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Practical, rational and positive: My personal COVID diary to handle this virus

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A personal story of a passioned foodie experiencing the lost of taste and smell during COVID including a diary on how to handle this unknown journey

Welcome to my personal experience of Covid! In this little – very personal guide – I would like to share what exactly happened from the moment I felt the first symptoms to the day of recovery. The blog post includes suggestions and helpful procedures to make this isolation time more suitable for mind, body & soul. All you read is based on a personal experience and excludes any medical validation. My aim is to share how I experienced all of this and maybe be a little light in the whole covid chaos.

How everything began – Day 1 of my first symptoms

All started with a dry cough and a little sore throat. At this stage I did not really relate my symptoms to covid yet. This is also a reason why I was still meeting some few friends for a walk or a coffee. The second day it continued a bit with the sore throat, I felt more tired and I did also sweat during the night. This is when I started to stop seeing people and I kind of thought, well, it could be covid is coming.

When taste and smell are gone

The third day was the day I decided to go for a covid test since I experienced the disappearing of my taste and smell and somehow my body felt very tired and powerless. From the day I knew I am going to make the test I did not see any people and I isolated myself at home. I was lucky to have a friend that brought me some food and groceries I needed! As an Italian, and as my parents thought me, a basic food stock as tomato sauce, pasta, rice, cheese, nuts or frozen veggies can’t miss at home.

Where to go for the COVID  test in Zurich

I checked online where the best/fastest available place was to get tested. Since some as Triemli Spital showed availability only in 2-3 days I decided to do it at Universitätsspital/Reisezentrum.
As of  now covid tests can also be made in pharmacies. The 4 pharmacies in Zurich that offer the service are

According to information from Pharmasuisse, the rapid tests react to viral antigens and delivers a result within 15 minutes. This requires a smear of the posterior nasal wall. Advantages of the rapid test compared to the PCR test currently in use are not only the speed but also the price and independence from expensive laboratory equipment. Costs for test are covered by the government, if you have symptoms or were in contact with an infected person. If this is not the case, you have to take care of the costs yourself, but you can send in your invoice to the health insurance!

What happens after the covid test is made ?

So, I was sitting at home waiting the test result, but honestly I knew covid virus hit me, because the missing smell and taste was something so unknown to me the way it was. Can’t explain the feeling, but it’s not coming because you feel a blocked nose, it’s just no taste and smell. The result arrived after 24 hours and I was curious about what would happen next. On the one hand with my body on the other hand on the administrative part.
I got an sms some hours later telling me, that someone from the contact tracing would call me. I was sitting there and waiting but nobody ever called. What I received was an email, where I got instruction on how to behave, what means, stay home, inform all people I met 48 hours before the first symptom appeared. Further a questionnaire to fill in all symptoms I returned immediately.

What I really missed in all this very impersonal information was a call of someone telling you where to address if there is an emergency or uncertainty with the symptom that arise

Day 3 to day 6 are a real rollercoaster

My symptoms seem to be consistent the next days with the no taste and no smell. I have no fever and still feel my muscles and brain tired and slow. Nevertheless, I try to do some yoga exercises to understand how my body reacts on fatigue. I experience that it’s good for my mind to be a little active. Meditation helps me to stay calm and accept the fact, that I have no idea, which symptoms will appear the next days.

Day 6-8 put me somehow in difficulty and fear since I experience the first time a strong pressure and heat in my chest. It feels like there is a radiator that burns in my chest. This is the day I decide to call the AERZTEFON (Tel. 0800 33 66 55) . I do not really go regular to see a doctor since I am quite in good shape so I try the number I got from the pharmacy.

The doctor at the phone is very friendly and calms me, she takes my coordinates and explains to me, that everything seems to be in the “norm” and that I shall observe the pressure and breathing quality. She says bye and assures me, that I can call anytime and they will send a doctor, if I do feel I need one. So I hang up and go to bed and try to relax with a good Netflix serie!

