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Health Science

Study Suggests Eating Kimchi Could Help Protect Against Covid-19

As scientists have been scrambling for potential treatments and vaccines to combat against the COVID-19 pandemic, some have begun testing different unique foods that could play a role in disease prevention.

One food, kimchi, has shown in an early study to be a possible food that could help protect against COVID-19 when consumed.

The pre-printed study took a look at data of death rates from different countries and found that those that eat fermented vegetables, including fermented cabbage products, tended to have a lower death rate. The countries surveyed in this study were European ones, but authors noted that this could be similar for other countries with lots of fermented vegetables in their diets, which includes kimchi.

One could infer from these results that kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented cabbage products could help in protection against the disease as a result.

Scientifically, the theory behind this is that fermented vegetables like cabbages have high antioxidant activity, and can inhibit an entry point for coronavirus into the cells called the ACE-2 pathway. ACE-2 is a protein on the membranes of cells that some coronaviruses, including the one responsible for this outbreak, can enter the cell through.

Could eating more kimchi and other fermented cabbage products help prevent you from getting COVID-19? It’s possible, but this study was done to establish some possible hypotheses on how diets could affect the spread of the pandemic. That means that while the possibility is there, now is the time for massive epidemiological research to prove that it’s actually the case.

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Cravings Culture Deals Fast Food Feel Good News What's New

Checkers & Rally’s Are Giving Out Free Meals to Healthcare Workers

 

Known for their “Crazy Good Food,” Checkers & Rally’s have shifted their focus towards crazy good hospitality.

Now, at all 250 locations nationwide, first responders and medical workers can get a free small combo at the fast food chain, solely by showing up in their uniform.

Each combo includes a small order of fries, a small drink, and a choice of one of the following entrees: Big Buford (which may be the best name out there for a fast food item), Cheese Champ, Chili Dog, BBQ Bacon Roadhouse, Half-Pound Chicken Bites, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Baconzilla, 5-piece Wings, or a Deep Sea Double. 

The restaurant’s employees will also benefit from the policy, as they’ve been deemed “essential workers,” and will get a free small meal for every shift they work.

This is in addition to the $100,000 they donated to No Kid Hungry that’s estimated to provide a million meals to children, and certainly shows a commitment to helping the communities that surround each location, which is rare for such a large chain. 

Hats off, Checkers & Rally’s.

 

Photo: Jeremy Brooks
Categories
Grocery Opinion

Grocery Stores Should Implement Reservation Systems To Curb Panic Buying

For the past couple weeks, the scenes inside of grocery stores can best be described as chaotic In the grocery trips I’ve been to, plus those of many of my co-workers and friends who have shared on social media, entire sections of stores have been cleaned out by everyone stockpiling food and supplies. Lines of customers looking to get extra cases of water or toilet paper form hours before opening.

Unfortunately, this situation has made it hard for many others, including several who are immunocompromised or otherwise can’t shop due to the dangers of exposing themselves to the coronavirus, to obtain just the basics they need to get through the week. Many stores are offering “Elderly-only” hours as one way to fix this, but the store shelves still continue to be wiped out.

This is deeply concerning because it threatens the food security of many people, especially those who may not be able to get to grocers first thing in the morning. Those who can often travel to multiple stores to get just what they need on a short-term basis. Meanwhile, many essentials, including milk, eggs, and other in-demand items, continue to remain out of stock.

However, it’s not a concern of whether we have enough food. Grocery stores have made it clear that is not the case, and are hiring en masse to try to get shelves stocked and supply chains sped up as quickly as possible. At this point, what we need is a drastic solution in order to ensure that more people, and those in need, have the same access to food as those who are stockpiling.

There is a model that some companies and stores have followed that could present a novel solution: creating a reservation system for shoppers to use to shop for the groceries they need, rather than allowing people to stockpile.

A system like this has already been used before by companies like Nike and Disney. Nike will set up reservations to purchase shoes for any hype sneakers they do limited drops on. Disney, meanwhile, had been utilizing “boarding groups” that are called throughout the day for admission to its Rise of the Resistance rides in Disneyland and Disney World before both parks closed.

Disneyland’s system works by opening up reservations for each day at the park’s opening, then cutting them off once a certain number is filled. Anyone who gets a boarding group can then head to the ride when their number is called, and have a two-hour window to enter.

