For many an un-tapped source of increased earning power, of making more money, lies in eating well. In eating very well indeed. The better you eat, the better your mind will perform with calm, focussed concentration. If you are unhappy at work, then eating well will also help give the motivation to do something about it.
Your brain and body are potentially long-term money making machines. They are the means to having a fulfilling career. But they do have to be fed well and not jolt started with a cup of coffee and possibly a cigarette. They are fed well bit by bit throughout the day.
Drink two big glasses of water first thing. Apart from anything else, the brain is 76% – 85% water. Overnight we lose on average 1 – 2 litres of water so for optimal brain function, good levels of hydration are critical. Then breakfast is protein and fat, which means meat or fish and nuts, avocado pears or eggs. If the meat can be red meat some days, then you hit gold with resultant concentration. Followed by a cup of coffee or tea drunk with either double cream or black. Ideally no sugar or sweeteners since sweetness/starchy carbs send the brain to sleep. And thus reduce your potential to achieve greater things.
Handful of nuts. It is unlikely you will be hungry. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat, as by the time you start to feel significantly hungry your brain is functioning below par. If nuts are a problem, then you will have to find something else non-carbohydrate as an alternative. So this could be cold cooked meat, if this is a possibility. Sweetness/starchy carbs send the brain to sleep – so nut bars will not do.
Has to happen and is best eaten away from the desk. It is an excellent idea to go out for a brisk walk or punch out a dozen press ups. This will improve brain function and motivation. Eat plenty of protein and plenty of over ground vegetables, cooked or raw. Experiment with no starchy carbs at lunchtime to avoid the afternoon slump. If you are out for a business lunch, then all starchy carbs and puddings must be avoided since the meal will tend to be larger than normal. By doing this, you will not only keep a sharp mind, it will also be easier to maintain or even lose weight. If you drink wine, drink plenty of water to reduce the effects and help your liver. This all equates to eating very well indeed. A lunch of cray fish with a big tasty salad blows a shop bought sandwich out of the window both in taste and nutrition.
Now quite interesting things can happen here. Most people get through to lunchtime without feeling particularly hungry. But as the afternoon wears on, it can become a battle to stay awake which can end up with eating sugary snacks in an effort to make it through. This can give an opportunity to examine why this is happening.
The reasons for cravings, either in the afternoon or evening are many:
- not eating regularly enough throughout the day;
- not getting enough sleep;
- the quality of that sleep being poor;
- lunch being too high in carbs so blood sugar drops which can only lead to needing a sugary snack to quickly re-raise the blood sugar levels. Crisps are just as bad as biscuits.
It is good to take a light snack in the afternoon. A few nuts will suffice or possibly a piece of fruit.
A glass or two of wine is no bad thing. A bottle of wine is pushing it. It is wise to have a couple of nights a week when no alcohol is drunk to give the liver a rest. Beer is fattening and reduces brain function. Spirits do not have the health benefits of wine with the notable exception of bitters – eg Agnostura bitters. Bitters containing the herb Gentian have a stimulating effect on digestion.
Plenty of protein, plenty of vegetables. It is fine to eat starchy carbs if weight loss isn’t an issue, since evenings are wind down times. Protein and vegetables do not equate to boring or complex. They can be extremely quick to prepare, eg lamb chops with a little rosemary sprinkled over, chicken pieces rolled in a variety of mixed spices and either gently fried or roasted; salmon cooked with ginger and soya sauce. Vegetables can be made tasty by simple mixes, the classic being roast Mediterranean vegetables, but kale steamed with diced fennel can work very well, for example. All vegetables are improved by the addition of a good fat, eg butter, olive or coconut oil and a little natural salt, eg Himalayan rock salt or Celtic Sea Salt. At the end of a meal, it is quite normal to want something sweet, so fruit may suffice. Or yoghurt – for best results use full fat Greek yoghurt which you could sweeten with a bit of honey and add some pieces of fruit. Variety is important in all meals to avoid food sensitivities developing and to prevent boredom.
To sleep well, which is essential, it is generally recommended to eat at least two hours before bedtime.
If you are very lean and have a fast metabolism, you may need to have a light snack at bedtime. It is hopeless sleeping badly because you are hungry. A good snack will be protein and fat since these are very stabilising on the blood sugar. The protein should be light and easily digestible. Another alternative is to have a tablespoon of top quality fish oil at bedtime. Again this has a stabilising effect on blood sugar.
The most important things to cut out of the diet are wheat, sugar and processed foods. If you are too tired to cook at night then it is worth investing more time in your body and your food intake to increase energy.