Power food to eat during your covid self-care

Day 7 the smell is still not there but somehow I keep myself busy by cooking some easy dishes as veggie soups, since I know my body needs vitamins and honestly it keeps me busy and positive to work in the kitchen!
During the whole day I drink a lot! Absolutely recommend the turmeric tea from the brand Sonnentor made of the ingredients that support the immune system! (turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, fennel, liquorice, black pepper, vanilla pod and cloves).
When it comes to the right food when at home with covid I made a little research online and found out that food rich of potassium sources could be considered a basic nutrition education strategy for self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more on this study here

The use of culinary herbs like oregano, sage and cinnamon as well as increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is encouraged to improve antioxidant levels in the body

Another food suggestion you shouldn’t miss: Eat raw garlic! Its regular consumption can help treat and mange lung disorders including cancer! Garlic contains a phytoutrient called allicin. This is what helps in attacking against microbes causing infection.
My symptoms seem to be consistent with the no taste and smell, still no fever but the pressure and twinge in my chest are continuing. My sleep is deep and I wake up quite “normal” in this first week.

Recommended online food shopping to try when locked at home

I was very happy to find the online delivery shop Mahler & Co. for organic food. They were super fast (2 days of delivery) and have a wide selection of quality biological food including organic wines. This is where I placed my order of a red biodynamic Ripasso! Because you need to be ready, when the taste starts to come back, right? No, I did not consume alcohol while being sick 🙂

This annoying smell of burn  is still here after day 9

It seems as a lot of symptoms are gone, the only thing that irritates me is the smell of burnt in my nose! While after day 9 the taste is nearly all back there is a little thing that keeps annoying me. I smell burnt in my nose! I read online, that the taste of burn is normal and that it is a sign that the senses are recovering from the virus. Well, at least it makes it easier to get along with that topic, and I know, patience will help also here!

Is all this coming soon to an end after 10 days?

Day 10 and I feel like all is nearly gone, wow, it’s an amazing experience, my body seems semi-normal, I still do not have 100% my power back but all other symptoms seem to be gone. I realize when I do my yoga exercises, that the strength in my body is coming back, also the taste is back and no smell of burnt around! I notice only some little pressure in the chest but it doesn’t alarm me. Nevertheless, since I want to understand if it is ok to have this procedure of symptoms I decide to call again the Areztefon. The doctor assures me, that mostly they experience this kind of light second symptom wave after 10 days in a lot of patients. This calms me and I switch of my Netflix again to enjoy my evening!

Day 11 to Day 14 – YEY I have my power back – when can I go out?

The feeling of being healed is finally here! According to a lot of information on the web and guidance of the BAG after 10 days the body is healed. Now it’s important to be 48 hours symptom free and the time to be able to leave the house is here.

Some people may think, but it’s too early to leave the house, you don’t know if you will still have symptoms and transmit the virus to someone. The thing is, once you have the virus in your body and you go through the whole illness you feel when your body is healed. And leaving the house after being symptom free for 48 hours doesn’t mean you go to the next party or in spaces full of people. The use of common sense is a rule for plenty other topics in life, no? It’s a delicate issue and since there is a lot of information I understand people being confused and especially scared. So don’t worry about what others say, go your own way!

If you can’t handle the unknown an option could be to make a second test and have it officially on a paper, that the virus is gone. But here you find several opinions and theories, too. The doctors I asked where in the opinion that doing a PCR test can result still positive since part of the virus remain in the blood for 2-3 month. Another advise I got in a pharmacy was to do an antibody blood test after 1-2 month to see, if the virus is still in the blood. Here I found several services online offering this test, but I did not try them personally.

For all the ones that want to know more about the available tests, read this official BAG information

Empfehlungen_zur_Diagnose_von_COVID-19 (5)

or this very useful article from Harvard Medical School.

Ways of keeping yourself positive and busy during the time at home – working, cooking, painting & zoom

Being an experienced remote worker staying at home for me never meant boredom. Luckily there is always something to do and I admit, it was a good distraction to be able to work! Of course the brain worked slow but hey, it’s okey! I have a wonderful team around me that supported me also in this!

