believe this to be true as it applies to being indoors, I question whether being outdoors—even in groups—poses much risk at all. While there is still so much we don’t know about the virus transmission, we have yet to see proof or a strong likelihood that the outdoors poses a significant risk.  In fact, research suggests it may be safer compared to indoors.


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The distribution of community outbreaks of the current global pandemic shows seasonal patterns associated with latitude, temperature, and humidity, which is similar to the behavior of seasonal viral respiratory tract infections.[1]

The seasonality of many viral infections is associated with a lack of sunlight, which results in low 25(OH)D concentrations and an uptick in diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.[2],[3],[4] While it’s obvious that winter in temperate climates interferes with sufficient exposure to ultra violet rays, the rainy season in tropical climates also results in low UVB exposure.


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“The greater the suffering, the greater God’s love is bestowed onto you.” Padre Pio

People have been increasingly distancing themselves from each other, even before this horrific pandemic hit. Years ago, in an interview with Self magazine, I was asked what I thought the number one contributor was to our poor health. My answer then was the same as it is now—a lack of intimacy. We’re losing the quality and ability to relate, not just to each other, but to our environment and Nature. For example, people go for walks, but instead of quietly connecting with nature, many are focused on their phones. People at my gym walk around with earbuds in and don’t make eye contact with each other. We are lonely, and most of us don’t even know it. With the sudden onset of COVID-19, we’ve isolated even more. Meanwhile, the opportunity to be present and in tune with our surroundings and each other exists every day. Even if we are physically distant, our deep presence can make even the briefest or seemingly small encounters more lasting and meaningful.


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Health Optimization and Adaptogens – An Effective Strategy Against Pathogens

In general, I am astonished by how little attention is placed on the value and importance of good health in our society. In the face of the current pandemic, with underlying co-morbidities present in an estimated 60% of the population, increasing the risk of death from complications, there is an even greater urgency to educate our communities and urge our citizens to adopt the key components to optimal health. For example, there is now a clear association between diabetes and increased mortality and severity in COVID-19 pneumonia, and ocular symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2).[1] These and many other underlying conditions can be successfully managed by applying the fundamental building blocks to optimal health and wellness, which include nutrition, botanical medicine, lifestyle, and diet. The more robust our health at the molecular, cellular, and organ system levels, the better equipped we are to resist and recover from disease.


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The vibrant colors we observe in plants serve a different role depending on the organism being considered.  For the plant itself, the pigments may aid in the absorption of light and photosynthesis, as well as contribute to metabolism and reproduction.  For birds and insects, the pigments provide a signal to the availability of food, such as nectar or pollen.  For humans, the pigments may provide a clue of the type of health benefits we are likely to incur upon ingestion.


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“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

During these unprecedented times, it’s important for all of us to focus on positive steps that we can take to stay healthy, not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. As difficult as things may appear to be, remember that within every crisis lie opportunities for growth and change.


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