The phrase ’you are what you eat’ should not be so easily overlooked. This statement could not be more true, and it could not be more important. Many of us tend to feel tired throughout our work week, lacking the energy we need to be as productive as we could potentially be. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our brains and bodies do not function on hopes and dreams. Our brains require proteins and sugars in order to function properly; skipping meals or not getting enough nutrients will be reflected in the way you feel. If you are more aware, focused and feeling better overall; you are bound to function more effectively at work. We are so accustom to grabbing a coffee when we feel tired, but this is simply not practical. Caffeine is just a quick fix; it actually suppresses serotonin, which is a chemical that contributes to making us feel good. Getting to the core issue of low energy is not an unreachable task; the solution is proper nourishment. There’s an answer outside of Red Bull and ten coffees a day, you can start utilizing what is at your everyday disposal.
It appears to be a simple solution, yet the majority of people are not taking proper nutritional measures. Food equals energy, but not all food is equal in terms of energy output. Our perception of healthy eating has become skewed and our bodies are suffering the price. We’ve become obsessed with calorie counting and fat content. Although these are important to be aware of, they’re not the only component that needs attention. To be fair, the majority of the food in which you should be consuming won’t be wrapped in plastic and have a label attached to it. It would be ideal within the workplace for your body to fuel on deadlines, commutes and lectures from your boss. The reality is, you need to fuel your body with food that will make you perform efficiently (so that you can avoid those lectures).
It’s not about how much you eat, it’s about what you’re eating. I’m not expecting everyone to go on a 100% vegan, raw food diet, but slight adjustments can make a difference in how you feel and how you perform. We’ll start with the obvious; limit the amount of processed and fast foods. I know that we live busy lives and it’s hard to make time for cooking, but if there’s time to get a pedicure or a beer after work; there’s time to reward your body. The key is balance, you need to obtain a varied diet so that you are able to absorb a variety of vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, etc. You only have one body, treat it well and it will treat you well in return.
Try and incorporate more of these into your diet:
Yes, the dreaded carbs are most certainly on this list. Once again, we have come to an incorrect understanding that carbohydrates are the enemy; at least anyone whom is trying to lose weight. The carbohydrates in which you should avoid are simple carbohydrates, which will be found in refined foods: white bread, white rice, white pasta, candy, cakes, etc. These simply give you a ’boost’ of sugar, whereas complex carbohydrates release sugar to your body slowly. Complex carbs tend to be found in more natural foods: brown grain rice, brown pasta, legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) and starchy vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes). When glucose is released slowly throughout the day, your brain benefits. So, toss that white wonder bread and stick to those whole grains.
Good old brain food, providing omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids can not be made within our bodies, so we need to obtain these within our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids not only assist the brain, but increase functioning within your eyes, joints and heart. A bag of chips is not a substantial lunch at the office, you can not function to the best of your ability. Make a tuna sandwich on some nice granary bread; try and consume bread that contains seeds (e.g. chia, flax or sunflower).
Dark berries are packed with antioxidants; low in calories and high in health benefits. Pack a container of blueberries to snack on throughout your work day. Give yourself a berry boost.
I am not talking about iceberg lettuce here. It’s great if you’re bringing a salad to work for lunch, but iceberg lettuce covered in ranch dressing and croutons can be improved upon. Greens such as: kale, spinach, chard (along with a variety of others) are highly packed with nutrients to the point that they are considered superfoods. There are so many benefits to incorporating greens into your diet. My husband and I have a healthy handful or two every night beside our dinner, it’s a simple accompaniment with big benefits. If you find certain greens too bitter, then dress them up a bit by tossing a little bit of olive oil and lemon into the mix. If you really want to amp up the nutrients, toss some seeds on top (e.g. hemp seeds). Take those extra five minutes in the morning to prepare a simple salad so that you’re not heading to the vending machine at lunch for junk.
These bite-sized superfoods contain vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids that your body will happily absorb and use. Just like the berries; pack a little bag of walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc. These little powerhouses will give you a brain-boost.
This is a big one, and seems overly obvious. Your brain needs water in order to function at an optimal level. When you are dehydrated, cognitive functioning is going to be disrupted. It is recommended that we consume around eight cups a day, but this will vary depending on a number of variables. We are so blessed to have clean water, take advantage of the benefits it can provide. Give that sugary can of pop a second thought at work tomorrow, it’s not on your bodies side.
If you think this is overwhelming, try making slights changes and healthy eating will soon come naturally. Make a wrap for work packed with veggies and sprouts, replace refined sugary snacks for nuts and fruit, incorporate more raw foods (heating tends to destroy nutrients and natural enzymes in some foods), and the list goes on. Basically, make sure that you are getting a substantial amount of beneficial calories throughout the day (2000 calories from a burger, fries, pop and chocolate bar, just doesn’t cut it).
Start your day with something substantial to eat; breakfast is crucial in kick starting your day and brain function. Bring a lunch to work that is packed with nutrients, and don’t be afraid to consume healthy snacks throughout the day. Have a bottle of water sitting on your desk to sip at, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Get involved, research and get excited about improving your overall health. Your body accomplishes a lot for you in a day, even while you sleep. It is time to start working with your body; you’re a team. Give yourself the proper amount of nutrients and you may be working toward that promotion sooner than you think.