An activity that always keeps me busy is cooking! Believe me, the first days were weird with the non smell and taste issue, but I ignored that fact and continued my cooking journey. I baked some bread and made some fresh spreads and the usual simple dishes as oven veggies, soups, pasta or risotto rice. I found a beautiful blog called The First Mess that I immediately fell in love with. Absolutely recommend it!

Paint it nice!

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”
– Vincent Van Gogh

Did you know, that painting is a secret passion of mine ?
It’s amazing how my creativity flows once I have the brush and paint under my fingers. I had this idea to use food for my painting since a while so this was the time to do it and it was really a lot of fun! A spicy, colorful and drunk painting for the kitchen of my friend was born!

Meditate and keep your mind calm!

A lot of people say they try to meditate, which is a good start. What I experience is that you need to practice it frequently to get to that status of mind, where everything around you is switched off and you really connect to your deep soul.
Try this meditation and let me know, what you think about! I love it, 15 minutes every day will clean your thoughts and keep you down to earth while others freak out 😉

Let your friends & family be part of your time at home

Being stuck at home means no social contact and we all know, that we need this kind of quality contacts in our life. When I had the need to be in contact with my friends or family I just told them that I need some virtual attention! I personally think that it is very important to communicate your needs, since sometimes people are just too busy with their own life and they don’t do it per purpose but they forget to call or send you a little text.

What else to say, stay healthy, follow your common  sense and hit me up if you have any questions!
If you’re in the mood to travel virtually get a read in my travel section!

Sending you love and good vibes! Marina

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STORIES

St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2020 – Girlspower only!

My personal highlight: Getting inspiration and motivation from Chef Renu Homsombat (Bangkok) reminding that everything done with love and compassion brings more joy in life!

A culinary experience that must be on your agenda every beginning of the year is the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. This year a load of girl power came together in the upper Engadine January 31st to February 8th, 2020. The top chefs from the international fine-dining scene performed together with highly awarded chefs of the partner hotels in St. Moritz to spoil curious food lovers with culinary delights.

The program consists of diverse events to choose from: a Gourmet Dinner with your favorite Chef, the legendary Kitchen Party at Badrutt’s Palace, Gourmet Safaris, a mountain Brunch or Food & Wine Pairing, the variety of food experiences is incredible!

On the one hand, this blog post shall inspire you to find your own favourite event. On the other hand it is a great pleasure to share my experiences with you and make you part of my Festival journey! The festival is attended by local  & international food lovers and offers a unique way to spend a different evening with same mined people.

The Chefs of the 2020 Edition at a glance

Gourmet Dinner Experience with Chef Renu Homsombat from Bangkok at Hotel Giardino Mountain -Restaurant Ecco

I attended the Gourmet Dinner of Chef Renu Homsombat with the curiosity to explore Thai Cuisine on a Gourmet level I never had before. Chef Renu manages 11 Suffron Gourmet Restaurants of the 5 star Hotels Banyan Tree in 8 countries. Beside coaching all the Chefs around the world she is a mother and a wife and lives in a house with a beautiful garden in Bangkok. My culinary highlight included a 6 course menu. A complete seduction of pure, fresh and spicy Thai flavors never experienced before. The green Thai curry is light and perfectly balanced in its sweetness and spiciness. Yes, it was spicy but to balance it out you get rice noodles and a tiny egg in a separate bowl and little veggie surprises as the pickled cauliflower or fried eggplants! The dinner start at 185 CHF (4 courses, excl. drinks) to 240 CHF (6 courses, excl. drinks) per person.

The menu of the Gourmet Dinner at Ecco Restaurant:

  • Kratong-Thong – Fried chicken, cashew nuts, golden cup saffron
  • Ma Hor – Pieneapple, minced pork beef, shrimps, peanut paste
  • Por Pia Puu Sauce Mamuang – Summer spring roll with crab meat, Thai mango sauce, chili peanut dip
  • Pla Muek Laab Thod – Spicy fried baby octopus, Thai chili sauce, crunchy popped young rice
  • Tom Yum Goong – spicy Thai shrimps, mushrooms, Thai ginger, lemon grass
  • Kiew Waan Pla Yang – grilled fish filet, rice noodles, green Thai curry sauce, fried eggplants, pickled cauliflower
  • Nua Toon Lumyai – slow cooked beef ribs, spiced, cucumber salat
  • Khao Niew Mamuang / Ice Cream Bai Toey – Thai Mango sticky rice, Sago Saffron litchi, Pandan coconut ice cream

The menu was paired with wines from France, Italy and Spain.