A system like this could work for grocery stores because it would control the amount of people in stores at a time. Combined with the limits some stores are imposing on how many goods you can buy, and it gives stores enough time to restock some major goods or ensure that there’s enough to go around.

Doing this online could be problematic for those without internet access or that show up in person, so it would probably need to be a combination of physically signing up in person as well as online sign-ups, with limits to each.

Could grocery stores be convinced to move to these reservation systems? It’s likely that they would have to set them up themselves (which would require development work) as well as regulate/maintain them. There’s also the possibility that it reduces the amount of purchased goods overall each day, although given that stores tend to run out by lunchtime anyway, that may not be the case.

Whichever the case, there’s clearly a need for some kind of system, as grocers have already started to implement limitations. Some local Trader Joe’s stores, for example, are asking customers to limit the amount of items they purchase. Costco is also informing people that it won’t accept returns on items like water and toilet paper, in addition to other items they run out of regularly these days.

The biggest question of something like this is who would pay for it. Chances are that the government won’t, as they’ve got bigger problems they’re addressing like trying to provide much-needed relief to small businesses (including restaurants).
My guess is that it’s going to have to come from the grocery chains themselves, and they may not want to unless they think such a reservation system is essential to business operations. One can definitely make the argument that it is essential, or at the very least, may help prevent grocers from running out of food daily.

Food shortages aren’t the problem plaguing our grocery stores. People panicking and overbuying in obscene amounts are what’s causing store shelves to go barren. If you find a way to curb that through a reservation system, then you can not only serve more customers, but also ensure those who need food at this time have access to it.

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Culture News Opinion What's New

Food Delivery Services Offer Customers Incentives During Covid-19 Concerns, But What About Their Drivers?

Yesterday, Postmates announced that it would be slashing delivery fees in half for orders worth more than $10 between the hours of 10am-2pm, capitalizing on the recent wave of social isolation due to COVID-19. 

This comes only two days after the company made a dual announcement, stating that it planned to waive commission fees for restaurants, therefore allowing them to join and use the app for free, as well as pay for any COVID-19 medical expenses their drivers accrued. 

The two announcements serve as a microcosm of the juxtaposition delivery services currently lie in: with business surging due to the increased number of people staying home,  what’s the proper response to their workers, who lie at the frontline of exposure, and their struggling restaurant partners?

There appears to be no clear cut answer. 

Postmates took some of the first action in early March by introducing non-contact deliveries, allowing customers to choose a drop off location for their food. But, with most companies working from home, American cities beginning to shut down entirely, and most delivery services remaining tight-lipped about the issues, drivers felt left in the dust.

As lawmakers pressed companies like DoorDash and Uber to improve situations for their workers, food delivery services scrambled to distance themselves from the issue. DoorDash and InstaCart quickly announced paid sick leave for workers diagnosed with COVID-19, and Postmates took the aforementioned measures.

This still doesn’t leave drivers with much room to breath, though. If one is infected, money will be lost regardless, either in the form of time spent going to the doctors or time spent quarantined.

Grubhub took effort to help only restaurants, with a similar strategy to Postmates, by slashing their marketing fees. No word, however, was said about the affected Grubhub delivery drivers.

Though, certainly, these companies seem to be trying to help their associated restaurants and individuals, business is still going on as usual.

And we’ve seen, in multiple countries, what will happen if business goes on as usual, and what happens when it doesn’t.

Delivery services can’t come to terms with the scale of the virus, and the measures it’s going to take to prevent widespread infection. There’s too much money to be lost. And, with no one wanting to leave the house, and drivers relying on the wage they earn for sustenance, the money will continue to roll in.

As long as delivery companies are delivering, and drivers are still dependent on work, ordering delivery with timely promotions doesn’t offer much of an ethical issue. Though, the privilege of being able to put another human at-risk to allow oneself to self-isolate should be noted, and also warrant a hell of a tip.

But, if these companies are as serious as they say they are about preventing infection, that would mean halting business for a week or two, since their entire business plans revolve around sending drivers through different cities to interact with others. This, in turn, would probably harm already struggling restaurants, as well. 

It’s hard to see a right answer with how our gastronomic economy is set up. It’s an ecosystem that runs out of necessity, one that won’t stop turning until it’s forced to.