Fuel for Thought
In 2014, I was wrapping up a typical Thursday night around 10 pm in the office when my new boss at the time told me how badly he wanted to be successful. He was the third CEO for a company that was known to have a fast-moving revolving door. He was also a loyal husband and doting father with an exceptional pedigree. I too wanted him to be successful, but in understanding how broad the term successful was, I responded with a look clearly needing more elaboration. He said, “Well, successful people are happy, right?”
Happiness and health are two terms frequently used together, while success and health are not.
Perhaps this is due to the lack of alliteration or maybe it is due to the fact that happiness and success can be substituted for one another as my former boss suggested. Either way, I believe both happiness and success have unique bio-individual definitions and obsolete destinations because they each involve a variable process. In my opinion, we can control these variables through how we fuel ourselves which is why I’m sharing integrative nutrition tips on how to be more productive as we keep reaching for the happiest, most successful version of ourselves.
Home is Where the Heart Finds the Right Beat
Whether you live by yourself, with a partner, toddlers or teenagers, your home is a sanctuary--even if sometimes there are more toys and clutter than it seems people. It is also where your most nutritious meals are nearly guaranteed to originate. Creating meals for you and your family allows you to flex your creative muscles while you exercise a moving meditation when your cooking practice takes an artful form. This, as a result, can make you feel accomplished outside of work, empowering you with a sense of relief from your 9-5 and re-energizing you to take on the next day in the office.
Redefine the Word "Treat"
It’s Monday at 3 pm and your co-worker is running to Whole Foods to grab her usual oat milk latté. This sounds enticing, so she picks you up one too. Suddenly, this becomes a constant routine that has you relying on this afternoon treat while costing you nearly an extra $100/month. Let’s face it, this habit isn’t easy to break, so let’s redefine it. If your “treat” is making you feel foggy and fatigued, exchange it. Consider requesting a 50-ounce bottle of alkaline water. Not only did you just save $60/month, but your body will also be grateful for your new definition of treat, and your mind will pay you with greater output.
Your brain motors your daily accomplishments, and the fuel that keeps your motor running is ketones or glucose. Without diving into the keto-diet argument, being honest with yourself about your relationship with carbs is key. Considering your bio-individual needs will make your relationship with food in general far more liberating. Too many refined carbohydrates increase your risk of inflammation, but a diet with too little carbohydrates may cause you to feel fatigued. As, Shira Lenchewski shares in her book, The Food Therapist, "Pick your carbs prudently, focusing on high-quality, slow-burn sources keep your portions in check.” As a result, you’ll find your blood sugar balanced, stabilizing your energy levels, while also keeping your productivity on par.
Fiber or Fight
Fiber is a non-digestible component of food. Its purpose is to keep your digestive system in check, promoting regularity and also feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. While located primarily in plants, fiber is also added to foods like yogurt and drinks stimulating healthy digestion. As a byproduct, fiber slows down the rate in which sugar enters your bloodstream, buffering any surge from insulin. By feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut, as Monica Rynegal, host of The Nutrition Diva’s Podcast states, "Fermentable fibers boost the gut's immune system." The outcome of fiber as a whole leads to higher consumption of more whole foods, even-keeled energy, and immune support keeping you at your best without having to compromise any PTO.
Our mind and body may not tell us exactly what it needs verbally, but it does communicate with our subconscious. Take notes on what you may be frequently telling yourself, your spouse or your peers. Maybe you keep telling your husband you need to quit pouring yourself a glass of wine when you get home. Perhaps you continue to tell yourself that you need to stop buying lunch out. It may be that you keep telling your co-workers how you need to keep up your new morning workout routine. There is a reason this communication is happening, and there’s a good chance it’s coming directly from your body sharing its needs to find homeostasis to get back to basics.