If you are a regular coffee/tea drinker this is not a problem. As at breakfast, to get the full benefit of their strong antioxidant content, drink with double cream or black. Do not drink caffeine after 4pm or your sleep will suffer. Green tea is extremely good for brain function. You also need to drink water steadily throughout the day. How much? It depends upon activity levels and how hot it is. The minimum you should aim for is your bodyweight in Kgs x 0.033. The water should be either filtered or bottled – preferably in glass to try to cut back on oestrogen toxicity. Water companies find it very difficult to properly clean our water, so it still contains pharmaceuticals like the pill and anti-cancer drugs that patients have excreted. Also water has chlorine added to it. Now in WWI chlorine was added to phosgene to make a nerve gas. There are real issues with chlorine toxicity, the prime one being an underactive thyroid.1
Can water be sparkling? The jury is out. Some sources say it is acidic and some say it isn’t. Soft drinks are a definite no-no. These are acidic – it the the addition on phosphoric acid that does this – tooth rotting, crave making, addictive and they mess with your brain. The various artificial sweeteners should not be consumed regularly – they are all variously dreadful since they all raise insulin in the body in expectation of something sweet arriving for digestion. When insulin goes up, the body is cued to store fat. Put simply, the time of year that food is in abundance is the summer and autumn. This is the time of year when fruits would be in abundance, so we are designed to put body fat on in these months in preparation for the long cold winter when food will be scarce – and carbohydrate often not available at all. And this is why insulin is called the fat storage hormone.2 For maximum uptake of nutrients, the body needs to be slightly alkaline. Protein is acidic with cheese being the worst offender. Provided you eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit during the day, then the acidic qualities of meat and fish are offset. Also a slice of lemon or lime added to water helps detoxify those foreign oestrogens and is alkalising. Very cold water is a shock for the stomach.
For The Travelling Professional
If you frequently fly, you ought to take anti-oxidant supplementation on top of a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit. Flying is like having X-rays since the atmosphere is much thinner up there. Flying is also very dehydrating, so be sure to drink plenty of water whilst in the air.
If you cross time zones and the time zone you are flying to earlier, then if possible have a very strong power shower when you get to your hotel. This will help wake you up. You need to eat dopamine producing foods so you are wide awake and raring to go3 – and these are the red meats. In the morning eat no carbs at all – no fruit, vegetables or fruit juices. Then in the evening have a high starch meal with plenty of veggies. This will help you go to sleep. If you’re flying in the other direction, then the opposite is true: if it is later, eat plenty of starch with fish or pale meat. Take a bath if possible. Do not take a shower if you are needing to go to sleep. Supplements that help are tyrosine for the morning and dopamine raising and melatonin at night to encourage proper sleep.
It is vital that food is digested properly. When there is a dislike of red meat or the thought of eating it for breakfast is inconceivable, this is a sign that your stomach is not producing enough Hydrochloric Acid (HCl). Out best source of nutrition lies in the food that we eat – BUT it must be broken down into its constituent parts so the digestive system can actually access those nutrients. Meat has to be broken into its component parts, amino acids. And many important nutrients, eg zinc, calcium, iron, come in the diet attached to an amino acid. They have to be sheered off their carrier by the action of HCl in order for them to be digested further on through the digestive system. Also good levels of HCl help kill unwanted bacteria or pests still on the food, making it less likely that an upset stomach will develop.
Eating well is much misunderstood these days. Much misery, grumpiness, lardiness and brain fog results. We end up addicted to foods that do us no good at all – but give good profits to the food companies, and, ultimately, the drug companies. Eat well as I have described. Look after your body’s needs for sleep and exercise and life will open out for you. Clouds of fog, fatness and feebleness will melt away and be replaced by effectiveness, concentration on what matters and a lust for success.
- Everything these days comes wrapped in plastic!! The plastic leaches into the food/fluid and result in a build up of plastics in the body, which have an oestrogenic effect on us. They are as bad for women as they are for men since they are ‘foreign’ oestrogens and so are toxic to us. Tell tale signs of this toxicity are fat legs and bottom. Men should carry no fat on their legs at all. (Moobs are a sign of conversion of testosterone to oestrogen – as bad as it sounds – often brought about by a zinc deficiency). Avoid fruit juice during a working day. Sweetness not only sends the brain to sleep, it will also reduce calmness. [↩]
- Aspartame is brain toxic if not eaten with protein. Fructose is treated like the body like glucose, but takes far longer to break down, so elevates insulin for longer. Saccharin is probably the safest artificial sweetener. Frankly it is better to wean yourself off a sweet tooth. [↩]
- dopamine is the neurotransmitter of attention and reward, high in the morning and low in the evening. This is an excellent clip on dopamine and why you want it high in the morning http://youtu.be/ZjH8_hHtumo [↩]