This culinary safari through Thailand was presented from its most aesthetic way. The combination of ingredients was delicate and at the same time very typical in the taste. The dishes Chef Renu prepares often include peanuts, mint, coriander or galangal combining European and Thai methods she got from different working experiences in Germany and Switzerland.
Chef Renu shared a precious hour with me in a personal interview where I got the opportunity to talk about her life and cooking philosophy.

The energy of this person is pure and beautiful and I felt right away, that this is the first ingredient for the magic, she puts in the preparation of every dish. She explained me, that no matter which request comes from a customer, her wish is to make everyone happy. So for example customers with allergies or special food requests give her the extra challenge to experiment in the kitchen and serve the ideal dish.

Learn from an organic Chef!

Chef Renu describes herself as the “Organic Chef” What exactly do you think this means? Nowadays Chefs strive for organic and healthy cuisine, the selection of the products are of high quality and as fresh as possible. This is why for example in a city as Bangkok Chef Renu has a little garden where she lives and she can grow her own flowers to integrate them in the dishes.
But more than that, an organic Chef according to Chef Renu should bring along a sane ego, understand the need and potential of the staff and bring them to perform with perfection but especially happiness and love in everything they do. The staff is like a family!
This is exactly what I experienced during the interview and the dinner. She also shares with me, that the inner motor that keeps her happy is the love around her she gets from her husband and her family.

“Be every day positive in life, learn from your mistakes and move on – Interview with Chef Renu”

Thank you Renu Homsombat for the unique culinary experience and the precious time shared!

Gourmet Event “Top of Piemonte” by Chef Lanshu Chen from Taiwan & Fabrizio Zanetti at Suvretta House, St. Moritz in cooperation with Poderi Aldo Conterno Wines

What happens at a Gourmet night with the title “Top of Piemonte“?
A Taiwanese female Chef prepares dishes that pair well with Barolo wines from Piemonte and on top you have a chat to connect with same minded foodies.

The surrounding at Suvretta House was the most perfect setup to enjoy a wonderful 4 course dinner. This is what we had:

  • Amuse Bouche: Egg custard with fermented radish and 7 years old aged radish oil
  • Eel: lily bulb, Sichuan peppercorns and scallion
  • Veal sweetbread Angelica
  • Sunchoke, smoked pork lard, wild lime
  • Pigeonneau: gyaura, onion, molle with Taiwnanese Chocolate
  • Dessert Nympheas: 12 different ingredients sweet, sour and flower magic prepared in a clear soup

The Wine Pairing 

Bussiador Chardonnay Langhe DOC/b, Piemonte 2016

Barolo Bussia Colonnello DocG/b, Piemonte 2015 and Barolo Bussia Cicala DOCG/b, Piemonte 2015

Barolo Bussia Romirasco DOCG/b, Piemonte 2015

Grappa di Barolo Cigna Cicala, Piemonte

The cuisine prepared by Chef Lashu is contemporary French, delicate and savory. She conjured a tasteful balance between her Taiwanese culinary roots and classic French cuisine onto the plates. The novelty for me at this dinner: the pigeon! It was cooked with a pink finish, perfectly tender and its tasty was mild and delicate.

About Poderi Aldo Conterno Wines

The Poderi Aldo Conterno have cult status among wine connoisseurs. The selected wines belong to the greatest of the Piedmont region. Franco Conterno, co-owner of the family business presented his winery in collaboration with Ueli Schiess of Caratello Weine, St. Gallen.

Curious to know more about the wine region of Piedmont? Explore it on my blog post here!

I am very happy for the experience made at this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival edition and hope you’ll have the chance in 2021 to experience one of their culinary events, too! A warm thank you to all of the staff for the excellent work and hospitality during my press trip.

 

 

 

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